One of the most common airport horror stories is the one where we’re stopped at customs and ordered to open our bags – only to find that someone has slipped in some contraband. While we can’t attest to how often these things happen, having secure luggage that can’t be easily opened when left unattended always helps.
This is where the best zipperless bags come in. Not only are they sturdy, they also offer extra protection against thieves and smugglers.
Zippered vs. Non Zippered Luggage – Key Advantages
It is very easy to open a zippered bag. As Youtube videos have shown, all you need is a ball point pen. Thieves can force the pen into the zippered part, which will then open and allow them easy access to your precious cargo. Smugglers can place illegal items inside the same way.
One modus operandi is to ‘tag’ your luggage, call their contact at your destination, and have them intercept the bag to collect the contraband before you get it from the conveyer belt. By simply pulling the zipper over the opened section, they can reseal your bag as if nothing has been tampered with.
Non zippered luggage, on the other hand, tends to be overlooked by these crooks, as they have latches or locks, and are more difficult to open.
Protection aside, zippers can be quite the hassle. They often run the entire length of the bag, so you’ll have to pull them all around in order to access your baggage. Non-zippered luggage can be flipped open easily once you’ve keyed in your lock codes. Most bags in this category have Transportation Security Administration (TSA) accessible locking systems, which mean that they can be opened by the authorities with a master key.
If you’ve ever collected your bag at the conveyer and expressed total horror at the battered state it was in, you’re not alone. Sometimes, it isn’t because the airline carriers aren’t careful at handling them – it’s just the way the baggage system is. Due to space constraints, some airports have diverters that steer your bag onto another belt, but they do so with great force as the machines cannot differentiate between light or heavy bags.
Non-zippered luggage has a hard shell, and is usually made from tough material such as PVC, polypropylene or aluminum. They absorb most of the impact from being tossed around, thus protecting your items better. This makes them longer lasting and durable.
Because non zippered luggage is manufactured from molds and then fastened together with screws or rivets, they are less likely to have fabric rips, and you won’t have to deal with annoying zipper malfunctions.
However, they aren’t as flexible as soft shelled, zippered bags and do not have an extra compartment that expands for more space. They can’t be ‘stuffed’ into an overhead compartment, and tend to be placed at the bottom of the stack when being transported.
Due to its material, non-zippered luggage is usually heavier, so if you’re packing a lot of items, they can easily go over the weight limit. Make sure to check the proper dimensions and weight before purchasing one for travel.
Almost all zipperless luggage bags have handles so users can push and pull them around easily at the airport or on the go.
10 Best Zipperless Luggage In 2018 – Chart
First things first: the Samsonite F’Lite is massive. At 31” high, you can forgo any thoughts of bringing this as a carry-on. If you’re looking for high quality and loads of room, however, then this bag is a must-have.It is made entirely from polycarbonate, which is commonly used in construction – so rest assured that these bags can take a beating and are built to last for years.
The hard shell is water resistant, as is the rubber gasket seal around the opening. These are a step up from regular fabric luggage bags, which absorb water and will certainly get your items wet in the rain.
The interior has no lining, but don’t let this deter you as the hard shell is more than enough protection for your items. The top panel is zippered, while elastic cross straps keep clothes in place. A small side pouch can be used for storing small items.
The bag opens with side latches, and can be secured with a built-in, TSA-approved combination lock. This means that other than yourself and the authorities who hold a universal master key, nobody else will be able to tamper with your luggage.
Due to its size, the bag can be rather heavy on its own. When loaded to capacity, it can weigh up to 75lbs. Normally, you’d have to be a weightlifting champion to carry that much weight, but the F’lite comes on four large spinner wheels so users can easily push and pull it along with one hand. This is helped by an adjustable monotube handle; a departure from the usual double-tubes. There is an integrated ID tag on the handle system.
Only thing about this bag that can be a downside is that it scratches easily. Because of its large size, expect some added weight: so pack wisely to avoid extra baggage charges.
Another Samsonite bag on this list, the Samsonite S’Cure Spinner 28 is manufactured to European standards and is one of the most lightweight bags in the range.
