Need inputs about suitcases.

What are the things you consider when buying a suitcase?
What do you think are the problems with current suitcases?
Do you often feel worried that your suitcase might not arrive?
What kind of feelings occur to you when you see your suitcase come out on the conveyor after a long trip?
Would you be interested in a suitcase that would respond to you in some way when you pick it up from the conveyor? (kind of a re-uniting moment)

Thanks for taking your time to answer these questions.

…how about a suit case you can suck the air out of like a “space bag” when you’re tring to cram-it into the over-head or a key that glows when it’s your black wheelie bag approaching on the conveyor and a lo-jack transmitter for when they disappear “without a trace” into that airport bag-check abyss.

Heya Jun-Bug

Suitcases, or luggage, have become more and more a “fashion” accessory other than just a functional product. The products that brands like samsonite and delsey, are bringing out are more stylish and design conscious. So things to consider when buying luggage apart from how it looks, are as follows:

  1. Size, capacity for holding goods.
  2. Weight, often materials and structure affect this
  3. Maneuverability, how easy is it to move this thing around, wheels, handles, etc
  4. Price

I think everyone gets those butterflies in their stomachs when waiting for their suitcase to arrive on the conveyor. Is it here…crap I hope they didn’t lose it…idiots…shhhuew…here it is…damn it’s not mine; it looks exactly the same…

Feelings, after traveling for x amount of hours in an awkwardly cramped position, irritating neighbor, smelly toilets and crappy food, being reunited with you luggage is a small piece of home.

Having something that could communicate to you that your luggage is coming around the corner…COOL IDEA

But someone though of it first, check the blue bird

Here’s an Idea:

Develop something that alerts you when your luggage is further than a few km’s or miles. Then you will get an early warning that your luggage is on another plane.

Hope this helps


Also check this out, Samsonite’s Hardlite 625


Bluetooth, schmootooth… I tie a number of coloured ribbons on my handles…highly unlikely that a someone else will have the same model black suitcase with red, yellow and bluie ribbons streaming from it.

I believe the most important thing about a suitcase is whether you can run with it. Anybody who has ever tried to make a connecting flight will tell you that most of those wheeled cases are nowhere near stable enough. I chose my Samsonite garment bag on the premise that the wheels are almost 24" apart. It is an older version of the 550 series or Ultra 3000 cases. And yes, I have run with it.

The second criterium for choosing a suitcase is how easy it is to live out of it. Again the modern garment bags are nearly ideal. To load them, you just grab your clothes still on the hanger and just hang them inside the bag. Flip a couple panels and latch the hangers and you’re ready to travel. When you get to your destination, just open up the bag, hang it on the door or on the closet rod and you’re ready to dress.

There are a few of things I’d like to see that I don’t normally see, even on high-end cases:

  1. Truly water proof compartments for shampoo, cologne, bathing suits and other things that could leak all over your clean dry clothes. I currently use Zip-Loc bags for all this, but that’s just an inconvenience that can be solved by making it part of the case.

  2. Compression straps for squashing down down all the stuff you bought and to provide extra safety incase the zippers break or what have you.

  3. True 2X expansion capability. Most cases have an external pocket that holds about 25% of the total volume and can be expanded, but it would be really nice if the entire case could just get thicker by double.

I’m sure others on here that have travelled even more extensively could add a couple more things.


Some reasons why luggage is the way it is:

-Sizes and proportions are based a lot on carry-on size regulations, weight restrictions, ergonomics, sizes of isles, doors, fitting in car trunks, etc.
-They aren’t very stable due to the narrow width / taller height. Can’t really change those or else they won’t fit well in anything and also airline regulations on certain bag sizes. The garment bag is stable because it’s the same proportions as a 24" upright just flipped on it’s side. But you lose a lot of design freedom with the resulting 1 panel or 2 small panels side by side.
-Older luggage used the horizontal format more but generally it’s a pain because of how crowded everyplace is now, so you have to stay pretty narrow (think crowded train). Also carry handles are centered so you have to hold the bag away from your body more to keep from kicking it on your backstep. Also you had to roll the older ones on that thin side, very tippy. Samsonite does currently have a line that you can roll on it’s side for really narrow occasions though.
-Currently they only expand 2-3 inches. Any more than that and they become front heavy and tip over unless you dramatically raise the height of the front bumpers. But then it’s back-heavy and tippy if it’s not expanded and fully loaded.

