As someone who has traveled by air far too many times to count, I can tell you that one of the best travel tips anyone ever gave me was to always have good carry-on luggage.
With checked baggage fees being through the roof and airlines losing suitcases, it makes sense financially and practically to have carry-on luggage as your sole piece of luggage whenever possible.
Of course, that means you need a durable and long-lasting piece. These small and compact suitcases come with many different features and benefits while fitting into the designated airline carry-on dimensions, typically a space about 14″ x 9″ x 22″ inches.
To help you choose the best carry-on luggage for your upcoming travels, I’ve put together this list of some of my favorite options that are the best in their class.
- Best Carry-On Luggage Overall: Monos Carry-On Pro
- Most Affordable Carry-On Luggage: American Tourister Wavebreaker 20″ Spinner
- Best Lightweight Carry-On Luggage: July Carry-On Light
- Best Large Carry-On Suitcase: Away Bigger Carry-On Flex
- Best International Carry-On Luggage: Briggs & Riley International Carry-On
- Best Carry-On Hardside Luggage: Monos Carry-On
- Best Carry-On Soft-Sided Luggage: Travelpro Platinum Elite
- Best Carry-On Spinner Suitcase: July Carry-On Trunk
- Best Luxury Carry-On Luggage: RIMOWA Essential Lite Cabin
- Most Eco-Friendly Carry-On Luggage: Paravel Aviator Carry-On
- Most Stylish Carry-On Luggage: Delsey Chatelet
- Most Spacious Carry-On Luggage: Calpak Ambeur
- Best Easy Access Carry-On Luggage: TUMI Continental Dual Access
- Best Underseat Carry-On Luggage: Samsonite Theorym Underseater Spinner
- Best Carry-On Backpack: Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L
1. Monos Carry-On Pro: Best Carry-On Luggage Overall
Canadian-produced Monos create baggage to help others explore the world as they desire while being present in the moments they find themselves within. Essentially, their luggage wants you to enjoy your time traveling knowing that you’ve picked the right suitcase.
Overall, Monos is right; their Carry-On Pro is the right suitcase for many people, and that’s why it’s the best overall on this list. It’s durable, fashionable, and works well with many pockets for storing items of different sizes.
Of course, it benefits from already having a good foundation being the next step up from the Monos Carry-On. This iteration has an aerospace-grade polycarbonate shell that is light, water-resistant, and can withstand frequent use like no other suitcase. The only trace left behind is the normal wear and tear placed on the luggage.
Aside from the nearly unbreakable hardshell, this bag uses even more high-quality materials such as ultra-microfiber vegan leather, Hinomoto Lisof Silent Run 360° wheels, and soft 350D anti-microbial interior fabric, and a robust reversible coil YKK zipper.
It’s not just the luxury materials that make this a great option. The Monos Carry-On Pro has all the necessary features you might want in a travel suitcase, namely accessibility, a keyless built-in TSA-approved lock, and plenty of storage.
As a unique addition to the carry-on, I appreciated the addition of the front pocket that is reserved for items needed while in flight. You can quickly and easily unzip the pocket and access things like passports, laptops, and chargers without getting into the larger vessel of the carry-on and possibly creating a mess while on the airplane.
Included with the suitcase are an anti-microbial laundry bag, two shoe bags, and a vegan leather luggage tag.
In between the unbreakable shell, a sturdy telescopic handle, and the inclusion of a timeless design, these features will allow you to use this carry-on for many trips throughout the years.
If you want a reasonably affordable suitcase made from high-quality materials and a good warranty, the Monos Carry-On Pro is likely a good option for your travels. If you don’t need the laptop sleeve, choose the Monos Carry-On.
For a closer look, check out our full Monos luggage review.
- Timeless design
- Unbreakable shell
- Lifetime guarantee
- Fun extra items included
- Laptop pocket only fits electronics 15” or less
Monos Carry-On Pro Specs:
|Dimensions||22″ x 14″ x 9″|
2. American Tourister Wavebreaker 20″ Spinner: Most Affordable Carry-On Luggage
American Tourister has been providing travel solutions to tourists since its inception in 1933. What sets American Tourister apart from other companies in the travel products market is their keen attention to affordability for all.
