Heading off to college is one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking times in a student’s life. They’ll have to prepare to make a big move and this alone is already quite stressful. Having to worry about getting good luggage is something that students should not have to deal with. In this review, we hope to take away some of that stress and worry by helping you figure out the best luggage for college students, so you don’t have to.
Luggage can come in different styles, colors, and sizes. They also have many features, such as built-in locks, hidden compartments, spinner wheels, and so on. Depending on the brand, you may have some or all of these nifty features. With that said, the most important criteria in selecting a bag is finding one that can fit all of your belongings, protect them, and is not a burden for you to carry. Below are our recommendations for the best luggage for college students.
Best Luggage for College Students Review
Travelpro Maxlite 5
The Travelpro Maxlite 5 is the newest member in Travelpro’s acclaimed series of luggage bags. It has many features you’ve come to expect from Travelpro, such as how roomy it is, and the ability to expand to fit even more items. This carry-on is lightweight, with durable structured walls, large wheels, and soft sides.
College students will no doubt have to bring a laptop, and the Maxlite 5 has a large external pocket where you can store a 16” laptop. Measuring in at 21 x 14 x 9 inches (48.4 x 31 x 20 cm), with 4 wheel spinners that rotate 360 degrees and the PowerScope handle with a contoured, ergonomic grip, makes maneuvering this bag a joy.
- Roomy and lightweight, with a flexible yet sturdy exterior.
- 360 degree spinner wheels roll and maneuvers smoothly.
- Lots of compartments and zippers for easy access to frequently used items.
- Interior straps keeps belongings secure and allows for tighter packing.
- Ergonomic and contoured handle.
- May tip if placed on an angle, stability may be an issue.
- Wheels are small and does not handle rough terrain or thick carpets well.
Samsonite Freeform Expandable Hardside Luggage
Samsonite is known for making durable, high quality luggage, and the Freeform Expandable Hardside Luggage is specifically built to last with its impact-resistant polypropylene shell.
The exterior has scratch-resistant properties, but at the same time its light construction means you can easily move it around without being weighed down. The 360 degree spinner wheels makes it a breeze to push from any angle, and walking with it feels smooth thanks to its multi-stage aluminum pull handle.
Security is often an issue for college students, but the TSA compatible combination lock will make it difficult for any would-be thief to get inside. The Samsonite Freeform is compact and conforms to the strictest airline carry-on standards in terms of size and weight. The 21” spinner version has dimensions of 20.5 x 14.5 x 10 inches (45 x 32 x 22 cm) and weighs 6.5 lbs (3 kgs).
- Made from durable polypropylene.
- TSA combination lock makes it hard for thieves to get in.
- Light, yet durable shell will endure the hardships of modern travel.
- 10 year limited warranty.
- The surface scratches easily, and it may lose its sleek look after a few months.
- Customers had issues figuring out the lock.
High Sierra AT3 Wheeled Duffel Bag
The High Sierra AT3 Wheeled Duffel Bag is a great choice for bumpy terrain. Furthermore, it is three bags in one; you can use it as a regular backpack, a duffel, or wheeled upright. Additionally, it has an expandable compartment so you can fit a lot more into it than meets the eye. It comes with a padded shoulder strap built-in for comfort when carrying it around your shoulders.
This luggage bag has well-hidden compartment at the back designed specifically for storing valuable items and securing it. Its dimensions are 32 x 15.5 x 15.75 inches (81 x 39 x 40 cm), and it can expand an additional 2 inches (5 cm). While empty, it weighs 11 pounds (5 kgs).
- 3-in-1 design makes it a versatile bag to have around.
- Easily accessible front-load pockets.
- Water repellent.
- Expands additional 2 inches for extra storage space.
- Shoddy zippers.
- Some users have noted that the manufacturer may have decreased the quality of the material recently, making it less durable.
Best Luggage for College Students Buying Guide
With so many designs and models to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which one is the best for college students. In this section, we are going to go over the top factors to consider when shopping for luggage.
It is important that your luggage can withstand the rigors of frequent travelling. You may be surprised by how often you’ll need it. In addition to using it at the start and end of the school year, you’ll also take it with you on all visits back home and on weekend or holiday excursions. With so many trips, you need luggage that is dependable.
While having a strong luggage bag is something to be desired, we found that no matter how well-made and expensive a bag is, it will inevitably take a beating in the airport baggage handling system. It may be preferable to look for luggage that is soft-shelled so that it won’t crack or get scratched up when tossed around by airport employees.
Soft or Hardshell Suitcases
In addition to being less susceptible to damage, softshell suitcases are lighter than their hardshell counterparts and can be squeezed into smaller spaces. When empty, they take up the least amount of space. They are ideal for putting in soft items like clothing that won’t suffer any damage if squished.
