Are hard shell suitcases better? Decisions, decisions!



You’ve booked your flights, planned what you’re going to do whilst away, and started planning your holiday wardrobe, but what about your luggage? We know what we are going

to take (well mostly!) but for many of us, there has been such a long gap between getting away, it may be time to upgrade our cases. Or you go to the garage or loft to get your cases

out and realise they’ve seen better days and it’s time to treat yourself to a new one. You might just simply fancy a new case that is as much of an expression of your own personal

style, as what’s inside the suitcase.

One of the biggest questions that we want to be answered when upgrading our luggage is; are hard shell suitcases better than their softer counterparts? As suitcases take our world to

another world whilst travelling it’s important to make the right choice. Let’s take a look at both options and get a better idea of the pros and cons of hard and soft luggage options.


Hard Shell Cases



Hard shell suitcases are all about better protection for your valuables.  There are pros and cons to all suitcases but let's break down the hard shell option to help you make that decision!


The Pros - Hard shell luggage


  • Strong and robust and will protect delicate or fragile items whilst in transit

  • More water-resistant than soft cases due to the majority of the case being a thermoplastic which repels water

  • The hard shell plastic takes colour really well so you will find a huge array of fun and brightly coloured hard-shell cases – perfect to ensure they stand out on the carousel

  • Have a 50/50 split opening to help even packing and stability

  • The sides of hard cabin cases will not bulge so are sure to fit through sizers with ease

  • Easier to clean


The Cons - Hard shell luggage


  • Less flexible than soft-sided cases

  • Depending upon the model they can be slightly heavier


Available in both cabin and hold versions, hard shell cases have lots of merits so it’s really up to you to decide. If you are a little worried about the weight, rest assured that Tripp has

pioneered lightweight hard-shell luggage, made from exceptionally lightweight Polypropylene or ABS plastics.


Soft-sided luggage vs Hard Cases


Soft-sided luggage is the more traditional style of a suitcase and still has its appeal. Made of strong hardwearing fabric with a flexible interior, soft cases usually have an external pocket

on the outer front shell meaning you have an easy place to store paperwork or essential grab items. You may be under the impression that soft cases are far less durable than hard

ones but these cases give hard shell cases a good run for their money!


We have included some of the pros and cons to help you decide.


The Pros - Soft shell luggage


  • Expandable options available to increase capacity

  • Easier to store when not in use

  • Far easier to get those final bits and pieces into

  • Availability of external pockets for extra storage and flexibility

  • Marginally lighter than hard cases - that means another book to read around the Pool!


The Cons - Soft shell luggage


  • Weaker protection if you are packing fragile items

  • Although they are shower resistant, they will stain more easily than a hard case

  • Cabin versions may bulge which may cause an issue when using airport sizers


Hard vs soft shell cases - Your questions answered.



Can you fit more in a hard or soft suitcase?


Who doesn’t love to bring home souvenirs and gifts when we travel? But, due to how rigid hard shell cases are, it may not be as easy to fit them into a bag that was already full. Soft

cases and luggage can stretch around the edges meaning an extra few items can be included. Though the more overfilling you do with soft cases the harder it gets to manoeuvre

them into lockers or other tight spaces if needed.


Are hard shell suitcases heavier?


Not necessarily. Advancements in materials mean that suitcase frames weigh a fraction of what they used to. An example is our Tripp ‘Lite 4W’ collection, with a Large 4 Wheel Suitcase which is built using a type of thermoplastic called ABS, offering 110 litres of storage and weighing just 4.6kg. Another fab feature of this case is that it contains 50% recycled ABS!


Do hard shell suitcases crack?



In the past, hard shell cases were known to crack or take on damage easier, especially during baggage handling. Nowadays, with research and innovation in creating hard shell

materials such as thermoplastics and polycarbonates, the majority of modern hard cases can expand and not crack under pressure. As with all Tripp cases, there is a five-year

guarantee that will give you peace of mind and also prove to you just how durable our cases Are!


What are hard shell suitcases made of?


To get the best of both worlds, the most durability and the lightest weight, suitcases are made with high-tech plastics including Polypropylene and ABS.


Polypropylene (PP) is a thermoplastic with many benefits including being water and chemical resistant, highly resistant to corrosion, extremely strong and durable. Car bumpers

are often made from this material so you know you’re in safe hands with a suitcase made from this high impact material..


If your sole focus when seeking a new suitcase is its weight, Polypropylene suitcases are a perfect choice. These cases are perfect if you regularly travel and want to keep weight limits

down. These types of cases have a high flexural strength with robust durability so you can expect them to take any knocks with ease during your travels. We have several luggage

collections that are made using Polypropylene such as our ‘Chic’ and much loved ‘Holiday 6’ range.


ABS Cases


Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is another very light material used in hard shell luggage and is a unique combination of flexibility, strength and lightness. It has a strong

impact resistance and is durable and robust. Motorcycle crash helmets are often made from this material.

You can find a selection of our cases made from this material such as the Absolute Lite Suitcase collection, in both cabin and hold variations. Our ABS cases are made using

recycled materials, with 50% of the shell made from recycled ABS.


Our choice of hard shell cases


We have a great selection of hard shell cases for you to choose from, from stylish and durable cabin bags to large-capacity hard shell family cases. Here are just a few of our

recommendations, all with retractable handles, 4 rotating wheels, and TSA locks.


Tripp ‘Holiday’ Collection


The Tripp ‘World’ collection feature a range of modern and sleek hard shell cases that are extremely lightweight and easily manouvered. Available in three sizes, large, medium and cabin size, our ‘World’ cases come with a wide range of extras such as a slimline trolley handle, internal packing straps, side grab handles, and a TSA combination lock.


View Collection


Discover our full range of hard shell cabin suitcases here.

Discover our full range of hard shell suitcases here.


21st July 2022

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