The company has a belief that travel should be available to everyone. Therefore, as a result, they have gone on to create various luggage sets that are both high-quality in design and very reasonably priced. They also make some of the best affordable carry-on luggage on the market.
While the Wavebreaker 20” Spinner doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that the Monos Carry-On Pro mentioned above, and I didn’t miss them. It offers a top-notch design if you’re shopping on a budget.
There will be a few things that you’ll notice aren’t there. You won’t find 360-degree wheel turns, whisper-quiet running, or an embedded USB port with a power bank in their designs, but you will get solid materials that are durable and long-lasting, all for an affordable price.
As a hard-sided suitcase, the American Tourister Wavebreaker 20” Spinner has essential features, like the scratch-resistant ABS material that comprises the exterior. It’s easy to clean, though, only a few wipes of a clean cloth are needed for your Wavebreaker carry-on to look new after every trip.
Additionally, the bag brings onboard very stable multi-directional wheels that allow you to be more adaptable to your surroundings like busy airport terminals.
The top benefit to this particular design is that you get affordability without relinquishing your need for durability. While it may not last as long as other high-end models, it’s highly comparable in design and doesn’t look cheap.
If you are the type of traveler that wants to explore but is bound to a budget, the American Tourister Wavebreaker 20” Spinner will bring you everything you need in a carry-on for an affordable price. This piece of luggage may be the gateway carry-on for a new obsession.
- Highly affordable price-point for most travelers
- Multi-directional wheels
- Hard-sided exterior
- Not expandable
- Shell is scratch-resistant but not unbreakable
American Tourister Wavebreaker 20″ Spinner Specs:
|Dimensions||23″ x 18″ x 11″|
3. July Carry-On Light: Best Lightweight Carry-On Luggage
While not an everyday name in the luggage industry, July is not a brand, you want to sleep on when searching for your next carry-on. Made in Australia, the company states that they have taken an Aussie approach to luggage, focusing on pieces that are tough to break but beautiful to look at. You can learn what they’re all about by reading our July luggage review.
What you’ll love, and the most significant benefit of the July Carry On Light, is that it comes in at just 3.9 pounds, that’s half the weight of some of the other pieces on this list. With such a low weight, you can pack more in your suitcases while still abiding by airline weight restrictions.
This low weight, however, isn’t achieved by compromising on quality materials. The July Carry On Light uses all vegan-compatible materials with a hard polycarbonate shell, well-made and strong hardware, and water-resistant and stain-proof nylon inner liner. I feel it’s a long-lasting alternative to some of the heavier pieces.
The lightweight nature of the carry-on is a benefit if you struggle with heavier luggage. If you have problems lifting due to health issues or if young children will use the luggage, this lightweight carry-on is easier to maneuver and doesn’t strain your back. You can resolve many problems that come with traveling and allow you to focus elsewhere.
You won’t find a carry-on option that comes in at a lesser weight than the July Carry-On Light that doesn’t sacrifice other quality features like high-end materials and a lifetime warranty. July is proving that you don’t need a heavy piece of carry-on luggage to be durable, affordable, and still offer lots of storage room.
If you are getting ready to travel internationally and don’t want to be tied down to your suitcase, or you’re flying domestically and are bound by the fees associated with a weight restriction in your carry-on, this piece of lightweight luggage from will help you pack as much as possible by starting at a lower empty weight.
- Low weight
- Easy to handle
- Lifetime warranty
- Thinner Exterior Material
July Carry-On Light Specs:
|Dimensions||21.3” x 14.3” x 7.5”|
4. Away Bigger Carry-On Flex: Best Large Carry-On Suitcase
Carry-on dimensions often vary by airline, although the general rule is that all travelers must check anything over 22 inches in height with the carrier, while the width and depth may vary. The founders of Away knew that better than anyone since they, too, were experienced travelers and sought to make a bag that could take advantage of being both carry-on and checked.
