The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Soft Trunk

The soft trunk is a very useful piece of luggage in many situations. Summer camp, air travel, family trips and more. Similar to a duffel bag, but more square shaped, the soft trunk can pack a lot of items and still keep them relatively neat.

So you’ve decided you want to buy a soft trunk but which soft trunk? With wheels or without? What size? What type? Should I buy a soft trunk at all? As is the case with so many other products, there are many different types of soft trunks to consider each with their own unique attributes. Sometimes choosing a soft trunk can be a bigger headache than actually packing it!  

This short guide, based on years of experience selling soft trunks to happy customers, tries to breakdown the 3 basic elements involved in choosing a soft trunk and provides 3 simple questions you should ask yourself to help you make an informed decision.

Soft Trunk Attributes

We’ve chosen to focus on 3 major attributes when making your decision about which soft trunk to buy: Size, Wheels, and Shape.

Size

Soft Trunks come in many different sizes. For the purpose of our discussion we’ll compare the 42 inch trunk (usually 42x18x18) to the 36 inch trunk (usually 36x16x16). The elements that come into play here are space versus weight and other possible size restrictions, such as air travel, which we will tackle later.

Wheels

Soft trunks are sold with or without wheels and this is one of the major factors to consider. Wheels make it easier to schlep from place to place but also add a weight and cost element.

Shape

As mentioned above, the classic soft trunk is square shaped. In this discussion, we will compare the square shaped soft trunk to the top loading duffel bag. Central to this decision will be the main purpose of your bag, but more about that later.

Question 1: Are you travelling by air?

Air travel comes with its own set of restrictions. Most airlines allow a maximum size for checked baggage of 62 inches of all the dimensions combined (length + width + height). This would rule out a 42 inch trunk, for example which has a combined size of 78 inches (42” length + 18” width + 18” height). However, the 36 inch trunk could be a good choice. At capacity it slightly exceeds the typical restriction with a combined size of 68 inches (36 x 16 x 16). However, the height of the trunk is something you can play with because when it’s not packed to capacity, it won’t be at its maximum height.

In our experience, customers who have travelled with 36 inch trunks have not had a problem, but of course we can’t provide any guarantees. You also need to take weight restrictions into account and one of the factors that will play a part is the wheels. More about that in the next section.

Question 2: How much schlepping are you going to be doing?

Wheels are handy on a trunk when you’re moving it from place to place or walking a long distance with trunk in hand but they also make the trunk slightly heavier and bulkier (and a bit pricier). If you’re going to be moving around a lot, for example, changing accommodation a few times during a trip, the wheels make it really convenient to move the trunk around without too much strain.

There are other situations however when you’re not moving around a lot. If your bag is being delivered straight to your destination, for example, and it’s not going to be moved around a lot (by you), wheels may be less of a factor. And if you’re worried about the weight of your trunk (on air travel for example) then a trunk without wheels may be a better bet.

Question 3: What’s going into your bag? (or how is it going to come out?)

Are you overly concerned as to what your stuff is going to look like when you get to your destination? If you’re using your bag to shove in your sleeping gear (sheets, blankets, pillows), you may not be too bothered if they come out a little creased on the other side. If that’s the case, a simple top loading duffel bag could do the trick. If you’re packing fancy clothing, however, and you care about what it looks like, you’re better off going with a soft trunk that will keep your stuff relatively orderly (assuming you packed it that way)

Also consider whether you’ll be living out of your bag. If you’re going to get to your destination and completely unpack everything once, then a simple duffel bag might be enough. However, if you plan on packing and unpacking multiple times or living out of your bag, a soft trunk will be a lot more convenient to maintain some degree of order in your “travelling closet”.

 

Other factors to consider

Here are a few other factors to consider when buying your soft trunk:

Color

Many soft trunks come in standard black but if you want your trunk to stand out in a crowd, and you’re not so enthusiastic about tying an old pair of interestingly colored socks on the trunk handle, you may want to consider buying a bright colored trunk.

Size and Quality

here may be a tendency to sometimes go for the biggest trunk available but take into account that as trunks get bigger than the standard 42 inch, quality can become an issue. The equation is simple, the more your trunk has to carry, the stronger it needs to be so make sure that if you’re going for a jumbo size, the trunk has the quality to match it.

Selecting your Soft Trunk: Main Takeaways

  • If you’re travelling by air, stick with a 36 inch trunk or smaller.
  • Wheels are really convenient to avoid the strain of carrying, but if weight restrictions are an issue, you might want to skip the luxury.
  • Duffel bags are useful when you’re not concerned about the neatness and state of your items but if you want more organization in your bag and you care about what everything looks like on the other side, go for a soft trunk over a duffel bag.
  • If you’re off to summer camp, we recommend the 42 inch trunk with wheels. It gives you plenty of space, keeps your things neat and enables you to move around easily when needed.

Questions and Feedback

We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide and we’d love to hear your feedback about this post. If you are still confused or have any questions about soft trunks, get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to help you.

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