Everything You Need To Know About Luggage Materials

Everything You Need To Know About Luggage Materials

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When you are about to travel, the first thing you need to do is to choose the right luggage that will help you in your trip, and hold all of your belongings. Nobody wants to have one of those embarrassing moments because of the luggage torn apart on the carousel with the clothes hanging out from the ripped part.

So, you need to find a luggage with high quality and durability to give you the maximum protection while traveling. That’s why you need to know a little bit more about luggage materials.

There are plenty of different luggage materials nowadays. There are the popular ones with high quality, and the normal ones. So, when it comes to choosing a material, it’s really up to you, and what you’re looking for in a luggage, and how much you willing to pay for it. Do you prefer a hardside or softside luggage? Would you prefer to travel with a backpack or duffel bag? 

In this article I covered everything you need to know about luggage material in every type of luggage from the suitcases to duffel bags. If you are planning to buy a new luggage and you’re struggling which material is the best for you, this article will help you make your final decision.

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

ABS is a combination of 3 properties. The acrylonitrile, butadiene and styrene. Usually the suitcases which are made of this material are stable, and scratch-resistant.

ABS is the most popular material used for hardside suitcases, especially in the affordable luggage, thanks to its cheap production costs. it’s one of the cheapest luggage materials in the market. Sometimes you can find a full ABS luggage set for the same price of a single polycarbonate suitcase.

Also the ABS material are super lightweight than Polycarbonate but not as durable. And not as light as Polypropylene. ABS suitcases are not that durable compared to other luggage material, so if you consider to get your hand on an ABS suitcase, try to choose one with a combination with other strong material like Polycarbonate.
 Anyway, this luggage material is a good choice for every budget people.


  • Low cost
  • Multiple color to choose from
  • Strong. And super strong combining with other material


  • Not as much durable than other luggage material
  • Suitcases with ABS tend to crack in hard cases


The most expensive luggage are made with the aluminum, basically because it’s a premium material and only the rich people who tends to buy these kind of luggage. Also all the luggage of the Rimowa brand is made with the aluminum, that’s why the Rimowa luggage are so expensive. 

The suitcases made from Aluminum are most likely will bend and back to it originale shape, instead of cracking under a high pressure during your travel. The Aluminum is particularly vulnerable to dents and scratches. 

Also Aluminum suitcases considered as the heaviest, and the most expensive luggage, you can expect to pay about $400-$1000 for a suitcase, and that is a high price for a budget person. instead a mid-range durable polycarbonate suitcase can be bought for $100-$200.



  • Durable
  • High quality 
  • Can handle impacts


  • Super heavy
  • Can Cost a little bit more than other luggage materials

Polycarbonate (PC)

The Polycarbonate material is near enough possible to break. That’s way it’s used in many things because of this toughness. A lot of products beside luggage are made with this material. 

Suitcases are made from Polycarbonate will handle any pressure applied and they will not break or crack. Also Polycarbonate are more flexible and durable than most luggage material in the market these days.

The Polycarbonate offers the highest level of strength and guarantees your new suitcase will remain safe in any circumstances, and it will last for years of use. Most of polycarbonate suitcases owners claims that their bags last for too many years and handled all kinds of roughness during trips.

However, this durability and flexibility comes at a cost, because Polycarbonate suitcases are much more expensive than ABS or Polypropylene, but not as Aluminum. 


  • Flexible and super durable
  • Can handle any kind of pressure
  • Offer a huge protection to your belongings
  • Unbreakable


  • Can be a little bit expensive than the ABS


Of course the Polypropylene  is not as popular as Polycarbonate or ABS, but still a  viable option. This flexible material will give you some extra protection to your belongings. However, it is not flexible as Polycarbonate, but still better than ABS and PVC.

Unlike the Polycarbonate and ABS, Polypropylene is the most lightweight material out there. And also it’s pretty durable, sometimes more durable than the ABS.

When it comes to price, Polypropylene suitcases are not that expensive when you compare them with the PC, but similarly to the ABS. anyway they feel cheap because of their lightweight and flexibility.

This material is a great choice for those travelers that want to travel with a lightest suitcase as possible.


