If you’re a frequent traveller or planning a big trip somewhere, opting for a hard shell suitcase over a soft shell would likely be the best option. The latest hard shell cases are both mega strong and sturdy while remaining super lightweight, flexible and waterproof – superior to the soft kind which are usually more bulky and often heavier too.
The Juno II is one of Anter’s latest premium hard shell suitcase ranges – each slight variation comes in three sizes and is available in several finishes. Last year’s Juno case sits snugly at #2 in our best suitcase guide so this case comes with a reputation to uphold.
We tested the Juno II Mono which is available in matte black and ‘crisp’ white. But there’s also the Juno II Metallic range which looks a tiny bit more shiny and premium, and the Juno II Brights range which is ideal for kids and comes in pink, orange and turquoise.
The sizes available are Small (cabin) measuring 55x40x20cm and holding 39 litres, Medium (68x46x27cm – 77 litres) and Large (80.5x54x31cm – 123 litres).
Antler – one of the UK’s most respected luggage brands – says they’re all ‘virtually indestructible’ with ‘unparalleled impact resistance’. I took the Antler Juno II medium case on two week-long trips to New York and a weekend break in London to put it through its paces.
There’s no denying these suitcases look great. The matte black version I tested looks smart and understated. It also feels really premium with smooth wheels and sturdy handles.
The Juno II is made from polypropylene – a type of plastic that’s extremely light but also flexible and strong – resistant most importantly to cracks, but also to wear and tear.
In the three trips I took with this case, it did pick up various small abrasions. The surface of the case isn’t impervious to marks so it will pick up scuffs – it’s inevitable with a hard shell suitcase that goes through the rough and tumble of airport baggage handling, being lifted in and out of taxis and being dragged through the city.
That being said, the case certainly seems to live up to its toughness claims in almost all aspects. The polypropylene material is thin and light but super strong. This is a sturdy suitcase which means you can travel with it and not have to worry that it’s being damaged at any time. Not when you accidentally bash it against a curb. Not when you’re sitting on it. And not in the crush of an aircraft’s hold.
This toughness is reflected in an overall high quality look and feel to the case. The self-healing zips feel high quality and indestructible. The four evenly-sized wheels feel sturdy and resilient, standing up to the challenge of cross-city walking, crossing roads, climbing up curbs and occasionally going ‘off road’. Four wheels work so much better than two – they enable you to wheel the case along ‘on all fours’ which makes it much easier to make faster progress through a busy airport or train station. It’s also more comfortable to not have to pull it behind you.
The three-digit TSA-approved combination lock is super easy to set up. The locking mechanism grapples on to the zips which means when it’s locked no one is going to be able to pull the zips apart and reach inside the case. And a simple slide button will release the lock when you’ve entered your code.
Polypropylene cases have a very low mass which both saves space and reduces weight. That means you can get more in the case compared to some soft cases which may have external pockets and thicker shells. There are a few internal pockets to keep smaller items safely tucked away but apart from that, the inside of the case is very no nonsense – it’s a plastic box to put things in.
The Antler Juno II suitcases are available individually or as part of a three-piece set with all three fitting neatly inside each other. The prices are now a bit cheaper than they were at launch earlier this year, too, with the small case available on Amazon for £100 instead of £145. This makes the Juno II a whole lot easier to recommend. With very little difference between the best polypropylene cases it can come down to cost and the excellent Juno II cases – particularly the small and medium ones – now offer good value for money. So if you need a new all purpose suitcase – a cabin bag for a city break or something bigger for a longer stay, the Juno II cases are unlikely to disappoint you.