When purchasing a suitcase, most people will pay attention to its size, color, compartment, locks, etc. What you might neglect is the material it’s made of. But it’s either plastic or leather. Those two are the most common materials used to make luggage, but there’re other options, for example, carbon fiber.
As a material expert (in case you didn’t know), PITAKA has been using carbon fiber to produce some everyday lifestyle accessories, and it’s about to launch its carbon fiber luggage series.
Today, we’ll walk you through some basic knowledge of the advanced material of the century and give some advice on choosing the best real carbon fiber luggage.
What’s Great about Carbon Fiber?
Carbon fiber is a high-end chemical fiber that’s high-performance, high-modulus, and resistant to high temperature. It has a diameter of about five to ten micrometers and is extremely strong in strength and stiffer than aluminum. Yet, it’s exceptionally lightweight.
And carbon fiber has different looks based on the particular fabric used, and it always comes with this fabulous black and grey appearance that many people find attractive and unique with an understated style.
In addition, carbon fiber is quite conductive, so the RF signal will not pass through easily. In other words, carbon fiber is naturally RFID blocking for the most commonly used frequencies. As a result, it’s an ideal material to make wallets or alike that are used to store your cards.
1K, 2K, 3K, 6K, 12K Carbon Fiber
You may have heard of 3K or 12K carbon fiber. What does that meaning?
K means the amount of carbon fiber filaments in one bundle. 1K means there are 1000 filaments; 3K means 3000; you get the idea. The amount of K doesn’t represent the quality of carbon fiber. The differences are in appearance, texture, and price.
The smaller the K, the smaller the weave pattern and lighter but also more expensive.
1K carbon fiber is the smoothest and most expensive as it has a higher requirement on weaving technology. PITAKA Carbon Fiber Watch Band is made of 1K carbon fiber. The light, strong, easy-to-use 3K carbon fiber is the most popular. 6K and 12K carbon fiber are less expensive as they are easier to be produced.
Why Should You Choose Carbon Fiber Luggage?
Carbon fiber was first widely used in the auto and aerospace industry after decades of development. And in recent years, the advanced material has been used more often in creating lifestyle accessories, such as carbon fiber wallets, carbon fiber watch bands, and carbon fiber luggage.
Regarding traveling with luggage, weight and strength are some of the biggest concerns. We all want to travel as light as possible and ensure the luggage will survive impact during the journey. And carbon fiber is durable, relatively scratch-resistant, yet very light.
But carbon fiber luggage is not seen everywhere, mostly because the material is expensive and difficult to work with in bulk. Carbon fiber composites are manufactured by placing a few layers of carbon fabric by hand. So you can imagine how long and costly the process is compared to common materials manufactured by machines.
Still, dozens of brands have already released their carbon fiber luggage.
How to Choose A Carbon Fiber Suitcase?
What we look for in a suitcase varies from person to person and by trip.
You need to choose the size, color, and soft shell or hard shell suitcase. If you need to stay online during the journey, you might get a suitcase with a built-in battery pack. If you want to keep everything organized, pick luggage with pockets and compartments. There are common things we need to consider when choosing luggage, carbon fiber or not.
But if you want to pick a real carbon fiber suitcase, you should be able to tell if it’s real or fake carbon fiber. Carbon fiber products are synonymous with luxury, style, and performance. But as stated before, manufacturing carbon fiber takes time and costs quite a bit. Note that there’s no way to color carbon fiber by far. If you see any red or yellow carbon fiber luggage, run away. There’re tips if you want to learn more skills to identify genuine or fake carbon fiber.
Many companies choose to emboss a layer of carbon fiber fabric over other materials and coat it with resin. That’s laminated carbon fiber which gives you the look but not the entire performance of the real composite. So, how “carbon fiber” do you want your luggage to be?
Carbon Fiber Luggage Suggestion
Globe-Trotter 007 Carbon Fiber Case
Globe-Trotter is a London-born luxury brand with a history of over a century in producing suitcases, bags, and other accessories.
