Six Quality Luggage Materials

Six Quality Luggage Materials

Ballistic Nylon

blue swatch ballistc Andiamo

When one thinks of ballistics, bullet proof vests is most likely the first thing to come to mind. So what do bullet proof vests have to do with luggage? The airport is probably the closest your luggage will get to a war zone, so many luggage makers have turned to a ballistic nylon fabric to ensure that your possessions will survive the trauma of being checked in. Ballistic nylon was originally used in the flak jackets of World War II airmen to protect against debris and fragmentation caused by bullet and artillery shell impacts. In the mid 1980s, Andiamo

was the first company to achieve the landmark of incorporating ballistic nylon into luggage. Other brands like Victorinox, Hartmann, and Briggs and Riley followed suit shortly thereafter. Since its debut in the travel industry, this tough-as-nails material has proven to be one of the most trusted and durable fabrics seen surviving the airports.

When considering baggage materials, ballistic nylon fits the bill for the constant traveler. If your bag is made from ballistic nylon, you are choosing a material that can take a beating. Ballistic nylon’s “filament” yarn makes it a step smoother and stronger than common nylons, like Cordura, which is less compact and rougher than the weave of ballistic nylon. The other major identifier of a ballistic nylon is a two-ply weave, adding that extra stability needed to handle rough conditions. This durability and fine texture has made ballistic nylon a popular choice for business travelers in need of a classic baggage look in a fabric that will stand up to the tumult of checked luggage travel.

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Canvas SwatchFilson Brief

Canvas – Original Briefcase

Dating back to the 13th century, canvas is one of the oldest materials. Although in the beginning it was made from hemp, Today’s canvases are made of either cotton or linen. Canvas also has basic types: Duck or Plain. The only difference between these two designations is that duck canvas is threaded more tightly than plain canvas, adding to its durability. There are also many varieties of canvas: waterproof, waxed, water-resistant, printed, fireproof, and dyed. Canvas is used for many finished products like painting, sails, tents, signs, backpacks, and luggage. One of the more well-known brands using canvas is Filson, made in Seattle. There is a reason canvas has been used in luggage for such a long time, and that is because it has been proven to be a strong, durable fabric. Although not the lightest fabric around, it will protect your belongings! In the North America, canvas is classified by both weight (ounces per square yard) and grade. In this graded number system, the numbers count down, so a number 10 canvas would be lighter than a number 5.

Choosing canvas luggage material is committing to a look that embodies a return to a natural, organic, and traditional fabrication. It also is an evolving fabric in the luggage industry that has taken backpacks, messenger bags, and duffels by storm. Canvas has been a significant factor that has aided in the transition between the casual feel and look of today’s professional, while also very durable and having a longevity of life. If you want a luggage that is rugged, and has a lot of character, canvas will be your choice.

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Hartmann Brief

Hartmann Heritage Double Compartment Brief 

Using animal hides for multiple purposes has been around since the beginning of time. These early hides had a tendency to have a short life due to the hide would dry out quickly, making them unusable. In the past decades leather has taken hides a step further by a tanning process that strengthens the hide and prevents it from cracking and drying out. Over the years different methods were created. Many animal hides have been used in the leather making process, and as a result various types of leather have been made The Leather hides are general available in Six forms:

  • Full-grain, which is the most pure hide which has not been buffed to remove imperfections.
  • Top grain, in which only the surface is buffed.
  • Corrected-grain, in which an artificial grain is applied to the surface.
  • Split Leather, where the leather is created from the fibrous part of the hide left over from the removal of the top grain.
  • Belting Leather this is the strongest leather available it was used it the early years in mills using the water wheels to turn the machines to make flour and many other products.
  • Napa leather which came from Italy as a fine soft leather.


Common leathers that you will see among our premium brands are belting leather, and Napa leather, which can be found in products from Hartmann. The reason leather has stuck around so long not only because it lasts, but also because the leather as it is used gets a beautiful patina that make the leather more beautiful as it is used as well as classy. Business people love showing their leather portfolios as a sign of longevity in the business world.
When you invest in a quality leather bag, you are recognizing that you want your bag to live and evolve with each day with you. Leather will enhance its character as it ages and each case becomes unique to your experience with it. Someone who has in a leather bag invests in making an impression of themselves. As one of the most distinguished materials today, leather continues to be a sought after material for all types of travelers. Business travelers, casual vacationers, frequent flyers as well as many others continue to find leather to be a statement that is sure to stand out for its looks and high quality.

