For the 50+ Traveler

1
Samsonite Winfield Luggage

Top Pick
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Over 3,500 four- and five-star reviews rocketed this sleek hard shell luggage set to the top of our list. Samsonite is a trusted brand among travelers, and its Winfield lineup is available in 11 colors and multiple sets. You can buy it two or three pieces at a time, or opt for a carry on, large checked luggage suitcase, or medium checked luggage suitcase.

Reviewers call this an incredibly high quality hard shell set at any price point and emphasize that Winfield luggage represents the union of features, durability, and value. One reviewer reported that his luggage has held up for 60+ flights.

While the majority of reviewers give this luggage clear votes of confidence, some say it’s too heavy, that it scuffs easily, and that the handles are not attached well. Very few reviewers report shell cracking, and the luggage set’s 360 spinner wheels are definitely a high note in the reviews.

Key Features

  • Built-in, TSA compatible combination locks
  • Small 360-degree spinner wheels
  • Made by Samsonite -- a trusted luggage brand

Specifications

  • Brand: Samsonite
  • Pieces: Depends on set ordered

Pros

  • Comes in different luggage combinations and colors
  • Wide, push-button handles
  • Interior organization features include adjustable straps and mesh dividers

Cons

  • More expensive than some other options
  • May scuff easily
  • Not all buyers like the way the handles attach to the luggage

2
Coolife Luggage 3 Piece Set

Honorable Mention
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This Coolife three-piece luggage set comes at a cool price, ringing up for less than half the cost of our top pick. Like the Samsonite Winfield luggage, the pieces in this set have 360-degree spinner wheels, locking push-button handles, built-in TSA-approved locks, and numerous ways to keep organized, including mesh panels and adjustable interior straps.

You can have your pick of 16 different colors from classic black and navy to red, blue, and even champagne. Over 75 percent of 3,000+ reviewers award the set five stars, many calling it a great buy and shouting out the smooth-gliding wheels.

Unfortunately, multiple buyers have experienced problems getting the locks open (at least one claims the locks are not TSA approved), and a few have said their luggage had small cracks after just one or two flights. Others call these good suitcases with poor handles that have either broken or drop, making them difficult to maneuver comfortably.

Key Features

  • Built-in, TSA-compatible combination locks
  • Push-button, locking handles
  • Small, multidirectional spinner wheels

Specifications

  • Brand: Coolife
  • Pieces: 3

Pros

  • Interior organization features include adjustable straps and mesh dividers
  • Sized to nest one inside the other for storage
  • More affordable than some other options

Cons

  • May show signs of wear, including cracks, after just a few flights
  • Some buyers have had trouble getting the locks open when they receive their luggage
  • Handles may break or drop, making luggage hard to maneuver

3
Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds Luggage

Also Consider
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Like the Samsonite Winfield collection, the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds luggage comes with a brand-name and different buying options. You can go for a two-piece or three-piece, set, or buy individual pieces separately in one of 12 colors.

Out of Bounds luggage features multidirectional wheels, push-button handles, interior organization features including a zippered divider (though it’s not mesh, so you can’t see through it), and adjustable straps.

Over 80 percent of reviewers give this hard shell luggage either four or five stars, calling it sturdy and a great option for the price, with multiple reviewers noting that they love the luggage’s colors and aesthetic. That said, many reviewers are less than satisfied with the handles and wheels, noting that the handles are either not long enough, feel flimsy, or break, and that the wheels do not roll as smoothly as they’d hoped.

Key Features

  • No built-in locks
  • Push-button, locking handles
  • Small, multidirectional spinner wheels

Specifications

  • Brand: Kenneth Cole Reaction
  • Pieces: Depends on set ordered

Pros

  • Brand-name option
  • Different luggage combinations and color options available
  • More affordable than some other options

Cons

  • Handles are not as long or sturdy as some other brands
  • Wheels may not roll smoothly

4
COTRUNKAGE Luggage Sets

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If you’re after hard shell luggage because you want something that will truly stand out on the carousel, your interest may be piqued by COTRUNKAGE’s unique suitcase lineup. Unlike the more mod-looking options we’ve explored thus far, COTRUNKAGE’s hard shell suitcases speak of a bygone era of travel that you might get to relive just a little as you maneuver through the hotel lobby and airport terminal in style.

