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The 5 Best Soft-sided Luggage Picks of 2024

Shopping for luggage begins with deciding a few details: whether you want hard-sided or soft-sided, along with what size(s) you need for your travels. If you like to have exterior pockets and some pliability or expandability, a soft-sided suitcase may be your ideal travel companion.

When it comes to soft-sided luggage, there’s an endless variety of options from carry-ons to checked bags, so our editors did the work for you. We tested dozens of bags on countless trips to find the top options for every journey. Read on to find the best soft-sided luggage options, tested and reviewed by our team of experts.

The Top Luggage Brands for 2024

(Note: Prices were accurate at the time this article was published; they may fluctuate due to demand or other factors. Original photos were taken by our editors during luggage testing.)

Catriona Kendall|U.S. News

Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 7.1 pounds | Color options: Black, gray, green, blue or royal blue

Travel with ease with the Samsonite SoLyte DLX Carry-On Spinner at your side – it’s one of our top carry-on luggage picks for good reason. This soft-sided suitcase is made of durable polyester and can expand by 0.75 inches to give you a little more space. When it’s not expanded, though, it adheres to the carry-on size rules of most major airlines. The four 360-degree dual-spinner wheels and contoured pull handle allow you to glide through the airport with this carry-on. You can also stack it on another suitcase using the trolley sleeve.

One of this spinner’s standout features is the WetPak pocket, which separates wet items such as bathing suits from the rest of your belongings. There are two other pockets inside as well, plus three spacious exterior pockets. As you pack your suitcase, the brand’s Smart Fix Buckles are designed to keep the tie-down straps conveniently out of your way. You can even use the USB port to charge your devices on the go (but a battery is not included).

This bag has everything I look for in a carry-on: a lightweight build, smooth wheels and useful organizational features. It makes packing and traveling a breeze, and I love how much it can fit, especially with all the pockets. You really can’t go wrong with this Samsonite spinner as your travel companion. – Catriona Kendall, Associate Editor

Erin Evans|U.S. News

Dimensions: 31 x 20 x 13.25 inches | Weight: 8.25 pounds | Color options: Green, blue or black

The DELSEY PARIS Sky Max 2.0 Large Expandable Spinner is a well-built piece of checked luggage that offers plenty of space to fit clothes, shoes, gear and accessories for any extended trip or vacation. This soft-sided piece of luggage is made of polyester fabric with a twill pattern and includes a TSA-approved lock for keeping belongings safe.

The bag features a front-load design (rather than a clamshell), double-spinner wheels, handles on both the top and side, an interior zippered pocket for toiletries or dirty clothes, and tie-down compression straps to keep everything inside secure. The Sky Max 2.0 also has two front pockets. It’s expandable if you need to fit just a smidge more, and there are corner protectors to help keep it intact no matter how aggressively a luggage handler throws it down a ramp.

This checked bag can fit an impressive amount of stuff. I love the color options (the green is a nice dark evergreen color in person) and appreciate the front-load design, which does not seem as popular in the market anymore but I feel allows you to fit more clothing and gear into a bag. I’ve used this DELSEY PARIS bag for several trips of seven to 10 days, and feel confident that you could use it on even a two-week trip. The wheels and handle are also well made so even when the suitcase is full (and may be heavy), it’s easy to maneuver around an airport or busy city street. – Erin Evans, Managing Editor

Erin Evans|U.S. News

Dimensions: 20.4 x 14.9 x 8.2 inches | Weight: 6.35 pounds | Color options: Black, blue, gray, olive, purple or red

Featuring a durable soft-sided exterior and handles on the top, side and bottom, the Amazon Basics Expandable Softside Carry-On Spinner is one of the best budget-friendly luggage options on the market. The bag is also equipped with an exterior laptop pocket, double-spinner wheels, a TSA-approved lock and molded corner guards. This carry-on has a front-load design. Inside the bag there are several pockets available for organization, plus two adjustable straps to secure clothing.

This bag is a solid choice for a small, affordable carry-on. For me, it can fit enough for a short business trip or a weekend away. I really appreciate the handle on the bottom, which makes it easy to haul up into the overhead bin on a plane; the wheels are also quite smooth. The front pocket fits my 13-inch laptop perfectly. – Erin Evans

Rachael Hood|U.S. News

Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.8 x 8.3 inches | Weight: 4.8 pounds | Color options: Black, rose, navy, orange, khaki or maroon

Constructed with a durable nylon, this lightweight soft-sided carry-on is packed with features. Take advantage of the large exterior zippered front pocket, the spacious interior compartment with straps to hold your belongings and the two interior zippered pockets. There’s also two padded exterior handles for easy maneuvering into the overhead bin, four double-spinner wheels and a matching luggage tag.

I really like the sleek appearance of this bag, the padded handles and the way the telescoping handle can be zipped into a compartment when not extended. Using packing cubes I’m able to fit four to five days of clothing, and the front pocket is an ideal spot for reading material or other airport necessities. I also appreciate that the bag pairs perfectly with the Lipault City Plume 24H Bag 2.0. – Rachael Hood, Senior Editor

Amanda Norcross|U.S. News

Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9 (up to 11.5) inches | Weight: 10 pounds | Color options: Navy, black or olive

If you’re looking for soft-sided luggage with superior expandability, we recommend the Briggs & Riley Essential 22″ Carry-On Expandable Spinner (or anything from the Baseline series). The signature one-touch CX expansion feature enables the bag to grow when you need more space – then shrink back down to meet carry-on luggage size requirements. Other notable features of this carry-on bag include a garment folder to reduce wrinkled clothing and the brand’s signature PowerPocket, where you can charge your phone and other devices on the go.

I used to swear by hard-sided luggage only, but Briggs & Riley changed me. The Baseline series is indestructible, and the expandability can’t be beat. – Amanda Norcross, Content & SEO Strategist

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Our team tested a variety of soft-sided suitcase across an array of price points. We used them for everything from weekend getaways to trips abroad, and checked their performance on multiple surfaces including asphalt, cobblestones, escalators, carpet and tile. We utilized our findings along with comparing unique features and our travel expertise to curate this list.

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Bernard Greenhall
Bernard Greenhall

Bernard is a sports and physical education expert with years of experience. He's passionate about promoting health and wellness through physical activity, and he's worked with athletes and non-athletes alike to help them achieve their fitness goals. Bernard holds a degree in Physical Education and is dedicated to staying up-to-date with the latest trends and research in his field.

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