So, you now know what features to look for when you’re looking at travel bags and accessories. Next, you go to a luggage shop in your town or go online. Do you know where to look to zero in on your perfect bag? Do you know what is the best luggage brand for the kind of bag that you want?
Chances are pretty slim. Why? Because there are hundreds of companies making travel related bags and accessories! Plus, some companies are better than others with certain categories of bags, and some do a better job of making attractive looking pieces that please fashion conscious women.
These are also good reasons to consider shopping online, so that you can be sure that a particular piece of luggage with good reviews can be found. Most brick and mortar stores carry a limited range, and some brands may not even be represented at all.
So, who makes the best luggage in each category of bags and accessories? Here are my top picks based on my own experience and on consumer reports and buyer feedback. I have divided them into budget brands and high end brands. It’s 2014 now! Here are the luggage brands and collections to watch for in the coming year.
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Best Luggage for the Money
While some experts say that any budget travel bag will have quality flaws, there are a few brands that have stood the test of time for durability without attaching a premium price tag on their products. Infrequent travelers or those who mostly travel by car need not look beyond budget brands, as they won’t have to put their luggage through the frequent wear and tear that is most common in air travel check-in baggage.
Most good budget brands will offer you a good warranty, so that the most frequent problems that show up, like broken zippers, wheels and handles, can be repaired easily.
Best Suitcase Brands and Check-in Bags for Less
Samsonite, with its years of experience making quality luggage and pioneering travel technology, is one of the most trusted brands. Their soft shell pieces are especially reliable. A similar brand that is more targeted towards the female demographic is American Tourister.
Most women have to specifically look out for lightweight but durable bags, and there’s one brand that’s especially known for this. Delsey’s trademark Helium line boasts soft-sided and hard-sided suitcases in various sizes and colors that are affordable, durable and light.
In the adventure travel category, High Sierra and eBags are popular affordable brands that make rolling duffel bags and large backpacks that are rugged and value for money. Women will also find pleasing colors in these lines!
Want to know what the preferred choice of brand for frequent business travelers and travel crews is? That’s Travelpro. Designed by a former pilot, these bags are built to last through the roughest handling of air travel possible. You won’t find them in bright colors, but they do come in more subdued ones, like navy, olive green and light grey, in addition to black.
Traveler’s Choice makes great budget sets in quite a few colors. While their soft shell luggage is best selling, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more affordable brand in the hard shell category.
Best Budget Carry-ons, Duffels, Laptop Bags, Backpacks and Packing Accessories
In addition to Samsonite, Travelpro, Delsey and American Tourister, the following brands specialize in smaller bags that you would typically be able to take with you in most airplanes. These include laptop bags, toiletry and cosmetics bags, garment bags and packing cubes.
Soft-sided carry-ons, duffels, backpacks and travel accessories are what eBags is known for, and their products are great at keeping you organized. Many of their accessories come in a range of cool colors.
Travelon goes one step further by providing anti-theft features to many of their travel bags, and their travel accessories are well designed and practical.
For laptop bags and rolling briefcases, SOLO makes a tote-style as well as rolling ones in durable nylons and leather. Kensington is known for their ergonomically designed laptop wheeled briefcases and backpacks. They have one rolling briefcase designed specifically for women. Targus does not do colorful bags, but their laptop bags and backpacks are very popular for business travelers, and they do use accents in blue or grey.
If you’re looking for ultra-chic bags in funky and stylish prints and colors, there a few brands synonymous with this. They make travel bags, handbags and purses exclusively for women. Baggalini nylon bags are affordable, durable, practical and chic.
In addition to High Sierra, LL Bean and The North Face make durable carry-on sized backpacks and duffel bags in cool colors for adventure travel.
Top of the Line Brands
Briggs and Riley’s luggage outperforms many other expensive brands in almost any travel bag category. They’re built to last over the years and come with lifetime warranty. They understand that each traveler can have specific needs, so they have lines of luggage that address every type of traveler. In addition, many of their fabric lines are water repellent.
Eagle Creek makes just about everything for discerning adventure travelers. Their warranties are some of the best in the industry.
Award-winning luggage company, Tumi is known for innovative designs and great quality. Lost your bag? An exclusive tracer included in each piece will help you find you find it more easily. Although their soft shell pieces are mainly in black, they make a few gorgeous colored hard shell bags. Also, in an effort to broaden their customer base to include more fashion conscious women, they are now adding splashes of color to a few pieces in certain lines.
Not just the makers of the world famous Swiss knife, precision in design, ruggedness and reliability are the hallmarks of Victorinox luggage.
Ricardo Beverly Hills believes in providing high fashion for travelers with their luggage, and each line is instantly recognizable. Their pieces are light and deceptively roomy, making them especially good for women.
Vera Bradley is well known for its signature prints on cotton quilted carry-on sized bags and accessories.
For carrying laptops on business trips, there are two brands that stand out for quality and style if you’re looking for a leather briefcase kind of bag – McKlein USA and Siamod. Since they’re in real leather, they are more expensive that laptop bags made in polyester or nylon, but they exude class, so are well worth their price.
So there you have it. If your goal was to find out what is the best luggage brand right now, I hope this guide has helped you to narrow down your search with regards to price points and bag types to fit specific needs.
I will be providing specific detailed reviews and top rated options on several bag types, like overnight bags, laptop bags, toiletry bags, suitcases and travel accessories in upcoming posts. I will also provide reviews on specific top rated products and interesting news related to travel bags.
All reviews will be unbiased and based on consumer reports and expert reviews gathered from various trusted sources, so stay tuned! If you’d like to be notified for new posts, please subscribe using the RSS feed button at the top of the page.
It’s time to share your own experiences with these brands. Do you or have you ever owned luggage from any of the above mentioned brands or do you have a favorite brand to recommend? You can do so using the comments form below.
Photo credits: critical mass by veritatem, on Flickr