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Travel Experts Recommend Their Best Carry On Luggage
When traveling, it’s important to have a piece of carry on luggage for several reasons. Maybe you prefer to pack only the essentials in a bag and take it on the plane or train. I know I hate waiting for my luggage on the belt. Or maybe you like to have a bag filled with activities to occupy your time. The best carry on luggage for you depends on your specific situation.
Now, because we care about your travel experience from the moment you start thinking about it to the moment you get back, we’ve teamed up with other travel experts and asked them about their favorite carry on luggage.
EXTRA TIP: Many of these cases have excellent deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so we highly recommend to act fast, if you see a brand or model you like.
Luxury Carry On Luggage
Victorinox Etherius Luggage
Best known for the Swiss Army Knife, the Swiss brand Victorinox also has a range of high-quality travel luggage. For the last 18 months, I’ve been using the Etherius carry on luggage and couldn’t be happier. The stylish hard-shell case is made from 100% polycarbonate, making it durable and ultra-lightweight at only 3kg. There are four easy to maneuver spinner wheels, a retractable handle that can be set at three different positions. The suitcase also has grips on the side and top make lifting the suitcase easy too.
The Etherius carry on is on the larger size and fits 33L. But the volume can be expanded by another 27% if required. This means the suitcase can fit up to five days worth of belongings. It also fits comfortably into the overhead compartment of all flights. Inside there are two zippered dividing walls made out of mesh and nylon fabric, plus elasticated Y-shaped compression straps to help keep clothes wrinkle-free and in place.
In terms of security, the luggage has a TSA combination lock. So, if customs need to open your bag they can do so without breaking the lock. As an additional layer of security, the suitcase also includes the Victorinox Access Lock Combination Recovery Program. This is where owners can register their security codes online and retrieve them if they have forgotten them.
Built to last, the luggage comes with a 10-year warranty. It makes the high price tag worthwhile as even frequent flyers won’t need to replace the suitcase anytime soon. Overall, I love the item and it is my go-to suitcase. After 30+ trips there are some scuffs on the hard shell which is expected from polycarbonate. But otherwise, it’s in great condition.
The Durable Red Oxx
by: Empty Nestopia
I require options when considering a travel bag. The more options, the better. My Sky Train from Red Oxx delivers on that requirement with the versatility of carrying straps and pockets. It has two main compartments. One front zippered pocket, and a back zippered pocket for magazines when the backpack straps are pulled out.
Red Oxx travel bags are made in the USA in a small family-run factory in Billings, Montana. They are incredibly durable bags withstanding years of heavy travel usage. I love the Sky Train carry-on model because it can be used as a computer bag or as a backpack. You can carry it in multiple ways – horizontally or vertically, as a messenger bag using the shoulder or cross-body strap, or as a backpack using the stowable straps. It also fits very easily in the overhead compartment on planes, under your seat, it even fits on the narrow overhead shelf on commuter trains. I also love that it comes in a rainbow of colors.
Red Oxx bags are a good value because they come with what they call a “lifetime no bull warranty”. If anything breaks (think zipper pulls and strap clasps), rips or gets chewed on (yes, I am talking about Fido) just send back the bag. They will repair or replace the bag free of charge and send it back to you.
The Sky Train may look small but I can pack enough clothes and shoes (can’t forget the shoes!) for a long weekend on the road. When I hit the road via air I can pack my computer, miscellaneous electronics, a change of clothes, and light toiletries. This is great just in case my checked luggage doesn’t make it to the final destination.
Life is full of uncertainty, you shouldn’t have to worry about the quality of your travel bags also.
As a frequent traveler, I was recently in need of a new carry on suitcase. While I consider myself a budget-savvy traveler, I ended up splurging on the Away Bigger Carry On. I am so glad that I did! While the $245 USD price tag is much more than I’ve spent on carry on luggage, the investment is worth it.
Away luggage comes with a lifetime warranty. So I won’t be replacing it every year or two like I’ve had to do with previously purchased “budget-friendly” carry-ons. The Bigger Carry On model is sized to fit most airlines but a smaller version can be purchased if travelers are concerned about size.
The model that I purchased is the perfect size for an individual packing for several days or even week-long trips. It comes with an interior compression system that allows for packing a lot of clothes. Other key features to Away luggage include a durable polycarbonate shell that is offered in multiple colors (including pink!). It has an ejectable battery that charges your phone, a TSA-approved combination lock, 360° spinner wheels, and a hidden laundry bag to keep your dirty clothes separate from the rest of your belongings.
One of my favorite things about Away luggage is that they have a 100-day trial. They encourage you to travel all over the world with the new luggage. If, within the first 100 days, it doesn’t meet your expectations or you have buyers’ remorse, you can return the luggage no questions asked. They’ll even send you a pre-paid shipping label for the return so trying out the Away Bigger Carry On is truly risk-free!
Ricardo Beverly Hills Malibu Bay 2.0 Carry-On
The Malibu Bay 2.0 is the lightest luggage collection by Ricardo Beverly Hills, made with an eco-conscious aluminum frame. It has a patent-pending agronomical handle, so it fits well in your hand. The dual 360 degrees wheels make it easy to move around, including on carpet. Another nice feature is the portable battery that is in a dedicated pouch to charge your devices on the go. The product feature came in handy on my last trip to South Africa, one of the safest countries in Africa.
I love my Malibu Bay 2.0 luggage! For a carry-on, I can fit quite a bit in it – eight dresses, five blouses, three pairs of jeans, one running shoes, and several underwear with room to spare. I also love that it has several compartments. I can put my clothes in one area and my underwear in another compartment. The front part of a carry-on can be a good place to keep your plane tickets and passport for easy access. Also, it has a vegan-leather accent that appeals to eco-friendly folks like me. The carry-on fits perfectly in the overhead bin of the major US airlines. My only concern was the toiletries pouch. It can be a little bit more secure as it came off by the time I got to my destination. However, that is not a deal-breaker.
