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The Best Carry On Bags for All Travelers (Coach to Elite Platinum Class)

Trying to fly with less hassle? Lighten your load (or at least handle it a lot better) with one of the best carry on bags on the market. Not sure which to get? Check out our travel carry on guide below.

Best carry on bag

Each year, millions of bags are lost, mishandled, damaged, stolen, or incorrectly routed by airlines. And recent studies have shown that number to be on the rise – in spite of new tracking techniques being employed by airlines.

Not only that, but to compensate for decreased ticket prices, more airlines are charging exorbitant fees above and beyond the ticket price, simply to check your bag.

In this maelstrom where you pay more to an airline that is increasingly likely to hurt your luggage, there’s but one solution: carry-on luggage.

Best Carry On Luggage: Top 21 Travel Bags Reviewed

Finding the delicate balance of a bag that is just small enough to be stowed in the overhead bin, yet still capable of packing along all your necessities for a weekend getaway is an exact science – and we’ve mastered it!

We’ve compiled a list of the 21 best carry-on bags for all travelers; from coach to the elite platinum class. Guaranteed to fit the overhead lockers while being spacious enough to hold what you need without bursting the seams. 

1. Steele & Borough The Holdall (Black)

Steele and Borough The Holdall BlackShop Now

Robust: This classy holdall is the perfect carry-on bag for the sophisticated world traveler. Robust and lightweight it is the ideal bag for everything from a weekend getaway to a long business break. A lightweight nylon bag, complete with ‘vegan leather’ detailing and a water-resistant finish add an additional layer of security to whatever it is you pack for your trip. 

The carry strap and handles make for enhanced portability without the fear of jammed wheels or the dreaded wobble and topple that your standard spinners come with. 

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2. Floyd Cabin

Floyd Cabin Bag

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Quirky: How often does luggage speak to you on a spiritual level? Probably not very often. But that will change with Floyd’s Cabin carry-on suitcase.

Hiding behind that sleek hard shell exterior are multiple neatly organized compartments. So, no bunching all your belongings together. Everything has its own place.

But the Cabin carry-on also features a unique locking system. Which will keep your valuables safely tucked away. And the dust cover can double as a laundry bag, something that is often forgotten about until the very moment you need it.

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Classic Appeal: Just because you need a compact suitcase for your carry-on doesn’t mean you should sacrifice style for convenience. And with Globe Trotter’s Centenary Carry-On Bag, you can have it all – style, and convenience.

Featuring interior straps to keep your belongings tucked away nicely. And dual locks in addition to the exterior leather straps. All of your precious cargo will stay safe and you will be the envy of all your fellow travelers. 

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Safety First: Since traveling is already stressful, any convenience, or safety feature makes a world of difference. Between the waterproof body, and the built-in hard case, keeping your belongings safe in Rains’ Travel Bag Large will be a cinch. Especially thanks to the locking zipper.

And talk about spacious interiors. With two main compartments, you won’t have to worry about what you can stow away on your trip. Because there’s also a front zipper pocket for quick access to your smaller items.

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5. HUF Weekend Duffle

HUF Weekend Duffle
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Relax: There’s no reason to think too much about the bag you’re taking along for a weekend of adventure, but having a nice waxed canvas satchel that can repel water, fit anywhere, and still have better than gym-bag looks never hurt anyone.

6. Samsonite Base Boost

Samsonite Base Boost

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Ultra Lightweight:  A lightweight cabin bag that is the perfect fit for almost every overhead compartment. Weighing just 2kg it is an exceptional item of luggage for men. Ideal for business travel or a pleasure trip. 

This TSA-approved softshell carry on spinner is stylish and durable, and despite its soft exterior offers plenty of protection to the items it holds. It’s deceptively spacious interior means can pack everything you need for your trip without fear. It also comes with a TSA approved combination lock. 

7. American Tourister Belle Voyage

American Tourister Belle Voyage

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Stylish Design: There is a lot to love about the American Tourister Belle Voyage. This softshell carry bag gives you the maximum amount of packing space without the risk of being rejected by the overhead bins. Removing the worry about bag size is a huge step towards more enjoyable air travel. Not to mention the fact that this stunning four-wheel spinner will be the envy of the cabin. 

If style and stress reduction weren’t enough, the bag also offers a 1.5-inch space expansion that means you can happily buy a few souvenirs without worrying about having to check a bag on the flight home. 

8. Samsonite Winfield 2

Samsonite Winfield 2 Fashion HS Spinner 20
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Trust is Earned: Samsonite wrote the book on reliable yet affordable luggage, and with the Winfield 2, they stuck to the manual. A solid, integrated zipper lock is sunk into the fully polycarbonate body for a build that is chunky, but devoid of nonsense.

