Screw conventional thinking: The best luggage brands for traveling aren't always the most expensive ones. Luxury is nice, but it's simply just that. When it comes to quality luggage that's there for the long haul, consider quality in terms of durability and functionality first, followed by product value, whether it's tech-friendly (electronics require special care) and attractiveness.
We've checked out several brands of luggage and have come up with five that meet our iron-clad standards. So drop that $3,500 designer roll-on–yes, the one that claims to be hand-stitched by exotic Tahitian virgins–and take a look at these noteworthy brands that sell themselves without ridiculous marketing fairy tales.
- Eagle Creek Eagle Creek is run by travelers who trek the globe via plane, car, boat or on foot. Environmentally friendly before it became the "cool" thing to be, Eagle Creek prides itself on creating virtually indestructible luggage that's guaranteed for life with their No Matter What ™ guarantee.
- Samsonite While Samsonite is a more pricey brand than others, its name is synonymous with durability and quality package protection. The luxe Samsonite X'Lite beat out two just as pricey competitors in a recent pissing contest to see which brand could withstand the most abuse from airline employees and security checkpoints. Bottom line: You'll get what you pay for and in the trendiest styles available.
- Osprey Osprey's high performance travel luggage is built to flawlessly mix into your active lifestyle and a wide range of environments. Osprey Sojourn was rated as 2010's Outside Gear of the Year for its "intelligent convertible luggage design" and "nimble" feel that can adapt to both the natural and urban jungle.
- TravelPro TravelPro is the preferred choice of travel luggage for airline crew members and flight attendants. With a wide range of luggage styles to suit various needs and tastes, TravelPro is checkpoint friendly and highly recommended for those who travel at least once a month or simply wish to obtain space-saving function with minimal bulk.
- Brookstone Brookstone offers more than free massages at the mall or in the airport terminal; they have an overwhelmingly durable and highly praised line of travel luggage as well. Lightweight and built to last, Brookstone's hardside luggage designs are relatively inexpensive, sturdy, attractive and come available in different colors and sizes to fit your needs. Best of all, buying one in the store will eliminate the evil glare coming from the sales associates as they watch you languish on the Tempur-Pedic mattress for over an hour while you claim to be "just looking."