Hardside vs. Softside Luggage: 7 Things to keep In Mind

Travelling is therapeutic, but one thing can ruin your travel preparation – your inability to choose the right carry-on bag or picking the wrong one.

Since we know that you need a stylish, protective, and a functional traveling bag, you are in the right hands. Just like you, many other travelers feel stumped as they prepare for their dream vacations and that shouldn’t be the case.

Our guide “Hardside vs Softside Luggage” has broken down the main features one may be considering:

1. Materials

  • Hardside:

Hardside traveling styles have changed from the times of the metal frames valises to the current relatively lightweight luggage bags.

The current ABS and polycarbonate high-tech plastics are light and a preferable option for anyone who needs hard side luggage. These plastics make the bags surprisingly light and, if you are shipping fragile items, they will remain safe in this luggage thanks to the exterior ‘clamshell’ that reduces the risk of breakage or damage.

If you are looking for durability and light-weightedness, go for polycarbonate plastic. Aluminum is too heavy.

  • Softside:

Their lightweight results from the fabric used in construction. Softside luggage feature materials like ballistic, Cordura, or ripstop nylon (parachute material).

Ballistic is the shinier and the smoother option that abrades with use while Cordura exhibits additional texturization. It doesn’t abrade fast it’s soft. Ripstop nylon, on the other hand, is extremely lightweight and durable.

They come in three denier varieties but here is a rule of thumb, ripstop nylon with higher denier values are stronger and lighter.

2. Flexibility

  • Hardside:

These are less flexible and because of the hard plastic shell. Their inflexibility also makes them susceptible to marks resulting from trauma.

  • Softside:

The ripstop, Cordura or ballistic materials make soft sides more flexible, and pieces can fill the tight spaces. They can also collapse down to give space for extra bags. You can also rejoice because most soft side bags are expandable. If you are planning to get souvenirs, these are your best picks. They do not leave marks if exposed to trauma.

Tip: ensure that you account for the extra weight of the luggage because you may have problems at the airport if you exceed the limits.

3. Cleaning

  • Hardside:

If you are looking for an easy-to-clean bag, then this is the best option. It is stain resistant, and a magic eraser can be used to wipe off marks. A wet cloth also cleans the luggage easily.

  • Softside:

If you don’t mind extra cleaning work, then you may get this bag. You will need a fabric cleaner to remove dirt and stains.

4. Expandability

  • Hardside:

If you are disciplined about shopping and packing, you may need this luggage that doesn’t allow extra space. That hollow space is all you’ve got.

  • Softside:

This bag is often expandable, and it has outer pockets and compartments. This bag lets you carry extra stuff.

5. Balancing

  • Hardside:

You have to strike the 50-50 balance on either half of the bag. Imbalance affects the bag’s stability.

  • Softside:

You don’t have to strike a balance. Even the worst packers get away with packing this bag.

6. Purpose

  • Hardside:

This is the preferable carriage for business meetings and the indoors. Carrying a hardside to the park is awkward.

  • Softside:

If you are planning to take an adventurous trip or a safari, get this flexible bag that will fit into every awkward space.

7. Waterproofing

Hardsides are totally waterproof, but some soft sides aren’t. High denier ripstop nylon for soft sides offers a degree of waterproofing.

There you have it, our comparison of hard side vs soft side luggage. Always pick a bag that will serve its purpose and one that is worth the money. Remember that less expensive luggage pieces break apart too fast, and they are not worth your money.

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