9. Dakine Split Roller Bag

Dakine Split Roller Bag
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Stack Exchange: Dual tiered for simpler access and easier organization, the Dakine’s split level makeup gives you an easy access section in which to put items you need, while the lower level houses greater security that’s tougher to access on the fly, stopping thieves from ever digging too greedily, or too deep.

10. Lipault 4-Wheeled Carry-On

Lipault 4-Wheeled 22 Inch Travel Bag
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Disappearing Act: While Lipault could use some help in naming their products when it comes to designing a rolling and/or duffel bag that keeps the rain off your unmentionables, they’ve cracked the code. Head-to-toe nylon, it’s an easy bag to pack and the natural give in the material gives you that extra little bit of space when you need it.

11. Herschel Campaign Luggage

Herschel Campaign Luggage
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Blender: As basic on the outside as a bread box, Herschel’s interior is an embarrassment of riches. Neoprene mesh pockets offer a visible, flexible way to stash your stuff that doesn’t require digging to get what you need. The pleated front handles wallets, gadgets, and paperwork without detracting from the spacious main storage compartment. Keeping everything safe, organized, and in its place. 

Related Reading: Best Minimalist Wallets

12. Travelpro Platinum Magna 2

Travelpro Platinum Magna 2
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Unshaken: The Platinum Magna 2’s ballistic nylon treated with DuraGuard on the outside hides a plush interior that uses softer nylon to provide your clothes and toiletries with comfortable bedding. It’s also water resistant which is always a handy extra feature for any item of baggage. No matter how quickly you’re rushing for your flight, the setting of the aluminum handle prevents wobble and tip, even when navigating terminals and dodging other passengers.

13. Calvin Klein Avalon 2.0

Calvin Klein Avalon 2.0
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Pro Pack: It’s a tall order to make a carry on bag that has a flair for professionalism as well as a surplus of space, but the Avalon 2.0 does it all with style. Fold-up wheels at each corner let you roll it if the need arises, while handles let you carry it over a shoulder, or as a sling for quickdraw passport deployment.

14. Briggs & Riley Expandable Upright

Briggs & Riley Expandable Upright
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Business Partner: Like a pharmaceutical rep’s sample case, the Briggs & Riley is made to work, but given a bit more Wall Street than you’ll get from most of the best carry on luggage. The Tuff-Lite polyester blend handles and endless stream of abuse without ever shedding its G-Man black look, and the option to switch it into attaché case means one less bag for overseas operations.

15. Travelpro Maxlite 5

Travelpro Maxlite 5

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At 21 inches, the Maxlite 5 is within the limits of the majority of domestic airlines, making it a great choice for frequent flyers. The bag’s handle has two heights at 38 and 42.5 inches which makes it ideal for people of all heights, to finish it off, it comes with a 360-degree rotating wheel on each corner, giving you maximum control for navigating those hectic airport halls. 

There is an expansion zipper that provides an extra 2 inches of storage space should it be needed and still keeps the luggage within onboard requirements. This means the Maxlite 5 boasts a total capacity of liters; large enough for any situations.  

16. DELSEY Paris Chatelet Hardside Luggage

DELSEY Paris Chatelet Hardside Luggage

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Hardcore: This four-wheel spinner from Delsey is a quality piece of cabin luggage. It’s also available in two larger sizes, so if you do need to check anything for those longer trips, your bags are all in sync. Designed to be not only hardwearing but also temperature resistant, it means your luggage is always in safe hands. The hardshell exterior is made of 100% virgin polycarbonate to offer your luggage maximum protection. 

This carry-on suitcase also comes with a TSA approved combination lock, and a clever built-in braking system that ensures your wheels don’t jam as you hurry through the terminal. 

17. Tumi Tahoe

TumiTahoe Glenwood
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Hidden Depths: Able to operate as a briefcase as much as a rolling piece of carry-on luggage, the Tahoe carry on bag’s expandable cloth body with hard backing is layered to mash down under the seat beneath you, or suck up space with all your kit for surviving a grueling international flight; complete with 7-hour layover.

18. Rimowa Salsa Deluxe

Rimowa Salsa Deluxe Hybrid Business Multiwheel
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Bulletproof: The Salsa Deluxe‘s polycarbonate body is sturdy, but the fabric is a combination of Kevlar and Keprotec that fights off stains as well as stops penetration from knives and sharp corners. Embedded in the body is a TSA lock that shrugs off tampering and won’t crack open during the brutal shifting of a rough flight.

