Travel is one of the most fulfilling experiences and I say that from a personal experience. Travelling gave me a wider perspective — not just how the world can be so big and how there could be so many places to explore but in-depth ones as though I’m simultaneously living as an audience and participant in a real-life show.
It’s interesting to see how individuals go about their day, how they interact with each other, and just the littlest details of life breathing in a different culture and place that I have grown in more than twenty years of my life.
So if there is something that I would like to invest for myself, more than a house, a car, or a pile of notebooks I am never gonna use because they’re too cute to write in with just my ramblings (like what I am doing now), I’d book for a ticket to a country with a seat sale flight and be off to my next travel.
And the next thing I’d invest in? Of course, a versatile, durable, and lightweight luggage set to make sure I’d get the full travel experience with none of the broken luggage drama. But something not too luxurious to break the bank because I’m still a struggling writer trying to pay the bills.
But before we get right into our top five, let’s first take a look at a bit of history of how luggage came to be — from the early developments until today.
Luggage History 101
Early Developments of the Luggage
The early civilization of man was a life of hunting and gathering to survive and with required mobility came the need to carry one’s belongings. But eventually, the concept of settling down became a familiar concept and humans quickly adapted to this new way of living abandoning the life of constant movement.
And with that, long-distance travels slowly diminished. Major changes such as fleeing conflict or pursuing a new life in a different place or region were the only reasons that pushed people to travel.
Then about two thousand years ago, the concept of traveling was reintroduced and revitalized by the Roman Empire through the creation of a complex network of roads. With that, the traveling climate quickly shifted from necessity to a means of business.
Moreover, traveling in leisure for entertainment and adventure became popular. Although not everyone had the opportunity to do such travels.
And this is still reflected in our society today in the 21st century. Travel was limited to those who had the wealth and the status to afford luggage and the means to move it around in the form of wheeled carts pulled by servants or animals.
Today, you can’t travel without paying thousands of dollars for a ticket or for entry in some countries, a visa. Interestingly, the world today is not so much different as before.
Continuing on, the Roman Empire expanded and its traveling armies began a new era, and traveling in large groups of people became more popular which showed us the first glimpse of the early look of the “luggage tag”. Since there were so many people, identifying luggage became difficult and challenging.
Fast forward to the mid-nineteenth century, traveling trunks or luggage designed in the form of heavy and sturdy boxes became popular for long travels and one of the best and well-known at that time is now one of the powerhouse brands in a luxury fashion which is Louis Vuitton.
He was credited for the first travel luggage and has also set precedent for the modern and utilitarian design of luggage with flat tops that can be easily stacked, sturdy handles, multiple internal compartments, and a snap-close feature compared to the round top luggage design during the same time which was an inefficient design that did not utilize and maximize space.
Though this design allowed rainwater to run off instead of collecting which was one of its few good features.
The luggage was meticulously designed in heavy construction of solid bases and frames which made these containers very durable travel partners. It also met the requirements of the new forms of transportation which are mainly by train or by ship and have since then been increasingly popular and expensive.
Since these luggage were heavy and expensive, it again limited travel to the upper-class citizens who had the money to hire others to assist them in moving their luggage.
By the late 19th century, travel became more and more affordable and attainable to everyday people which popularized the term “suitcases” described as miniaturized trucks usually constructed either in wood or leather and are outfitted with features such as hinges, latches, and carry handles gained traction. Initially, suitcases were designed to carry suits, hence the name, and since then evolved.
Major Developments in the 20th century
With the more affordable travel, more people jumped in and started traveling for leisure which pushed the likes of Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing Company (which eventually became Samsonite coined from Samson of the Bible and now one of the most popular bag brands), one of the prominent luggage and leather manufacturers, to answer to the demand by making suitcases aside from their tried-and-true trunks.
In the 1930s, travel by steamships and trains was replaced by commercial flights still the design of the luggage remained the same. It was in 1950 when a change in design was seen with the first aluminum case, the first step towards a lighter yet stronger suitcase for travel. It has an iconic groove design resembling the Junker JU52 airplane and is still used until today.