  • Extremely lightweight
  • Affordable option
  • Offers some good protection


  • Not that durable compared to other materials
  • Can’t handle too much impact


This is one of the option you have for low budget luggage material, the PVC considered as the cheapest one in the market. This material is not very popular option in terms of sales, however, it still a good option low budget people.

PVC don’t have that strong impact resistance like polycarbonate or ABS. However, not many people choose this material because it’s not that popular in the luggage material industry. 

And Because of the elasticity it has, it is often combined with materials like polycarbonate and polypropylene for support.

You need to know that luggage made with this material will not do a good job protecting your stuff during your trip. But it is very lightweight and flexible as well.


  • Extremely lightweight
  • cheap choice


  • Don’t offer much protection
  • Not that durable or strong

Softside Suitcase Materials


Most if not all budget price softside suitcases are made with this material, because it consider as the cheapest softside material in the market these days. if you want a budget luggage that could server you for couple of years, You should go withe the Polyester luggage.

When looking at its properties, Polyester is less durable and less scratch and tear resistant than other luggage material. However, it weighs less than Nylon which is a perfect choice if you want a lighter bag.

In general, the quality of the Polyester luggage isn’t that good, but if you need an extra bag and don’t want to spend too much, polyester bags are your best choice.

Here’s a quick helpful information. A single silk thread that’s weighs 1 gram, which is one denier or 1D. The polyester threads usually range in between 300D-1800D, and that means that a single Polyester thread 9 km in length would weigh 300g-1800g. more deniers more durable the material is.


  • Less expensive
  • Lightweight


  • Not as durable as Nylon
  • Less scratch resistant than other material


The Nylon material has become the perfect option for most luggage manufacturer. Because basically this material is so strong and durable. And if you take a look at some of the softside luggage that made from Nylon, you’ll find that they are a bit more expensive than others.

The scratch and tear strength of this material increases with the twine thickness (deniers). Basically a 500D Nylon is stronger than 600D or 650D polyester. One other important thing you should know is that the Nylon is slightly heavier than Polyester.

The big advantage of a suitcase made from Nylon is the water repellency feature. Which mean that the bag will protect your items from unexpected weather, and keep all of your clothes dry and safe.

The Nylon suitcases are the perfect choice for travelers who don’t want a hardside luggage, but still want a high quality bag with some good features.


  • Water repellency
  • High scratch and tear resistant


  • A little bit expensive than the Polyester bags
  • Heavy

Cordura Nylon

Cordura is another type of Nylon and similar to Ballistic Nylon. It’s best known for its durability and resistance to abrasions, tears and scuffs. The weight of this material is slightly less than ballistics nylon, which mean you will have more color choices. The cordura also take abrasion resistant.

Cordura is made from Nylon threads in the 1050D thockess, which means it’s strong and durable, but obviously not as Polyester material.

This material is used in high quality travel luggage and travel bags that needs to be extremely durable and waterproof. And it has been used by the military to make uniforms and even the boots. Also this material is more abrasion-resistant than Ballistic Nylon, but as good as tear-resistant.

The Cordura Nylon is a good choice for fabric travel products, such as backpacks and softside suitcases.


  • High abrasion resistant
  • Durable and strong
  • Lightweight


  • Not as tear resistant as Ballistic Nylo

Ballistic Nylon

The Ballistic Nylon Is one of the thickest synthetic nylon fabrics you will find out there. it is very durable and easy to clean as well. It can resist abrasion which makes it the most popular material for luggage.

In first the Ballistic Nylon he’s been made to be a bulletproof fabric material, it’s the result of the WW2. but they failed to make it bulletproof. At least they create a strong durable material that become travel-proof.

Most luggage that made with Ballistic Nylon material offer a high level of protection to your belongings while traveling, and giving you peace of mine during the trip. One other things you should know about this material, you will not have that much color options, Because this material is hard to die.


  • Durable and strong
  • Ability to resist abrasion


  • Heavier than regular Nylon
  • Not too many color options


In general, Canvas is a woven fabric that is made from cotton, hemp, or a blend. This material is rarely used in suitcases, but it’s common in backpacks and duffel bags, briefcases and other travel products.

Basically there are two different types of Canvas Plain and Duck. The difference between these two types is that the Duck Canvas are more tightly woven.

