11 Luggage Buying Tips

Nothing quite defines a man as the destinations he visits.

So it is only fitting for a stylish man to have quality luggage getting him from point A to point B.

However men for the most part tend to not place much thought on their luggage when out shopping for it.

Luggage becomes an after-thought, where price is and sole focus instead of getting pieces that make sense for their travels and are beautiful works of engineering and art in their own right.

11 Luggage Buying Tips

11 Luggage Buying Tips

I want to challenge this mindset, and get you thinking of owning luggage that is as handsome as the contents withing it.

I want you to walk through an airport or a hotel lobby and have random strangers compliment you on your beautiful  bags that do their job and make you look like a man with purpose.

Yeah – I want you to upgrade your style by upgrading your luggage.

To do that I’ve created this handy guide of 11 tips when choosing your luggage to make your life easier.

A lot goes into the construction and design of quality luggage and these 11 tips will arm you with the knowledge you need to make an informed purchasing decision.

This article is brought to you by JW Hulme Co.  They make the most handsome luggage I’ve ever owned(I have 3 bags right now in my office!) and are made 3 hours from my house in St. Paul Minnesota, USA.

1) Buy the Right Luggage for the Right Occasion

 This may sound simple enough but you would be surprised how many men fail to take this advice.

When it comes to luggage, most men pick and choose based solely on appearance and don’t take into consideration its practical features.

What tends to happen with this approach is the man ends up with a bag that is either too small for their needs or too big, which is just a waste of space.

Both instances will result in unused luggage sitting around your home or office, which is just a waste of your space and money.


2) Customer Service

As with pretty much anything, customer service usually is the most important thing to look for when researching a company and their products. This definitely applies to luggage as well.






When in the process of purchasing a luggage from a brand, here are some key things to look for:

  • How long They Been in Business – While it’s nice to support up and coming brands such as ones funded by a Kickstarter campaign, I always recommend going with a company that has a track record. There is a much higher chance that a company with a proven history will still be around a year from now compared to a newer one.
  • Lifetime Guarantee – A company that stands behind the product they put out, in my opinion, is one of the best testaments to the quality and craftsmanship they put into them. At the very minimum, they should have a one-year guarantee on their product. Don’t purchase luggage from a company that has anything less than that.
  • Repairing Luggage – Luggage is meant to be thrown around. While it is a great first step getting luggage that is highly durable, will the company repair it when it breaks?

As you can see, a company’s customer service is worth looking into prior to making your luggage purchase.

3) Luggage Reviews

The first thing most of us do prior to making a purchase is to check customer reviews either on sites such as Amazon or the companies own website.


There was a study conducted  at the Yale School Of Business in 2004  looking into how a “1 Star” Rating impacts product sales compared to a “5 Star” rating. What was found was that it takes 4 or more  “5 Star” ratings to offset a “1 Star” As you can see, they are not a one-to-one ratio and we are skewed to the negative.

Always take into consideration that most people write reviews when they are either extremely unhappy with the product or in rarer cases extremely happy with it. Most people do not write reviews when they are just satisfied with their purchase.

So when reading reviews on luggage, try not to only focus on the negative and really look into ones that are positive as these are more likely to not be led by pure emotion.


 4) Country of Luggage Manufacture

Sure, purchasing products made in the USA has a great feel good story but don’t let that be your ONLY deciding factor when making your luggage purchase. (FYI – the JW Hulme Co. bags featured in this article are all made in St Paul Minnesota, about 3 hours from my house. In this case I give Country of Manufacture big value as I can see with my own eyes the process!)

There are some excellent manufacturing companies all over the world such as Germany and China, where the latter has some false perceptions on the quality of their work and process. Both of these countries produce some outstanding luggage for top brands consistently.

You should note that things change. A country that is known to make cheap product in the past can be a leading manufacture of the highest quality in the future. In a nutshell, always do your research before assuming a certain country produces quality or not.

5) Luggage Weight

The weight of the bag is another key component that is often forgotten by many men.

Luggage with cool additions such as rolling wheels and a telescopic handle are a nice touch but does add extra weight. These additions can quickly add up so it’s important to take that into consideration.

A duffel bag may be a great option if you are looking for maximum room with minimal weight, as it does not have the bells and whistles traditional luggage has.

Other things to keep in mind as far as weight is concerned:

  • The airports weight restrictions, which can tack on additional charges if your luggage passes a certain weight threshold
  • Any health conditions you have that can limit what you carry
  • Durability – heavier luggage does tends to be more durable than ones that are lighter

 6) Luggage Size

Yes, the size of your luggage matters. A good rule of thumb to think about is a traveller should only carry luggage he himself can handle. Nothing is worse than being stranded somewhere forcing you to abandon some of your stuff.

