Most of us who are frequent travelers these days have no doubt used the same style of a suitcase for most of our adult lives. We have a hard or soft-shelled case with a long zip that runs all the way around to open and close the interior. It is the norm to the point we don’t always seek out anything else. However, some alternatives work with a more old-fashioned zip-free design. Some people find these to be far more durable and fun to use. So, why should you get one, and what are the best zipperless luggage around right now? In this post, let’s cover some of the best recommendations.
Why Should You Consider Zipperless Luggage For Your Vacation?
Zipperless luggage is nothing new. We just don’t see it around as much as suitcases with zips because they are the norm now. The zippered case came into fashion as an easy way to secure belongings and access the interior without using latches and combinations. Before that, the structured cases with those latches on the front were the norm. Suitcases were more like briefcases on a larger scale. You can still find many of these products for sale – either as vintage originals resold in antique stores or as new models that try and recapture the look of the era.
The alternative is to go for a modern case that looks like a zippered case, but just with the latch closure instead. There are benefits to doing this. Many find that this approach is easier for getting in and out of the case – just enter the code, flip the lid, and get what you need. This is also helpful when dealing with TSA agents at airports. The closure can also allow for some extra protection from the elements and theft when used correctly. There is also the fact that cheaper zips can break easily.
On top of that, many of these modern zipperless cases tend to be strong and lightweight with shells in advantageous materials. It is possible to get a great zip-free luggage option in a range of sizes that is easy to use, airline compliant, and looks great. Here are 10 of the best options to consider.
- Travelking Aluminum Luggage Carry On
- Sindermore Luggage, Aluminum Hardside Suitcase With TSA Lock
- Yuemai Zipperless Hard Suitcase with Spinner Wheels
- TUMI 19 Degree Aluminium International Carry-On
- DOMINOX All Aluminum Carry On Luggage Hard Shell Luggage Aluminum Suitcase
- Coolife Luggage Aluminium 100%PC Frame Suitcase
- Clothink Polycarbonate 24-Inch Suitcase
- UniTravel Polycarbonate 20-Inch Carry-On
- Hanke Aluminium Frame Suitcase Lightweight Hardside Luggage
- Samsonite S’Cure Polypropylene 20-Inch Carry-On
Let’s start with some of the aluminium models as they are a little more unusual compared to the ABS and PC hardside cases. This one from Travelking really goes for it in terms of the metallic style. It is easy to tell that this is 100% lightweight aluminium because of the tone of the metal throughout. This is clear in the ribbed design on the case, the molded corners for extra protection, the latches, and the handle.
This one is a 20-inch model for shorter trips, and there is a 24-inch one too. Inside, you get some convenient features with the compartments and straps. You also get two TSA-approved locks and spinner wheels for that modern touch.
This case looks great because it is such a clean shape with that shiny bright aluminum metal case. You have a boxy shape that mimics the slim cases of old, but just in a more practical material. The gray version looks great with the back details in the wheels, handle, and rim.
There are three sizes here that are a little different from other brands. The carry-on model Is 20-inches as normal, but the checked luggage cases are 25 and 29-inches for a little extra room. The fully aluminum construction makes this pretty reliable, although it is also a bit more expensive. You can also make use of the TSA-ready locks on the latches, a strong telescoping handle, and the multidirectional spinner wheels.
This is another 100% aluminum case that looks really clean and attractive, if that is the sort of look you are going for. The smooth silver finish is in use across the case, latches, and handles for a uniform look. Those latches have a combination lock that is TSA-approved and the top handle is a telescoping option with a wide molded handle for ease of use.
The internal features aren’t amazing, as they continue the minimalist approach. You get to compartments with the case splitting down the middle. Each side has webbed straps but not the dividers and other tools of other zipless cases. What you do get is a nice shock-absorbing rubber on the spinner wheels and a case that is easy to use.
There is a simple style to this model from Tumi. You get a nice diagonal pattern in the shaped aluminium case with a dark coating. This gives the illusion of something other than aluminium, in case those silver options aren’t for you. Again, you have a lighter case than you might expect, something enhanced by the lower capacity and compact size of this 100% metal option. At 19-inches, it will take just enough for a few days away, and sit in the overhead locker with ease.
It is a little more expensive than some of the other options in this guide. But, it has the quality and features to match. The interior has a nice bracket for hangers, as well as mesh pockets and straps. There are also two TSA-ready combination locks, spinner wheels, and a wide ergonomic handle.
