When you are purchasing luggage, it is important to make sure that the item you are investing in is good quality. You may be at a store trying to decide between multiple bag options, or you may have already purchased the bag online but want to do an at home check to ensure the bag is going to last. We have some useful tips so that you can make your own assessment of your new bag. Ensuring the bag you purchase is not only quality assured by the manufacturer, but also quality tested by you as the owner of the bag.
Here are some tips and techniques that you can use on your own bag to ensure own a good quality piece of luggage:
Examine the Zips on the Luggage.
Zips or zippers are a factor to pay close attention to. This can be a weak point of any bag and the last thing you want in your travels is a calamity situation. The most notable of these being when you try to fit that extra item in the bag and suddenly it bursts! To avoid this dramatic situation and other inconvenient disturbances surrounding zips, you can check your own zip security. To do this test the zip a few times ensuring it opens and closes easily, and that the teeth of the zip sit evenly together. Some zips can be tight on the first try due to the bag sitting closed for long periods of time in a store. But after a few test runs, it should feel smooth and firm. Make sure to inspect the zipper for any gaps or holes. This could indicate future problems as the zip would be weaker at these points/gaps. Finally assess whether the zip is suitable for the size of the bag. This may seem an odd requirement, but a small zipper on a large bag may not hold the weight. A large zipper on a small bag may also cause inconvenience. Therefore if the zip looks appropriate for the bag, then it most likely is.
Additionally some bags have invisible or anti theft zippers. Bags with these features already distinguish that the manufacturer has put the safety of the bag in to consideration. Travel Anti-Theft Zippers are a modification of the traditional zipper specifically designed to make entry into the bag more difficult for pickpockets or thieves. They have a magnetic strip on the inside of the bag to create a firmness when opening. In this case the bag should have a tightness around the opening as the magnets attract the bag closed. However the zip should still feel smooth when opening the whole bag. At Eminent we use anti-theft zippers as a security feature of our high quality bags, we also integrate it with the TSA lock ensuring maximum safety and security of your bag.
Hold The Handles
Check that the handles of the bag are flexible yet sturdy - both the carry handles and the telescopic handles. For the carry handles, when you pick up the bag you want it to be firm but at the correct angle that it is comfortable when carrying. When the bag is lifted if the handle is particularly wobbly or feels loose this could indicate that it is not securely attached to the bag, indicating average stitching or loose components. If you feel this strain check that the material of the handle appears sturdy and capable of holding a full suitcase. Additionally, inspect how it is attached, if it feels loose check that the stitching presents tightly and doesn't show any fraying or inaccuracies.
For telescopic handles, evaluate the length of the extension. A telescopic handle is functional for wheeling the bag around, this should not be tested by lifting the bag by the telescopic handle, but rather evaluating the extension length and smoothness as the handle extends. Make sure it extends to an appropriate length for the size of the bag, and that you would be comfortable walking with that length. Some bags offer telescopic handles that will fit the height of the person pulling - this may be a good option if you are not content with the handle height. The best telescopic handles will be rigid, lock firmly in place and come with a single control button. These can be fully operated with one hand, without feeling uncomfortable or weak for the consumer. For better durability the handle should also have minimal wiggling or rattling with the handle extended.
Wheel It Around
Get a feel for the wheels on your new bag. Make sure they roll smoothly and don’t rattle or feel stiff. You can also gently jiggle the wheels with your hands to make sure they are firmly attached. Additionally, have a look at the material of the wheels, the wheels should be made of either plastic or rubber, appear sturdy and compatible with the bag. You can visually assess this, or feel the wheel to judge its materials. By feeling the wheels you can also evaluate if the wheels are securely fastened and are a good density for longevity.
Check the Interior of Your Bag
The outside measurements of luggage are important, particularly for having the ability to fit into tight spaces or to be carried for longer distances. But it is also important to observe the interior of the bag. At Eminent we disclose the interior measurements, so that when our customers purchase online they have an idea of what they will receive. However some manufacturers do not disclose the interior space and this can be something that is easily missed for a customer. When you have the bag with you, experiment by placing key items in the bag that you would intend to travel with. Feel the inside of the bag, to make sure the support is compatible with the items you might carry, ie a laptop or souvenirs. If you are purchasing online or in store it is important to be satisfied with the interior space of the suitcase, ensuring that the space is large enough for your requirements and has a comfortable interior to place items of value in.
Additionally it is of great importance to inspect the interior of the bag, for a selection of quality features. Firstly ensure the lining of the interior is in good condition, no tears or thinning. The interior zipper of the lining should not have a puller attached as this can catch on clothing or garments when inside the bag, causing breakages to the bag or packed items. The zipper should function well, but also be small and not intrusive on the bag’s contents. The lining material on the inside of the bag should be odourless as any strong smell would impact the smell of the contents of the bag.
There are also internal features of the bag that can be effective for usability. Features such as packing straps and mesh pockets help to pack in a more organised manner. Also pockets and compartments on the interior of the bag can ensure delicate items are separated and secure. For example some suitcases that come with a laptop compartment which adds extra security for the precious commodities during travels.
When you inspect the interior of your bag there are a lot of features that you can look out for, that maximise the quality and functionality of the bag.
Take note of the material the luggage is made of.
We have touched on this in previous blog posts, but it is important to evaluate the materials of a bag before making a purchase. For soft shell luggage, compare and contrast the denier level of the bag. Soft shell cases with a higher denier should be higher quality and better made. For hard shell luggage you will notice materials are polycarbonate, TPO, ABS and polypropylene. You can also source aluminium shells or frames, while durable this can add weight to the bag.
At Eminent we seek to ensure our bags are made with quality and durability in mind. One of the common hard shell materials we use is 100% Polycarbonate Makrolon, this is a hard shell casing that has proved to be high quality, safe and durable. Additionally, a casing product that is exclusively used by Eminent is TPO. We have found this material even more durable and lightweight, and it also can be 100% recycled making it a practical sustainable option. TPO luggage is also the strongest and most flexible material, making it a premium quality material for customers wanting a good quality strong bag. In our range you will also find polypropylene which is also considered a very strong material, however slightly denser or heavier than the other two option. Still a viable and great choice for quality material on your hardshell bag.
When choosing your case, these options: polycarbonate, TPO and polypropylene are our recommended choices. They tend to be more durable, high quality and sustainable solutions. Materials such ABS or a mixture of ABS and other materials tend to reflect a poorer quality bag, and are cheaper and less durable material options.
Finally an embossed surface of a hard shell suitcase is definitely a better quality solution. This is considered more scratch resistant and the shiny surface gives the bag a sleeker and more fashionable appearance.
Ensure your bag has a warranty
This is something that should be considered before purchasing your bag, particularly if you are committing to an online purchase. However it is always good to check the terms and conditions of your purchase. If a bag does not come with a warranty it will likely be due to the average quality of the bag. Your bag should warranty that you feel is relevant to the length of time that you wish to use the bag, then it will likely be a good purchase. 2 - 5 years is a good warranty for a quality bag, high end bags such as in our Eminent Gold selection have warranties up to 7 years. If the manufacturer or store has the option to extend the warranty that can also indicate that they take pride in the quality of their products.
The team at Eminent have analysed the different ways you can quality check your suitcase at home. If you are passionate about making a good investment when it comes to purchasing a suitcase. Or if you value the longevity of your bag. Then it is definitely worth doing your own personal quality check. At Eminent, we pride ourselves on industry leading quality standards for all of our bags. Take a look at our popular products, or find out more about our quality assurance, here.