VANCOUVER -- Tossed around by airport baggage handlers or stuffed into the belly of a cruise ship, the luggage you take with you on your travels takes a heavy beating.

And a new study finds not all bags are created equally. Consumer Reports worked with 38,000 members to find out just what travellers are looking for in a bag that will be able to make the trip from start to finish.

Luggage salesman Sal Carino says durability tops the list. For customers, a split seam, broken zipper, wheel or handle can make a bag’s next destination the garbage dump. 

“People are willing to pay a premium for a product that will arrive intact,” Carino says. 

For luggage that will last, Consumer Reports found the brands Briggs & Riley and Eagle Creek get top marks for durability, and they’re some of the most easily stowed and packed. 

Kevin Doyle with Consumer Reports says products from both also come with a lifetime warranty, though how long that is often varies.

“Lifetime warranties can offer some peace of mind, but you need to remember that they do come with limitations and that ‘lifetime’ may not mean your lifetime,” he says. 

Eagle Creek’s warranty applies only to what the company says is the lifetime of the bag, and if the bag came second-hand, you’re out of luck - the warranty won’t apply if you’re not the original owner. 

Cosmetic damage, while important to the owner of the luggage, may not be enough to get the manufacturer to fix it. Some warranties cover rips and tears, while others don’t. 

“If the bag is covered under warranty, the company will likely repair it,” Doyle says, but adds that doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the same suitcase back. “If they do replace the bag, they may give you a different colour or even a completely different model from the one that you purchased.” 

When shopping for the perfect suitcase, it’s also important to consider the mode of transportation and storage possibilities, the study says. Soft-sided bags have some give to them, and are easier to stuff into small spaces. Hard-sided suitcases, while more durable, have no give - if they don’t fit, that’s it. 

Carino says the size and weight of the bag are critical for his customers. Some discount airlines require carry-ons weigh in at just 18 pounds or less. 

So what will durable luggage set you back? Quite a bit. Eagle Creek’s suitcases start at around $200, but Briggs & Riley bags can cost much more - up to $700. 

The upshot of that hefty price tag? The warranty even covers damage caused by an airline. 

Air Canada and WestJet say passengers are refunded the cost of checking a bag if it’s damaged on one of their flights, but the claim has to be filed within seven days.

In Canada, there’s a limit to the amount of money you can get if you find damage to your luggage.They can pay out up to $2,300 - but that covers both the bag and its contents, according to the new air passenger rights rules that came into effect in December. 

And airlines are not liable for any damage that may have been caused by security personnel during an inspection.