By the 1960s, Bernard Sadow set the first functional innovation in luggage by affixing four casters and a strap to a suitcase which was then patented in the US as the “Rolling Luggage”. Ten years later, Robert Plath, a Northwest Airlines pilot took on to further innovate the “Rolling Luggage” by adding two wheels and an extending handle to shift the orientation upright and revolutionized the travel industry.
Although it was a revolutionary design, many did not pick it up yet and many men who carried this design were labeled as “sissies” and “women” – a travel piece made for the stewardess and not for the pilots.
The 2000s and beyond
The most significant innovation in luggage design during this time was the introduction of polycarbonate material by Rimowa, a better, lighter, and cheaper alternative to the aluminum case back in the 1950s.
This set a stage and to an extent, a trend among luggage manufacturers and almost all major competitor brands have polycarbonate lightweight luggage in their arsenal today.
Another one in the books of development and innovation was in 2004 when Samsonite introduced its twist to the spinner style luggage by adding in two extra wheels which provided a 360-degree rotation and a gliding feature which is now called the rolling spinner.
What are lightweight luggage sets?
Lightweight luggage sets are generally composed of 2-3 luggage of different sizes which fall within the weight range of 6 pounds at the minimum to 13 pounds for the largest size. There is no actual standard in terms of how light lightweight luggage should be but here is a size chart that most brands follow though not strictly.
|Luggage Size||Length (in)||Pounds||Kilos|
The best lightweight luggage usually weighs between 6 and 8 pounds or roughly 2.7 to 3.6 kilograms. Many recommended lightweight luggage found on the internet are usually under 10 pounds.
Lightweight luggage can be dissected in parts and each plays a role in its lightweightness. These are the parts that manufacturers have put their focus on and have tried to repeatedly innovate to suit the consumer needs and preferences and level up the notch in lightweight gaming.
- The external material which is usually made in polycarbonate or ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) for hard side luggage which has both a high degree of hardness and impact of resistance yet remains lightweight. Additionally, ABS also provides easy processing in terms of shape and has a high heat distortion property. Soft side luggage, on the other hand, is usually made from polyester and nylon (and varieties of it) which are durable ripstop fabrics.
- The luggage frame is designed with honeycomb technology or “air pockets” to reduce weight and enable the frame to bounce back to its original shape after experiencing impact. These are made in light materials like aluminum, graphite, and fiberglass. Although light, these frames can definitely withstand impact and support heavy capacity.
- Features like wheels and telescoping handles are the primary features that provide ease and comfort in the transport of your luggage. These add into the weight and are designed to be as lightweight as possible.
The Top 5 Lightweight Luggage Sets
Here is our share on the many lists of recommended lightweight luggage sets. We scoured the entire collection of Amazon to bring you our top 5 picks.
The #1 Best Seller Carry-on Luggage Set: Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage with Spinner Wheels (3pc set, 20”/24”/28”)
Over a hundred years in the business, Samsonite is one of the leading brands in luggage manufacturing and has produced durable, reliable, stylish, and innovatively functional products. They pride in their craftsmanship that builds confidence and assures consumers a hassle-free travel experience.
This set is available in different color variants but we’re recommending the Caribbean Blue for a stylish take on the classic luggage look. This 3 piece set comes in a 20-inch carry-on weighing 6.8 pounds, and two luggage spinners at 24 inches (8.3 lbs) and 28 inches (10.35 lbs) respectively.
It’s made of polycarbonate material – a favorite among luggage manufacturers due to its hardness and high impact resistance. Aside from that, it can camouflage scratches and blend it with the color of your luggage to maintain the aesthetic.
Another powerful feature of this set is its spinner wheels – a feature best known by Samsonite – which provides a 360-degree turn enabling you to glide this lightweight luggage with ease and in any direction you’d like.
It is equipped with a TSA (Transportation Security Administration) code which provides an extra layer of security to your luggage aside from its secured zippers.
Samsonite isn’t the cheapest brand on the market but it provides consumers with affordable pieces without compromising its quality. You can cop this bad boy lightweight luggage set with a 10-year warranty.
Check it out here!
Always Travel in Style: Kenneth Cole Reaction Reverb Hardside 8-Wheel 3-Piece 20″ Carry-on, 25″, 29″ Luggage Set, Rose Gold
Travel in style with Kenneth Cole Reaction, a luxurious brand sweeping the runway of the New York Fashion Week. Despite it being a luxurious brand, it offers quality luggage under $100 which is considered a steal.