This is a style that people are either going to love or hate. There is an industrial feel here with the fake panels and rivets in the metal shell. Again, this is 100% aluminium with reinforced corners for a tough and lightweight option. If the Industry design is too much, the brand also offers more familiar striped and ribbed versions.
The boxy case is another 20-inch model for carry-on luggage and has the same great features for a convenient journey. There are spinner wheels and a tall telescoping handle for portability. You also get a strong handle on the side and the TSA-ready locks on the clasps.
Next, we are moving on to the alternative models in the more familiar plastic molded shell. These may not be as lightweight or interesting in some regards. But, you get that material you know is protective and reliable in different colors. This Coolife luggage has a fun striped effect with the treated and brushed German polycarbonate shell. This should be protective enough for everything within, but the organizational pockets help here too.
Of course, you also get the added protection for your belonging from the TSA-friendy lock on the side. As with so many of these great modern zipless cases, there are great spinner wheels for better mobility, a telescoping handle to help with that portability, and light weight. There are also three sizes available to suit your needs, with this 20-inch version for the cabin or larger 24 and 28inch options if needed.
What is interesting about this polycarbonate option is that it looks so metallic. Many models in PC or aluminium try and mimic a common contemporary look. So, it is odd to see this metallic blue ribbed case with its rougher finish copying the aluminium look. It is effective, and you do end up with the best of both worlds. The base is strong and reliable with this material and the reinforcements on the sides and corners. But, it is still lightweight and easy to use.
Again you get the two TSA-ready locks on the side latches to keep the lid in place. You also get the chance to detach the dividers if necessary to make packing easier and the standard spinner wheels.
Another great choice in the polycarbonate rate is this cabin-ready 20-inch version from UniTravel. There is hardly any weight to this one because of the small dimensions, and the use of the aluminium frame with the PC shell. The shell looks great, with some decorative molding on the front to make it appear slimmer. The blue tone is also more professional than some other options.
The interior is just big enough for short trips and has a nice divider and some interior compartments to make things a little easier. The combination lock on the side allows for quick TSA access for quick security checks. There are also the benefits of the spinner wheels, standard telescoping handle, and side handle.
This is a brand name that may not be as familiar as some of the others here. But, there is a design that makes the case stand out against some of the bigger names. There is a nice effect to the polycarbonate case that gives it a matte vintage look- something accentuated by the rounded corners. The case then folds out into two halves to reveal the removable compression liners between the two sides.
From there, you also get the standard features of the spinner wheels, light aluminium frame, and TSA-ready lock on the clasps. This version comes in green or gray as either a 20-inch carry-on case or 24-inch checked luggage.
Finally, we have something made from a different material again. It is unusual to see polypropylene cases because this plastic isn’t as durable as the polycarbonate or ABS alternatives. There is the risk that this will develop more dents and scuffs, but you don’t have to pay as much. So this model could be a good choice for a case for occasional travel or to just try out the zip-free style.
The 20-inch capacity works as carry-on luggage, and the interior holds enough possessions in its twin compartments. Despite the cheaper price, you still get the TSA-approved lock, the spinner wheels, and the telescoping handle. It isn’t the most striking design with the smooth case, but it does the job well enough.
What To Look for In The Best Zipperless Luggage
What Is The Shell Made From?
All the models highlighted in this guide are hardside cases to create the shape you expect from a traditional case. This also gives them durability and structure when in transit. Many have a typical plastic shell, with the ABS or PC materials of zippered hardside cases. But, others use lightweight aluminum instead. It is up to you which you prefer when it comes to the feel and look of the case. Aluminum wants will always have the metallic look, while ABS allows for more colors and prints.
Is The Latch Secure?
The whole point of this style of case is that you have the alternative closure and security feature of the latches and lock. But, you still need to be sure that the closure is reliable and that the lock is easy to use. In most cases, you should be able to just flip the latches up and down and use the three-digit code in the center. But, some cheaper models may be a little more flimsy or liable to coming undone.
Do You Still Get The Same Portability Features As Zippered Cases?
These products aim to offer the old-fashioned methods of zip-free closure but retain modern conveniences. Otherwise, you may as well just get a vintage second-hand case from a thrift store and carry it around by hand. With the cases in this guide, you see a lot of the features you would hope for, such as spinner wheels and the telescoping handle to pull it around.
Zipperless luggage can be a fun and convenient alternative to your normal baggage. As you can see, there are some strong and effective cases out there that are still perfect for airline travel even if they don’t have the zip closure we are used to. With the right case structure, a reliable closure, and a fun design, these cases can improve your travel experience.