-Another issue with the size and proportions is the weight. They can’t get much bigger than the 30 inch models or they won’t fit in car trunks and not too many people will be able to lift it into a trunk. A 30 fully loaded can get up to 100lbs.
-Many bags have built-in wetpockets to keep wet stuff seperate. You’ll have to get one that has that on the door or side of the case and pu lining (not coating). There are also ones that have a seperate wet-pocket that snaps into the case or cross straps that you can easily pop out and take seperately.
-Most bags (samsonite at least anyway) have elastic or herringbone cross straps to secure your stuff. Herringbone works better than elastic, get those.

I personally don’t travel very much but even after 5 yrs of luggage design, I still just like to use duffle bags. Carry over your shoulder or use the carry straps like bookbag straps. They won’t put out luggage with long enough handles for tall people (handles would be too weak and easy to break). Also you’re paying a lot of money for not much space. Clothes generally don’t break, but you pay $100 for a rigid carrying case. I just stick a piece of ply in my duffle to have a flat back, then I load in the clothes. Anything fragile goes in the middle where it’s safe and padded, strap it on your back (clothes side towards your back) and off you go.


Sounds like you’ve designed one or two cases. Still, as a semi-frequent end-user, I have to disagree with a couple of points.

  1. With the advent of telescoping pull handles, there is no reason for a suitcase of any size to have it’s wheels on any but the long side. Even if the case is designed as an “upright” nobody ever packs a case with an intended this-side-up. Even those carry-on sized cases should have their wheels on the longest edge… it’s just better.

  2. Many suitcases will not only stand horizontal and upright, but have handles on two sides to facilitate this. But even if not, travellers will merely flip the case on it’s side to make space… it’s not like they packed it thinking that the handle side will always be up. I’ve done this on a crowded airport terminal bus.

  3. Wetpockets will not protect against a leaking liquid. The zip systems are not the same as a Zip-Loc. They are designed to hold damp things, like swimsuits and towels. They are a really good place to put soiled clothes, because it keeps them away from the clean stuff. After a quick re-examination, I decided pretty quickly that this is still true of my Samsonite garment bag. If your shampoo or cologne decided to leak, you’ve got a problem, especially if the case is rotated just the right way inside the plane’s cargo hold.

  4. Size is not a question of weight. People will choose a case that they figure they can lift… or they tip porters and taxi drivers to lift the luggage. Really, people pick their case for an intended convenience level. I’ve seen some cases that could easily transport large dogs. You wonder how the airline cargo handlers even picked them up. Take my case, it holds almost exactly 14 days worth of clothes when it is fully expanded. Perfect for most get-aways. The problem is that I can’t stash the trinkets or other tourist goodies as well. That sure would be nice.

A solution to your problem of instability when expanded: make the case expandable the same way that briefcases expand… in the middle. Looks better too.


Hey skinny-

Thanks for sharing your experience in designing luggage. Since the poster sounds like student working on a proiject, where do you think the poster could go to for more research?

thanks man

I dont know where they would go for research. I learned on the job, 5 years designing luggage for one of the most well known luggage corp…

I “was” in the luggage industry with Atlantic Luggage Company.

The two biggest things now are 1. weight (due to fuel + logistics) 2. carry-on 21x14x7. People are in a hurry! No one wants to check luggage, it takes to much time.

Also think about light weight frame, molded EVA for front + sides, interior space, revolutionary handle systems (grips), new wheels, kevlar fabric for abrasion, unique corner protectors + curb rails, people love pockets, etc…

Victorinox (Swiss Army)
Atlantic Luggage Company “Quad Wheel!!!” Adds some weight, but great idea! They also had a hollow weave fabric.

Great companies to look at!



There were a few 4 wheeled “cart” designs coming from Samsonite/American Tourister a few years back that were extremely stable, and roomy, built-in shelves, etc… But nobody bought them. You could live out of those things, and they weren’t incredibly big or anything. I just think that to get the stability you want, it’ll get too clunky for what the consumer is used to so even though it’ll do the job, not enough people are willing to go outside the mold to get one.

If you can, check out the bags offered in Europe-- a GREAT brand is Mandarina Duck, they have a line called Frog
Samsonite has stuff that will never be sold in the US
and Lodis

but if you can’t be in Europe, Tumi!