May my luggage never grow musty or worn...
February 5, 2009 6:47 PM   Subscribe

Is there any hard-shell luggage that will last me forever? You know like those big ones that you always see on the conveyor belt at the airport and they have wheels...

My soft-shell luggage of 5 years and maybe 6 international trips tops smells incredibly musty and I can't get the smell out of the fabric, and the handle is slowly tearing off.
I was looking at 'hard-shell' luggage today and it was all this malleable plastic that looks like the same plastic that is on the interior of my current luggage which is all cracked to pieces. Isn't there any luggage in the same form-factor that could survive falling off the back of a truck? I don't mind if it is a little heavier.
posted by GleepGlop to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

If money isn't an issue, Zero Halliburton make bags reputed to be incredibly tough. International drug cartel tough. Spy movie tough. President of the United States Nuclear attack ordering tough.

posted by lottie at 6:55 PM on February 5, 2009

The Pelican 1630 is what the Canadian military gives its soldiers for luggage.
posted by furtive at 7:08 PM on February 5, 2009

How bout Rimowa?
posted by Heliochrome85 at 7:08 PM on February 5, 2009

Cancel that, it weighs 30lbs empty.
posted by furtive at 7:11 PM on February 5, 2009

I used to have this Zero Halliburton briefcase. It was nice, but it scratched easily and was by no means remarkably tough. Breaking into it was a matter of working a knife between the lid and the case and twisting it to slightly deform the metal. After that it popped right open.

It was a nice briefcase but it wasn't worth its price tag.
posted by 517 at 7:36 PM on February 5, 2009

posted by Zambrano at 7:51 PM on February 5, 2009

Apparently the Pelican 1610 is more in line with regular luggage (the foam core is optional).
posted by furtive at 7:55 PM on February 5, 2009

If you really want some high quality last a lifetime luggage, get some sturdy leather items. Stuff like You might be able to get some pieces custom made for less than they are asking though, with similar quality.

When it falls off the truck it will just look better.
posted by jellywerker at 9:27 PM on February 5, 2009

I know it's a basic line, but I had excellent service from a set of American Tourister that we (family of 4) used for many years (at least 15) on numerous road trips and and flights in and out of the never wore out...The wheels worked, the handles stayed attached...many times we sat on it to cram everything into the biggest bag...all of the latches and zippers always held...We had 3 hard-side pieces and a soft shoulder bag...The whole set even kept looking good--the interior did develop some stains, in the train case where all of the cosmetics, etc went, but no rips or tears in retrospect, I kinda can't believe how well it performed, considering that it is reasonably priced and kind of a middle of the road product. We finally wanted a new style, so sold the pieces in a garage sale...still in great shape.
posted by mumstheword at 10:00 PM on February 5, 2009

I have a Travelpro Platinum Rollaboard bag that is the approved carry-on size. It doesn't have a hard shell, but it does have a rigid internal structure.

I've had the thing for nearly 10 years and it looks brand new. It's made of tough stuff.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:28 AM on February 6, 2009

If you're choosing a hard shell bag to use as carry-on luggage, consider how easy it will be to remove/replace your one quart zip log bag full of < 3 oz bottles when you go through security.
posted by carmicha at 9:42 AM on February 6, 2009

The signature characteristic of a Globe-Trotter case is its construction from so called ‘vulcan fibre’ – a uniquely reinforced paper which makes it the traveller’s ideal: simultaneously as light as aluminium and as strong as leather. You can stand an elephant on one without it buckling, the material is meant to look better with age, a common-sense design concept that's widely ignored when it comes to luggage these days.
The do have models with wheels if thats what you are after.
posted by Lanark at 10:17 AM on February 6, 2009

My Samsonite hard shell luggage lasted me a good twelve years of fairly frequent and international use. It's actually still going strong except where I think it got run over at some airport and a plastic piece that protects the wheels got bent. I recently picked up some freebie soft-shell luggage from my parents. It's smaller, of course, and meant to double as a carry-on. After two trips, it's already looking kind of battered but it is much easier to handle than my big suitcases. I'd buy those again in a heartbeat, though.
posted by amanda at 1:28 PM on February 6, 2009

Whatever you do, don't by Hays. They claim to be tough but they break if you look at them funny. The event people where I used to work all had Hays, and every. single. trip. they had to send them off for repair when they got back.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:25 PM on February 7, 2009

Response by poster: Some really nice suggestions in here... I figured out where the awful smell in my luggage was coming from. There was this vinyl plasticky stuff that was lining the luggage to give it some sturdiness or what have you and it was completely decomposing and breaking into a hundred pieces so I tore it all out. Hopefully I can get rid of that smell now. Man those Pelican cases look sweet...
posted by GleepGlop at 11:53 AM on February 19, 2009

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