Your checklist for a good piece of luggage is probably pretty simple: It should hold what you need and be tough enough to survive baggage handlers when you have to check it. A Consumer Reports survey of more than 38,000 members reveals which brands to pick before you pack.
Briggs & Riley and Eagle Creek were two of the top-rated brands for durability for 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 is that they’re among those that offer lifetime warranties.
Lifetime warranties can offer some peace of mind. But you need to remember that they come with limitations, and that “lifetime” may not mean “your lifetime.”
For instance, the Eagle Creek warranty applies to what the company says is the lifetime of the bag. Also, with some manufacturers, including Away, the warranty won’t apply if you’re not the original owner. Cosmetic damage is also generally not covered.
Even if a bag is covered under warranty, the company will likely repair it. If it does replace a bag, it might give you a different color or even a completely different model from the one you purchased.
In addition to durability, it’s important to consider the size and weight of a bag, because 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 a trip or use a removable cover. Keep in mind, though, that officials may unwrap the bag if they decide to inspect it.