Travelling can be a stressful endeavour at the best of times. Early starts, endless passport-control queues, labyrinth-like terminal buildings and delayed flights are just a few of the obstacles to contend with.
With this much to worry about, why let a sub-par suitcase or bag cause problems, too? Here we take an in-depth look at men’s luggage including where to shop and what to look for in the perfect travel companion.
The Ultimate Luggage Collection
From checked baggage to something for the weekend, these are the pieces of luggage no frequent flyer should be without.
Whether for business or pleasure, if you spend a lot of time airborne, it pays to be able to get through an airport as swiftly as possible. A carry-on case will help facilitate this. Simply fill it with essentials for a couple of days away and stride directly to departures, bypassing the giant, snaking queue for the check-in desk.
Of course, in a perfect world we wouldn’t have to check any bags at all. But if the trip in question is longer than a few days, a large suitcase is a necessity – and the hard-sided case is our receptacle of choice. It’s durable, it protects valuables from clumsy baggage handlers and if you buy right, it will look the part too. Whether you prefer the slick modernism of an aluminium case or the sophistication of a luxury trunk, there’s something for every type of gent.
Yes, we call it a weekend bag, but it’s really so much more. This mid-sized vessel will see you right for short jaunts away, but also has you covered for the gym, a change of clothes for post-office frivolities and the odd overnight work trip.
It should be large enough to house a few outfit changes, your essential grooming kit, a pair of sneakers (or two) and pretty much anything else you might need to tackle a couple of days on the road. Opt for canvas construction if you need something that can withstand a beating, or a timeless leather option for something a little more refined.
Laptops aren’t cheap, nor are they exactly bulletproof. When you’re travelling with something that fragile and that valuable, it makes sense to protect it. A stylish laptop case is, therefore, a must-have for the modern globetrotting gent. These rectangular receptacles can range from low-profile, zip-up sleeves to full-scale messenger bags. If you intend to cart your computer in your weekender or cabin case, a simple sleeve may be all that’s necessary. Look out for black leather variations, perfectly suited to the corporate workplace.
A dopp kit is the all-in-one solution when it comes to grooming on the go. No frequent traveller should be without one. Whether its canvas, nylon or leather, a well-stocked wash bag should include shaving gear, a toothbrush, nail clippers and anything else you might need to keep your personal hygiene in check on the fly. Keep an eye out for wipe-clean internal linings, for those inevitable spillages.
We fill suitcases with our most prized possessions only to hand them over to a stranger, letting them out of our sight for hours or even days at a time. A sturdy combination lock can help restore peace of mind. Some brands, like Rimowa, go as far as to employ a key and a combi-lock to keep things twice as secure. Look out for these and other security features when shopping for your next piece of baggage – you can never be too careful.
Aside from looking at fabrics and construction, a good way to denote the quality of a bag or case is to inspect its hardware. Straps, handles, locks, zips and such should be sturdy, robust and free of any flaws, with additional reinforcing at stress points. Take extra care to examine things like the casters on a suitcase or the type of metal used for a weekend bag’s buckles – these are the small but important details that determine whether a piece of luggage will last you 20 years or 20 minutes. Ever had your suitcase handle break while sprinting to catch your connecting flight? Not fun.
Next to hardware, construction and fabrication are dead giveaways of quality (or lack thereof). Materials should be premium if reflected in the price. Look for soft leather, thick canvas, high-grade metals and ensure not a stitch is out of place. Don’t forget to check inside, too.
Storage And Organisation
What is your new bag or case going to be primarily used for: carrying work documents and a laptop? Hauling sweaty gym gear around? Transporting your finest clothes and shoes on vacation? Whatever it is, pick a receptacle with pockets and compartments that match its intended use. Some holdalls, for example, come equipped with a separate compartment for storing gym trainers, while many suitcases and carry-ons now offer storage solutions for your tech, integrated suit carriers and even detachable laundry bags.
Key Luggage Brands For Stylish Travellers
From the iconic monogram prints of Louis Vuitton to the robust metal trunks offered by Rimowa, here are the brands you should consider when it comes to sourcing high-end luggage.
Louis Vuitton has long been synonymous with luxurious luggage. Now one of the most respected fashion houses on the planet, the French label began life crafting trunks and cases for the Parisian elite.
Today, you don’t have to be a French aristocrat to get your hands on one of their cases, but it certainly helps. LV luggage comes with higher price tags, but make the investment and you’ll be rewarded with truly magnificent craftsmanship, the finest materials and a piece of luggage that will likely be passed down for generations, long after you’ve checked it in for the final time.
Over the past decade Carl Friedrik (featured image, top) has been forging a reputation amongst men in the know as the go-to label for slick, minimalist bags. Founded by brothers Niklas and Mattis Oppermann, their output consists largely of contemporary leather luggage – including weekenders, briefcases, messengers, backpacks and passport covers – but they are soon to launch their first suitcase.
The Carry-On (£295) is a heritage-inspired case crafted from lightweight polycarbonate, reinforced with a rigid aluminium lock frame and Italian leather detailing. But that’s not all. Compression straps on each side ensure your garments stay put, while a separating pad with two zipped compartments for smaller items ensures nothing falls out when opening and closing the case. Optional extras include monogramming for that personal touch, and a removable power bank so your devices never run out of juice.
Beautifully executed, like everything else in their well-curated range, it’s available to pre-order now with a 20% discount. We’d advise getting on the list early as the first batch is bound to sell out.
Globe-Trotter’s hard trunks are famously sturdy. So sturdy, in fact, that the iconic brand once proved their robustness by having an elephant stand on one. They’re also incredibly lightweight – something you’ll no doubt be glad of when hauling it around the airport.
This trademark build quality has seen Globe-Trotter become the luggage provider of choice for some of the most famous names of the last 100 years – Winston Churchill and the Queen of England to name just two. If you’re looking for a well-built design that harks back to the golden days of the Jet Set, look no further.
For true, British-made quality, look no further than Dunhill. The century-old leather goods label has gained a reputation among those in the know as the finest purveyor of leather bags around.
The brand’s luxury luggage is painstakingly crafted from the finest Italian leather, before being thoroughly treated to protect it against the elements. As a result, these bags sit at the upper end of the pricing spectrum, but craftsmanship this refined is well worth the investment.
Having burst onto the market in 2015, Away is a relative newcomer in the world of high-end luggage. Still, what it lacks in heritage it more than compensates for in quality and good looks.
The New York-based label is known for it’s simple yet efficient, mid-priced bags that offer travellers everything they need to take to the skies – and nothing they don’t. These are cases that will stand the test of time while setting you back less than the cost of your flight. For premium builds on a budget, Away is one of the best.
German luggage label Rimowa is well over 100 years old. Historically, it produced bags and cases using all sorts of materials, but when a fire burned down its factory in the 1930s all that was left was aluminium.
The resulting metal cases have become a design hallmark as iconic as LV’s monogram. A Rimowa suitcase is instantly recognisable, and the aluminium construction makes them some of the sturdiest vessels money can buy. There are also plenty of polycarbonate options for those who want something a little different, with no sacrifice in quality.