Skip to Content

15 Different Types of Luggage Material

Different types of luggage on display.

Travelers know they have plenty of choices when they are looking for luggage. The material they choose for their bag is often just as important as the size or style. After all, travelers want something that will protect their belongings while on the go. Here are some of the most popular materials used to make luggage.

1. ABS

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene luggage bag.

ABS, or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, is a solid and lightweight plastic often used to make luggage. It is impact-resistant, so it can protect your belongings if your bag is dropped or thrown around. ABS luggage is also easy to clean, so you won’t have to worry about stains if your bag gets dirty while traveling.

ABS is a widespread material. One estimate is that 28.5% of all hardside bags are made from this material. However, one of the downsides of ABS is that it quickly develops cracks because it is not as flexible as some other materials.

2. Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate luggage bag on a deck.

Polycarbonate is another type of material that is often used to make luggage. It is a strong, lightweight plastic that is shatter-resistant. That means your belongings will be better protected if your bag is dropped or thrown around. Up to 42% of suitcases are made out of this material.

See also  11 Luggage Similar to Away

3. ABS/Polycarbonate composite

This type of suitcase is made from an ABS frame with a layer of polycarbonate over it. The layer of polycarbonate reduces the chance that the exterior will develop cracks. It’s more rigid than pure polycarbonate and has more flexibility than ABS.

4. Polypropylene (PP)

A woman holding a Polypropylene luggage.

While this is a less common type of luggage material, with only 8% of luggage made out of it, you can still find suitcases made of polypropylene. It has medium durability, so it’s not as strong as some other materials.

However, it is very lightweight, which can be helpful if you are trying to avoid overweight baggage fees, and it is the lightest material that most suitcases are made of. Another benefit of this type of suitcase material is that it is flexible.

5. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

Polyethylene Terephthalate is an eco-friendly type of plastic often used to make reusable water bottles. It is also starting to be used more frequently as a luggage material because it is lightweight and durable.

PET is a good choice if you are looking for an eco-friendly option that will still protect your belongings while you travel. You can even find some types of PET suitcases that are made from recycled water bottles. Also, it is odor-free, so it is an excellent choice if you are sensitive to fragrances.

6. Aluminum

An Aluminum luggage on top of a table.

Aluminum is a classic choice for hardback and durable luggage. It is a high-end luggage material. Additionally, aluminum suitcases are highly resistant to damage. Aluminum suitcases were first used in the 1930s but are not as popular now because they are more expensive than some of the other options on this list.

See also  Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, BC - Everything You Need to Know (Pictures Incl.)

The story goes that they were the only product left after a fire at the Rimowa factory Rimowa factory; they were the only product left. They also tend to be heavier than other materials.

Duraluminum was made in 1906 by Alfred Wilm. It is an alloy of aluminum and copper. It is also called “aircraft aluminum” because it was used to make airplane frames during World War II. It is a strong, lightweight, and durable material often used to construct luggage. Remember that duraluminum is not the same as aluminum; it is an alloy that is more robust and durable.

7. Titanium

Titanium is one of the strongest materials on this list. It is also very lightweight, making it an excellent choice for travelers trying to avoid excessive baggage fees. Titanium is nearly twice as strong as aluminum suitcases.

Additionally, they are resistant to corrosion and can withstand more extreme temperatures. Titanium suitcases are more expensive than other options on this list, but they are worth the investment if you want a durable bag that will last for years. They

8. Carbon fiber

Carbon fiber on a gray background.

Carbon fiber is a material made from thin, strong carbon fibers. These fibers have a high weight-to-strength ratio. The carbon fibers themselves have a small diameter of 5 to 10 micrometers. These tiny fibers are then bundled together into a tow.

Ultimately, they were molded together to resemble fiberglass. It is often used in the aerospace industry because it is light and strong. Carbon fiber is also starting to be used more frequently in the luggage industry because it is durable and has a luxurious look.

See also  Rubber Boots vs. Gaiters? What's Better?

The fabric itself is called carbon fiber reinforced polymer. It’s made of two parts: the reinforcement and the matrix. Usually, the matrix is epoxy or a different type of polymer resin. This can be molded into any number of shapes.

You can gauge the grade of carbon fiber luggage based on the tow. A 3k tow is the most common carbon fiber used in luggage. This tow is made up of 3,000 fibers. The next step would be a 6k tow, which comprises 6,000 fibers. A 12k tow is even rare and is made of 12,000 fibers. The higher the k number, the better the quality of the carbon fiber will be.

Remember that carbon fiber luggage is more expensive than other options on this list. However, it is worth the investment if you want a high-quality suitcase that will last for years.

What are the benefits of carbon-fiber luggage?

There are many benefits to carbon fiber luggage. One advantage is that it is solid and durable. Carbon fiber is five times stronger than steel, making it an excellent choice for travelers looking for a suitcase that will stand the test of time. Additionally, carbon fiber is also very lightweight. This is ideal for travelers who are trying to avoid excessive baggage fees.

Another benefit of carbon fiber luggage is that it has a luxurious look and feel. This type of luggage often comes with features like built-in scales and TSA-approved locks. Finally, carbon fiber luggage is also resistant to corrosion and can withstand extreme temperatures.

9. Kevlar luggage

Kevlar is a type of synthetic solid fiber. DuPont originally developed it in 1965. Kevlar is most commonly used in bulletproof vests and other safety gear. However, it is also starting to be used more frequently in the luggage industry because it is a solid and durable material.

See also  4 Different Types of Passport Wallets

Kevlar luggage is often interwoven with other materials, like polyester or nylon. This makes the bag even stronger and more resistant to tearing. Kevlar bags are also often treated with a water-repellent coating, making them ideal for travelers worried about their belongings getting wet.

