Our luggage goes through a lot while en route to our destination. In order for it to last for the long haul, you need one of the most durable luggage sets you can find. Typically, this will mean hardshell luggage made of polycarbonate or another similarly strong material. Unlike soft-shell luggage, it can handle more weight and pressure while still protecting your items.
In addition to materials, you'll want to look at the handle as well as the wheels — two common pain-points for lesser luggage. With the handle, it should be smooth and sturdy, without any tendency to stick. If it's made from aluminum, that's even better. As for the wheels, spinners usually offer smoother operation than roller wheels, since they rotate 360 degrees. That said, they don't roll as well on uneven surfaces (like cobble stones), but for some people, this is a fair trade-off.
I've made a list below of the most durable luggage sets for traveling. All of my picks feature hardshell exteriors, spinner wheels, and sturdy handles — as well as many enthusiastic reviews.
While the smallest piece in each set I chose should qualify as a carry-on for many airlines, you should always check a particular airline's restrictions before traveling. Many U.S. airlines allow carry-ons up to 22 inches in length (including the wheels and handle), but others only allow up to 18 or 20 inches, particularly on international flights. Read on to find the right set for your next vacation.
1. The Best Two-Piece Set
Included sizes: 20-inch, 28-inch
Made with 100-percent polycarbonate, this two-piece luggage set is exceptionally tough and durable. The outer shell is extra sturdy, and inside you'll find handy organizational features, like compression straps and soft, lined dividers. Both suitcases feature secure TSA-approved locks, as well as sturdy handles and 360-degree spinner wheels that roll smoothly.
The smaller piece in this set should fit most U.S. airline sizing restrictions for carry-ons, though it may need to be checked for some international flights. Also sold individually, each piece of this set has rave reviews from Amazon users. "Sleek appearance, smooth wheels, light yet durable material," wrote one reviewer.
2. The Best Three-Piece Set
Included sizes: 21-inch, 25-inch, 29-inch
This durable three-piece luggage set is also made from 100-percent polycarbonate, making it lightweight yet strong and crush-proof. In fact, reviewers at Skyscanner ran durability tests on this set (which included hitting it with a sledgehammer) and they found that it held up incredibly well.
The suitcases all have smooth-rolling, 360-degree spinner wheels and a variety storage elements, including webbed straps, pockets, and zip-up dividers. Additionally, the one-button aluminum handle is strong and easy to use. "Amazingly flexible luggage," wrote one reviewer. "Has many useful compartments and zippered pockets. Very easy to use, with lots of space and expandable for even more! The casters are sturdy and they maneuver and roll like a dream."
3. The Best Budget Set
Included sizes: 16-inch, 20-inch, 24-inch, 28-inch
If you're on a tighter budget but still need something to hold up through your travels, this affordable suitcase set offers a great alternative. Rather than polycarbonate, the luggage pieces are made from ABS plastic, a material that's more flexible than polycarbonate but still fairly durable. Reviewers agree that this set really holds up well.
On top of that, the luggage features an expandable design, so you can pack more for your trip or leave space for souvenirs on your return home. The 210-denier lining is soft and abrasion-resistant, the spinner wheels turn 360 degrees, and the handles are strong and stable. Also, the smallest suitcase is tiny enough to fit the carry-on restrictions for many U.S. airlines.
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