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Semi-soft combines benefits of other two. These are what I like best. They are partially framed and have expandable tops and bottoms. They weigh less than hard-sided ones, but still protect well.
Material. For soft and semi-soft luggage, nylon or ballistic nylon is stronger than polyester. Look for a tight and dense weave. If denier is mentioned, it refers to thickness of fiber. High denier means thick fiber.
Zippers. Metal ones aren't good. The newer, synthetic zippers made of coils can actually self-repair when slide is moved over teeth.
Self-repairing zippers is one thing that separates well-made luggage from rest.
Since people tend to over-stuff their suitcases (especially if they did some extra shopping), zipper takes strain of trying to close and hold suitcase together.
These self-repairing zippers will do that job better than any others will. A standard zipper can fail under that strain. If your suitcase zipper breaks as you are finishing packing and hurrying to catch a plane, you suddenly have a big problem.
There you are, it's time to go and your suitcase zipper is broken. Everything is falling out and you don't have time or capability to fix or replace it.
Whatever you buy, make sure that it has a large, self-repairing zipper.
Hooks. Many rolling bags have a hook to carry an additional bag. These are wonderful. With these, you can often easily carry two extra bags - one on hook and one over extended handle. The bag on hook tends to counter-balance everything making downward load on handle lighter.
Tip - some hooks are stronger than others are. The most strain on your luggage hook comes when you have a heavy bag attached and you are on an escalator. The hooked bag is unsupported. If this is an issue, look for elevator.
Other Nice Features. Many pockets inside and out are useful. Many bags have some plastic lined pockets. These are great for wet items like swimsuits or workout clothes. If you are getting a bag that will be outside like a backpack, rain flaps over zippers help keep contents dry when it's raining.
Warranty. If you buy a good suitcase and use it for a long time, a good warranty is very important.
A long warranty period is a good indication that manufacturer believes in their product.
Many higher-end bags have lifetime warranties. While these suitcases may cost a bit more, if a free warranty repair is difference between more years of service and garbage, it's worth it.
The smart choice is to buy well-constructed, long-lasting quality luggage. That will be best value, last longest, and be wisest choice.
There are four specific brand of luggage that I personally recommend.
To learn which ones those are and why, please visit my complete luggage ratings web page at: http://www.pilot-pauls-travel-accessories.com/luggage-ratings.html
If you go there, you'll also learn best places to find these suitcases at best prices.
Pilot Paul is a captain at a major U.S. airline. He also hosts http://www.Pilot-Pauls-Travel-Accessories.com where an airline captain helps you with your travel needs.
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