In an ideal world we’d expense flights to the best holiday destinations simply to put our luggage through the sort of real-world tests that you’d do yourself. Our budgets not being in the tens of thousands, we have to find more appropriate ways to simulate those situations at home.
First off, we fill the cases up with a mixture of heavy and soft items and zip them up. We walk them around inside our homes, across hardwood floors, thick carpets, thin rugs — exactly the sort of surfaces you’d find in your own home and inside the various hotels, Airbnb rooms and guest houses you’ll find on your travels. Then we throw them down the stairs. Not because we’re cruel, but because this is a great way of simulating the sort of brutal treatment the cases will likely get from airport baggage handlers.
Cases are frequently broken by baggage handlers being too rough, with snapped wheels being all too common. So we drop them on their wheels from all angles again and again. And then again. We pull on them and twist them. We put pressure on the handle. Can it support our weight and can it put up with being dragged around in a bad mood when your flight was delayed and you missed dinner service at your hotel?
We take them outside, still full of heavy items, and drag them over sidewalk paving stones, along old cobbled streets and up and down kerbs. Do they wobble? Do the wheels rattle? Do the handles bend? Do they scratch? These are all the things we look out for. Finally we look close up at the zips and materials to check for any signs of loose stitching or other manufacturer defects that suggest that quality control could be better.
If they don’t survive the tests, they don’t make the list.