10. Nylon

A Nylon luggage bag on a white background.

This is a prevalent type of fabric that is often used to make luggage. It is durable and easy to clean. Nylon luggage is also usually very affordable. However, nylon bags can tear or rip if not treated carefully.

Luggage may be made of a few kinds of nylon, like Cordura, ballistic, or ripstop. Cordura nylon is a high-strength fabric often used in outdoor gear because it is durable and abrasion-resistant.

Ballistic nylon is a thick weave of material that was initially developed for use in flak jackets. It is solid and resistant to tearing. Ripstop nylon is made with a grid pattern, which prevents the fabric from ripping or tearing if it gets snagged.

11. Polyester

Polyester luggage bag on a white background.

This is another common type of fabric that luggage is made out of. Polyester luggage is usually very affordable and easy to clean. However, polyester bags can tear or rip if not treated carefully.

Luggage may be made of a few different types of polyester, like microfiber or ripstop. Microfiber is a type of polyester fabric that is made of very fine fibers. It is soft and has a suede-like feel. Ripstop polyester is made with a grid pattern, which prevents the fabric from ripping or tearing if it gets snagged.

12. Oxford Cloth

Oxford cloth is a type of polyester material of a lower caliber in terms of durability. It is often used to make backpacks and duffel bags. However, it is not as common to see it used for luggage.

See also  30 Different Travel Accessories for Men

What is the difference between hard-sided and soft-sided luggage?

The main difference between hard-sided and soft-sided luggage is the material used to make the bag. Hard-sided luggage is made of a rigid material, like polycarbonate or ABS plastic. This makes the bag more durable and less likely to be damaged during travel.

However, hard-sided luggage is often more expensive than soft-sided luggage. Soft-sided luggage is made of a flexible material, like nylon or canvas. This makes the bag more lightweight and easier to store. Additionally, soft-sided bags often have more compartments and pockets, which can help organize your belongings.

13. Leather

Leather luggage bag on a white background.

Leather luggage can be very stylish. It is also often very durable. However, leather luggage can be pretty expensive. Leather bags also require special care to keep them looking their best. 

Luggage may be made out of a few different types of leather, like full-grain or top-grain. Full-grain leather is of the highest quality and is made from the outermost layer of the hide. It is solid and durable. Top-grain leather is also high quality but is made from the inner layers of the hide. It is not as tough as full-grain leather but is still pretty durable.

14. Canvas

Canvas luggage back in a white background.

Canvas is a popular material for duffel bags and other types of soft-sided luggage. It is durable and often very affordable. However, canvas bags can be more challenging to clean than different luggage types. Some types of canvas include waterproof duck canvas or denim.

Waterproof duck canvas is a type of canvas that has been treated to repel water. This is ideal for travelers who are worried about their belongings getting wet. Denim is a type of sturdy cotton fabric. It is often used to make jeans but can also be used to construct luggage. Denim bags are usually pretty affordable.

See also  Is It Okay to Wear the Same Pair of Pants for a Week Or Longer When Traveling? I Want to Pack Light

15. Fabric-lined wood or metal frame

This type of luggage is a more traditional option. It often has a vintage look and feel. The frame is typically made of wood or metal, and the fabric lining can be made of any number of materials, like canvas, polyester, or leather.

One benefit of this type of luggage is that it is very sturdy. The frame helps to protect the contents of the bag from being crushed. However, this type of luggage can be more expensive than other options because it is usually handcrafted.

When choosing luggage, it is essential to consider the type of material it is made from. Different materials have different benefits and drawbacks. Consider your needs and preferences when you are choosing a bag. That way, you can find something that will work well for you and your travels.

Factors to consider when looking for luggage

When you are looking for luggage, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. This can help you find the ideal suitcase for your needs.

1. Think about the trip you need it for

First, consider the type of trip that you will be taking. If you are going on an extended vacation, you might want to invest in a larger suitcase. If you are taking a quick weekend trip, a smaller bag might be all that you need. Sometimes a weekender bag is ideal for a carefree getaway. A longer trip, like a business trip that requires multiple wardrobe changes, may require something more substantial.

2. Consider the volume

Second, think about how much stuff you will need to bring with you. You will need a bigger bag if you plan on packing many clothes and other items. However, if you only need to get a few changes of clothes, a smaller bag should suffice. Also, consider other incidentals like books, hygiene items, food, or souvenirs.

See also  The Ultimate Disneyland Packing List (Separate List If Have Kids)

3. Think about the cost

A woman holding a credit card and her laptop.

Third, consider your budget. Luggage can range in price from very affordable to quite expensive. Decide how much you are willing to spend on a bag before you start shopping. That way, you can narrow down your options and find something that fits your needs and budget. Even finding a product that you like new and shopping for it can cut the price down.

4. Find the perfect material

Fourth, consider the material you want your luggage to be made from. Different materials have different benefits and drawbacks. Consider what is important to you in a bag and choose accordingly. 

5. Shop your budget

Finally, remember that the best luggage is not necessarily the most expensive option. Sometimes, cheaper bags are just as good as more expensive ones. It all depends on your specific needs and preferences. With a little bit of research, you should be able to find a great bag without spending a lot of money.

How do companies test their luggage?

Luggage companies have their products undergo rigorous durability tests to ensure they withstand all potential incidences while traveling. Machines like tumblers will tumble the suitcases, taking the throwing-around aspect of air travel to a higher level and making sure they can take it.

Treadmills help wheeled luggage simulate their long journeys through airport terminals. There are even “jerk test” machines that will pull the handles of the suitcases to simulate repeated usage and make sure that they stay in place.