Instead of a zipper, the Spinner carries a three-point locking system. The central lock is TSA-approved for travel within the USA, while two other side locks open with a simple press and click.
Measuring 11.5” high and 18” wide, there is plenty of room for clothing, toiletries, and other essential items. Users can strap down clothes and towels with a pair of W-shaped cross ribbons at the bottom. There is also a zipped compartment at the top interior lining, for you to place smaller valuables. Sealed rubber frame gaskets help to prevent moisture and dirt from seeping in, keeping items dry and safe.
The suitcase itself is made entirely of Flowlite polypropylene, known for its strength and shock resistance – so rest assured that it will be able to take a beating at the baggage belt. The patented material was specially developed by Samsonite and allows for thinner molds to be injected, resulting in thinner sheets, while still keeping a strong shell for maximum protection to personal belongings inside the luggage. Flowlite is also highly dense with color pigments to prevent stress fading.
On its own, the bag weighs 2.9kg and has a capacity of 34 litres. A recessed dual spinner wheel system makes the bag a breeze to push around.
The only issue it seems to have is the aluminum handle pull, which some users have said can break, especially when attempting to pull it up with heavier loads. Available in black, dark blue and crimson red colors.
Sleek and modern looking, the LojelOcta is one of those zipperless luggage bags that offer both form and functionality. Made from advanced polypropylene material for maximum strength, it is designed to withstand high impact while still maintaining some flexibility to prevent grooves and cracks from rough handling. This is a step up from conventional polypropylene, which tends to produce white scuff marks when scratched or impacted. Those travelling to cold countries will be glad to know that the luggage will hold up, even in harsh winter temperatures, as it will not cause the material to shrink or distort.
Although available in a larger size, the medium Octa is adequate for solo travellers. Measuring 27.75” high by 19.75” wide, it is spacious and can be brought along as checked-in luggage. Unlike most other luggage bags, the Octa does not have an interior lining. This is no cause for worry, as the outer shell protects the contents well enough. There is a zippered top panel for keeping toiletries, accessories and underwear. The lower compartment has two overlapping flaps, secured by buckles that go over the clothing to keep them in place. Meanwhile, the flaps themselves double as extra compartments.
For added security, the Octa comes with four-point latch locks, two of which are TSA-approved. These can be opened and closed by moving the built-in lever and setting the combination.
The handle pulls out at three stages to suit users with different heights. When fully closed, all components line up to the surface, so there is minimal risk of handles or latches breaking off.
Maneuvering the Octa is easy. The Hinomoto spinner wheels glide smoothly on surfaces. These are removable and can be replaced. The bag also features a trolley handle that extends to three points, to suit travellers of any height. Available in several colors, including dark grey, carrera blue, black, red, yellow and purple.
Hailing from France, the Delsey brand is a popular manufacturer of luggage and travel accessories. One of their best zipperless bags is the Belfort Spinner Trolley.
Measuring 21” high by 9” wide, the bag offers lots of room for storage, but is small enough to fit into an airplane’s overhead compartment. Most major airlines should accept it as a carry-on.
Made from molded polypropylene, it is reinforced for a strong outer shell that is highly resistant against impacts, yet lightweight and flexible enough for easy handling. The shell is moisture resistant, while the closure has a tongue-in-groove design that seals tightly to protect clothing from dust and water.
The inside is fully lined with nylon, providing extra protection. There is a zippered top compartment, cross straps for keeping clothing in place, as well as a side pouch to separate items such as toiletries. When fully retracted, the locks and handles run flush to the bag’s surface.
Replacing the conventional zipper is a clasp lock closure, which comes with a TSA-approved combination lock.
One great feature of the Delsey is their adjustable, telescoping handle, which locks into two different positions. This allows users to switch between two wheels or four wheels for easy maneuverability and less weight on the arms. The double spinner wheels glide smoothly on most surfaces. The bag comes in two colors, grey and vivid red.
While the consensus on the bag’s storage space, sturdiness and ease of use seems to be positive, many users have complained about the Delsey’s locking mechanism. Some found it difficult to close, while others lamented that there were no clear instructions on how to operate the latch. If this is improved, no doubt travellers would find this piece a perfect zipperless luggage bag.