What makes my Malibu Bay 2.0 is great is it comes with a water-resistant TSA friendly toiletries pouch. The bag comes off easily when going through a TSA check at the airport. The lifetime warranty and the first-year quality guarantee is a plus. Overall, the carry-on has exceeded my expectations so far! I will recommend that anyone looking for a sturdy, practical, and stylish carry-on to look no further. You will not be disappointed with the Ricardo Beverly Hills Malibu Bay 2.0 Carry-On.
Malibu Bay 2.0 carry-on is an outstanding option for most travelers. It is especially suitable for the eco-friendly traveler who wants to travel in style. The regular price of the carry-on is $240. However, you can usually get it on sale for $101 off, so your total cost ends up at $119. On Amazon, you can sometimes even get better deals. It’s on the pricier side for a carry-on, but you have heard this saying before, you get what you pay for! For $119, you will be sure to get your money’s worth!
Lightweight Cabin Luggage
Maxlite 5 Rollaboard Luggage
Once you have experienced the ease of traveling with carry on only, you will never want to check a bag again! When packing carry on, your luggage choice is very important. The best carry on suitcase is the Travelpro Maxlite 5 Lightweight Rollaboard Luggage.
I like everything about this suitcase. Weighing in at just over 5 pounds, it’s one of the lightest carry on suitcases available. The Maxlite 5 is super durable and made of a fabric that resists water and stains. After many long trips abroad, my suitcase looks like it did when I purchased it.
The most impressive part of this top-notch carry on, is how much I can fit into it. I have packed for a month-long trip, without lacking in outfits, shoes or toiletries. As long as all clothes are rolled and put into packing cubes or compression bags, you’re fine. But if it doesn’t fit in this carry-on, you are overpacking.
Some of the other important features of this luggage include easy handling. It has a power scope handle that extends with ease, and smooth, easy to roll wheels. Getting through the airport is a breeze! The suitcase features a telescope zipper, which will extend the bag by 2 inches. This is convenient when you aren’t flying and don’t feel like rolling and compressing your clothes. It’s also great if you want to do some shopping!
This Travel Pro suitcase has dimensions of 22” x 14”, which complies with most airlines carry on policies. It fits into most airplane overhead bins and picking it up is easy, since it has a side handle.
If you are looking for a carry on suitcase with excellent value for the quality, consider the Travelpro Maxlite 5. It just may be the perfect bag for you!
Tripp Holiday Hardshell Case
My Tripp ‘Holiday’ hardshell cabin suitcase goes pretty much everywhere with me on my travels. It’s a great piece of luggage that is simple, functional and pretty good looking too. It features four wheels, which makes it easy to pull through airports. The retractable pull handle had two arms rather than one, so it’s stable and doesn’t rock from side to side when on the move like so many other cases out there. They recently updated the design and now it looks even better.
The case is surprisingly lightweight for a hard case at 2.7kg, so it doesn’t eat up too much of your weight allowance. The TSA code combination lock is a neat feature too. Although mine did break after several years. I now use a padlock, which is equally functional.
I love that the design isn’t fussy, and the interior is just 2 large compartments with a handy mesh divider and packing straps. This makes packing really easy, especially if you use packing cubes. The hard outer of the case means that nothing ever gets damaged. All those holiday souvenirs you just can’t resist buying will make it home in one piece.
At 37 liter I’ve never had trouble packing for city breaks, week-long trips to Europe, and even longer trips where I don’t need heaps of warm clothes. The dimensions are in keeping with most airline cabin bag restrictions. I’ve always been able to fit it in the overhead lockers. Overall it’s a practical, easy to maneuver and attractive piece of luggage. It comes in several colors and is often on offer, so excellent value in my opinion.
Alpine Carry-On 45
by: Layer Culture
When traveling the world and doing my best to keep my luggage weight down, one of the best pieces of carry on luggage I have found is the Lowe Alpine Carry-On 45. I like to carry a bag that allows me to fly past the baggage claim. It helps me avoid those tiring queues at the check-in desk. Aside from the logistical benefits of having a carry-on, there are two things I absolutely love about this backpack.
One being, how amazingly light it is. The second is how I can open the backpack from the front with a zip. Using the tamperproof zips, I get easy access to all my belongings and space which allows me to fill up the backpack with ease. Even after packing a reasonable amount of clothes and toiletries, there is still room for footwear. Plus you can find an internal pocket tucked inside for good measure.
As the luggage is made from a lightweight but tough material, it helps to keep the weight down. The dimensions are (55 x 35 x 20-25cm) sized to fit any airline cabin requirements. With the side compression straps, you can squish the bag down further to fit your requirements.
The Lowe Alpine Carry-On 45 is a great option for business and even the minimalist traveler who wants a reliable piece of carry on. It will help keep belongings safe. It can be carried as a backpack or a shoulder bag and the grey color allows you to travel in style.
Carry On Luggage at Great Value
Rip Curl F-Light
Out of all the carry-on suitcases I’ve had in the past, this Rip Curl F-light is my ultimate favorite. I won’t be changing my suitcase anytime soon. One of the best things is the durability of the bag. Its zippers are bigger and can be put to the heavy-duty test. It has a clamshell opening with both sides having equal space and zipper mesh to close them to keep things organized and in place.
The outside is softshell in top and semi-hard on the bottom. This is perfect for adjusting the thickness of the suitcase for the amount of stuff you need to take. It has two skateboard wheels which make it easier for pulling around on uneven or cobblestone streets while traveling. Two wheels are also better for kids to pull too!
