Is Polycarbonate Luggage Durable?

While researching hard shell luggage, you have likely found that the material of the front and back shells is an important factor to consider when choosing the most durable luggage possible. One of the questions we often receive at Roam is what makes polycarbonate luggage durable, and many travelers new to personalized luggage wonder why we choose it as the material for our shells.

Polycarbonate is a high-tech plastic that is one of the materials typically used to make motorcycle helmets. When a driver wearing a polycarbonate helmet crashes, their brain is protected.

Because polycarbonate is that strong, it's also one of the most common materials used to make quality, durable suitcases.

In addition to motorcycle helmets and luggage, polycarbonate is also a component in a number of other items, including cockpit canopies for small airplanes, safety goggles and even bulletproof glass.

If you're looking for the most durable luggage out there, reading luggage reviews is helpful. Our travel experts have done that and researched the subject exhaustively, so let us explain why aluminum luggage might not be the best choice.

What is Polycarbonate?

Without getting too technical, polycarbonate is a type of plastic that is extremely difficult to break. This high-tech plastic can be easily molded and colored during the manufacturing process, and it's incredibly lightweight for the strength it provides.

Polycarbonate vs. Aluminum

Other than aluminum luggage, polycarbonate is the most durable luggage material. Although it's one of the lighter industrial metals, aluminum luggage tends to be heavier than polycarbonate luggage. If weight were the only factor, aluminum would get better luggage reviews, but because aluminum luggage is easily dented and expensive, it's not as popular as polycarbonate for luggage.

Polycarbonate vs. ABS

ABS - which stands for acrylonitrile, butadiene and styrene - is another high-tech plastic and a common material for hard-shell luggage. In relation to polycarbonate, ABS is lighter, but it is not as durable. Suitcases made of polycarbonate will last longer than ABS and are not nearly as heavy as aluminum luggage.

Polypropylene vs. polycarbonate luggage

Polypropylene is a synthetic material that is very lightweight, so these bags are easy to carry. Polypropylene, however, is neither as durable nor as flexible as polycarbonate, making it similar to ABS in that regard and knocking it off our list of the most durable luggage.

Polycarbonate's scratch resistance

Polycarbonate suitcases are durable in more ways than one. Aluminum is very strong, but it scratches and dents very easily, and it shows every little ding. Does polycarbonate scratch? It does, as do all plastics. But it's more resistant to scratches than other materials used to make hard shell suitcases. In addition, ROAM dyes our polycarbonate shells all the way through the material, so any scratches on your personalized luggage will be less noticeable. According to many luggage reviews, other companies may use a color film on top of a white or grey plastic base, so any scratches through the film show the color underneath.

All in all, if you are looking for the most durable luggage that is lightweight, easy to maneuver and personalized to fit your unique style, polycarbonate luggage from Roam is a great investment.

Here's visual breakdown of the quality factors to consider when weighing polycarbonate vs ABS vs aluminum luggage:





















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Learn more about choosing polycarbonate for your personalized luggage today.