I know that I’ve experienced the problem of Souvenir Overloading, where you pack normally and have a great vacation, but then you leave your holiday destination only to discover that you have acquired too many souvenirs and no longer have room for everything in your carry-on. You’re left with either buying a new suitcase or shipping things back.
The Away Bigger Carry-On Flex is looking to solve that problem. It has a highly sought-after benefit that can help you if you find yourself in this souvenir situation – expansion. With the ability to expand an additional 2.25 inches, you can add in your newly acquired items and have a suitcase that, although you once brought on board, you can now quickly check.
I think it’s also pretty durable and secure, with good features beyond additional storage room.
In addition to an expandable zipper option, the suitcase offers internal compression so you can add more in the allowable space and keep items in place during transit. From 4-7 days of traveling can comfortably fit inside the Flex.
The hidden features make the Away Bigger Carry-On Flex stand out in a world full of carry-on bags. The first is the grab handle on the suitcase’s underside to make it easier to pick up and put on a screening belt or into the overhead bin. The second is a hidden laundry bag compartment to separate dirty clothes from clean ones.
After use, the inner lining is removable and washable, too, making clean-up easy to move on from one trip to another with a fresh start.
Although you often find suitcases with an expandable zipper that can offer this much extra space, it usually isn’t in carry-on luggage. Away is one of a kind in their Bigger Carry On Flex in that they offer what other companies don’t, and for a competitive price.
If you are a traveler trying to avoid checked baggage fees and want to secure the largest carry-on possible for your upcoming trip, the Away Bigger Carry-On Flex gives you every inch you can have for all your items. If you need to check it though, it will be safe in the baggage hold.
- Ample room for items
- Can easily be changed to checked baggage
- Limited warranty
Away Bigger Carry-On Flex Specs:
|Dimensions||22.7″ x 14.7″ x 9.6″|
5. Briggs & Riley International Carry-On: Best International Carry-On Luggage
As a company, Briggs & Riley puts their luggage through rigorous testing that surpasses other companies to ensure their products meet your rigorous demands. The result is a durable suitcase for international travel that is great for long-distance and frequent travel.
The difference between them and other luggage companies lies in the number of simulations the company undertakes and the wear and tear testing it undergoes to afford an effortless travel experience. Then, on top of that, they add luxury features to cushion, protect, and keep your items in place during long transit times on overseas and international flights.
The Briggs & Riley International Carry-On offers many amenities, even if it looks rather plain on the outside. The hard polycarbonate shell conceals compression panels and buckles with a soft inner lining to keep clothes in place and prevent wrinkles caused by items moving around in the suitcase. The company also includes a Briggs & Riley fabric bag for suitcase storage.
Briggs & Riley is on a path to elevating industry standards when it comes to luggage, and their International Carry-On is a representation of that goal. They’ve also thought about what you might use the bag for before you board the flight. They’ve included a power pack pocket with a USB pass-through cord so you can charge your phone or laptop without opening your suitcase.
The hardware they use is top-of-the-line, has passed their testing, and includes 360-degree ball-bearing double spinner wheels, a recessed handle, and an aircraft-grade telescopic handle that has two stops, which means you will glide through expansive terminals without issue.
If you aren’t the type of traveler concerned with the look of your luggage and just want something that will work exceptionally well for what you need, then the Briggs & Riley International Carry-On is an excellent option.
- Innovative, tested design
- Garment storage
- Rigorous testing
- No external pocket for removing electronics at security
- No power pack included
Briggs & Riley International Carry-On Specs:
|Dimensions||19″ x 14″ x 9″|
6. Monos Carry-On: Best Carry-On Hardside Luggage
As you’ll recall from above, Monos prides itself on helping travelers be present and in the moment to capture all possible memories while traveling. The company designs luggage that lasts with high-quality vegan leather, polycarbonate shell, and anti-microbial interior fabric.
The Monos Carry-on addresses the key criteria of a good piece of hardside luggage, prioritizing a solid build with an unbreakable shell, whisper-quiet wheels, and a telescopic handle for hassle-free movement through an airport each and every time you fly.