I’ve used this on our 1 year of travel with our kids around the world. It held up and fit in all the airlines we took! The top is soft and there are cinching straps you can condense it and make it fit in any overhead. But be sure to do the rule of overhead compartments of wheels in first!
I have also used this for my solo travel for work, snowboard trips, girls’ trips, and more. It has more of an adventure style versus corporate elegance so if that suits your style you’ll love it.
The price was higher than I have spent in the past on carry-on luggage. But for the value, durability, and size I have found it to be a great value to invest in.
Thule Subterra Carry On
by: TraveLynn Family
For our adventurous style of travel, we’re usually ones for a fraying backpack slung over our shoulder. But for European city breaks, I felt that a little style was in order. So I was delighted when I was gifted the Thule Subterra Carry On.
I have used this carry on case extensively over the past 18 months, all over Europe. It’s served me VERY well and I’m sure I’ll be using it for many more years. First and foremost, the important thing is that its size complies with the carry-on requirements for most airlines. For short breaks, we always limit ourselves to carry-on only.
It is also extremely sturdy and hard-wearing due to its durable exoskeleton and molded polycarbonate back panel. And the waterproof material is handy for those inevitable drink spills at the airport. They’re guaranteed, every single time when my two kids are around.
But, the best bit is the compression panel inside to maximize packing space and minimize wrinkling. This means that I can easily fit in all my clothes for a week, and sometimes squeeze in a coat! It really is a miracle how much space this panel creates! The actual panel is then handy for storing any flat documents.
On the top at the front, is a zip that opens a protective compartment to store travel documents, sunglasses, etc. It’s also big enough to store the kids’ tablets (because what parent travels without them?)
I love this case so much that I’m planning to buy my husband one for Christmas. It’s excellent value, especially considering how much we use it.
Small But Mighty IT Carry On
Owning the smallest size of the IT luggage is a complete no brainer. Sized to fit in the airplane cabin with you, it has all the features you need, is great value for money. It even comes with a 10-year guarantee. I’ve even tested that guarantee (a wheel mishap) and yes, they do the repair for free!
The bag is about as big as a cabin bag can be, large enough that I even packed my trip checklist inside. Several outfits, pairs of shoes and one bulky item like a coat or dressing gown can all fit. There are extra external pockets in case you need to squeeze more in. I’ve never felt like it was too small. At the same time, I’ve never once found it too big for airline regulations on any trip – having flown with lots of picky airlines.
It wheels very smoothly, has a water-resistant exterior and includes clips and pockets that make it easy to organize your stuff. The front wheels rotate 360 degrees to make pulling things around as easy as possible.
Very lightweight, the bag is strong enough that it hasn’t buckled under years of use – I guess that’s why it comes with a guarantee!
I’d honestly recommend it to anyone, but especially solo or business travelers because this bag is discreet and professional-looking. Of course, it’s not for backpacking in rough areas, but if you need a wheely bag for your trip, this is the one.
I absolutely love my Osprey Ozone wheeled carry-on. I think it’s the best piece of luggage I’ve ever used.
As quite a frequent traveler I’ve noticed over the years that most luggage I’ve used hasn’t held up very well. I’ve had luggage break inside so that pieces of the hard outer shell made noise whenever it was used. Handles fall off and straps break. Mostly, my luggage just seems to look worn-out over time, and who wants to travel the world with a nasty looking piece of luggage?
I needed to get a really good, long-term piece of luggage. I knew I wanted a carry-on sized piece as I’m a firm member of the carry-on only camp. As a began my research I kept returning again and again to the Osprey brand. Osprey is famous for its “All Mighty Guarantee” – any reason, any product, any era. I liked the sound of that, especially given my history with luggage wearing poorly.
I chose the Osprey Ozone 42L size. As soon I received it I knew it was different. It has an extremely light and very durable fabric making it very easy to carry. Even fully packed it was easy to hoist into an overhead compartment. The excellent quality and construction was immediately obvious. The handles have pads for comfort, zippers are robust and the frame and chassis looked like it could endure a very bumpy ride.
The Osprey Ozone impressed me on initial inspection but it really excelled during use. I was easily able to fit everything I needed for 3-weeks in it, with the help of the very strong internal compression straps.
The outer liquids pocket made removing my liquids bag during security easy. I was able to fit my laptop in the outer pocket and remove it easily. Best of all, the Osprey Ozone fits easily in every overhead compartment I try and is super-easy to lift and carry up and down the many stairs when getting into and out of trains, planes, and automobiles!
Best Carry On Backpack
Patagonia Arbor Backpack
by: Our Travel Mix
The Patagonia Arbor backpack has been my daily walk-a-round bag and my carry-on for flights, buses, trains and more.
When fully closed, the bag has 25L of space – which is just the right size to comfortably pack 7kg worth of gear. This is the carry-on limit for most airlines, however, with a squeeze, you could probably get close to 10kg.
Despite its relatively small volume, this bag fits a lot more than similarly sized backpacks – such as the Jansport Superbreak. This also places it well under the maximum dimensions for airline carry-on restrictions. I’ve never had any issues with it being too big.
For packing, you can fit two 13” laptops into the slot at the back of the main compartment. I then add a first aid kit and a packing cube filled with clothes, then place my camera gear on top of this – comfortably fitting everything I need to carry-on.
In terms of durability, this bag is tough enough to handle more than a few tosses around as it accompanies you around the world. I’ve taken mine around Southeast Asia and it isn’t showing any signs of wear.
This carry on backpack is suitable for any kind of traveler as it is just a good, versatile backpack. It’s only drawback could be the fact that it is a top loader. This requires a good organization to find things quickly. I use packing cubes, bags, and sleeves to organize the contents, then put what I need most at the top or in the extra pockets.