This luggage set comes in a 2 piece set (20”/29”) and a 3 piece set which is our recommended and at the variant rose gold which truly puts the stylish at the front. These are made in ABS material and are a bit heavier than the Samsonite with its smallest size weighing 7.5 pounds and its largest at 12.35 pounds.
Nevertheless, these are still lightweight pieces. ABS has several upsides and closely competes with polycarbonate in terms of resistance to abrasion however in durability, polycarbonate still emerges as the winner. But there are no worries since repairing an ABS hard shell is not as difficult as you think it is.
Also, it is equipped with reinforced corners which add to the overall durability of the luggage.
Like the Samsonite, it has spinner wheels great for easy maneuver and a retractable wheel handle. But reviewers have noted that the best part about the Reverb collection is its compartmentalization features with the bottom compartment having two tie-down straps with tiny pockets aside from the pocket found inside the compartment itself.
On the other hand, its top compartment has a full zippered divider with two slip pockets and one zippered pocket. It also has great expandable capacities which makes it the perfect stylish lightweight luggage set.
Check it out here!
Made to Stand OUT: COOLIFE Luggage 3 Piece Set Suitcase Spinner Hardshell Lightweight TSA Lock 4 Piece Set
If you’re looking for a lightweight luggage set you won’t lose in the airport or anywhere you go, COOLIFE gives you just that. Cop it in either apple green, yellow, or orange and you surely won’t be missing it.
Coolife entered the luggage manufacturing industry in 1999 and aims to provide a good quality travel luggage that is both functional and affordable which gives customers the worth of their money. Most Coolife designs are targeted towards the youth which gives it a young and energetic vibe.
This set is available in 3 pieces at 20 in, 24 in, and 28 in sizes. Its spinner hardshell is made out of the pure and durable ABS material with molded corner guard reinforcements which take durability to the next level.
It has spinner wheels which is always a good feature to have in luggages for easy and light maneuvers. The interior is also one of its selling features with its skirted division and compression straps designed to organize your things while tucking it securely in place. For additional security, it has a TSA accepted lock.
This 3 piece set has a two-year warranty upon purchase.
Check it out here!
The Basic of the Basic: AmazonBasics 3 Piece Softside Carry-On Spinner Luggage Suitcase Set – Navy Blue
This 3 piece set is available in 21”, 25”, and 30” sizes ranging in weight from 5.51 pounds for the smallest size to 7.87 pounds for the 30-inch size which is definitely very lightweight for its size. Usually, large sizes range from 8.15 pounds to 13 pounds (see table above).
This is the soft side lightweight luggage set of our choice which unlike hard side luggage can collapse a bit to fit more easily into tight spaces. It can be expandable up to 25% of its storage aside from its already large capacity. Of course, it has 360-degree spinner wheels which ensure smooth gliding in any direction you’d like.
Although Amazon Basics is not an old brand on the market and does not have as long a good reputation in the luggage manufacturing industry, it still definitely delivers quality. Amazon Basics pride on its three basic tenets in luggage making which is Quality, Simplicity, and Value for Money.
This specific piece is made out of durable polyester fabric so you can rest assured that you will have no luggage problems on your vacation.
Check it out here!
The Deluxe Lightweight Luggage Set: Travel Select Amsterdam Expandable Rolling Upright Luggage, Navy, 8-Piece Set
Yes, you read it right. This deluxe lightweight luggage set offers you an 8 piece travel set. You have a three-piece rolling luggage combined with assorted luggage types perfect for any travel.
As they say, it’s a good investment to buy sets rather than individual pieces because it’s more economical. With its two-tone polyester fabric for its external material with PVC backing, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth with this deluxe set.
You know its good quality when an airline pilot who has raked in thousands of flying miles is assuring you of its quality. In the review, he noted that this deluxe set incorporated all the important features such as “strong zippers, edge protection, strong handles, good quality inline wheels (not casters) with reinforced wheel support and attachments and a good grade extending handle.”
If you’re looking for the deluxe worth of money, we recommend you get this set!
Check it out here!