The One Suitcase Feature That Can Make Your Luggage More Durable and Secure
Here are the reasons you should switch to zipperless luggage — and 13 suitcases to try.
“What on earth,” you may be asking yourself, “is zipperless luggage? Are we folding up our suitcases now?”
No need to sign up for origami classes yet. Beyond the obvious definition, zipperless luggage is mainly wheeled, hardshell suitcases that close via latching lock systems rather than with, yep, a zipper. Whether they use one lock with multiple latches or separate locks with separate security codes depends on the individual build.
So why ditch the zipper? As we learned during our research to find the most durable luggage, zippers are one of the most common fail points on a bag. Cutting them out of the process helps your bag to better stand up to rough handling and hopefully gives it a longer lifespan.
Not only does this build help keep your luggage safe from last-minute spills, latching systems will keep your luggage safer from potential prying hands as well. “As a professional traveler who always has expensive camera equipment with me, I moved to zipperless luggage about two years ago for its added security,” said travel blogger Stephanie Miller.
“I never have to worry about someone stealing my valuables,” she added. “This is a stark contrast to luggage with zippers, where a thief can simply take a ballpoint pen to unzip it, take what they want, and then run the zipper pull back over the opening to close it back up again (even if the zipper tabs are locked together!). The peace of mind knowing I'm the only one who can access my bag is worth the extra cost of going zipperless, in my opinion.”
Get ahead of the trend with some of our favorite zipperless options.
Miller’s luggage of choice is a now-discontinued model, but Rimowa’s quality is well-known across their line. “Their experience is evident in their sleek design and thoughtful details like large compression dividers and an extendable strap for toting another bag,” Miller said. “Plus, it features an extremely durable hard shell that stands up to the rigors of my frequent travels (unlike other brands that crack easily). I've completely fallen in love with my zipperless luggage.”
To buy: bloomingdales.com, from $1,050
We love Arlo Skye’s thoughtful design features and whisper-smooth wheels, and their locking luggage comes in three different size options and both polycarbonate and aluminum models.
To buy: arloskye.com, from $450
Andiamo’s stylish squared-off luggage comes with an aluminum frame and three glossy color options. It also includes a charger and RFID-blocking pockets.
To buy: amazon.com, $300
Samsonite offers a few different options for zipperless luggage. “We’ve found that travelers who use zipperless luggage like the secure design and hardshell durability, especially as it relates to air travel,” said Stephanie Goldman, senior director of brand communications at Samsonite. The S’Cure line offers a full zip divider setup, keeping your items entirely separate.
To buy: amazon.com, from $175
The Vaultex offers an extra layer of protection with a water-resistant sealed gasket closure to keep your souvenirs both secure and dry.
To buy: samsonite.com, from $130
The thinner corrugated polycarbonate shell on the Framelock keeps the bag’s weight down and gives you more storage space while still keeping your contents safe. The most complex model of Samsonite’s zipperless lineup, the Framelock offers two divider panels, multiple interior pockets, and a quick-access elastic atop the zippered section so you can pull out a jacket without exposing anything else to your neighbors.
To buy: ebags.com, from $240
Delsey Belfort DLX
Delsey’s zipperless option comes in 23”, 26”, and 30” models and boasts plenty of internal pockets to keep your shoes out of the way and clothes organized.
To buy: ebags.com, from $90
Calvin Klein Fulton
This pleasingly contrasting black and white three-bag line offers both top handles and a side handle for easy navigation when you aren’t on wheels.
To buy: ebags.com, from $297
Lojel’s injection-molded polypropylene Voja luggage incorporates three locking points into its mod design, with a range of whimsical colors that you won’t lose sight of at baggage claim.
To buy: lojel.com, from $180
Pelican moved from military and emergency services gear into consumer luggage, making extra-secure, if slightly industrial, waterproof and “crushproof” bags, with recessed handles on three sides for easy handling. Their three suitcase options are available with or without a “travel system” that includes a lid organizer, Dopp kit, and shoe sack (the bags themselves are the same).
To buy: amazon.com, from $370
T.P.R.C. Luna and Donna
More commonly known by the name of their parent company Travelers Club, T.P.R.C. makes two slightly different variations on a zipperless suitcase, the Luna (left) and the Donna (right). Other than some slight dimensional adjustments and color changes, they’re fairly similar, so feel free to choose based on your aesthetic preferences.
One of the few sites to review zipperless luggage, TravelGearZone, gave the Klasik their top spot.
To buy: amazon.com, from $459