If you find you need fast access to everything in your bag, then a front loader may be more suitable. All in all, I find this to be a great value bag that is relatively affordable and meets the needs of most travelers.
Tortuga Setout Backpack
If you’re looking for a high-performance carry on backpack with a minimalist design, the Tortuga Setout is top of the range.
Tortuga is a start-up founded by two traveler friends. They’ve been through lots of iterations over the years trying to come up with the perfect backpack. The Setout is the culmination of their research.
The Setout comes in women’s and men’s versions (each has an ergonomic shape to suit different body shapes), and in 35L or 45L capacity. The 35L is standard carry on size for 99% of airlines. I’ve never had a problem taking my Tortuga into the cabin, even on budget flights with Ryan Air and Air Asia. The pack’s durable, weather-proof shell is made from recycled polyester and weighs just 3.6 pounds. It’s available in black, heather grey and navy.
The design, which recently won first place at Carryology’s carry on luggage awards, is practical and attractive. Unlike a lot of backpacks that open at the top, the Setout fully unzips around the sides, allowing you to pack it just like a suitcase. Inside, the bag features a large internal space that easily fits a set of packing cubes.
Tortuga advertises the pack as being large enough to fit a weeks’ worth of clothing – my partner recently used his on our 10-month world trip without any problems! Mesh organization pockets on the inside are perfect for keeping tech items and toiletries organized, and the separate external laptop compartment fits a 17” Macbook.
The best thing about the Setout is that it’s really comfortable to carry. As someone who suffers from shoulder and neck pain, this is the only backpack I’ve found that doesn’t aggravate my migraines. A padded hip belt and super-soft shoulder straps help distribute the weight.
The Setout has a reasonable price of $179 for the 35L version. Get it here>>
Pacsafe Venturesafe X40
If you need an allrounder type of carry on bag, this is the backpack. Not only is this my carry on bag but I’ve even used it for overnight hikes and it can lock up and house my valuables in the hotel! Let me explain…
The Pacsafe Venturesafe x40 bag is anti-theft, meaning it’s covered in anti-slash material, the zippers interlock, and it can even be anchored to a pole with its clip lock strap. If I’m leaving my laptop and valuables, I can make life a bit harder for the thief by locking my stuff in the bag and then to another object in the room, preferably heavy and hard to move, like the bed. I also use locks on the zippers. They would have to work really hard to get my bag open or out of the room and will hopefully just move on.
While hiking to backcountry huts in New Zealand for an overnight, I transformed this backpack into a hiking backpack (OK, fine, I just emptied it and filled it with camping stuff but it worked well!) The hip straps made it comfortable enough for me to hike for hours and the amount of space was enough for a day and a half of food, extra clothing, a sleeping bag, water, and other supplies.
Now to get back to its original use, a cabin carry on bag, yes, it’s great! I’ve never been questioned about the size but it can hold a lot and my boyfriend, who has the same bag, is often overweight with all his camera gear (not the bags fault!).
Speaking of, there’s a camera insert organizer for photographers that you can purchase that fits in this bag making it nearly perfect for anyone! Instead of only top access, the back of the bag also opens up for easier access to the camera bag or if you simply need to access another area of your bag with ease. You won’t need to unpack everything just to get to that one shirt you need that’s at the very bottom.
I’ve had this bag for about two years and aside from being a bit dirty (my fault), the bag is almost new. There are no tears, the hip straps have been holding up perfectly, even through rough forest hikes and being thrown around the airport floor, and there’s nothing falling apart.
The only small issue with the backpack is the front chest strap is a bit weak. It’s an easy and cheap fix to get a sturdy one put in instead though. Otherwise, the bag is extremely versatile and the added anti-theft features makes the kind of steep price, very worth it. They also make a slightly smaller one that might be a good option, if you are looking for a roomy daypack rather than a overnight carry on.
The Standard Backpack Company
by: Love and Road
I love my Standard Luggage. It has been 5 years that I’m traveling with it and I’ve never had a problem to take it on board as my cabin luggage. Its best assets are the multiple ways you can carry it and its urban style with no-frills. The Standard Luggage has a squared shape making it easy to pack your belongings. It doesn’t matter if you use packing cubes or if you roll your clothes, you can fit a lot in this bag.
Standard Luggage fits in most airline baggage allowances from Ryanair to AirAsia, as long as you don’t open the expansion. The bag size is 55×34,5×19 cm and 35 liters, if you open the expansion it becomes 55×34,5×24 cm and 45 liters. You only need to be careful with the weight, as you can pack a lot in it, the backpack can easily be heavier than the 7 or 10 kgs that most airlines allow on board.
The size of the bag is perfect and the way you can carry it is also great. You can use it as a cabin backpack as the straps have pads and it has a hip belt that helps to distribute the weight making it comfortable to carry around. If you are going for a day trip or a weekend getaway you can change the straps and carry it as a messenger bag, perfect to get on trains or buses.
Another option is to use it as your cabin bag to go along with your big suitcase. In this case, you can attach the backpack to the trolley handle and carry everything around as one big thing. In case you bought too many souvenirs, you can open the expansion, pack everything inside, hide the straps and check it like a suitcase.
This backpack has a special compartment for laptops, tablets and small pockets to keep wires and little things in place. It’s perfect for people who travel for work. The material is water-resistant and it comes with a rain cover, interchangeable leather name tags, handles, and zippers details, so you can personalize your bag.
Kathmandu Litehaul 38
by: Flying Fluskeys
My constant travel companion for the last two years has been the newest version of the Litehaul 38 from Kathmandu. I have owned three generations of this travel pack, but it’s latest iteration has definitely been my favorite.
