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Hard Shell Suitcases – Five Plus One

Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.


Artisan made leather duffel bags and soft-shelled suitcases are well and good, but sometimes you just want some assurance that the items you’re traveling with will make it from point A to point B unharmed. And when that’s the case there is no substitute for a good, hard-shelled suitcase. Sure they might be a bit heavier than their soft counterparts and they might be a touch more expensive, but they’ll be with you for years to come.

1) Herschel: Trade Luggage (Medium)

Hard-Shell-Suitcases---Five-Plus-One 1) Herschel: Trade Luggage (Medium)

Herschel might not be the first brand you think of when you are looking for your next suitcase, but they have some solid options such as their hardshelled Trade Luggage. They’re made from a molded synthetic outer material, but still feature a standard fabric suitcase interior (unlike some more industrial hardshells on the market). It features everything you’d want int a suitcase, including four rotating wheels for better maneuverability. And if the size isn’t quite what you’re looking for fear no: they have a wide selection to choose from.

Available for $170 from Herschel.

2) Pelican: EL27 Elite Weekender

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Pelican is a lot of people’s go-to brand for durable, hardshelled luggage, and once you get your hands on one you’ll know exactly why. Their EL27 Elite Weekender model is designed to be a hard-wearing carry-on bag, made from injection molded resin and double walled trim. Pelican is known for their foam-lined cases, but this line of luggage features their “travel system” which includes all the compartments you want for a primary travel bag. All Pelican bags also feature a full weather seal around the closure so they are watertight and even float, should your journey take an unexpected turn.

Available for $420 from Pelican.

3) Globe-Trotter: 20″ Leather Trim Safari

Globe-Trotter has long been the luggage of choice for the aristocratic world traveler. The brand has operated continuously since 1897, when they famously had an elephant stand on top of one of their fiberboard suitcases to showcase its durability. The 20″ Safari is a carry-on made to those same standards, where it takes 10 days to make a single piece of luggage in their factory in Hertfordshire, England. This piece is lightweight and adorned with natural leather for future patina.

Available for $1610 at Net-a-Porter.

4) Rimowa: Salsa Deluxe 22″ Cabin Multiwheel

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Rimowa is another brand known for their high-end hard-shelled suitcases, which are generally made from aluminum. This makes them quite pricey, so it’s nice to see Rimowa release their Salsa Deluxe Cabin suitcase: a hard-shelled suitcase made from polycarbonate. While yes, you are sacrificing some strength you are saving a lot of cash and getting lighter bag overall. Unlike many cases out there, this one is split right down the middle, which gives you even space on both sides to do your packing.

Available for $580 from Blue Button Shop in Black and Brown.

5) Fabbric Pelletterrie Milano: Spinner 68cm Leather-Trimmed Aluminum Suitcase

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Fabbric Pelletterie Milano’s 68cm Spinner Suitcase is about as nice a hardshell suitcase as you can find. The exterior is a ribbed aluminum with reinforced edges, the outer handle and inner straps are calfskin, and it features butterfly latches and combination locking mechanism. The inside compartments are lined and can be secured with the straps, but there is also an inner zipped pocket for more packing options.

Available for $1550 from Mr. Porter in Silver and Gray.

Plus One – Timothy Oulton: Raleigh Spitfire Cases

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Timothy Oulton’s Raleigh Spitfire Cases are about as unique as hardshelled suitcases get, with its patched and riveted aluminum exterior, leather handle, and airplane blueprint inner lining. While the interior is admittedly a bit understated, the elasticated top pocket and large compartment still make it a suitable suitcase for your lighter traveling needs. Plus, this piece can serve just as well as a conversation piece as a piece of luggage. Public reports on this pieces price differ but all seem to fall in the pricey-but-stomachable range.

Price available upon request from Timothy Oulton.