Hardside vs Softside Luggage


If you are someone who isn’t much of a traveler, preparing for a grander and longer trip can be a new experience for you. A longer trip would mean more clothes and items to be packed; hence, a regular backpack or traveling bag may be insufficient for storage.

If you are planning on getting an upgrade, here’s a tip — you can choose between getting a softside or a hardside luggage. Are you clueless of the differences between the two? We have you covered. We have laid out everything you have to know about the two, from their advantages to their drawbacks, all you have to do is make the choice.

Getting to Know More about Hardside and Softside Luggage

To make it simple, when we speak of luggage, we speak of suitcases and bags that are used to store our things when traveling. They come in different sizes, shapes and designs. That’s why we are going to talk about the two main types along with their differences and similarities.

The Good in Hardside Luggage

If you opt to carry a lot of fragile, expensive or breakable items, the hardside luggage is the best pick for you. This is because it comes with a rigid frame and hard shell usually made of polycarbonate or ABS that gives added protection, form and structure to the bag. It is weather-resistant; this means it can protect your items from water and moisture. It is very easy to clean as dirt, spills and other elements can be wiped spotless in an instant.

As for security, this is a good choice as it offers the option for locks and its hard shell is almost impossible to cut. Its aesthetic offers versatility as it is available in various colors. The models usually come in a design that allows you to pack in two sides instead of one so you can choose to sort your belongings as necessary.

The Downs of Hardside Luggage

This comes with a hard shell that can endure high impact and blows, however, there is a possibility of it cracking especially when hit with intense force. Since this has a rigid and structured frame, it has a drawback of not being able to fit items with irregular shapes and sizes. Making it fit in small and tight spaces can be challenging too.

In terms of storage and organization, it is limited to the entire bag and some of its internal pockets as there is no room for external pockets. In terms of scratches and dents, hardside luggage is more likely to have it when handled in the airport.

Who Is It For?

There is a market for hardside luggage and these are the people who want utmost protection for their content. It is ideal for those who travel with expensive or fragile belongings such as electronics, jewelry and other items that cannot be exposed to moist and water. People who are sensitive to dirt, stains and smells will find this type a fit for them as it is easy to maintain and clean.

It is also ideal for those who want a structured form and versatility in terms of colors. People who want the peace of mind will also find this a good choice because its hard shell is almost impermeable compared to the other type. Overall, we can say that this is a good deal for people who value security, durability, and convenience.

The Good in Softside Luggage

This is a good choice for those who want a lightweight option. It is available in different colors and prints, plus, its material is more flexible than the hardside luggage. This simply means that it can store irregularly shaped items and provide more room than the other type because its material is more flexible than a hard shell.

In addition to this, this feature makes it easier to fit into smaller or tighter spaces. Some models even have the option where you can expand the bag by adding compartments and pockets that can easily be unzipped anytime you need it to fit in a smaller area. So apart from being flexible, it also scores points for storage and organization.

Earlier we mentioned that its material can easily be slashed or cut; however, this type has more endurance and resistance to scratches and dents brought about by airport handling. You can just choose among ballistic nylon, nylon fabric or Cordura, this depends on your budget and preference.

The Downs of Softside Luggage

Since softside luggage does not have a hard shell and is usually made of materials that are easily permeable, it is harder to clean and is more prone to harboring stains and foul odors. These cases are not weather-resistant so there is a risk of your things being exposed to moisture and water. Speaking of its material, it remains a risk for security as it can easily be slashed open.

Who Is It For?

This type of luggage is ideal for those who value storage and flexibility. It is for people who often have a lot to carry but do not want to have added weight to their things. It is for those who are obsessed with organizing and sorting their possessions. It is also a good choice for those who want to have the option of adding expanded compartments from time to time. This is also a fit for travelers who often go to places that have limited storage. Overall, this is for a casual traveler who is always on-the-go.


People travel for different reasons and these reasons are somewhat the defining factor of whether they are to get a hardside or a softside luggage. There is no doubt that both types are completely functional and useful, though the differences lie in their unique features. As a traveler who needs storage for your belongings, it is important to determine which type is the best for you. Not getting the type that fulfills your need may leave you with damaged items and disappointments. So always remember to choose wisely and go for a brand that has established a reputation for quality and affordability.