CHOOSING A SUITCASE
Not sure if the model you’re eyeing will withstand manhandling and rough transits? Wing Chan, commercial director of Samsonite Singapore, highlights the parts of a suitcase that you should zoom in on.
RETRACTABLE PULL HANDLE
Handles that retract into the case are better-protected and likely to last longer than those that are fixed on the case’s exterior. A double-stemmed handle is useful as it can support a hand-carry tote or briefcase.
Test the handle to make sure it slides up and down easily, can be drawn to a comfortable height for you, and has a lock device so it stays put when retracted.
For hard-shell cases, polycarbonate plastic is one of the best options as it’s extremely hardy yet lightweight. For soft cases, look for one made of nylon or polyester – the heavier the bag, the sturdier it is, but you’ll have to contend with the weight. Pay attention to stress points like zippers and corners of the bag, which should have reinforced stitching.
Go for suitcases with large zip sliders instead of small ones – they are less prone to breaking. Note also the width of the fabric on each side of the zipper teeth – the wider it is, the less likely it is that the sliders will get caught on the frame of the case.
This has to be strong enough to bear the weight of the entire case when you’re carrying it on its side or hauling it off the conveyor belt – check that it’s not flimsy when you hold up the suitcase, and that it feels comfortable in your hand.
Spinners with four wheels glide over smooth ground effortlessly, but upright two-wheeled cases are easier to manoeuvre over rough terrain. Push the suitcase around the shop to check that it moves smoothly. Rubberised wheels are more durable than plastic ones, which tend to crack easily.