As this is a travel pack, rather than a backpack it has a proper back system but the straps can be zipped away fully if you want to use the messenger bag strap, or just make it look a little neater (read smaller) during the boarding process. It is unusual to find a decent hip belt on a pack like these and so it is a delight to see it here. It makes all the difference if you carrying it for long periods.
Kathmandu Litehaul’s main compartment unzips like a suitcase so it is incredibly easy to access all of your belongings. At the top is a smaller pocket and a special lined pocket for electricals. These two are especially good for the last minute things that you have forgotten and enable you to squash things down as if it was a top-loader.
The thin profile of the Kathmandu Litehaul 38 means it fits in most airlines hand luggage dimensions. It only bulges if you pack it terribly! The side and top handles make popping it in the measuring cages super easy. On me, it looks large as I am just five feet, but I have seen businessmen carrying it and it looks pretty svelte. Plus, it’s black exterior means it doesn’t look out of place with a suit if needed. A well built, well thought out pack that fits in the overhead, can be worn for business or backpacking, surely that is the perfect carry on!?
Osprey Sojourn 45L
One of the best carry-ons for me is a wheeled backpack. A travel backpack with wheels still gives us proud backpackers everything we love about traveling with a backpack. It allows for the ease of use of a quality backpack but is a little gentler than lugging a backpack around all day taxing on your back.
I love to travel light so the Osprey Sojourn 45L wheeled backpack. Rolling luggage is great, but sometimes it’s not practical over cobblestones and you need a backpack. This travel bag with wheels opens up like a traditional suitcase. You can expect the great quality nylon to make this a durable bag just like the other Osprey bags and having handles on 3 sides makes it incredibly easy to pick up from just about any angle.
It even has a Dual front panel with daisy chains for additional gear attachment such as my reusable water bottle. This was particularly useful when I was in India. I could attach things to the outside for easy use and then also switch between wheeling it down the street or wearing it as a backpack when needed.
I’ve had mine for years and it has gone on dozens of international trips where I carry it on with no issues. The padded top and side handles make this bag comfortable carry. It’s also great to stay organized by using the Zippered top pocket which provides easy access to toiletries and liquids.
NayoSmart’s Nayo Almighty Backpack
by: Swing Abroad
Combining the modern minimalist design and the features of a traditional backpack, the creative team in NayoSmart created the Nayo Almighty, the backpack you’ve dreamed of when you first traveled.
Offering a capacity of 32L for large size or 25L for normal size, the Nayo Almighty is a perfect companion for your 3-5 days trip. The large size has the dimensions of 51cm x 17cm x 35cm, which passes as a carry on bag in a flight.
Now let’s talk about the features. The outer layer of the backpack is high tenacity polyester with splashproof coating. It’s particularly great for those who’re having adventures in tropical regions where rain could pour anytime.
With more than 20 pockets, your things will never get mixed up again. The backpack also comes with an accessory bag and a toiletry bag. Did I mention the built-in USB charging port at the side of the backpack?
Previously, I’ve had problems with the straps on my backpack, but the 12mm padding on the Nayo Almighty does a great job. It’s very comfortable carrying the backpack on a hiking trip.
Personally, I enjoy the thick padding at the bottom part of the backpack and also the thermally insulated pocket for a water bottle. I also find the extremely smooth zip impressive.
If you’re a photographer, this backpack is also suitable for you because most of the pockets inside the backpack can fit your camera accessories, like lenses, mini tripod, and all the smaller gadgets.
The only thing that I find slightly uncomfortable is that the outer layer is that dirt can easily stain it. But really, it’s no big deal since a wet wipe is all it takes to remove the stain.
Cabin Zero Pack
by: Sometimes Home
I nearly stopped in my tracks when I first saw Cabin Zero products. It was the bag I’d been searching for! And I’ve been thrilled with the ADV Pro 42L backpack ever since. I opted for a dark green color to easily identify it if ever I needed to check it. Yet the irony is I’ve never had to check it! It’s fit in the overhead compartment on every flight I’ve ever been on.
Cabin Zero bags were originally designed by an avid traveler who saw a space in the travel industry for well-designed bags that could endure many trips, fit in overhead bins and be appealing in design too. And he accomplished that exactly! It’s great for solo travelers and couples (my husband and I each have our own) and it’s incredibly stylish.
The company values sustainable practices in production and quality materials. I love the “lost and found” tag on my ADV Pro backpack in case we lose it and a kind person finds it and wants to return it to us. The zippers have the ability to be locked. And there are many compartments including a laptop space and a water bottle pocket. (I love refilling my water bottle at the airport and it’s within easy reach with this compartment.)
Their ADV backpacks are between $155.00 to $205.00, depending if you get the Pro model or regular ADV original and if you want a 32L or 42L capacity. They offer free shipping for orders over $69, worldwide. A 10-year warranty is also included with each bag that can be upgraded to 25 years online.
Vaude Solar Backpack
The Vaude Solar backpack is on the smaller end of backpacks with just a 50 Litre capacity. However, we’re all guilty of packing too much for our trips, and one of the best ways to limit this is to simply have a smaller bag. Apply the principle of “what can last you one week, will last you one month” and you will easily get by with this backpack. In fact, I packed for one month in Thailand and ad enough for one year in Asia.
The Vaude Solar Backpack is great value for money at just under $200. The bag has two main internal compartments, perfect for separating clean and dirty clothes, or clothes and hiking shoes. The top lid is separated into another two compartments, perfect for storing travel documents and toiletries. There are also additional external storage areas with a set of water bottle pouches and compression straps on each side, this is where I find it useful to carry a camera tripod and camping equipment.
