Hard or soft luggage – which type of suitcase is a better fit?
Whether you choose hard luggage or soft luggage is more than just a question of taste. The primary difference of the two kinds of suitcases is the material of the suitcase’s outer shell. Hard suitcase by Eminent are usually made of polycarbonate – a very light, resistant and easily cleanable robust synthetic.
Suitcases from the soft luggage series are made from a light, tear-resistant synthetic fabric such as nylon or polyester.
This difference in material leads to suitcase features which you should consider before your trip. The criteria empty weight, packing volume and stability/robustness will help you to decide for a hard or soft-shell suitcase.
Soft luggage suitcases are lighter. This is due to the material used for the production. Fabric and synthetic materials, such as nylon and polyester, are light in their basic structure.
However, hard suitcases are also very light. Thanks to technological innovations and new materials, such as Makrolon polycarbonate or the new Eminent material innovation TOP which decreases the weight by up to another 15%, the weight difference has become considerably smaller.
Due to their materials, softer suitcase models have more packing volume. Due to their flexible converting materials, the outer shell is elastic. The advantage: You can pack more.
Many soft-shell suitcases have an extension function. The packing volume can be extended through a zipper elastic pleat. Some selected hard shell series also have an extension function.
Many Eminent soft suitcases have additional exterior or side pockets, where you can store things such as documents, travel documents, tickets, magazines and small items. These outer pockets allow for quick access of your personal items on the way.
The hard-shell suitcases in our business series in cabin size have a separate outer pocket with a special internal division for business travellers as well as a laptop compartment.
Hard-shell suitcases are usually more resistant and more robust than soft-shell suitcases. Therefore, they are more resistant. This is especially important for air travel, as baggage handling is usually rough. The suitcases are roughly gripped and stacked on top of each other on the plane – this is where the suitcase’s stability and impact resistance matter.
The very light synthetic polycarbonate provides this stability. It is very strong and stretchy at the same time, so that the suitcase does not fall apart if the load limit is exceeded. Additionally, you can transport your luggage in the rain without any problems, as the polycarbonate shell is especially rainproof. An additional advantage: The water repellent material can be cleaned easily. For this, you only need a cloth and thinned down cleaning agents or a polish. Hard-shell suitcases therefore keep longer and have a longer warranty than soft-shell suitcases.
Hard-shell suitcases which are additionally reinforced with aluminium are even more stable and robust.
However, soft-shell suitcases are also very robust thanks to the innovative processing of the materials. They are also very flexible with their elasticity. This brings the advantage that the suitcase can be adjusted in cases of limited storage space. In a full trunk of a car, the soft suitcases can be packed between other items more easily.
On the other hand, soft luggage suitcases are less rainproof. They should not be exposed to moisture for too long, as the material may soak.
There is no general clear recommendation as to which kind of suitcase is better. The suitable kind of suitcase depends on the kind of trip and the mode of transportation. Hard-shell suitcases are suitable for travel by airplane or bus, as the luggage is exposed to greater pressure. Soft-shell suitcases are ideal for people travelling by train or car and have to stow their luggage themselves.
If you are planning multiple short trips as well as multiple longer trips, it might be advisable to buy a luggage series. That way, you can choose the desired suitcase size depending on the length of stay, mode of transport and destination.