Consumer Reports

How to Buy Pieces of Luggage That Lasts a Lifetime

The latest Consumer Reports survey of more than 38,000 members reveals which brands to pick before you pack

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Your checklist for a good piece of luggage is probably pretty simple -- it should hold what you need and be tough enough to survive the baggage claim when you have to check it.  The latest Consumer Reports survey of more than 38,000 members reveals which brands to pick before you pack.

“People are willing to pay a premium for a product that will arrive intact,” said luggage salesman Sal Carino.

Split seams, or broken zippers, wheels, or handles can mean the next trip for that bag is to the garbage dump. If you want a bag that will last, Consumer Reports members can help, revealing important information about the luggage they own.

Briggs & Riley and Eagle Creek were two of the top-rated brands for durability for both checked and carry-on bags. They also got high marks in the Consumer Reports survey for ease of packing and stowability. Another bonus with these brands - they are among those that offer lifetime warranties.

For instance, with Eagle Creek the warranty applies to what the company says is the lifetime of the bag.  Also with some manufacturers, including Away, the warranty will not apply if you are not the original owner. Cosmetic damage is also generally not covered. 

 “Even if the bag is covered under warranty, the company will likely repair it.  If they do replace the bag they may give you a different color or even a completely different model from the one that you purchased,” said Kevin Doyle from Consumer Reports.

In addition to durability, Carino says it’s important to consider the size and weight of the bag. Some airlines require carry-ons to be 18 pounds or less for the lowest priced flights.

No matter how sturdy your luggage is, over time it will start to show its age with little dings and scrapes which are generally not covered under lifetime warranties.

Two ways to keep your checked bag looking like new is to either have it wrapped in plastic for the trip or use a removable cover – but, keep in mind though that officials may unwrap the bag if they decide to inspect it. 

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