19. Bric’s Magellano

Bric’s Magellano
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All Positions: Stand it up, lay it flat, or flip it over, there’s no wrong way to use the Magellano, from duffel carry to wheeling it at your heels. The trim is all full-grain Tuscan leather that is meant to accent the PVC body built to fight scratches, stains, abrasions, and stop water from ever seeing what’s beneath the surface.

20. Killspencer Weekender 3.0

Killspencer Weekender 3.0

Grab Bag: A duffel for the refined gentleperson, the Weekender 3.0 provides a sturdy interior frame for easier sorting of personal items. It’s made of bull leather on the outside, closed by Riri Swiss zippers to hide the internal mil-spec nylon webbing that can withstand more than 1,500 lbs. worth of force. And that’s a lot of force for carry-on bags. Made proudly in the USA.

21. Dolce & Gabbana ‘Mediterraneo’

Dolce & Gabbana 'Mediterraneo'

Continental Traveler: Nothing is more gauche than arriving at a Parisian bistro, or on your private tarmac with a carry on bag that makes you look like a vagabond. Equally suitable for either gender, is the stylish calf leather of the Mediterraneo. Along with the luxurious interior give you a carryall that lives up to the name. Without shedding a fraction of its style points.

What Makes Good Carry-On Luggage?

When shopping for the best carry-on luggage, you’ll need to consider several factors. How often do you travel? How much space do you need? And are your trips for business travel, or pleasure?

To help you know which direction to go in, we’ve broken down some of the important elements that make for the best carry-on luggage below.

Airline Dimensions

Luggage for Men

When you’re traveling by air, at the end of the day your choices are dependent on the standard airline dimensions. If your carry-on luggage is too big, it’s a no go. And if it’s too heavy, then you’ll be stuck on the ground trying to sort through your belongings for something you can part with.

Ultimately, the size of your carry-on luggage depends on the airline you’re flying with. And international travel will have different restrictions.

However, the safest size tends to be around 45 linear inches. And you’ll want to keep the weight below 50lbs. Again, make sure you check your choice airline before packing your belongings away and arriving at the airport.

Ease of Handling

Great Carry On Spinner

Have you ever been caught in the aisle of an airplane while someone struggles to put their carry-on luggage in the overhead compartment? Or have you ever been that person? Yeah, it’s not a good feeling.

So, to avoid any uncomfortable moments while traveling, you need to find carry-on luggage that is easy to handle.

We’re talking luggage with decent wheels that won’t get stuck on the smallest of bumps. And the right handles. So, you don’t have to worry about your carry-on falling from your hands as you reposition to tuck it away overhead.

By utilizing carry-on luggage, you’re trying to make your trip easy, not hard. Don’t throw that all away with awkward luggage that makes your trip a pain.

Durability

Carry On Spinner For the Overhead Bins

So, you’ve taken your seat on the plane with your carry-on luggage tucked away in the overhead compartment. Then the last few passengers board and suddenly someone is jamming their luggage right next to yours. Will it hold up? Are you going to be worried about damage to your belongings?

Fix that problem before it even happens and get yourself durable carry-on luggage.

Airports are notorious for being fast-paced. Your bags will get tossed around by airport security. And you will ultimately be exposing your carry-on to plenty of elements between your commute and taking your seat on the plane.

The last thing you need is for your luggage to break on you. So, look out for durability and go with a trusted brand. Especially if you’re someone who travels often.

Business or Pleasure?

Find an Affordable Carry On

Finding the best carry-on luggage for business travel can call for more effort than a regular carry-on travel bag. Because like all things work-related, you’ll want something that still looks professional and could be carried into an office or meeting room – for those short in and out visits. 

What may look good on the outside, might be hiding some issues inside. While it’s perfectly fine to have one large compartment for your belongings when you’re traveling for pleasure. For business travel, you’ll want to keep things separate.

Look for a travel carry-on with a laptop compartment that has ample padding to keep things safe during a bumpy flight. And having extra compartments for easy access to your passport and identification doesn’t hurt.

Anything to make your trip less of a hassle is a plus.

Once you find the best carry-on luggage for business travel, it can be used as your casual travel carry-on. So, if you’re not looking to buy multiple carry-ons, go ahead and focus on business travel first. That way you’re prepared for any situation.

Final Thoughts on the Best Carry on Bags

There is no shortage of carry on options for you. Whether you’re traveling for business or are just a light recreational traveler, there will be a bag for you mentioned above. 

Do you use carry on luggage when you travel? Let us know in the comments if you think there is a bag we should have included in our list. Perhaps you own of the best carry on bags and have a story about it you would like to share. 

Let us know in the comments.