It’s in the storage capability and organization categories that the Carry-on differs from the Carry-on Pro and why it loses out on the best overall title. The original Monos Carry-on lacks the internal organizers of the Pro and doesn’t have the external pockets for easy access to small items like keys, medication, or boarding passes.
The Monos Carry-on opens in half with two large internal compartments and an internal divider that separates the two halves. This divider allows you to store your shoes in one half and keep them separate from the rest of your clothes and items. Or you can be used for keeping dirty clothes away from clean clothes on a return trip.
There’s no laptop pocket included in this carry-on like the Monos Carry-on Pro, but the internal dimensions are large enough to store a laptop away with proper packing. Keep everything secure with a built-in TSA-approved lock and a reinforced YKK zipper.
Monos goes a long way to demonstrate that they’re also sure of the bag’s quality. They offer a 100-day trial where you can try the pack in the real world and return it without questions if it doesn’t work for you.
After 100-days, they offer a lifetime guarantee and will repair any breakage or replace it free of charge.
Included with the luggage are a few extras: an anti-microbial laundry bag, two shoe bags, and a classic vegan leather luggage tag.
If you have no need for an extra external pocket or are looking for a less pricey piece of Monos luggage with an extended warranty, the Monos Carry-On is likely to meet all of your needs and more.
- Highly durable
- Classic design with a large interior
- Lifetime guarantee
- Heavier than others on this list
- Limited interior organizers
Monos Carry-On Specs:
|Dimensions||22″ x 14″ x 9″|
7. Travelpro Platinum Elite: Best Carry-On Soft-Sided Luggage
Although soft-sided luggage isn’t often the choice of frequent travelers, you may prefer to travel with a soft-sided carry-on for a variety of reasons. This means giving up the hard, rugged shell in exchange for added flexibility for packing or the ability to expand. Keep in mind, however, that expanding a carry-on may make it too big for overhead or under-seat storage.
Travelpro works to be as innovative as possible by drafting their original idea from those who live out of luggage on a daily basis. Their initial design was created by a professional pilot who wanted an option that would include everything he and his colleagues needed in a suitcase but still keep within typical carry-on restrictions. From there, the designs continued.
Although this soft-sided carry-on lacks a hard shell, it’s still remarkably durable, being both moisture-resistant and stain-resistant, thanks to a coating of Duraguard on the nylon exterior. Both the top and trim are leather with robust hardware, such as the chrome zipper heads, and are designed with longevity in mind so you can use the bag repeatedly.
However, the most significant benefit of the Travelpro Platinum Elite is that it provides an area with a USB cable where you can add your own power bank for on-the-go charging.
You probably already know that securing a spot at the gate with an electrical outlet is a rare gem but needing to charge electronics is almost always inevitable. Therefore, having easy access to a power source wherever you go can alleviate one travel headache.
If you constantly struggle to find a power outlet at the boarding gate, you understand the benefit of having a USB port within your carry-on. The Travelpro Platinum Elite has your back when you’re in a charging bind.
- USB Cable Port
- Air travel industry-approved design
- Lifetime limited worry-free warranty
- It does not include a power bank for the USB charge port
- May be too large for certain airlines when expanded
Travelpro Maxlite Platinum Elite Specs:
|Dimensions||21.8″ x 15.8″ x 7.8″|
8. July Carry-On Trunk: Best Carry-On Spinner Suitcase
While we covered the July brand above with our section on the best lightweight carry-on, the company’s promising luggage doesn’t end there. As you’ll remember, they build travel products for their Aussie nature, meaning they are tough as nails but still lovely to look at!
Although this carry-on spinner luggage won’t win awards for being the most lightweight luggage (the July Carry-On Light actually wins that award), its spinner technology does have a significant benefit. Many carry-ons have spinning abilities, but the July Carry-On Trunk goes a step further with its SilentMove wheels that don’t make a peep as they roll. No more loud rattling on hard airport terminal floors.
