Samsonite is one of the most popular luggage brands. Check out how well Samsonite stands up to 8 years of heavy use!
As is tradition in my family, my high school graduation present from my parents was two suitcases. This quasi-ritual bestowal of luggage was my parents’ not-so-subtle indication that it was time for me to leave the nest.
Mere weeks after graduation I was well on my way to Russia to do volunteer work. During my two years in the Russian Federation, I moved at least 5 times, sometimes hauling my suitcases through slushy streets or hoisting them onto rickety Russian “marshrutkas.”
I haven’t stopped moving since then. Going from memory, I’ve used this suitcase to move over 15 times since I graduated from high school.
Besides that, this bag has logged tens of thousands of additional miles from my travels.
While the other non-Samsonite bag, a cheap duffle, is kaput, my Samsonite suitcase is still chugging along.
Check out how well it’s held up!
After eight years of extensively using a Samsonite suitcase, I can confidently say that this brand is definitely not overrated. My bag has far exceeded my expectations.
While it appears that my specific bag is no longer in production, Samsonite’s Ascentra Large Expandable Spinner seems very similar.
This suitcase has a soft shell. However, it has a tough flexible plastic shell underneath a rugged synthetic fabric. Some of the edges have tough metal wires that I’m sure have contributed to this bag’s impressive longevity.
The bag has a synthetic lining — my guess is polyester.
The Pockets / Dimensions
Although certainly not the largest suitcase out there, this bag can hold a lot. The large main pocket has straps for safely securing your belongings. I usually fill the bag completely, so I have only used these a couple of times.
There are two handy mesh shoe pockets. On the inside of the cover, there’s a zippered mesh pocket up top and a clear plastic zippered pocket for storing liquids.
I especially like the plastic pocket. I’ve stored not only my Dopp kit here but also a bottle of iron gall ink on many a journey (the latter is wrapped in many layers of paper towels and Ziplock bags just to be safe). As a writer, I can’t be running out of fountain pen ink on my journey!
There are two more pockets on the lid. The smaller upper pocket is great for change, receipts, or small items you want quick access to during your travels.
The outside of the bag (including fabric handles) measures 31” tall and 20” wide.
Handles / Hardware
I’ve talked about the pockets, now let’s take a look at the handles and hardware!
This bag has sturdy metal zippers — the external zippers’ pull tabs are a metal / hard rubber hybrid. None of the zippers have ever failed on me. (Which is surprising considering how tightly I pack sometimes).
There are three fabric handles built into the bag — one up top, one on the side, and one on the bottom.
All three are beautifully incorporated into the suitcase design.
Parallel to the top fabric handle is a pull-out handle with a rubberized grip and aluminum shafts. This is the only thing that’s broken on my Samsonite. Sometime during my two-year stint in Russia, the handle stopped coming out all the way.
While this is annoying, the bag is still very functional. The handle still emerges part-way. With the multidirectional wheels and a short handle, the bag is still easily maneuverable, even when traversing long distances. (It helps that I’m short — if I was taller, the broken handle would be a major pain in the neck).
Down below are four plastic swivel wheels with rubber tire-like treads. I’ve had friends warn me that these wheels would likely soon snap off. Thankfully, they were wrong.
While I’ve almost completely worn through the rubber, all four wheels are still going strong.
Since graduating from high school I’ve done a lot of traveling. Altogether, I’ve spent several years living out of my suitcase.
As I mentioned, I’ve also moved well over a dozen times, each time bringing my trusty Samsonite.
I’ve dragged this suitcase behind me, sometimes miles at a time, through thick snow. It has traversed cobblestone streets and dusty dirt roads.
In short, while it’s always inconvenient to lug around 30+ pounds of stuff, honestly this suitcase has helped make my travels possible. I can’t think of another suitcase I’d rather have.
Wear and Tear
The faux leather accents are looking quite worn. This includes the luggage tag.
As I mentioned before, the rubber treads on the wheels are almost completely worn down. I’d expect this type of wear because of the abuse I’ve put this bag through.
I think the worst thing for the tread was walking a few miles through icy streets strewn with tiny sharp granite rocks which are used in Northern Europe to give pedestrians traction.
The tough navy outer fabric is showing a few battle scars, particularly around the edges. There’s a tiny gash near one of the corners along with some fraying in several places. I’m amazed that there hasn’t been more damage, especially considering how many times I’ve checked this bag (probably at least 20 times).
The suitcase’s interior is pristine — there are hardly any signs of wear.
The same goes for the hardware, except for the pull-out handle.
When my suitcase finally bites the dust I plan on getting another Samsonite.
Do you have any experience with this brand? Let me know in the comment section below!