Adjustable backstraps, shoulder straps, load lifters and hip belt all make this backpack super comfortable for traveling whether you are walking to the nearest bus stop or hiking a volcano (as pictured). Being a backpack means it is not so good at keeping clothes neat and tidy though. I’d suggest this pack for the intrepid travelers who need to get around in rough terrain but don’t care so much about having a nicely pressed shirt.
Best of all, due to its compact dimensions, the Vaude Solar Backpack gets through as carry-on luggage for flights without worries. Even when the packed weight exceeds the airline carry on limits, it still tends to get through, due to its deceptively small appearance.
Unfortunately, they don’t make the exact model anymore, but there are quite a few similar models made by Vaude that look just as great. Take a look at the REI Outlet here>>
Best Spinner Luggage
The Ever-Present Tumi Luggage
Tumi is one of the best-known brands for frequent and business travelers. If you walk through an airport you are almost surely going to stumble on at least a person carrying their best-known carry-on suitcase model, the black fabric one that every business person has owned at one point in their life.
While there are many models and Tumi has tried to diversify their range with more materials and patterns, the original black Alpha range of carry-on suitcases and laptop bags still dominates and is the most popular, and with good reason. They are extremely durable, even if you drag them across airports, pavements, and planes daily, and the customer service is phenomenal should anything happen to them, anywhere in the world. They are expensive, with bags typically starting at $500 or more, but absolutely worth it in the long run.
My first Tumi lasted 10 years, and I used it every week, dragging it for hours up and down staircases and planes without much care. I eventually decided to replace it not because it was broken, but because it had become quite dirty and it looked a bit dated. The suitcases were still going strong and in the 10 years, I only had to get the handle checked twice at the store where it was fixed straight away at no cost to me.
Tumi bags are particularly popular with frequent travelers because they comply with most airline sizes and come with handy extras like suit carriers, hooks to hang your laptop bags and practical handles that can slide laptop cases. The one I currently have can be expanded, a very useful feature that is not common in carry-ons and which means I can easily use the bag on a week-long trip if I travel business class where size and weight or carry on is less strict, or if I plan to buy souvenirs that will need extra space on my return.
The fabric used in the Alpha series is also reinforced at the seams, it is almost impossible to break and it repels water (although it is not waterproof). You can also engrave the suitcase to personalize it if it is a gift and to more easily recognize it on the luggage belts.
Traditionally, Tumi bags were manly looking and rather unstylish, they were sleek and simple in design but were not fashionable. Recent models feature more elegant shapes and designs and some carry-on bags that are a bit less masculine.
I travel around India. And I usually travel carry on only. This means I need expandable luggage that is lightweight and durable. Unless you’re a luxury traveler, conditions in India make it necessary to be very adaptable and flexible. Sometimes you end up carrying your luggage long distances, up and down train platform stairs, and across rough surfaces.
I have tried lots of luggage and combinations, but I keep returning to this inexpensive option, the Swissgear 21” carryon spinner. It’s lightweight, and expands to accommodate purchases on the road (and stuff that seems to swell up while traveling!), and has the right amount of inner and outer pockets. I feel like I can stuff a lot more in this little suitcase than others of comparable size, and I’m not exactly sure why.
It also has a few other useful benefits such as a large mesh lid pocket, front panel pocket, and padded top and side handles, a steel locking push/pull handle system and four 360-degree multi-directional spinner wheels. I’m actually quite new to spinner wheels, and I now am a complete convert. I feel like a boss pushing this little beast through airports!
Perhaps the best thing about the Swissgear spinner is that it’s affordable, so I don’t feel like I’m carting around a precious commodity. I can use it casually, and not worry about scuffs or damage, or cringe when porters and airline staff throw it around. Perfect for life on the road in India.
Eagle Creek Warrior Convertible Carry On
Finding the perfect carry on luggage for us has always been a challenge. We tend to travel for 3 weeks or more at a time, and often to multiple destinations with different agendas (such as a business conference in Ireland followed by a week of hiking the rugged terrain of Scotland). So we need a suitcase with ample storage, great internal organization, and ideally separate compartments for dirty hiking shoes and such.
That’s why we love Eagle Creek’s Gear Warrior Convertible Carryon, which includes a 37-liter (14 x 21.75 x 9 in) main bag and a detachable 18-liter (11 x 18.25 x 6 in) backpack. The durable exterior is made from sustainable materials– 100% Recycled Poly– and is rugged enough to stand up to our adventures around the world. And at 21.75″ tall, it’s the perfect size to slide into overhead compartments on any major airline.
The set has got a lot of cool features. The wheeled bag has backpack straps for carrying it when the terrain gets rocky, with moisture-wicking backpack straps, breathable Air Mesh, and adjustable hip belt and sternum straps. You can attach the backpack to the wheeled bag using the included Koala carry clips, and the rugged wheels held up even on the bumpy cobblestone streets of Europe.
Inside you’ll find compression straps, a key fob, and a zip pocket to keep everything organized. The daypack also features two interior pockets for organization, as well as exterior pockets, ID tag, reflective accents for nighttime visibility, and even a safety whistle.
You can add Eagle Creek’s Pack-It™ System organizers to make the best use of your packing space. And best of all, the entire system has a “No Matter What” guarantee!
Chester Travels Minima Spinner
The Chester Travels Minima Carry-On Spinner suitcase is a must-have for anyone looking for a great carry-on to travel with.
The Minima is very lightweight which is a huge bonus when looking into which suitcase to buy for your carry on, especially if you’re planning to travel with only a carry-on. When you open the suitcase, both sides are able to be closed off into a zipped compartment which is great for keeping things separated like clothing and shampoo/soaps.