We know the Groove is big, but how much can it hold? The large size, which has a capacity of 94L, is able to fit (approximately) 14 shirts, two cameras, five pants, three pairs of shoes and three jackets, with room to spare for toiletries. The bag itself measures 31” x 21” x 12.5”, and weighs 11.2lbs – considerably lighter than most of its fellows in the zipperless luggage department.
The huge storage space makes it good to bring along for long vacations or when packing for the whole family. There interior lining is made from soft polyester, and the bag has multiple pockets to sort items easily. The top lid has a large zippered compartment and two smaller mesh-like pouches, while the side of the bottom compartment houses another pocket. Elastic straps cross over your clothing to keep them in place.
That aside, the Groove is one sturdy piece of luggage. The shell is made from Makrolon, an advanced polycarbonate that is highly resistant against pressure and impact. A reinforced alloy frame, made from aircraft grade material, adds to the bag’s overall outer strength.
To secure, your belongings, the bag uses a TSA lock system that flattens down to the surface of the bag, so no worries of it snagging and breaking apart by accident.
The Groove runs on Hinomoto wheels, which glide in a smooth and effortless motion with a simple push or pull. This is useful in a pinch, especially when you’re rushing to catch a flight.
Available in pink, yellow, blue and lime green in three sizes: small, medium and large.
Buying luggage bags can often be a blow to the wallet, but the Ambassador Fashion Trip Spinner proves that you can get good quality at an affordable price point. Founded by French designer Patrick Gerand in 1959, the brand’s designs are aimed at providing practical and durable luggage bags for its users.
The Fashion series is made from German-imported Bayer polycarbonate, making the outer shell lightweight but durable. Further reinforced with a heavy duty aluminum and magnesium alloy frame, the zipperless design helps to keep your belongings safe from theft and smuggling, so you can travel easy at airports. In place of zips, it has three latches with a dial combination lock accepted by the TSA.
Measuring 25” in height, this medium-sized bag has generous storage space to place clothes, shoes and toiletries. The top and bottom compartments both have elastic straps to keep clothing secure, and are further separated by a flap which is held in place by buckles. The flap has zippered pockets to place documents, toothbrushes and other small items.
While it weighs only 12lbs on its own, the bag can get heavy once loaded. Users can pull it along easily withaluminum telescoping handles,Pull it along easily with aluminum telescoping handles, as well as four dual-chrome accented wheels, which allows the bag to glide effortlessly across pavements and even carpet.
As with most hard-shell luggage, the shiny gloss finish can be marred by scratches. Available in bright colors of orange, pink and red colors, which makes it easy to spot.
With its metallic sheen and futuristic design, the Samsonite Cruisiair DLX Hardside Spinner is an attractive and functional zipperless luggage bag for your travel needs. Made from durable polycarbonate material, the hard outer shell is designed for minimal wear and tear from being pounded on or dropped around during transit. The sturdy aluminum frame adds strength and structure. It is fully integrated with the TSA-approved combination lock, which replaces conventional zippers.
Setting the combination is easy, as users simply need to press a button behind the lock which opens a slot, set the new combination, and slide it back in place.
Measuring 30” x 20” x 12”, the CruisiairDLX offers loads of storage space. The inside is fully lined with soft fabric for protection against bumps and knocks. The main compartment has elastic bands that cross over your clothing to keep them in place. Meanwhile, the top has a zippered flap secured with clips. This is rather thin so users might want to pack the heavier stuff on the bottom instead. There is also a small zippered pouch at the side for keeping toiletries, cards and other small items.
The bag is relatively lightweight but can hold heavy loads. When it comes to moving it around, the four dual spinner wheels come in handy, as they can roll over even rough surfaces with ease.
One plus point of the Cruisiair DLX is the aluminum hinges, which have no problems opening and closing multiple times for long lasting use. It comes in three different colors: anthracite (silver-grey), blue, and burgundy.
