The Affordable Hard-Shell Suitcase That Fits a Shocking 45% More Than My Favorite Soft-Sided Version

published Jan 8, 2024
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When I travel home to the Midwest twice per year, I usually drag my large, checked bag out of my tiny closet and fill it to the brim. I bring too many books (sorry, Dad), clothes, gifts, and things I’d like to store at my parents’ house (until I’m able to get a larger apartment). I’ve been using the suitcase for 11 years — its first big journey was to London where I studied abroad. It’s served me well, but suitcase design has come a long way in the past decade and I wanted to see if hardshell suitcases were worth the hype. I even travel with a soft-sided carry-on, and this was a huge change for me.

Mark, our executive director of commerce at AT, had been raving about Quince’s hardshell carry-on both online and in-person at the office, so when Quince launched new expandable checked bags last month, I knew that I had to try it.

What Is the Expandable Check-In Hardshell Suitcase?

Quince launched the Expandable Check-In Hardshell Suitcase in two different sizes — 24 inches and 27 inches — and two carry-on sizes — 20 inches and 21 inches. I opted for the 27-inch version, because like I said earlier, I’m an over-packer. I picked dark green for the color, which is now unfortunately out of stock, but navy is still available. The suitcase boasts a polycarbonate shell, 360-degree wheels, a TSA-approved lock, a smooth gliding telescopic handle, and YKK zippers. It also has a compression panel, so you can stuff even more clothing in your suitcase, a removable laundry bag, and interior pockets. It says it can hold up to two weeks’ worth of clothes, though I believe it can fit much more than that.

Credit: Alicia Kort.

Why I Love the Quince Expandable Check-In Hardshell Suitcase

At just $220, this checked bag is pretty budget-friendly as hardshell suitcases go. It was about an inch wider than my previous checked bag (pictured above). I had already packed my soft checked bag, and because I was leaving for the airport the Quince suitcase miraculously arrived. I didn’t have time to nicely repack, so I just shoved everything from my soft suitcase into the new bag. All of the Christmas presents, two weeks’ worth of clothes, several books, one pair of shoes, and four bags of cosmetics fit easily into one side. I just had to put my sneakers into the other empty side, but I literally had half of the suitcase left empty. I was so astounded. I didn’t even need to use the compression function. I followed the included instructions to lock my bag, which I was also a little nervous about because I’d never owned a suitcase with a lock before. Quince’s bag also came with a little magic eraser for buffing any scuffs out, which I thought was a nice bonus.

The suitcase was so easy to wheel around the airport that I felt like I was barely using any extra strength to push it. Although, I was a little skeptical when it came time to receive my luggage after I landed. I half-expected to find a corner caved in when it came down the checked luggage chute at the airport. But I was pleasantly surprised that it was wholly intact and didn’t even have any scratches. My dad even remarked that my suitcase looked sleek and that he wanted one for himself.

Overall, I think Quince’s checked bag is definitely worth the money. I love the way it looks, how much it fits, and how easy it is to maneuver it.