The best Classic Luggage for travel

Updated 1 year ago

Since its origins as the humble suitcase 120 years ago, luggage has evolved to continually better serve our travel needs. What hasn’t changed though is that they're abused more than Theon Greyjoy, especially when checked. That wear and tear makes a strong case (pun intended) for investing in better quality luggage that lasts longer and saves you from constant repairs or replacements.

The classic luggage collections here are from trusted brands with decades of experience you can feel confident in.

Unsure of weight or size requirements?

This site is handy for carry on sizes. For checked baggage, it ranges from 30kg (66lbs) for nicer airlines down to none for budget airlines where you pay by weight. The typical range is around 20kg (~44lbs).

What we look for
  • Quality materials and components to withstand abuse and so you enjoy using it more
  • Lightweight so your weight allowance goes towards what you’re actually packing
  • Organization features like compression and suiters to make packing easier
  • Spinner wheels for easy movement in all directions with minimal effort
  • Warranty and ease of repair to minimize out of pocket expenses
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Travelpro Crew 11

Best overall classic luggage collection

Airline crews across the world trust Travelpro for good reason: their luggage always hit a sweet spot between features, quality, and price. The Crew 11 collection continues that tradition. They're built with a sturdy ballistic nylon that's also lightweight and use self aligning wheels unique to Travelpro that make rolling easier. The 21" carry on even takes a cue from modern luggage and includes a power bank pocket for charging devices.

  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • 21" carry on: 7.2 lbs, ~36L
  • 25" checked: 8.8 lbs, ~63L
  • 29" checked: 10.6 lbs, ~85L

Delsey Helium Aero

Great hardside value option

The Delsey Helium Aero collection is our favorite hardside luggage that's affordable yet still well made. The most important feature is its polycarbonate shell, which is the most durable yet lightweight material for hardside luggage. It comes with a TSA lock and looks pretty sleek for its price too.

  • 10 year limited warranty
  • 21" carry on: 8.4 lbs
  • 25" checked: 10.2 lbs
  • 29" checked: 12.5 lbs

Travelpro Maxlite 4

Great softside value option or if weight is important

Not only is the Maxlite 4 our favorite affordable softside luggage, it's also the lightest: 2 to 4 pounds lighter than competitors actually, which is a lot considering most luggage is around 8 to 11 pounds. It lacks fancy features like the self aligning wheels of its more expensive Crew 11 sibling, but it's ~1/2 the price and is still made with sturdy materials overall.

  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • 21" carry on: 5.9lbs
  • 25" checked: 7.8 lbs
  • 29" checked: 8.6 lbs

Briggs & Riley Baseline

Quality and service worth the high price if you travel frequently

The Baseline collection from Briggs & Riley epitomizes "buy less, but better": high quality materials like a nylon/rubber/aluminum fabric, a patented compression system that's easier to use than others, a suiter, and other luxurious details. While not exactly trendy, its classic looks are perfect for business travelers. Finally, B&R are one of the few that offer a lifetime warranty that includes airline damage and are often recommended by luggage repair shops for being easier to fix, making it a truly good long term investment and a favorite of frequent travelers despite its price.

  • Lifetime warranty that includes airline damage, a rarity
  • 22" carry on: 9 lbs (video review)
  • 25" checked: 11 lbs
  • 28" checked: 11.9 lbs

Rimowa Salsa Deluxe

Heritage and style make this a high society favorite

Rimowa is an all time luggage great due to its German engineered quality and signature good looks, making it a cult favorite among discerning business travelers and celebrities alike. Although the aluminum Topas series made them famous, we recommend the polycarbonate Salsa Deluxe since it's lighter, more durable, and cheaper without sacrificing features like the external bag holder. We won't blame you for sticking with the Topas though, especially the lust worthy Stealth 😍.

  • 5 year limited warranty
  • 21" carry on: 8.2 lbs, 32L
  • 26" checked: 11.5 lbs, 63L
  • 29" checked: 11.9 lbs, 78L
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