On the other hand, hardshell suitcases are better suited for protecting delicate items. They have more features to protect the contents against theft, and some are even waterproof.
Two-Wheel or Four-Wheel Suitcases
Most modern bags come in two or four-wheel varieties. Even some large backpacks have wheels so that you can lug it around. Two-wheel suitcases can retract into the case so that it won’t get damaged on bumpy surfaces.
When you are walking around town, two-wheel suitcases work just fine. However, four-wheel suitcases have spinner wheels that is built for maneuvering across uneven spaces such as airplane aisles and trains. The decision of selecting a two-wheel or four-wheel suitcase depends on your transportation options and the terrain of where you’re going
Depending on the brand, you may be paying a premium for features that other brands have as well. Don’t just buy the first bag or suitcase you see that fits your criteria, because there are probably many others like it at varying prices. Of course, reading customer reviews can help you make a decision on whether the quality of the luggage bag is worth the price.
On the other hand, getting the cheapest bag you can find may get you a low-quality bag that cracks, tears, or suffers extensive damage very quickly. You don’t want to go luggage hunting again so soon.
The color of your luggage bags is more than just for fashion, though looking good is certainly important. When you’ve landed after a long trip and are in the luggage pick-up area, you just want to get your bag and get out as quickly as possible. You might want a suitcase with a specific color that you can pick out amongst a pile of other suitcases. However, what stands out may not necessarily look fashionable, so this can be a little tricky.
Having enough compartments in your bag is great for organizational purposes so that you know where everything is and can pack efficiently. Furthermore, you can separate the types of items you are bringing, such as keeping shoes separate from clothes, and liquid substances in their own section so that a spill won’t ruin all of your clothes.
If you’ve got a lot of things to bring, you need a bag that is big enough to carry it all. In addition, make sure you’re packing smart and only bringing the essentials. Do you really need 20 pairs of underwear? Regardless, the size of the luggage is beneficial when you’ve got a lot to carry, but it becomes a problem once you’ve arrived at your dorm room and unpacked everything.
Now you’ve got a lot of stuff with you, but also a huge honking empty luggage bag that is going to take up a lot of space in storage. We recommend looking for duffle bag types, or suitcases that can nest inside each other. Duffels are great for short trips, and nested bags or suitcases for big trips that require more items. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, just stick it under your bed and forget about it until you need it next!
As the name suggests, modular luggage is a type of luggage where each component can be added or removed to make a kind of customizable bag. If there are any sections you don’t need, you can remove it, or you can connect a whole bunch of them together.
The downside of using modular luggage is that they are not compatible with other modular luggage. Thus, if you are considering buying them, make sure you buy them all from the same brand as a set to ensure compatibility. Also, there is the potential to lose individual components if you decide you don’t need a section for a trip, then you forget where you stored it.
The Importance of Luggage for College Students
Comfort and Ease of Travel
Going off to college is an important milestone in any student’s life. For many, this is their first time leaving the familiarity of home and the safety net of having mom and dad around. Since students are leaving their comfort zone to go live in a new environment, luggage is a way to bring a sense of home with them.
It provides a level of comfort and assurance that things are going to be okay. Furthermore, high quality luggage bags will make it convenient and safe to bring valuable possessions with them hundreds of miles away without getting damaged. Their many compartments make is easy to pack everything nice and neatly. They allow students to carry their belongings conveniently, thanks to their spinner or roller wheels.
Protect Your Possessions
In addition to protecting one’s belongings from damage during travel, luggage cases can also protect from theft. College is a new environment with hundreds, if not thousands of people from different places all over the world. Students will be exposed to all kinds of people, most of them good, but there will be some bad apples in the bunch.
If a student brings with them an item of great personal value that cannot be replaced, they must do everything they can to ensure it is safe. Many luggage bags for college students can be secured with a lock. If a thief really wanted to get in, they still could, but it would be enough of a deterrent for most people.
Even though the focus of this article is about the best luggage for college students, it just so happens that they can also be used for more occasions. For example, leisurely travel such as a holiday trip or vacation; just use the college luggage and don’t worry about getting more bags.
The Bottom Line
The many life-changing and memorable moments you’ll experience as a college student comes from the friendships, experiences both good and bad, as well as formal education you’ll receive at school. These will help you grow as a person to be a well-adjusted, hardworking adult that can contribute back to society in a meaningful way.
And it would be a shame if something as silly as bad luggage and moving woes plagued your college experience every 3 months. So do some quick research (the fact that you’re here means you’re already doing it, good job!) to ensure this part of your college experience goes as smoothly as possible. And most importantly, make the most of your time in college. Good luck!