Trying to fly with less hassle? Lighten your load (or at least handle it a lot better) with one of the best carry on bag on the market. Not sure which to get? Check out our travel carry on guide below.
Each year, literally 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 20 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!
Behold the 20 best carry-on bags for all travelers; from coach to the elite platinum class.
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.
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’ll look damn good in the process.
Honestly, this carry-on will make you want to travel more just so you can show off on your way to the terminal.
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.
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.
Free Upgrade: Lightweight ABS makes up the frame of the Armada, giving it a dense level or protection using only 6lbs. of weight. Nimble as a gazelle thanks to a set of 8 caster wheels on the bottom, tripping, sliding, and losing balance are three of the tricks the Armada shan’t pull as it scuttles in your wake.
Swing & Spin: For the low price, there’s a lot to love from the CostCo manufacturing company. The Hinomoto wheels are nearly silent, yet work in any direction for an agility that is as surprising as it is long lasting. Cordura fabric protects the body of this carry on bag without adding snags or loose ends to catch the YKK zippers, and the ergonomic handles are kind, even to arthritic hands.
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.
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.
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 rain off your unmentionables, they’ve cracked the code. Head to toe nylon, it stuffs out well, and sags in easily to suit your load without wasting a millimeter.
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 rear, where the magic happens.
Unshaken: The Platinum Magna 2‘s ballistic nylon treated with DuraGuard on the outside hides a plush interior that uses a softer nylon to provide your clothes and toiletries with a comfortable bedding. It’s also supremely capable of repelling water. No matter how quickly you’re rushing for your flight, the setting of the aluminum handle prevents wobble and tip, even when navigating terminals littered with floor seams and detritus.
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.
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.
Proportional Response: The brain child of a tactical bag and a messenger sling, this multi-pocketed fiend is a chameleon that can work in the field as well as on the streets. Scads of space that can be arranged to fit any lifestyle, you’ll never regret having one on hand.
Strap In: The Filson is a suitcase-style soft roller that bears the last brand name in rugged materials. And is intended to be used as your mobile command station with plenty of ways to secure and stow your gear. Whether keeping your dress blues in top shape or preventing your laptop from sliding free and dying horribly.
16. Tumi Tahoe
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.
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.
18. Bric’s Magellano
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.
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.
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, 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.
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
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.
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?
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 to put your best foot forward.
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.
The Search for the Best Carry-On Bag: Conclusion
If you want your luggage to avoid any abuse within the airport, then you need to keep it close by. Which means carry-on luggage is a must.
See anything you like? Tell us your favorite carry-on luggage in the comments.
We’d love to hear from you!