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9 best kids’ luggage: Suitcases and rucksacks for every adventure

From fun ride-ons to snazzy prints, there’s a case for every globe trotter here

Katie Gregory
Wednesday 18 May 2022 12:02
<p>We took options for toddlers and teens for a spin too  </p>

We took options for toddlers and teens for a spin too

Whether you’re planning a summer holiday or an overnight family break, making sure your kids’ luggage is up to the job is crucial.

It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling with a toddler or a teen: if you can convince them to tote their own luggage, you’re in for a far more enjoyable trip.

Planning on going by plane? Then you’ll need to be mindful of cabin bag size restrictions when you choose your kids’ luggage. Hand luggage sizes vary by airline, so always check yours before you travel – some online retailers will even allow you to filter suitcase sizes by airline to save you some time when searching.

With any luck it will be your child transporting their luggage for at least some of the journey, so it’s also worth looking for something lightweight with well-oiled wheels.

And as with anything for little people, go for a suitcase or bag that’s rugged enough to withstand a bit of mistreatment and a lot of sitting on. That case will double up as a much-needed seat when you’re stuck in an airport queue.

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How we tested

We looked for luggage options right across the board – from kids’ travel rucksacks for short camping trips, to kids’ cabin bags for long plane journeys. Our only criteria was that the luggage must be transportable by a child, and our shortlist includes options suitable for all ages from tiny toddlers up to travelling teens.

We had our young testers check that zippers were easy to use, trolley handles were easy to retract, and luggage was easy to carry independently. We also factored in cost, durability, and style – because if they love it, they’re more likely to carry it.

The best kids’ luggage for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Tripp holiday cabin 4-wheel suitcase: £59.50,
  • Best for stylish city breaks – Pellianni city suitcase: £90,
  • Best for older kids – Hype blue splat small suitcase: £74.99,
  • Best for toddler travelers – Lola the llama trunki: £44.99,
  • Best for budding backpackers – Frugi trail blazing backpack: £30,
  • Best for dinarour lovers – LittleLife dinosaur suitcase: £29.99,
  • Best for organizing your belongings – It Luggage Ontario silver kids hardshell suitcase: £39.99,
  • Best for an overnight stay – Boppi tiny trekker: £51.99,
  • Best for avoiding luggage mix-ups –  The Palm kids personalised suitcase: £135,

Tripp holiday cabin 4-wheel suitcase

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

Tripp’s holiday range is its best-selling collection, and there’s a lot to love about these hard-shell suitcases. Made from tough polypropylene, it’s incredibly durable but equally lightweight. The cabin sized case is ideal for kids and measures 55cm x 40cm x 20cm, plus there are medium and large versions for teens or parents.

Each case has a zippered pocket and packing straps inside, plus a pull-out trolley handle and carry handle on the outside. There’s a TSA lock – set a memorable password before your kids inevitably forget theirs – and the wheels are smooth and hardwearing. Best of all is the simple but bold colour palette, which currently includes a juicy watermelon, zingy citron, and ocean blue. It won’t date, your child won’t outgrow the design, and it stands out brilliantly in a sea of black on the luggage carousel. Buy a different colour for each member of the family and save on any luggage mix-ups.

Pellianni city suitcase

Best: For stylish city breaks

Rating: 9.5/10

If it’s chic you seek, look no further than this pretty little suitcase. It’s a compact 40cm x 30cm x 17cm, which our tester found spot on for an overnight break – including room for several teddies. We love the vintage feel, the delicate city skyline and the range of muted colours. We tested the aqua version, but there’s also a dusky rose and a sunshine yellow with the same city motif.

Beyond the aesthetics, this is a top-quality bag that feels like an investment purchase. Everything from the reinforced corners to the sturdy handles feels built to last, and the retractable trolley handle has four heights rather than the more common two – a little detail that makes a big difference to comfort. Internal dividers stop everything from falling out when you open the case, and four robust wheels glide effortlessly when you’re moving it. Just be warned: it’s too pretty to gather dust in the loft, so it’s likely to become a permanent interior fixture.

Hype blue splat small suitcase

Best: For older kids

Rating: 9/10

Hype’s bold, street-styled prints stand out a mile away, and so does this travel suitcase. Its hard, shiny shell is covered in blue paint splatters and finished with the signature Hype logo. Our pre-teen tester thought it was the best thing since sliced bread and proudly wheeled it off on a school trip.

Size-wise it’s 33l and slightly larger than cabin bag size at 56.5cm x 37cm x 22cm – which was just right for a three-night trip – and there are medium and large sizes available, too. It’s lovely and light, the four wheels glide well, and the pull-out handle feels robust enough to last. We particularly like the fabric lining inside, which is embossed with the Hype logo and acts as a handy divider, but it’s the fact it looks so good on the outside that ultimately won it points.

