One of our favorite New Year’s resolutions is the goal to travel more. Obviously, traveling “more” is a relative goal. For some guys, it means making an effort to actually make plans to use the vacation days they accumulate to go somewhere new. For others, it’s about making a conscious effort to branch out from the same few vacation destinations and venture out to new getaway spots, either halfway around the world or within long-weekend range. And for others, the resolution means actually biting the bullet, getting that passport, and starting to explore the countries that have always been on your bucket list.
Regardless of what kind of travel you have planned for 2016, resolving to travel more often necessitates an important but often overlooked investment: high-quality luggage. You probably don’t need an extensive, matching set, in the style of The Darjeeling Limited. But you do need one or two pieces of luggage that can stand up to the abuse of airport baggage handling and provide plenty of space for the clothes you need for a weekend or week-long getaway — all while working well with your style and aesthetics.
Ready to invest in a brand-new piece of luggage or two for all of the traveling you’ll do in 2016? Take a look at our top picks for stylish but hard-wearing pieces of luggage that you’ll be proud to wheel through the airport or throw in the trunk of your car.
1. Samsonite S’Cure spinners
If you’re looking for a suitcase that’s lightweight and easy to maneuver through airport security, but sturdy and almost impossible to crush for those times when you opt to check your bag, a hardside spinner is a great way to go. Samsonite’s S’Cure line of spinners is a great choice, with a 55-centimeter size for the most minimal packer, a 75-centimeter size for the guy who needs more space, and an 81-centimeter size for the guy who doesn’t want to leave things behind on extended adventures away from home. Each one is lightweight and spacious, with minimal styling, plus spinner wheels that make it easy to handle in even the most crowded airport.
2. Rimowa Salsa Air cases
Ramona’s suitcases are another great choice if you want a lightweight but resilient piece of luggage. The sleek navy blue cases are made of the same polycarbonate material that’s used to build motorcycle helmets, and the 55-centimeter, 68-centimeter, and 78-centimeter cases are great at protecting your belongings without weighing you down. Unsure of what size you need? If you’re planning mostly weekend getaways, or have a pretty minimal travel wardrobe in the first place, smaller is probably better. (A smaller suitcase can usually be carried on instead of checked, which can save you in hefty checking fees.) If you’re planning extended or international adventures, on the other hand, you might want to opt for a case with more space, particularly if you’re going to need warm clothes like bulky sweaters or jackets.
3. Victorinox Swiss Army spinners
If you like the idea of a hardside case, but aren’t a fan of having to open the entire case when you want to grab the book or the phone charger that you stashed on top, then a suitcase with a front quick-access door might be a great fit. Consider Victorinox Swiss Army’s line of dual-access suitcases, which range from a 21-inch carry-on size to a 26-inch spinner to a 29-inch size perfect for longer trips. Each one is made of sturdy and scratch-resistant polycarbonate, and are equally easy to pack and unpack. They also come in black, white, or red, so that you can choose which color will work best with the clothes you wear most while traveling.
4. Steamline Luggage cases
Opting for a rolling bag doesn’t mean that you need to choose a bag with modern, minimal styling. If you’re a guy with a traditional sense of style, consider a handcrafted piece of luggage from Steamline, a brand that creates luggage that looks like baggage from another era (but still uses durable polyurethane and aluminum handles). Opt for the brand’s 18.75-inch carry-on case or its 22.75-inch stowaway case, both of which are offered in an eye-catching red that’ll keep someone else from grabbing your suitcase at the baggage carousel by mistake.
5. Filson duffel bag
Rolling suitcases aren’t for everyone. But preferring a bag that you can sling over your shoulder doesn’t mean that you need to opt for a piece of luggage that’s going to fall apart after a few years of heavy use. Filson’s rugged duffel bag, constructed of rain-repellent twill, is a great choice for guys who are looking for a classic option. Filson has been making hard-wearing goods since 1897, and the brand’s duffel is equally well-suited for a trip to a new city or an excursion to a rural setting (especially if you’re staying in a cabin without a smooth sidewalk for you to roll your suitcase up to the front door).
6. T. Anthony weekender duffel
If you like the idea of a duffel but want something minimal rather than rugged, T. Anthony’s weekender duffel may be the bag for you. The canvas duffel, which is offered in red, black, or blue, sports leather trim and a detachable shoulder strap, which makes it easy to choose whether you want to carry it over your shoulder or by hand. The bag also features a number of different compartments and pockets, which can make keeping track of items like your toiletries or electronics an easy task.
7. J.W. Hulme leather duffel
For guys who have had a duffel before and know that the shape works for them, upgrading to a duffel that’s going to last for decades to come can be a smart investment. J.W. Hulme’s small leather duffel bag is made of beautifully tanned and hand-buffed leather that will acquire a gorgeous patina throughout your travels. Even better, the bag, which is made in the United States, is guaranteed for life. The bag is resistant to rain and dust, and features a detachable and adjustable shoulder strap to make it easier for you to carry the bag when it’s packed full of all the essentials you need for a weekend trip or longer travels.
8. Bric’s Pronto luggage
Another great option if you prefer a softer bag (and the freedom it gives you to stuff in more tees and pairs of socks) is Bric’s Pronto line of luggage. With minimal styling in an underrated neutral, olive green, these bags are crafted with nylon and leather. The line includes a cargo duffel, 21-inch rolling duffel, a 28-inch rolling duffel, a 30-inch spinner, a 25-inch spinner, and a 20-inch wide-body spinner. That means that every guy, regardless of his packing habits and stature, can find the perfect size and shape (or can mix and match for a set that’s perfect for every kind of traveling you have planned in 2016).
9. Globe-Trotter carry-on
If you’re a fan of the classic look and are really looking to splurge, then our suggestion would be to go with the gold standard of timeless luggage: Globe-Trotter. The British brand handcrafts its pieces, employing methods that it began using in 1897. While the brand offers many different sizes of its iconic suitcases, our favorite is the 21-inch carry-on, since you’ll be able to use it on long sojourns abroad or brief weekend trips alike. It’s also offered in gray, black, or navy blue, which makes choosing one that fits your preferred color palette a breeze.