It’s obviously stronger than the regular polyester, but not as strong as the nylon of course. Also it’s a little bit heavier than Nylon or Polyester and can get pretty expensive if you want a fashionable one. 

Canvas products are usually waterproof, and when the fabric gets wet the weave swells up and seals against moisture coming in.


  • Can help Waterproofing
  • Strong than other material


  • Not in too many suitcases
  • Expensive

Backpack Materials


Cotton Canvas

back in the day, most backpacks were made of  cotton canvas and then coated with some wax to become waterproof. However, these bags were heavy to carry and not that impact resistance.

It’s hard to find a Backpack with a Cotton Canvas nowadays, simply because people want something more flexible, durable, strong, and most importantly lighter. Most backpacks are made from polyester, Rip-Stop Nylon. But still you can find some few Cotton Canvas in the market.

Nowadays cotton canvas is used in children’s or women’s fashion, totes, and handbags, where exposure to the elements is not much of a concern. It is no longer usually coated with wax.

If you want an idea about what Cotton canvas look like, just think about an old war movies, and see the bags that the soldier used to pack their things, those are the bags with the cotton canvas material.


  • Stylish look


  • Heavy if you compare it with other material
  • Not able not withstand all abrasion

Rip-Stop Nylon

The Rip-Stop Nylon is a material that just can’t be ripped. It is so strong and durable than other versions of each material. The Rip-Stop Nylon is probably the one you see the most.

Basically the Rip-Stop Nylon fiber has a special, unique kind of weave. This helps make the fabric strong and more scratch and wear resistant, also to stop tears from growing.

This fabric is popular with many manufacturers as the fabric resists tearing, lightweight. And you can find this material in sails, hot air balloons and camping gears. Also some minefactory use it to create a strong, durable luggage material like backpacks.


  • Super strong
  • Hard to get ripped
  • Helps water-proofing


  • Can be a little bit expensive than other backpack materials

Kodra Nylon

The Kordea Nylon is very similar to Cordura, it is a premium fabric known for durability and resistance to abrasion. It’s originally comes from a manufacturer in Korea (Kolon International). This manufactory have a strong history of Nulon based fabrics.

Nowadays cordona produced by a variety of asia manufacturers, so it’s not as good as Cordura. However, it’s very abrasion resistant just like Cordura is. 


  • Strong
  • Abrasion resistant


  • You can find too many these days
  • Not waterproofing

Duffel Bags Materials



Leather duffel bags are much more durable than polyester and most nylon bags. If properly treated, leather duffel bag could last a lifetime. The main disadvantage of leather bags is that they’re incredibly heavy, not as weather resistant, and expensive.

When it comes to price, a high quality leather duffel bag is a little bit more expensive than other duffel materials. Because this material as i mentioned can last for years of use, and if you take good care of it, it will last forever.


  • Strong
  • Durable than most other material


  • Extremely heavy
  • Not as weather resistant than Nylon


As I mzntionzd above, Nylon is one of the most popular and often seen materials used in duffel bags and backpacks today. It is actually a broad range of plastics (Polyamides) that can be melted down and turned into various things including fibres. It is these fibres that are woven and used for duffel bags. This material is so strong and durable. 

The scratch and tear strength of this material increases with the twine thickness (deniers). Basically a 500D Nylon is stronger than 600D or 650D polyester. One other important thing you should know is that the Nylon is slightly heavier than Polyester.

The Nylon can handle any kind of impacts with ease thanks to its flexibility.


  • Scratch and tear resistant
  • Waterproof


  • heavy


Nowadays the majority of luggage product manufactory use the same material to create some new product. Unlike the old luggage, people now wants luggage to be more stylish and colored, also to be more lightweight and offer some good features that could help while traveling.

Most of the luggage material these days are lighter and offer a good level of protection to anyone’s stuff. So you can travel stress free. However, some of the material are expensive and not for all types of people like the aluminum suitcases and sometimes the Polycarbonate as well. 

If you are a budget person, try to find a high quality luggage with a low cost. There are plenty in the market. and thanks to competition between the big luggage brands, you definitely will find the perfect one for you.

If you think there are some other luggage material that they should be added to this article, feel free to comment them below in the comment section. We’d love to hear from you.

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Luggage material is one of the important things you need to know in order to buy a new pretty luggage for your trip.

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