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Suitcase Materials: Buying Guide

We entered an online or physical suitcase store thinking: «I go in, I look at the one I like and if the price fits me it’s already … 10 minutes and a new travel suitcase!» And nooo !! When you start to inform yourself about luggage materials you realize that deciding is not so simple.

With what materials is a suitcase made?

To answer this question before we should know our needs about capacity, lightness, manageability, rigidity and resistance. It could help to ask ourselves:

  • What kind of suitcase do I need? Rigid, semi-rigid or soft?
  • Am I going to carry it with a lot of heavy, bulky or delicate luggage?
  • Am I going to carry it for a long time? Maybe light with telescopic handle with 2 or 4 wheels?
  • What deal will he have, will he have to absorb many blows?

Surely you’ll say: «Okay, I got it, then … What suitcase material is best for each occasion? ABS or polycarbonate? What is better polycarbonate or polypropylene? Or why not a soft suitcase made of nylon or polyester? »

Quiet! In MaletasOk we have made this material guide for everyone’s health. Where we explain the different materials, quality and characteristics with which the travel trolleys are manufactured.

Hard suitcase materials

The outer manufacturing materials of the rigid suitcases can be ABS, polycarbonate or polypropylene.
Inside the suitcase, we will find a frame that is usually made of aluminum. The back of the trolleys, there is a sheet of PVC (plastic). The mechanisms are usually made of aluminum or iron.

Going into detail and focusing on the external material, which is going to suffer the inclemencies of time and travel, we have:

ABS suitcases

ABS is the most common plastic for travel bags. Depending on its quality it will give the suitcase more resistance and robustness. It is a material resistant to scratching and impact, hard, rigid and with high resistance to abrasion.

Its lightness will depend on the density used to manufacture the trolley.


Polycarbonate is the most elegant material. It is a very flexible thermoplastic, resistant and lightweight. Its flexible structure allows high resistance to shock. Generally in its manufacture a glossy finish is applied that makes it more resistant to scratching.


Polypropylene is the hardest and most resistant material. It is used for 4×4 suitcases, since it gives security and Corpulence to the trolley. It is a semicrystalline thermoplastic injection molding, high hardness and abrasion resistant. Surely it is the heaviest plastic, although the latest innovations have managed to produce it much lighter.

That is, we could classify the materials on a scale according to their resistance in the following way:

  1. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) – Strong
  2. Polycarbonate (PC) – Super Strong
  3. Polypropylene (PP) – Extra Strong

Materials of soft suitcases (or semi-rigid suitcases)

The material of the soft suitcases is woven. The outside is usually 600 or 1200 denier polyester, depending on the thickness you want to give the fabric. Other fabrics are also found, such as jacquard, three-tone or polyester combined with EVA. The latter is a rubber or thermoformable material, washable, with good resistance to weather and chemicals and low water absorption.

There are also suitcases made of PVC material. This thermoplastic material has plasticizing characteristics, so it waterproofs, is exceptionally resistant and is not flammable.

We will detail the most common tissues:

Polyester is the most common fabric luggage material in the manufacture of flexible or soft luggage. It is resistant to moisture and abrasion. Its strength and weight depends in large part on the deniers it has: The more deniers, the more resistance.

The most basic are 600×300 deniers, but from 600×600 to 1800 we will have much better results in terms of resistance.

NYLON Suitcases

Nylon (or nylon) is a very elegant textile fiber. Its quality and resistance is also measured by the deniers. It gives a better finish, providing durability to the suitcase and is lighter.

But if you still have any doubt you already know that we have some excellent professionals who can advise you on which are the best luggage materials for your trip. And it is that each traveler and each trip has a defined suitcase.

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