Features of the Best Rolling Bags
Features to inspect: 1) fabric, 2) wheels, 3) stability support, 4) zippers, 5) edges and frame, 6) telescoping handles, 7) handles and straps, 8) organization features, 9) laptop compartment, 10) other
photo: Melanie Pinola, TravelPro
Shopping for rolling luggage bags or rolling laptop briefcases is much easier when you know what to look for. These are some of the top features shared by the highest quality luggage and business cases:
- Fabric: Look for industrial fabric like ballistic or Cordura nylon with 1050 denier (lightweight but durable) or top-grain leather (heavier but very polished and durable as well). Aluminum or polycarbonate hard-sheel bags offer great protection, but tend to be less flexible for packing, heavier, and more expensive.
- Wheels: Essential to your mobility and also for reducing shock to devices carried in the bag, wheels whould be recessed and set wide apart; the best bags use rubberized, ball-bearing inline skate wheels for the best sturdiness. 4-wheeled bags are good for manuevering in tight spaces, but they can also run away from you on inclines!
- Stability support: The front feet of the bag should also be sturdy and set at the right spot to prevent tipping.
- Zippers: Zipper quality is a key differentiator between bad bags and good ones; when inspecting a bag, look in particular for how the zippers and pull tabs feel, and check manufacturer's claims about zipper design and things like zipper coils that can self-repair.
- Edges and frame: The best bags have reinforced corners and finished edges that protect the sides of the luggage and prevent the seams from popping. Top bags today also use a lightweight but strong honeycomb frame made from polycarbonates or ABS resins.
- Telescoping handles: Look for locking extension handles made from aircraft-grade aluminum if possible. Handles that lock at different heights would be convenient and comfortable for users of different heights.
- Other handles and straps: Handles and straps need to be mounted with strong hardware, as these are high pressure points. For comfort, check if the handles are padded and if the shoulder straps have non-slip pads.
- Organization features: Pockets for organization will give you easy access to your stuff (and most road warriors have a lot of gear to carry!). Look for outside, intelligently designed pockets that open easily. For carryons and other luggage, see if built-in garment bags are part of the design; for computer briefs, file folder sections and mesh pockets for accessories are a plus.
- Laptop compartment: The laptop compartment should be easily accessible (particularly for flying), well-padded with high density foam for shock absorption, and, of course, fit your laptop.
- Other: Other signs of superior bag quality include a lifetime warranty and special features like expandability, sections for wet items, and quality interior lining.