As airlines continue to enforce stricter weight
restrictions for luggage with steep fees, travelers are demanding
ultra-lightweight bags that can stand up to the test, and
luggage makers are responding with high-tech, lighter-than-air
"Every discussion about a new collection starts with weight,"
says Pete Mitchell, director of B2B sales for Samsonite. When
Samsonite saw sales for one of its most popular collections - the Silhouette - decline due to weight issues, it
decided to release a new collection in January 2013 that will
be 16 percent lighter. "The pressure is on for all of us in the luggage business," says Mitchell.
Even carry-on suitcases are slimming down as travelers tire of
lifting heavy bags into cramped overhead bins. "The consumer
doesn't want to lug around a heavy piece of luggage anymore,"
A majority of today's ultra-light luggage is constructed with
high-tech, hard-sided materials. Tumi's Tegra Lite collection,
for example, uses Milliken's Tegris, a proprietary composite
traditionally used to armor Humvees. Filaments of the
ultra-tough material are woven into a fabric that gets
compressed into hard-sided sheets that are virtually
indestructible. "This is the lightest luggage that we make,"
says Mike Landry, director of special markets for Tumi.
The Tegra Lite Extended Trip Packing Case (28129) by Tumi
weighs only 10 pounds, measuring 32 inches long and 20 inches
wide with a depth of 12 inches. It includes four wheels,
TSA-approved integrated locks, and a removable garment sleeve
on the inside. $645, www.tumispecialmarkets.com
Landry says that, because of weight, more consumers are opting
to purchase lighter hard-sided luggage than ever before.
"Hard-sided luggage, in general, has become an up-and-coming
trend," say Landry. "Traditionally," adds Mitchell, "most
Americans were not into hard-sided luggage because they like
expandable luggage. I think that [perception] might be changing
One of Samsonite's lightest hard-sided collections is the
European-made Cosmolite, made of Curv, an exclusive woven
polypropylene-reinforced material that's molded and scalloped
for style. The 20-inch carry-on model (41203) weighs a total
of 6.2 pounds, with a width of 15 inches and a depth of nine
inches, and features four spinners and a TSA-approved
combination lock. $450, email: email@example.com
Another lightweight and durable carry-on model, the
20-inch-tall Dash Upright Luggage (731776) from Brookstone
weighs less than eight pounds, has four spinning wheels, and
expandable sides. "Throw it, kick it, even stand on it," says
Robert Ludwig, Brookstone national sales manager, special
markets. "[This] hard-side luggage will withstand the demands
of even the roughest travel." $100, (800) 964-4387, Brookstone Corporate Sales, www.brookstone.com
The PC4 collection from Hartmann is backed by a 10-year
warranty, having endured a rigorous testing process that
included a simulation of more than 7,000 drops, or 10 years'
worth of harsh wear and tear. The 27-inch Mobile Traveler
Spinner (3053) weighs only 10.6 pounds and is constructed out
of 100-percent virgin four-layer polycarbonate material. It
features Hartmann's signature figure-eight carry handle and an
exclusive divided packing system. $760, email:
The glossy finish and eye-catching lavender hue of the ZERO
Halliburton Zero Air suitcase in pearlescent violet combines function and style. The
23-inch tall model (ZX223) weighs only 6.2 pounds and has
360-degree spinning wheels with a built-in TSA-approved
combination lock. $495,