Fabric Aspects of Bag's, Backpacks & Rucksacks

The biggest difference in the quality of a bag lies in the fabric it is made of. Most bags are made from nylon, leather, or polyester.

So many bags, which one to choose? You want to buy a bag that will hold up to the way you travel. As you compare bags you should be comparing these points...

 
Fabric:
The biggest difference in the quality of a bag lies in the fabric it is made of. Most bags are made from nylon, leather, or polyester. However, there are varieties of each:
 
Nylon - When talking about nylon, you will notice differences in the ""denier"" of the fabric. This is a reference to the thickness of the nylon threads in that fabric. The higher the denier, the more rugged the fabric woven from it. 2520 denier is the most durable nylon you will find. Many manufacturers have created names for their own specialized heavy variations. The toughest are Dupont, Ballistic, & Cordura. These heavy nylons are extremely hard to puncture or slash. In fact, the names come from their origins as layers in bulletproof clothing made for police. Lighter nylons are also strong and are often used for backpacks and duffels because of their flexibility and lightness. Most nylon bags are also treated with a sealant on the interior face of the fabric that helps to keep your garments protected and dry should the case get wet.
 
Leather - You will often see leather bags described as ""Full-Grain"" or ""Top-Grain"". These bags are made from the exterior hide rather than from split layers, and are very sturdy. Belting leather is thick leather often used in briefcases, attaches, and catalog cases. Luggage sewn from belting leather is stiff enough to stand alone without a frame. That thickness also lends it for use in the trim and piping of nylon bags.
 
Polyester - Polyester is the least durable of the 3 fabrics. Like nylon, you will notice differences in the ""denier"" of the fabric. The higher the denier, the more durable the fabric. Polyester bags are best suited for infrequent travelers. Handles: Most upright cases are equipped with a push-button handle that locks in two positions. There are some variations. Some bags have a swivel handle that pivots and locks into a natural ""palm-facing the body"" rolling position, some handles have a Thermal Plastic Rubberized grip for comfort, some handles extend further to accommodate taller travelers, etc. But, for the most part, the handles are very similar and the difference in handles is going to be in the construction of the handle, which can best be determined by the reputation of the brand.
 
Wheels:
Most luggage manufacturers have adopted the rubber wheels originally created for in-line skates. They are quiet and wear like iron. Look for wheels that are slightly recessed into the frame of the bag, which helps reduce wear. Some bags are equipped with four, 360 degree rotation wheels for multi-directional rolling.