Consumer Report: Make sure you have reliable luggage ahead of holiday travel

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The holidays are right around the corner, and while you’ve likely already thought about how you’re getting to Grandma’s house, have you thought about how your stuff is going to get there?

There are few things that ruin a trip like having your clothes damaged in transit. Once when News10NBC’s Deanna Dewberry was in college, the zipper on her suitcase broke and her broken luggage along with all the stuff inside was scattered along the carousel. Don’t be like 20-year-old Deanna. Buy some decent luggage.

Consumer Reports tested hard-shell carry-ons and found that some of the best performers cost the least. And their testing was rigorous.

“We loaded up luggage and put it on a treadmill,” said Tobie Stanger, a senior editor at Consumer Reports. “We loaded with about 18 pounds of fabric, put it on a treadmill and we ran that treadmill for the equivalent of 30 miles. We also dragged the luggage through the streets through cobblestone because if you’re going to Europe or lower Manhattan, you’re going to need that.”

That was only testing the durability of the wheels. They did much more to test the durability of the rest of the bag. For example, they dropped it to see how well it would do if it fell out of the overhead compartment.

They simulated rain to see if water seeps through the zipper. They put them under tremendous weight to see if it would buckle and had testers of different heights and sizes rate how adjustable the handle is. And some of the results were really surprising.

“So, the top-rated brand is a very well-known name in luggage, it’s Samsonite, and it’s not the cheapest. It’s $250 or something like that,” said Stanger. “But then there are these two far less expensive brands — the Amazon Basics and Target, which are both under $100 and did very well. So, you can get a very good piece of luggage for not a lot of money,” says Stanger.

Consumer Reports scored each piece of luggage tested and listed them in ranking order.

The number one performer was the Samsonite Outline Pro which runs from $260 to $400. But the number two is the Target Made by Design hard-shell for $90. And coming in at number three is the Amazon Basics which sells for $73. And those two beat out really expensive pieces, like Tumi, and Briggs and Riley which will put you out more than $500.