I hold the bar high for luggage. There's nothing that peeves me more than retrieving my roller duffle at the baggage claim only to find that it's been through the ninth circle of hell, with abrasions, broken zippers, missing snaps, and ugly black scrapes to prove it.
But there's hope in the form of Osprey's new Shuttle 32 ($279; ospreypacks.com). Built around Osprey's "High Road" Chassis, which is made from an aluminum frame with molded high-impact plastic, the 110-liter, 1,600 cubic-inch ballistic polyester bag is designed for hard-core wear and tear, like a sand-infused island vacation. If you carry a lot of baggage like me (yes, I've been known to haul around ten-pound hardcover reference books), you'll appreciate the bag's straightjacket-like compression straps and top zippered pocket for those last-minute items, like underwear, you forgot to pack. The two large compartments separated by a bellows divider will keep your wet suits and sandy flip-flops separate from your clean clothes. The main compartment has a lockable zipper and there are four grab loops, plus XL wheels, which make hauling this haul bag a dream.
Known more for their Swiss-made precision timepieces, Victorinox also makes durable high-quality, sleek-looking luggage. The wheeled Explorer ($460; swissarmy.com) duffel, in their CH-97 series, is not only huge (36", 91 cm), it's also virtually indestructible, with heavy-duty YKK zippers, rear-guardrails and a kickplate to prevent damage while in the plane's cargo hold, and an external compression system to keep it all in. The bag also has an internal mesh pocket to keep your dripping suit away from the dry stuff.