With that said, go with the smallest bag that is still efficient for your needs to avoid the dreadful scenario mentioned above.

Also, take a careful look at the airports you will be checking into and out of to see a list of their travel restrictions. Airports usually have sizing restrictions on what luggage you are able to bring and the overall restrictions vary between airports. Check the airlines websites often, as these stats tend to change from time to time.

To make your life a little easier here is a quick sizing list for luggage you can cross-reference with what you currently own as well as against the airports websites.

  • 18 – 20” – International Carry-on
  • 21 – 22” – Domestic Carry
  • 23 – 24” – Medium Checked In
  • 25 – 27” – Large Checked In
  • 28 – 32” – Extra Large Checked In

7) Luggage Material

Material for luggage can be broken into two categories

  1. Soft Cover Luggage

Soft luggage is the lighter of the two choices but still a sturdy option to consider for your travels. I mostly recommend soft luggage as your carry-on piece as they are efficient, easier to move and more stylish compared to hard luggage.

Soft luggage is created with material aimed to resist environmental factors such as water and also tears from the heavy use it gets during your travels. There are some excellent fabrics to consider when choosing so here are your best bets:

  • Leather – Natures fabric is still one of the best as far as soft cover luggage is concerned. It is extremely durable and very stylish. With that said, it can be rather high priced. Also worth noting that leather shows scratches and markings with use which will impact its appearance. This can be a factor if the quality of leather used is not of a high standard.
  • Ballistic Nylon – The best bet for a man who travels often is luggage made with ballistic nylon as it provides the best protection against wear and tear. Ballistic Nylon is reinforced nylon that was made much thicker and used by soldiers in World War II as flak jackets to protect them from flying debris. With that description, you know your luggage can handle the wear and tear of travel
  1. Hard Cover Luggage

If you are transporting something extra fragile or expensive you may want to consider hard cover luggage. Most hard cover luggage you can find in the market are both water and heat resistant.

Some of the negative aspects of the hard cover luggage is they are prone to break or crack if hit with a hard blow. They also can be much heavier than soft cover luggage. Always ensure you examine hard cover luggage closely before buying. Check for any visible markings, dents or scratches and check how easy they are to maneuver.

Your best bet as far as hard cover luggage is concerned:

  • Metal – Metal is often used to reinforce luggage and to keep valuables extra safe on transport. It is critical to mention that you get what you pay for so consider a metal luggage as an investment and purchase one with the highest quality materials you can afford.


8) Luggage Stitching

Similar to clothing, the stitching on your luggage is highly responsible for its durability.

When examining the stitching on the luggage, the first thing to check is how close the stitching is together. The second is consistency. A consistent stitching pattern will balance the tension of the enforced pieces better, which will result in greater durability. Last but certainly not least, check to see that the large pieces of material have reinforced stitching at stress points. A good luggage manufacturer will take the extra care in ensuring these areas are well protected.

9) Luggage Hardware

Hardware may sound like a weird term to use when talking about luggage. When I talk about hardware, I am referring to things such as zippers, buckles and screws. Basically items on the luggage that allow it to function.

When examining the hardware on the luggage, look to see that they are made from strong, high quality metal. Check zippers and buckles to see if they are fully functional with the ability to open and close with ease while being able to fully enclose.

It is also a good idea to see if there are additional protection mechanisms in place such as multiple buckles and reinforced straps.

 10) Personalized Luggage

The little details can speak volumes. High-end luggage and bags sometimes come with the option to be personalized for you. This can range from having your initials embroidered on the luggage to having custom colors picked by you.

This type of personalization is a nice touch that you will come to appreciate and be proud carrying around. Who knows, maybe one day your son or grandson will find your luggage and see your initials engraved on your bag.

11) Luggage Price

Although price is a factor for most when purchasing their luggage, it shouldn’t be.

Try to think of the cost per use when purchasing your luggage. It is much better to purchase a high quality bag at a higher price once every decade than to spend less money on lower quality ones ever few years. The cost savings will add up over time.

As mentioned earlier, your luggage is an investment and if you buy one of high quality, should provide you with many years of enjoyment.

So there you have it. 11 tips to help you make an informed buying decision when in the market for luggage. We think that these 11 tips, if followed closely, will give you a bag that will provide you years of enjoyment during your many travels.

This article is brought to you by JW Hulme Co.  They make the most handsome luggage I’ve ever owned(I have 3 bags right now in my office!) and are made 3 hours from my house in St. Paul Minnesota, USA.

Source: http://www.realmenrealstyle.com/luggage-buying-tips/