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Lifttwo Nylon swatch

Samsonite Liftwo Carry-on

Nylon has been used in luggage for quite some time. Initially developed by the DuPont Corporation in 1935, nylon took a few years to be commercialized before taking off as one of the most successful materials to date. First used in toothbrushes, nylon can now be found in clothing, machinery, musical strings, pipe, rope, carpet, and luggage to name only a few. Chances are that you have owned or know someone who has owned a piece of nylon luggage. After the old steamer trunks were rendered obsolete and aluminum luggage wore out its stay, this wonder material was pretty much all there was in the luggage industry until polycarbonate came along. One of the great things about nylon is that it is such a strong, adaptable material. Nylon can be used as a matrix material in composite materials with reinforcing components such as carbon fiber or glass, which increase its durability exponentially. When mixed with such materials, nylon can rival the durability of most metals.

Nylon is the no-fuss material for the traveler who likes a bag with easy upkeep. Not only does it have the benefit of being able to be washed- a large bonus compared to other fabrics that can tend to show dirt, dust, and wear, but need professional grade cleaning- this bag material is also incredibly lightweight. Nylon also tends to be the fabric that brands will give the most color variance in. Brands like Lipault, Samsonite, and Swiss Army all feature fantastic collections that venture into colorful nylon fabrications. Nylon won’t fray like other luggage materials, and its synthetic fibers have the added bonus of repelling water rather than canvas and other threads that take in water and tend to soak more easily. If you are looking for a versatile look that remains durable, nylon is the fabric for you.

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Poly carbonate

rimowa shell Zero AIr

Zero Halliburton Zero Air Collection 23″ Lightweight Poly carbonate Trolley

Poly carbonate refers simply to a group of thermoplastic polymers containing carbonate groups. In short, a synthetic material that can be easily molded. Poly carbonate has a high impact resistance and is incredibly lightweight: two very important factors when considering new luggage. In 1955, NASA started using poly carbonate for its helmets and visors, which were the first type to take that giant leap for mankind. It wasn’t until the year 2000 that the German luggage maker Rimowa started making their suitcases from poly carbonate. Today, virtually every luggage brand has a line made from the material. There are many grades and types of poly carbonate, but luggage is only made from a few of them. Rimowa Luggage, Roncato, and Victorinox Luggage are crafted from grade A 100% virgin poly carbonate, which basically means it’s in the purest form at the best quality. Other brands are made from grade B or C recycled poly carbonate. This means that an already existing piece of poly carbonate has been reduced to pellets, ground, and re-molded into another poly carbonate product. Rest assured, even though a poly carbonate case has been made from recycled materials, the nature of poly carbonate is such that its properties don’t deteriorate significantly after being re-purposed if proper methods are taken. A quality poly carbonate case can be pretty pricey, but for a very good reason: it’s one of the strongest materials luggage is made from. Some common items made of poly carbonate include bulletproof glass, compact discs, safety goggles, and helmets. If that doesn’t indicate how strong poly carbonate actually is, we don’t know what else would! In addition to being incredibly impact-resistant, poly carbonate is exceptionally light. Some carry-on pieces only weigh 4 pounds; that’s less than a newborn baby. There are even 32-inch cases that weigh in at around eight or nine pounds: still less than some newborns.

For those who require that their luggage be lightweight, scratch resistant, and can stand up to the rigors of travel, poly carbonate is the material you will want. Poly carbonate will not only help guard your possessions from the rigors of the cargo hold, but also prevent having to fork over an exorbitant amount of money for being over that awful 50 pound weight limit!

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Brics swatch brics tote

Brics – Life 18″ Duffel

Many people don’t want leather due to religious and/or personal reasons. For others that travel often, leather simply does not hold up as well as man made materials. Polyvinyl chloride also known as PVC is science’s response to a more resistant leather alternative. Today, Polyvinyl chloride is the third most widely produced plastic behind polyethylene and polypropylene. Polyvinyl chloride is mainly used as a construction material, as it is strong and more efficient than traditional materials like woods and metal. Polyvinyl chloride has become more commonly used in the making of luggage, because it is waterproof and less expensive to manufacture than leather. At the same time, it has an incredibly beautiful feel and look to it that has the feel and look similar to suede. The brand that stands out in the collection for its Polyvinyl chloride use is Bric’s, who use a blend of cotton and Polyvinyl chloride to craft some of their beautiful luggage.

If you’re thinking about buying a Polyvinyl chloride luggage it is because you are looking for a stronger alternative to leather that will withstand scratching when you check luggage. A Polyvinyl chloride style is also for the luggage owner who is looking for a unique fabric that has a more luxe and soft feel than the normal nylon design and proves to be a durable alternative to leather.

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