The Japanese designed MOIERG Vintage Trolley Luggage is sure to turn heads during your travels. Classic-looking but with a modern touch, these rectangular bags come in three different sizes of small, medium and large. The large measures 14.2” x 26.4” x 9” – roomy enough for your travel essentials, whilst being lightweight at just 10.63lbs.
The interior is soft and padded to better absorb any shock the bag might experience while being transported, thus protecting your valuables. It also comes with a small pouch sewn into the top lid. The bottom compartment has a zippered flap to keep clothing from shifting around.
The shell is made from a durable polyurethane material, making it tough and water resistant.
While most zipperless bags typically use combination locks, the MOIERG uses a TSA-approved lock in addition to a key, just like an old-fashioned suitcase. It can be moved around easily on four smooth, gliding wheels. There are two handles: one that pulls out and can be adjusted according to its user’s arm length, as well as a padded handle for single-hand carrying.
Aesthetically, the MOIERG is a departure from the standard zipperless luggage bags on the market – with its stitched straps, buckles and decorative buckles. While it does a decent job as a zipperless travel bag, there are downsides. It is not convenient to open, as users have to lock it with a key and secure exterior pleather straps through belt buckles. The handles do not lie flush. While beautiful and functional, it might not be the most practical.
The Delsey strikes again with another bag on this list: the Helium Colors 4 Wheel Spinner. Measuring 21” high by 9” wide, it offers a big space to store travel items without compromising on mobility and convenience. Note that these measurements do not include the wheels and handles, so the bag should measure about 23” overall. On its own, it weighs about 12.6lbs which is pretty standard with most zipperless luggage bags of this size.
Made from tough polypropylene material, the outer shell is rugged and built to withstand impact. One user commented that while the bag was pretty battered with dents and grooves after a flight, it went back to its normal shape after popping them out with a hammer. Hard shells are prone to white scuffs and scratches, but these can be removed with some scrubbing.
The interior is fully lined with soft fabric to cushion against blows and protect your items. For added protection against the elements, its tongue in groove closure seals against dust and moisture.
Straps on the top and bottom keep clothing in place. Unlike bottom heavy suitcases, the space for the Delsey is almost equal on both sides, so users can get the most out of their packing. This can be a blessing or a flaw, as some users have found the straps were not strong enough to keep their clothes from falling out when opening the bag.
The Helium Color opens with a TSA-approved combination lock and latches. Four EZ Glide spinner wheels help users to push and pull the bag around easily, even with weights of up to 50lbs. The handle, made from sturdy aircraft grade aluminum, has a ‘one button’ locking system. Available in black and emerald green color.
It seems like vintage and retro are all the rage in Asia when it comes to zipperless luggage bags. After the Japanese-designed MOIERG, here comes the Korean-made Eddas Ethos.
A popular brand in its native Korea, Eddas bags are manufactured according to ISO (International Organization of Standardization) standards and have received ISO-9001 and ISO-14001 quality management certification.
The Ethos range is done to look like a classic suitcase, but spruced up with a modern look.
These bags measure 22” high, so they meet the bare minimum of most American airline requirements. Their small size allows them to fit into overhead baggage compartments.
Made from synthetic PVC, the material is soft and smooth to the touch, and its leather-like appearance is attractive and will definitely be a talking point when meeting fellow travellers! On the inside, the bag is padded and has pockets to safekeep small valuables or sort out toiletries. The top lid has a zippered flap with two compartments, also zippered, while the bottom has standard elastic straps to prevent clothes from unfolding. Close the lid down and secure your items with a three-dial lock system.
At just 9.48lbs, they are among the lightest zipperless luggage bags we have on this list. Like the MOIERG, it has a padded handle as well as a retractable metal one for pulling. The urethane wheel system is designed for less noise. However, the bag only has two wheels; the other two ends have legs so that the bag can stand in a stable position on its own.
While the Ethos looks pretty, it is not made for rough handling and is best used as a carry-on. Scratches cannot be removed from its pleather surface, so to keep them long lasting, users can place a protective piece of plastic over them. Available in a variety of colors such as brown, orange, blue and pink.