Most of their luxury suitcases are made using vulcanized fiberboard, a tough, resilient material lighter than aluminum. In 2020, the brand released a limited edition carbon fiber suitcase of their classic design.
The 007 carbon fiber suitcase comprises a carbon fiber body with leather corners and handles. The carbon fiber carry-on luggage has a capacity of 34L, weighing 4.2kg, and is suitable for long weekends or business trips. It costs about twice as much as other carry-on luggage with the same capacity.
Carbon Fiber Luggage from Carbon Fiber Gear
Carbon Fiber Gear sells various accessories made from carbon fiber or other composites. For example, their Swiss Luggage carbon fiber suitcase collection has a beautiful appearance crafted from 6K twill weave carbon fiber.
It’s supposed to be light, but there’s steel inside to take care of the necessary lock stability and other materials. The suitcase comprises 350 individual parts. Their patented four-layer laminated construction ensures shockproof service, and the thermoplastic protective film prevents breakage and splintering.
In addition, the carbon fiber suitcase comes with a TSA-Licensed lock to secure your belongings.
ILATRO Carbon Fiber Carry-on Luggage
is an Italy-based brand that designs and makes suitcases and bags, most of which are made using carbon fiber.
T2 is the carry-on bag entirely crafted from carbon fiber, weighing just 1.8KG. The black carbon plus the convex shape on the front make the luggage look elegant and futuristic. The interiors are lined with fabric and fitted with practical buckles to keep the contents tight and organized. You can also customize it with a unique embedded label.
If you appreciate vintage items, pick the T3 carbon fiber carry-on luggage. It features a retro style with a rectangle frame that looks like an old trunk. The frame and corners are supported by aluminum to provide further protection, so inevitably, it’s a bit heavier.
Both carbon fiber suitcases are ideal for pleasure or business trips.
TUMI McLaren Carry-on Luggage
TUMI is a big name in the luggage industry that needs no introduction. They use carbon fiber and other premium materials to make luggage and other accessories.
Part of the exterior of its Aero International Expandable Carry-On luggage is CX6® carbon fiber, a high-strength and low-stretch material from Carbitex, offering protection and a sleek finish.
MON CARBONE Carbon Fiber Luggage
MON CARBONE has recently released their carbon fiber luggage on Kickstarter, which will be available on their website soon.
The carbon fiber luggage is crafted from more than 30,000,000 carbon fiber strands. The frame is made using aluminum. The interior is linings to organize your stuff, which they claim to be anti-bacteria, preventing gem transferring from clothing to luggage during packing and unpacking.
The carbon fiber luggage shell is overall thin in a minimalist design.
TechnoMonster Carbon Luggage
TechnoMonster, an Italian brand, sells a great variety of handmade luxury products made using different luxury materials such as carbon fiber and titanium.
They offer a series of carbon fiber luggage of different sizes, designs, and of course, price tags. Most of them have a matt finish with a sleek style. And some of them even have a handle that’s in carbon fiber style, which is rarely seen.
Vladimir Prochazka Weekender Dorcadion Luggage
The Weekender Dorcadion Ultra-light from Vladimir Prochazka is indeed the lightest luggage we’ve ever found, weighing only 0.9kg.
The suitcase comprises ultra-light carbon fiber and exclusive Italian calf leather. And it features a striking, never-before-seen cubistic “V” form. Inside is leather and carbon fiber mesh dividers and elastic leather straps but no metal frame which is the reason why it’s so light.
Ventris Lifestyle La Corsa Series
Ventris Lifestyle invents full carbon fiber luggage. The La Corsa Series includes carry-on luggage, check-in luggage, and wine cases, all with a proprietary handmade V-shape symmetrical carbon fiber motif. The V-shape design is a nice way to help you identify your luggage, even in a sea of carbon fiber luggage.
These luggage are made using 5 to 10 carbon fiber layers with leather at the top and side grip handle. All are equipped with TSA approved locks and four quiet and smooth wheels.