Nowadays, you’ve plenty of choices when it comes to travel-friendly bags. From compact backpacks with integrated wheels to rolling totes offering bundles of space, there’s the perfect sidekick for any journey. Keen to find out what’s out there? Our guide explores all types of luggage you should be looking for ahead of a trip.
What Should I Look For When Buying a Suitcase?
Many people focus on space when shopping for suitcases and travel bags. If you’re packing for a vacation with your partner and kids in tow, this is understandable. That extra packing space can come in handy, but not if it comes at the expense of portability and carrying convenience.
Think about what you actually need from a travel bag. If you struggle to find room for even the basics, a larger bag may be the answer. Packing cubes can bring some order to the inside of a suitcase, while many bags come with integrated smart storage.
If you’re traveling light on a shorter journey, it’s portability that you need to think about. Backpacks are the obvious choice here, although they are fairly limited. To up your carrying capacity while still staying mobile, something like a rolling tote on wheels is a good alternative.
Why Should You Travel with a Rolling Tote Bag?
Walk through any train station and you’ll see a huge variety of travel bags, with rolling totes for travel becoming an increasingly common sight. While they’re certainly stylish, there’s more to these totes than on-trend aesthetics.
Just like any tote, these rolling bags offer an incredible amount of space. With generous carrying capacities, it's perfect for people who aren’t happy leaving home without half their wardrobe in tow. Thanks to their wheels, rolling totes are also one of the most portable and travel-friendly luggage options around.
What Are the Different Types of Luggage?
Still not found the perfect piece of luggage yet? Below, we explore the pros and cons of each type of luggage, along with when they’re best used.
Rolling Tote Bag
Rolling luggage makes life much easier when traveling. With a rolling tote, you benefit from a rugged piece of luggage that will cope with repeated trips away, while still enjoying ample storage capacity for all your essentials. A design like the Hulken rolling tote is a particularly good choice, with industrial-grade materials making it a hard-wearing option and a good fit for veteran travelers.
No matter where you’re headed, whether you're moving or going away for the weekend, rolling totes like the Hulken help make the journey as stress-free as possible. Swivel wheels mean you can glide across most surfaces with ease, while unbreakable handles give you the option of wearing your tote over your shoulder when you’d rather keep your items close.
When to use one:
If you need to take a lot of stuff with you, rolling totes are a good choice. Their wheeled design also makes them ideal for those keen to take the strain out of traveling. Some smaller wheeled totes can even be used as carry-on luggage.
- Masses of storage capacity
- The wheeled design offers maximum maneuverability
- Most totes are very durable
- You may need to add packing cubes for organization
- Larger totes aren’t suitable as carry-on luggage
The humble duffel bag is one of the most popular travel companions around. Available in a range of sizes, most duffel bags offer a single main compartment, along with a handful of smaller pockets and pouches. Some designs feature zipper fastening and security locks, while others only include drawstring closure. Available in cylindrical or oblong-shaped designs, most duffel bags are lightweight and flexible, making them a practical choice for traveling.
When to use one:
Looking for an inexpensive piece of carry-on luggage? A duffel bag is a good option. These classic bags also make good overnighters or weekenders.
- Relatively inexpensive
- Lightweight and flexible
- Low-maintenance option
- Limited storage space
- No padding or protection
- Limited security features
Hard Shell Suitcase
A hard shell is one of the most robust types of luggage on the market. Designed to cope with rough handling at the airport, these heavy-duty cases can withstand plenty of punishment before showing any signs of damage.
When to use one:
Hard shell suitcases are ideal for those who fly regularly, especially when traveling with delicate items that need to be checked in with hold luggage.
- Ultimate protection for fragile items
- Offer good protection against the elements
- Newer hard shell cases are fairly lightweight
- Can be very expensive
- Typically large and bulky
- No exterior pockets
Soft Shell Suitcase
Although they look fairly similar to their hard shell cousins, soft shell suitcases don’t offer the same degree of protection. However, this makes them more flexible, providing you with additional packing space and expandable interiors.
When to use one:
If you only travel once or twice a year, soft shell suitcases are ideal. Expandable compartments also make them useful for those who struggle to pack light.
- Very affordable
- Lightweight and travel-friendly
- Plenty of compartments and expandable sections
- Limited impact protection
- Prone to wear and tear
Lightweight and stylish, leather bags come in all shapes and sizes. Any bag made from this material will usually be hard-wearing, making them perfect for anyone looking for a long-lasting travel companion.
When to use one:
Ideal as a secondary piece of luggage, a decent-sized leather bag can also be used as an overnighter or weekender.
- Premium leather finish
- Very durable
- Different designs and capacities available
- Leather requires some maintenance
- Not the most eco-friendly choice
- Can be quite expensive
When you need to travel light, think about a backpack. Perfect for those who need everything close by, modern-day backpacks offer a surprising amount of storage capacity, while a wheeled backpack is a travel-friendly alternative to smaller suitcases.
When to use one:
Ideal if you’re only traveling with a single spare outfit and minimal accessories. Also handy as a carry-on luggage solution.
- Keep your contents close by.
- Lightweight and comfortable.
- Can double up as carry-on luggage.
- Not a lot of storage space.
- Can be uncomfortable.
- Not the most stylish choice.
Which Luggage Style is For You?
If you only travel with the bare minimum, a backpack or duffel bag is a good choice of luggage. Can’t bear to leave home without a good selection of outfits, accessories, and cosmetics? A larger hard shell suitcase offers maximum security and plenty of storage capacity. However, when it comes to portability, nothing comes close to the travel-friendly design of a rolling tote.
Tips For Keeping Your Luggage in Good Condition?
Luggage can be expensive, but you can save having to shell out for a replacement with a little bit of maintenance.
Even if you’re only traveling through airports and hotel lobbies, make sure you clean your luggage regularly. Avoid using anything that might damage or discolor luggage materials and pay special attention to the wheels and handles.
Inspect Zippers and Handles
To avoid the nightmare of a snapped zipper, carry out regular inspections of your luggage. Before you start to pack, a quick test of zips and handles will let you know everything’s working as it should.
Overfilling your suitcase can put a strain on its materials, while also making it more likely for zips to burst and handles to break.
Secure Fragile Items
Broken glass and leaking liquids can ruin your luggage. Secure these items with padding and sealed bags ahead of every trip.
Invest in Quality Luggage
Cut-price luggage might seem like a good deal, but it rarely lasts. Rather than having to constantly shell for replacements, it makes more sense to pay a premium for something that will last.
Take the Stress Out of Traveling with the Hulken Rolling Tote
Tired of hauling a hard shell suitcase behind you? Need something bigger than your diminutive duffel? If you’re looking for luggage that’s spacious, durable, and bursting with travel-friendly features, it’s time to say hello to the Hulken rolling tote.