Hard or soft shell luggage? Which is best for you?

What’s the difference between hard and soft suitcases? We’ve got all you need to know. Here’s a quick lowdown: hard cases offer total protection for your belongings, they keep things nicely organized, they’re easy to clean and some models expand for more room; soft cases are tough, the side pockets are great for quick access, the material is long-lasting and it’s easy to stuff in a little bit extra at the last minute.

Read on for more details and consider this: you can mix it up – soft case carry-on, hard-case checked luggage or vice versa – depending on your needs.

The advantages of hardside luggage

It keeps your belongings safe and secure
A hard shell suitcase is a great option if you want protection for fragile possessions and delicate electronics.

It protects your belongings from the elements
A tough exterior keeps moisture from rain, snow and puddles away from your valuables, helping everything get to your destination in the same condition you packed it.

It’s easy to clean
Don’t worry about dragging your suitcase through the mud. A wipe of a wet cloth usually does it – thanks to state-of-the art, scratch-resistant technology.

The advantages of softside luggage

It’s strong and versatile
Soft shell luggage is highly resistant to wear and tear. It’s strong but versatile – so you can pack those one or two – or three – extra things you wish to bring at the last minute.

It offers easy access
The soft material lets you easily slip a hand into a side pocket or the main case. Just zip open the bag and grab what you need.

It’s flexible
With its flexible edges, softside luggage stacks well in the car making it ideal for road trips and for other tight storing space.

What to consider for business or vacation


Practical luggage
Keep your things organized and easy to access. Compartments, side pockets and quick-zip openings save time. Some carry-on cases have USB ports, so you always have a place to charge things.

Peace of mind
Knowing your valuable electronics and gadgets are safely tucked in a robust bag helps you relax. Suits, shirts and dresses are protected from the elements and come out less wrinkled. Side compartments for laptops get you through security quicker.

Ergonomic and maneuverable
Four wheels get into small spaces and are easier to turn around in a crowd. A high-quality telescopic handle and lightweight bags are much kinder to your body


Space and flexibility
Expandable hard cases give you room for extra sweaters or purchases. Outside pockets are great for things to grab along the way: small toys for your kids; everyone’s tickets and passports.

Extra strong and durable
A long stopover or trip isn’t just hard on you. A tough suitcase gets everything there and back in one piece.

​​​​​​​Easy to clean
Dirt and stains can build up after many long trips. Look for materials that are easy to care for. This will keep your luggage looking good for a long time.

Our recommendation: the best of both worlds

The Spectra 3.0 collection is the optimal combination of both soft shell and hard shell. Made using sustainable materials in the uncompromising quality you’re used to from us, these expandable hard cases not only provide a tough exterior. They also include the front opening usually found in soft shell cases, making it easy to access your belongings.
  • With an innovative SORPLAS™ recycled polycarbonate shell
  • Volume is expandable up to 40%
  • Versatile openings and compartments
Spectra 3.0 Collection
Learn more about Spectra 3.0

Frequently asked questions

Hardside Luggage

  • What is a hard suitcase?
    The clam shell aspect of a hard suitcase protects the contents from hard knocks and outside elements. Tailored systems keep everyone out except you and security personnel.
  • Is it scratch resistant?
    Our hardside cases are made in top quality polycarbonate. This provides exceptional impact resistance, and its signature rib design and chamfered edges minimize scratches.
  • Is it flexible?
    With some cases that are expandable from 20-40%, our hard cases let you decide how much to bring and take home.

Softside Luggage

  • What is soft luggage?
    The outside of what is called a “soft” suitcase is made of robust textiles and usually has a side pocket for things you need as you travel.
  • Is soft luggage water-resistant?
    Today’s durable, long-lasting fabric make soft cases more resistant to moisture.
  • Can soft luggage protect fragile belongings?
    The super-strong inner frames are highly resistant to weight and pressure, protecting your valuables inside.
  • Is soft luggage less stylish?
    ​​​​​​​ Soft suitcases look very smart and tend to remain that way for a long time – thanks to their resistance to wear and tear.