This two-piece luggage set comes with a 20-inch rolling carry-on; a 13-inch train case, which will fit cosmetics and other small items, with a shoulder strap; and a detachable hanging bag that snaps into the 20-inch suitcase.

The luggage’s TSA locks require keys, which at least one buyer said were missing or locked inside when her purchase arrived. And while 85 percent of reviewers give the set four or five stars, many note that the suitcases are small, so buy with that in mind!

Key Features

  • Leather-look synthetic exterior
  • Built-in, TSA-compatible key locks
  • Small, 360-degree spinner wheels

Specifications

  • Brand: COTRUNKAGE
  • Pieces: 3

Pros

  • Unique vintage-inspired aesthetic
  • Matching, detachable hanging bag included
  • Multiple mesh organization compartments

Cons

  • Keys to lock can be lost or misplaced
  • Small size isn’t well suited to longer trips

5
Wrangler Smart Hardside Luggage With USB Charging Port

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A hard shell carry-on with a dedicated spot for your java? Yes please!

That’s right -- coffee lovers (or any traveler who’s committed to staying hydrated en route), rejoice! Wrangler’s three-piece Smart Hardside luggage set includes a carry-on with a built-in cupholder and a USB charging port. The internal organization system is fairly straightforward, with a zippered divider (not mesh, so you can’t see through it), adjustable straps, and a zippered pocket.

Not all buyers are fans of the push-button handles, which some say can be a bit wobbly and dent easily. That said, almost 85 percent of reviewers give the set four or five stars, and only one reviewer (out of nearly 200) reported one of their suitcases cracked during transit.

Key Features

  • USB port
  • Small multidirectional spinner wheels
  • Zippered divider and internal pocket

Specifications

  • Brand: Wrangler
  • Pieces: 3

Pros

  • Available in 4 colors
  • External drink holder on carry-on
  • Zippered expander

Cons

  • Charging brick is not included
  • Handles may feel wobbly
Related:

If you’re considering investing in a hard shell luggage set for the first time, here are a few things to consider in addition to overall quality.

Wheel Type

The type and size of your hard shell luggage wheels will contribute to how smoothly you’ll roll. Some pieces of luggage are built with rubber or inline skate wheels, which are known for being especially smooth and quiet. Smaller, plasticky wheels will be louder and not as smooth. Some travelers actually buy replacement wheels for their luggage, but obviously this entails additional expense and time.

Set Or Individual Pieces

A lot of hard shell luggage is sold in sets, but you only have two hands. Can you really manage three roller suitcases? Purchasing a set could be a good idea if you’re buying for yourself and a travel buddy, or if you take different kinds of trips and can use different pieces for different getaways. Otherwise, purchasing your hard shell luggage by the piece may be best for you. If you buy from a trusted brand that offers a lineup you like, odds are, you can get another piece in the same color and style if you decide to expand your collection later.

Size And Expandability

This brings us to size and expandability. Unlike soft-sided luggage and duffel bags, there’s a limit to what you can pack inside of hard shell luggage that isn’t as easily ... tested (anyone who’s sat or stomped on their suitcase while zipping it up knows what I’m talking about). Make sure you get a hard shell suitcase that’s big enough, but not too large to fit wherever it needs to go (again, hard shell cases that legitimately cannot be overstuffed also cannot be squished down without the risk of cracking).

Some hardshell options, like Wrangler’s Smart Hardside Luggage, actually do expand thanks to a zipper system that affords optimistic packers a little wiggle room, but this is not the norm.

Locks Or No Locks

Part of the appeal of hard shell luggage is that it keeps whatever you pack inside safe and secure, and TSA-approved locks can contribute to this, too. Some hard shell luggage comes with locks -- either combination or key -- built in, and you’ll want to make sure they’re TSA approved to avoid frustrating delays (and potentially having to unpack and repack ... somehow) at the airport. Keep in mind that you’re in trouble if you forget your combination or lose your luggage key, and that if you like a hard shell luggage set that doesn’t involve locks, you can always buy some to attach to the zippers as needed.

Overall Aesthetic And Upkeep

Most hard shell luggage looks sharp and either streamlined or a little new age. That’s probably partially what’s attracted you to it. There are also some vintage-inspired options, like COTRUNKAGE’s luggage sets. Whatever look you decide on, understand that just as soft-shell luggage can buckle and fray, hard shell luggage can scuff and scratch, and eventually it may sustain a few cracks or dents depending on the external material and how many miles and carousel rides you put on it.

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