This suitcase moves on four wheels which are incredibly smooth on all types of surfaces which is great if you’re going to be pulling it along somewhere that might have cobblestones or other uneven surfaces.
There is also a wide color variety available for this suitcase which makes it easy to find something that will match your own style if that’s something that matters to you.
The Chester Minima usually runs for around $225 US, but it is often on sale, so you can usually find a good deal off. They also make it easy to buy. You can choose if you would like to buy it through their website, or if you’re more of an Amazon shopper, you can buy it on Amazon.
This suitcase would be well suited to anyone of any age who needs a carry-on for their travels. It’s sturdy, has a lot of room, it’s lightweight, and easy to maneuver for anyone who may want to bring it along with them.
Cheap Carry On Luggage
The Nomatic Bag
After spending a year backpacking the world with an oversized 75L backpack and constant back pain, I realized I needed to downsize. After a lot of research, I decided on the Nomatic 40L travel bag, but they also come in 30L and 20L options.
I love this bag. It’s systematic and well designed, offering many desirable features. To start, the bag is carry on size which makes travel quicker and cheaper. I’ve never had a problem fitting the bag into the overhead compartment of a plane, although if it’s quite full it does require some pushing.
Even though the bag is smaller than what I used before, I have no problems packing what I need into it. As a travel blogger, this bag is great for storing my laptop and other electronics. It features a laptop sleeve inside the front compartment that’s easy to access. The side compartment is for all your tech gear and does a great job of keeping your cords organized.
Another feature I love is the separate shoe compartment in the bottom. As a frequent hiker, my shoes get dirty and I don’t want to put them back with the rest of my stuff. The shoe compartment solves this problem. The exterior of the Bag is also 100% waterproof, which means you don’t have to stress if you get caught in the rain.
The Nomatic Bag is at an excellent value for money. It’s been a game-changer for me this year, solving many of my travel pains as a solo adventure backpacker.
Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP21
The best carry-on luggage I’ve traveled with has to be the Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP21 anti-theft wheeled carry-on bag. Pacsafe is a brand I’ve used for everyday bags but have recently started using for carry-on bag. The Venturesafe EXP21 is designed to be used as carry-on luggage and has dimensions of 58 x 38 x 25cm (or 22.8 x 15 x 9.8in). The height includes the wheels and it has a capacity of 41.5L.
Although this carry-on luggage appears slightly taller than some other carry-on bags, I’ve had no problem fitting it into the overheads (even budget airlines like Ryanair). And it is a bag packed with features to make it stand out amongst the rest.
There is one main compartment that easily fits clothing for 4-5 days, along with a toiletries bag, cables for laptops and phone chargers and one extra pair of shoes. There is another compartment at the front for additional cables, a 15” Macbook or Surface Pro, an RFID compartment to protect you from scan scams.
All Pacsafe bags are made with slash-proof materials, cut-proof handles and straps, puncture-resistant zips and they come with other added features such as Roobar™ locking systems which deter pickpockets and other lockable zip clips. The zips on the Venturesafe carry-on bag min compartment and front compartment lock into one another. They can then be fed through a Roobar™ locking clip which I still have trouble with myself at times.
This particular Pacsafe bag has two sturdy carry handles, a three-point extendable handle, two wheels for easy maneuverability and a middle strap at the front for holding a coat or jacket. Inside the main compartment, there are compression straps and you’ll also find two on either side of the bag to reduce volume even more.
While the Venturesafe is not the cheapest of carry-on luggage, for peace of mind and keeping your belongings and valuables safe, this is great value for money. It has plenty of room, well-padded sturdy handles and is easy to move around busy airports.
TravelPro Marquis/Maxlite 4
After having one too many suitcase die on me mid-trip, I finally did in-depth research on carry-on suitcases and found a brand that I’ve been super happy with—TravelPro.
Why do I love the TravelPro Marquis rollaboard? Let me count the ways. It’s a great size and fits so much in it…I’ve done anything from a weekend to almost 3 weeks in Europe. It’s incredibly sturdy and has put up with years of abuse, and it still looks basically new. The fabric outside (vs. hard shell) gives you a bit more wiggle room to fit things in, and it doesn’t over-balance or tip over when over-filled—and if you’ve accidentally bought a bit too much on your travels, there’s even an expander option. Zippers are well-made and have never caught or broken, nor has the telescoping handle.
While there’s been a trend toward spinner suitcases, I personally like the rollaboard vs. spinner because I find it much easier to maneuver on all surfaces and control with minimal effort. The wheels are smooth and have never given me issues despite really taking a beating.
This suitcase is at the top end of domestic carry-on sizes. I’ve had no problems fitting it into the overhead compartment on most flights, except small regional ones (and generally I have to gate-check). I personally haven’t had issues getting it into the overhead on international short flights, but it technically is bigger than international guidelines—you might have to gate-check it in that case.
This suitcase has provided amazing value over the 5 years I’ve owned it—I paid about $100 for it, and it’s been on 80¬+ trips with me. When you think of how many $20-40 suitcases had died on me over the years, that’s a selling point alone! SECRET TIP: The Marquis and the Maxlite 4 are almost interchangeable, and price for the Maxlite 4 is much lower. varies between $70-120 depending on where you get it.
