It never fails. No matter the name, durability or cost, none of my soft shell suitcases ever last. The wheels bust, the zippers get ripped off and the handles get stuck. As if worrying about the airline loosing luggage doesn’t create enough stress. The contents of my checked bags are also always opened because they include so many electronics. The TSA is kind enough to leave behind a card saying so but it’s still disconcerting.
Am I guilty of over stuffing my bags? Well, sheepishly, on occasion, I admit I am and that contributes to broken zippers. Then again, I’ve had zippers break when I didn’t over stuff my bag.
And, God bless the poor soul who has to cope with his or her clothes sprayed all over the baggage carousel coming off the chute. We’ve all seen it happen.
When this happens, buying expensive luggage at the airport is the only solution. To avoid this, I’ve learned to bring gaffers tape for minor fixes and a large garbage bag. The garbage bag is used as a way of preventing items from spilling onto the conveyer belt – sort-of like a suitcase ‘liner’ so even if the top flap opens the guts won’t come pouring out.
Some travelers shrink wrap if they are worried about theft or fragile items breaking. Then again, when you shrink wrap, people know you’re now carrying valuables. That’s a catch-22.
Given the cost of video equipment, I opted for this method once when I was working in a country notorious for pilferage. I very rarely see shrink wrapping machines in the United States and the method won’t stop airport security from opening your bags anyway. Locking your suitcase is treated the same.
Sometimes, I use the services of Fedex and UPS to ship bulk equipment saving me money and energy. However, even these services have done me wrong. Last year, I had a gig in San Antonio and Fedex busted a glass lens for one my industrial lights. It cost me more than the gig paid to replace it.
After I finish writing this, I’m going hard shell searching. All travel articles suggest that hard shell suitcases offer good protection and rarely crack or dent. If anybody has any experience with lightweight Polycarbonate, can you tell me which brand you use?
Many thanks travelers.