Lola the llama trunki

Best: For toddler travels

Rating: 9/10

Trunki has become a household name in travel, and for good reason. Its clever ride-on cases are a brilliant solution for travelling toddlers, and Lola the Llama is the latest design to hit the shelves alongside a huge variety of animals, vehicles, and bespoke design-your-own styles.

The beauty of these hard-shell cases is that it comes with a carry handle as well as a tow strap, so you can pull your little one along when you need to – we found this works well on the smooth airport floor, but less so on a bumpy pavement. It’s so robust it doubles up as a place to perch, and at 46cm x 20.5cm x 31cm is designed to work as hand luggage for most airlines, although it may be too big for some budget operators, so do check.

While these are ideal for younger kids, we’ve found it ages well, too. Our nine-year-old tester still uses his years-old Trunki for overnight stays, and it still looks as good as new.

Frugi trail blazing backpack

Best: For budding backpackers

Rating: 9/10

This rugged rucksack is perfect if your little one prefers to roam hands-free. The hardy outer fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles and covered in a bold dahlia design that’s pretty but not too girly, according to our discerning seven-year-old tester. There’s also a green version covered in trees and vehicles if you’re looking for something less floral.

With a 12l capacity this one is slightly bigger than the average school bag, so it’s better suited to travel, although extra features like a padded laptop sleeve inside and two side pockets on the outside means it can easily switch between the two. All the straps are adjustable, all the way up to fit an adult, and we particularly like the pack-away rain cover – perfect for a walking trip or a weekend camp-out.

LittleLife dinosaur suitcase

Best: For dinosaur lovers

Rating: 8/10

This structured fabric case has an all-over dinosaur-skin print, and our smallest tester was particularly enamoured with the soft orange “spikes” down the front. Measuring 33cm x 25cm x 44cm it’s compact and light, with two smooth-rolling wheels that – although not 360-degree – make it relatively easy for a pre-schooler to move the case around independently.

The front section opens to reveal a roomy main compartment – 20l, to be precise – with a zippered lining and a small, netted pocket. The telescopic trolley handle zips away when it’s not in use, and the fabric carry handle feels suitably sturdy. All in all it’s a robust little bag that’ll be a hit with tiny dinosaur fans, and we love that LittleLife has a matching toddler backpack with reins.

It Luggage Ontario silver kids hardshell suitcase

Best: For organising your belongings

Rating: 8/10

This cute hardshell case is styled like a Lego brick and measures a compact 46cm x 29.5cm x 20cm. The clamshell design means it opens out flat, which makes for easy packing and we really liked the fact this one has lots of interior dividers – there are three different zippered sections plus an elasticated pocket. There’s no carry handle on the side, which would be handy but isn’t essential given the compact size of the case, and the wheels glide beautifully. Overall it’s a really robust, hardwearing case at a very competitive price. And though we tested the silver version and loved the textured metallic look, there are also red and green options available.

Boppi tiny trekker

Best: For an overnight stay

Rating: 8/10

This tough little case went down a treat with our tester, who has never been so keen to wheel her own luggage. It measures a dinky 42cm x 30cm x 22cm and nips around nicely on two wheels using the pull-out trolley handle, plus there’s a carry handle at the top.

Boppi has lots more cute, childlike designs ranging from a dog to a robot, and little touches like colourful rubber zipper tags give this case a nice finish. There are two small sections inside, and the rounded shape does limit how much you can fit in, so this would work well for an overnight stay or just to carry some essential toys and snacks to keep a young child entertained on a flight. Just be sure to check your airline’s size guide for cabin luggage as the depth might tip you over.

The Palm kids personalised suitcase

Best: For avoiding luggage mix-ups

Rating: 8/10

If you don’t want to run the risk of mixing up your little one’s luggage on the carousel, a personalised case is a great idea – and a nice gift option. Koko Blossom stock a range of personalised cases for adults and children, and this palm design is from its new summer 2022 kids’ range.

We tested the 52l cabin size, which measures 58cm x 34cm x 23cm, and there’s a smaller 29l kids’ size available. We particularly like the subtle design, which is printed on canvas then encased in a clear plastic cover so it can’t get dirty or scuffed. That also means you can replace the canvas insert further down the line without having to replace the whole bag. It comes with a TSA lock, so be sure to set the code to something you – and they – will remember, before your little one gets their hands on it and locks the contents away forever.

The verdict: Kids' luggage

We love Tripp’s Holiday range of cases for its enduring style, bold colours, and durable design – all at a very reasonable price. We were also seriously impressed by Hype’s blue splat small suitcase and the incredibly stylish Pellianni City Suitcase, which any globetrotting youngster would be proud to carry around.

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