When thinking about suitcases in preparation for your next big holiday, two items usually come to mind: hard suitcases and soft suitcases. But which one is better and which style will be easier to travel with? To answer this age-old question of hard vs soft suitcases,we cover the pros and cons of both luggage styles so you can choose the best suitcase for your next adventure.
Hard Vs Soft Suitcases for Travelling: What’s Better?
What is a Hard Suitcase?
A well-known style across the travel industry, the hard suitcase is a type of suitcase categorised by its plastic, shell-like exterior. With a middle zip and considerable storage on both sides of the case walls, hard suitcases offer exceptional storage capabilities, durability and a crisp, stylish aesthetic.
There's a huge range of hard suitcases on offer, but brands like nere, Antler and American Tourister stand out for features including, high-quality, hard-wearing construction, built-in TSA locks and durable swivel wheels that make moving from the airport to your destination a breeze.
What Is a Soft Suitcase?
The other common style of travel luggage is the soft suitcase. This suitcase style is crafted from a fabric material, usually polyester and offers a simplistic solution to travel. Compared to hard suitcases, a soft suitcase has a larger bottom half and storage pockets under the lid, meaning your items will be stacked together rather than separated across two sides.
Traditional soft suitcase styles only had two wheels, meaning the case could be pulled behind you like a wheeled duffle bag. However, with the uptake in popularity of the hard suitcase style in recent years, modern renditions of the soft suitcase now usually combine four swivel wheels to make moving with your suitcase much easier.
Benefits of Hard and Soft Suitcases
Benefits of Travelling With a Hard Suitcase:
The lightweight and strong construction means you can pack more items and travel faster through transit hubs
Built-in tech offers on-the-go USB charging ports, TSA locks, and more to support you through layovers
You can also enjoy increased security as the hard shell design helps to prevent case slitting, theft or anyone adding something to external pockets
You'll have optimised packing space thanks to the thinner exterior walls
Plus higher protection of items thanks to the hard exterior
Hard suitcases usually have a higher range of stylish colours and designs that add to the overall aesthetic of travelling
Benefits of Travelling With a Soft Suitcase:
Additional pockets offer more space for organising your belongings
The space needed when opening your suitcase is reduced because the lid is much thinner and can be propped against a wall
It's a great option for road trips as the softer design is more versatile, less rigid and easier to stack in the boot of a car
Additional expander sections allow for more space to fit extra items from your adventure
Considerations of Hard and Soft Suitcases
While there are benefits to both styles, there are also some drawbacks to consider that will help guide your decision for which suitcase to bring on your next trip
Considerations for Hard Suitcases:
When travelling abroad, hard suitcases allow you to pack many items. However, they require more space when opened because both sides need to lay flat once unzipped. Keep this in mind ospecially if you’re staying in a hostel or a hotel with limited space.
Hard suitcases, especially checked luggage sizes, are not as versatile for road trips or being packed into cars as they will take up a lot of space.
If a hard suitcase has an expander, it may make it much heavier, restricting how much weight you have to work with when packing your suitcase.
In the extreme instance of mishandling in transit hubs, hard suitcases have been known to crack which reduces their security and may mean they need to be replaced while you're travelling.
Considerations for Soft Suitcases:
Soft suitcases can be less durable than hard suitcases due to the difference in material construction and can be susceptible to rough handling and weather.
Depending upon the style and brand, soft cases require more due diligence when it comes to security; any additional exterior pockets will need to be locked to reduce theft and to prevent anyone from adding any additional items.
Soft suitcases are also limited in the amount of protection they offer to your packed items and won’t absorb as much impact compared to hard suitcases.
Top Considerations When Choosing a Suitcase
While there are pros and cons to choosing a hard or soft suitcase, there are three factors that should ultimately be considered when going for either luggage style.
1. Suitcase Size
When choosing a suitcase, whether it’s a hard or soft construction, it’s important to factor in the size of the suitcase, as this will dictate how easy it will be to travel with it. Choose a suitcase size that’s suitable for the time you’ll be away, your access to additional items (like toiletries or clothing) and the airline you’re flying with.
Also consider where you are going. Will you be travelling somewhere you’ve been before or a new place? Will your accommodation have accessible features, like a lift or enough space to spread out your suitcase? Will the places you’re going have paved roads or cobblestone streets, access to lifts, escalators or public transport? All of these considerations will dictate which suitcase style will be the most convenient for your travels.
3. Aesthetics vs Function
When purchasing luggage, it’s best to consider what your priorities are in regard to aesthetics vs function. Hard suitcases offer a range of stylish colours and designs, especially from brands like Guess, nere and Samsonite but can be less functional if you’re staying in accommodation with limited space.
Soft suitcases, on the other hand, offer much more flexibility for different types of travel and transportation and usually take up less space, however they don't always offer the stylish aesthetic that their hard shell counterparts do.
Understanding the pros and cons of hard vs soft suitcases is the best way to choose the right luggage for your next adventure. Discover the wide selection of hard and soft suitcases online from Strand and shop your favourite brands now.