Here are a few things to consider before buying a bag. Begin by evaluating how often you travel, the type of destinations you visit as well as the mode of transport you use. The answer to these should impact your choice.
Is going branded such a good idea? Well-known expensive bag brands are international signs and may increase your chances of being robbed - leading others to assume you have a laptop or camera. If you decide to remove the name tag, do this as soon as you have purchased your bag, before the colour fades.
Begin by visiting a reputable store. Don't underestimate the information that can be acquired from the luggage tag. Valuable data relating to the frame, fabric and weatherproofing should be listed. Guidance from a salesperson may also be insightful.
A fibreglass inner frame is strong and light weight. Inner structures may also be made of aluminium or durable moulded plastic compounds. Keep in mind your luggage weight restrictions when inspecting them as a weighty frame will make a case heavy before it's packed.
Fabric is of utmost importance. Though some fabrics are durable and marvellous looking, they can be far too heavy. Will you be visiting exotic destinations known for monsoons? Most luggage is not waterproofed on the outside and is only treated on the inside with moisture resisting sealant. A good alternative is purchasing a Luggage Glove that not only protects your luggage against general wear and weather, but also provides additional security. Nylon fabric is rated in deniers which is a measure of the thickness of the fibre. The higher the denier, the stronger the fibre. Make sure that you take a cover with at least 400 deniers.
The bag joints should be covered with nylon piping or material to reinforce seams and absorb wear and tear. Taped seams are excellent, reinforcing the zipper and bag connection.
In addition to checking seams, examine the bag's zippers. Zippers should be double-stitched, sturdy and smooth-running. Inspect the construction of the seams and zippers. Seams can obstruct the zipper, causing it to catch.
Handle construction is very important. The handle system should be protected, sturdy and comfortable. For a duffle bag a shoulder strap is one of the most important items on the bag and certainly the most used. Make sure that it is of good quality, padded and comfortable. Purchase a bag with metal hooks as they are stronger and will last longer. Check that the strap length is adjustable on both ends and that the pad that is attached to the strap is completely movable. The pad should have enough room to pass over the loop locks and should be rubberised and padded to prevent slippage and cutting into the shoulder. Make sure if feels comfortable on your shoulder before purchase.
Wheels should be spaced widely, firmly bolted and recessed into the bag's frame to provide some protection for them. Ensure that the wheels roll smoothly before you buy new luggage.
Think about how you will secure the bag. Putting a padlock between two zipper tabs will simply not do. Rather look for overlapping zipper tabs or a built-in lock. When opting for the latter ensure that it is a combination lock and TSA-approved. You don't want to misplace keys or find a bag ripped to shreds because an inspection officer could not open it.
When travelling remember that any time that you fly with checked luggage, you run the risk of having individual items or even the entire bag stolen, lost, damaged or delayed. Old luggage tags from previous trips on various airlines should be removed. They can confuse the bag handler, leading to delayed or lost luggage.