The Coofit Rolling Carry-on Luggage has all you need in a carry-on luggage to travel. It is uniquely designed for the frequent traveler, encompassing the advanced technologies, modern stylish design, ultra-light material, and premium quality component. This carry-on luggage can easily be fitted in the overhead compartment as well as the under-seat storage in the flight, makes it a perfect carry-on for a long-haul flight. This luggage is just 16 inches in length and it fits within most airlines’ size restrictions. The best part is it will allow you to skip the long queue in the airport and go with this compact luggage on the plane. This Coofit product looks small but it has a large space inside to carry your travel essentials. There is a foam pocket also to protect the laptop from shock and collision. This rolling carry-on luggage has four high-quality uniform wheels that don’t create much sound while moving on the floor. It can even be easily moved on uneven surfaces. It also has a handy top compartment where you can keep important documents for easy access to all that stuff. If you want style, functionality, and ease of use, then Coofit is your best option. Coofit never compromise the built quality with their products. It has high-quality oxford cloth. It has polyester as well as sturdy hardware. which is wear-resistant and can last for long-time use. The adjustable push-button locking upright handle makes this luggage super easy to transport from one place to another. As you might have noticed, Amazon has started making a lot of their own products, including luggage. The price is at the lower end and the luggage is manufactured in China. So, before buying it, I was not sure if it is going to be durable enough. But, after testing it in a couple of trips, I can definitely recommend the Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner Cabin Case to other travelers. Size and compartments: The outer dimensions including wheels are: 14.9 x 10 x 21.6 Inches; and the interior dimensions are: 13.3 x 9.6 x 18.5 Inches. Like most of the suitcases, AmazonBasics’ hard-shell suitcase has a clamshell design. One side has a zipped compartment and the other – luggage straps. The zip does just fine, the quality is mediocre. Materials: The luggage is made of thick ABS and the quality of the shell is good for the price. ABS is a cheaper material than polycarbonate (used for the best suitcases). But a good thing is that it is also lighter. The suitcase is available in two variations: the matte colored textured version and the shiny version. But the material is the same, so it’s just a matter of taste. The wheels and the handle: The suitcase is equipped with double spinner wheels, which is rare for the affordable luggage range. Yet, there is no additional technology to ensure a smoother glide, just basic wheels. The pull handle performs quite good, it’s quite strong. However, there is no side handle which makes it uncomfortable to lift the luggage. Durability: I think, it is suitable for light and normal usage and not so much for frequent adventures. If you are traveling full time, it’s not the best choice. But for the amount of traveling I do right now, it is perfect. Overall, the suitcase is a great value for money and I haven’t had any issues with it whatsoever. Some of the best carry on luggage items can be used for more than just carry on. Quality can vary from brand to brand so hopefully, this awesome collaboration with our blogger family has helped you. Whether you are part of #TeamCarryon and swore off checked luggage, or if you just want an easy and convenient carryon that fits your style and needs, we have the best suggestions for you, collected the top recommendations by people who travel for a living. I hope this best carry on luggage review will help you with your selection.
Coofit Nylon Rolling Carry-on Luggage
Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner Cabin Case
Best Carry On Luggage Recommendations – Pin for Later
More Travel Tips
The Coofit Rolling Carry-on Luggage has all you need in a carry-on luggage to travel. It is uniquely designed for the frequent traveler, encompassing the advanced technologies, modern stylish design, ultra-light material, and premium quality component. This carry-on luggage can easily be fitted in the overhead compartment as well as the under-seat storage in the flight, makes it a perfect carry-on for a long-haul flight.
This luggage is just 16 inches in length and it fits within most airlines’ size restrictions. The best part is it will allow you to skip the long queue in the airport and go with this compact luggage on the plane. This Coofit product looks small but it has a large space inside to carry your travel essentials. There is a foam pocket also to protect the laptop from shock and collision.
This rolling carry-on luggage has four high-quality uniform wheels that don’t create much sound while moving on the floor. It can even be easily moved on uneven surfaces. It also has a handy top compartment where you can keep important documents for easy access to all that stuff. If you want style, functionality, and ease of use, then Coofit is your best option.
Coofit never compromise the built quality with their products. It has high-quality oxford cloth. It has polyester as well as sturdy hardware. which is wear-resistant and can last for long-time use. The adjustable push-button locking upright handle makes this luggage super easy to transport from one place to another.
As you might have noticed, Amazon has started making a lot of their own products, including luggage. The price is at the lower end and the luggage is manufactured in China. So, before buying it, I was not sure if it is going to be durable enough. But, after testing it in a couple of trips, I can definitely recommend the Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner Cabin Case to other travelers.
Size and compartments: The outer dimensions including wheels are: 14.9 x 10 x 21.6 Inches; and the interior dimensions are: 13.3 x 9.6 x 18.5 Inches.
Like most of the suitcases, AmazonBasics’ hard-shell suitcase has a clamshell design. One side has a zipped compartment and the other – luggage straps. The zip does just fine, the quality is mediocre.
The luggage is made of thick ABS and the quality of the shell is good for the price. ABS is a cheaper material than polycarbonate (used for the best suitcases). But a good thing is that it is also lighter.
The suitcase is available in two variations: the matte colored textured version and the shiny version. But the material is the same, so it’s just a matter of taste.
The wheels and the handle:
The suitcase is equipped with double spinner wheels, which is rare for the affordable luggage range. Yet, there is no additional technology to ensure a smoother glide, just basic wheels.
The pull handle performs quite good, it’s quite strong. However, there is no side handle which makes it uncomfortable to lift the luggage.
I think, it is suitable for light and normal usage and not so much for frequent adventures. If you are traveling full time, it’s not the best choice. But for the amount of traveling I do right now, it is perfect.
Overall, the suitcase is a great value for money and I haven’t had any issues with it whatsoever.
Some of the best carry on luggage items can be used for more than just carry on. Quality can vary from brand to brand so hopefully, this awesome collaboration with our blogger family has helped you.
Whether you are part of #TeamCarryon and swore off checked luggage, or if you just want an easy and convenient carryon that fits your style and needs, we have the best suggestions for you, collected the top recommendations by people who travel for a living. I hope this best carry on luggage review will help you with your selection.