Hard or soft case? Any recommended brands?

Is there any recommendation for a hard or soft case? 

Usually I have used a soft IT medium, but now need a new medium case for upcoming holiday. 

I read some review that one can easily split the zip on a hard case with a pen - is this just on cheaper brands? 

Budget around £50ish for a medium case. 

Is an expandable case worth buying? 

I seen some offers from TRIPP cases - are they any good? Website says UK made but cannot see them before buying.


  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 9,184
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    Had our samsonite soft cases for about 15 years (2 carry on, 2 large hold) and probably done 4-5 flights a year and so far all handles, zips and wheels are still fully functional and attached. One case as a small area of abrasion that's gone half way through the outer layer but hasn't gotten worse in the last few years.  Other than that they've picked up some dirt and scuffs which may or may not be possible to sponge off (never tried). 

    Ours do expand, the main problem is that when they do they become unbalanced and will fall forward rather than stand upright, obv can lean them against something (or each other) but it's a tad annoying. 

    Bought a cheap no brand suitcase after a 6 month trip abroad and bringing back extra stuff bought, it went into the plane with 4 wheels attached and came out with 1 wheel attached, 1 hanging off and 2 missing. Our other two normal cases came out with no visible additional damage.

    Have travelled with bottles of spirits, wine etc inside the hold luggage and never had a broken bottle yet. Been caught in the rain a couple of times (though not for long) and nothing inside got wet. A much longer rain exposure may be a problem but dont tend to go for long walks with our cases in tow. 

    I would look at hard cases next time but that's more because they can split in half with dividers meaning its much easier to find things if your the type to live out the suitcase (like me) rather than unpack. 
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 45,826
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    FWIW, we have several soft IT cases and 1 hard IT: the latter does split in half as DullGreyGuy says, AND it expands, but I don't like it. I much prefer the pockets in the lid of the soft cases for ease of finding small stuff, and I use packing cubes to keep other stuff tidy. 

    The hard case has four wheels, and the soft have two. Again, I generally prefer two but I think DH likes 4 when it's possible to keep the case upright. 

    Haven't used any brand other than IT. One of the cases has worn at the corners so the zip is separating from the body of the case, so I wouldn't take that anywhere other than in the boot of the car ... 
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  • laura_lau
    laura_lau Posts: 397
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    edited 5 October 2023 at 3:30PM
    I have TRIPP hard suitcase purchased in 2014, and I use it quite heavily (at least 6 flights a year, sometimes more) as my family lives abroad. It's still in great conditions, which I can't say about other more expensive brands I had previously. I never had a problem with the zipper or anything, and I do overfill it quite frequently (especially at Christmas). I never heard about the zipper of a hard case being easily open, but I would assume, if a zipper can be opened that way, then it must be true about all zippers, not just these ones? If you are really concerned about the zipper giving in, you could always get your suitcase wrapped at the airport, I've seen most airports offer those services now, and it also helps keep the suitcase looking nicer and eventually lasting longer (just FYI, I never wrapped mine, and it still is in great conditions). 
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  • MrsStepford
    MrsStepford Posts: 1,495
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    We can't afford private planes or First Class and hate cattle class and night flights. No rolling suitcases for us. Too bulky and too noisy. 

    I bought several Brakeburn holdalls and we have other bags from Coach, Nike, Barbour etc. We pack bags according to expected weather, where we are going and whether we are doing self-catering. None of the bags have given up the ghost on us yet. 
  • Rosa_Damascena
    Rosa_Damascena Posts: 6,216
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    edited 5 October 2023 at 5:05PM
    I learned the hard way - soft every time for me.

    I bought a beautiful hard-shelled suitcase once, and one use was all I got out of it. It came back to Heathrow with a massive crack in it. My soft suitcases have seen me through years of frequent travelling and I'm not bothered if they abused by luggage handlers, as long as the contents remain intact and in situ.
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  • photome
    photome Posts: 16,316
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    we have a couple of Tripp soft cases that are "years " old now and have done multiple flights and are still in perfect condition, we also have a couple of soft samsonite but for some reason, always end up using the tripp

    they were bought from Debenhams who used to have a no quibble exchange policy with their tripp concession, I have never bought from the website but would assume their exchange/refund policy would be good
  • jimi_man
    jimi_man Posts: 1,089
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    I’ve got a Tripp hard case (with zips) which does around 20 flights a year. Wife has a Samsonite hard case (no zips) for about five years which she’s used for about 100+ flights a year and it’s still in perfect condition. 
  • Mela322
    Mela322 Posts: 149
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    There are 2 types of hard cases.  One has a flexible area where the zip is and the other is a very hard plastic with locking clips.   If you are interested in a hard case, I would go with the thicker plastic with locking clips.  The only downside is that they do weigh more and can be expensive uless you buy second hand.  So if you prefer to pack more in then I would go with a decent soft side suitcase.  I have a set from about 16 years ago and has seen about 6 long haul flights and they still look decent enough to use. 

    When I moved here 16 years ago, I brought my favourite sewing machine over in one of the thick plastic cases and it didn't have a mark on it and all worked perfectly.  So the thick hard cases are worth the money if you really need it. 
  • mutley74
    mutley74 Posts: 4,020
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    Thanks everyone. I probably take a look at the ones in Matalan and probably stick with a soft case; as weight is an issue as I like to travel light especially on touring holidays. 
  • photome
    photome Posts: 16,316
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    edited 6 October 2023 at 2:54PM
    mutley74 said:
    Thanks everyone. I probably take a look at the ones in Matalan and probably stick with a soft case; as weight is an issue as I like to travel light especially on touring holidays. 
    dont think I would want to be buying a case from Matalan if I wanted it to last.  Having said that I have never bought a case from there

    you have a couple of recomended brands, Tripp and Samsonite  , dont think they sell those
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