In addition to the non-existent noise level, travelers enjoy the double wheels, which give you eight wheels to move in tight areas and around sharp corners even at quicker speeds. It’s not common to find a carry-on with double wheels and SilentMove technology, which helps to boost the July Carry-On Trunk to the best in its category.
Your items will be safe and secure in a glazed polycarbonate shell with leather finishes and protective feet, plus two integrated TSA-approved locks. Inside, the suitcase is lined with a water-resistant and stain-proof lining, and July includes a nylon, stain-proof laundry bag.
What brings this carry-on to my attention is the ejectable battery included with the suitcase. Up until now, in this list, I’ve mentioned USB pass-through cords that require the addition of an external battery, but this is the first to include one. It’s safe to use anywhere your mobile phone is, allowing you to recharge whenever you run low.
If you are a frequent traveler rushing to the next gate to catch your connecting flight, having high-quality wheels with easy maneuverability is a plus. With the July Carry-On Trunk, you can navigate tight corners without effort and make it to your gate on time!
- Silent wheel movement
- Ejectable USB-C power bank
- Double wheels
- Glaze on the outer shell can scratch
July Carry-On Trunk Specs:
|Dimensions||21.5″ x 14.8″ x 8.8″|
9. RIMOWA Essential Lite Cabin: Best Luxury Carry-On Luggage
Many people might correlate the idea of luxury with high fashion designers or celebrities. However, the RIMOWA Essential Lite Cabin is the precise image of luxury with its many unique features, created with travelers in mind at a price most not-celebrities can afford.
One of the many perks of the RIMOWA Essential Lite Cabin is how light it is. While the weight doesn’t compare to the July Carry-On Light, as it is over one pound heavier, it is still less burdensome than other models and could be a good addition if you have issues lifting heavy objects.
Then, there are the extras that RIMOWA built into the suitcase to raise it above the competition.
For example, the addition of a T-Bar handle makes maneuvering the carry-on around the airport and through narrow plane aisles a breeze. Additionally, the Multiwheel System uses ball bearings to help stabilize the bag and has cushioned axles for the wheel mounts.
The RIMOWA Essential Lite Cabin is an excellent carry-on for seasoned travelers. If you’re an experienced flyer, you’ll be able to pinpoint the little differences RIMOWA has implemented from a mile away. If you’re like me and have trouble packing evenly, you’ll also appreciate the 30% more stability it has over their other pieces, alongside easy movement and lightweight benefits.
As a company, RIMOWA has set itself up to provide expert solutions to expert travelers. Their forte is finding the nuances that seem minor and making alterations to create a seamless experience. They are continually working on expanding their features to other luxury pieces of travel products.
If you are a traveler who enjoys the finer things in life, like a T-Bar handle on your carry-on, you will love the RIMOWA Essential Lite Cabin. Between the handle mentioned above and the company’s attention to detail in the other top features, you will be in travelers’ bliss.
- T-Bar handle addition
- Cushioned axels
- No external pockets
- Limited organizational dividers inside
RIMOWA Essential Lite Cabin Specs:
|Dimensions||26.4″ x 17.8″ x 9.5″|
10. Paravel Aviator Carry-On: Most Eco-Friendly Carry-On Luggage
As heightened awareness of how our daily activities impact the environment comes to light, many are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Since air travel can have a tremendous effect on the state of our world, consumers have been searching for avenues to decrease the impact of those experiences.
Paravel is a company created by two individuals who found themselves endlessly searching for sustainable luggage options and coming up empty. Feeling defeated, they quickly turned their attention to designing their own line of travel products that are environmentally friendly and durable.
The company has upcycled millions of plastic water bottles and offset countless emissions through its personalized shipping program. The Paravel Aviator Carry-On is their most popular consumer item. It is the first carbon-neutral suitcase making it an easy winner for the most eco-friendly carry-on luggage category.
To make this eco-friendly suitcase, Paravel focuses on reusing materials whenever possible.
They use recycled polycarbonate to make the strong and durable outer shell, recycle zippers, and create an inner, soft lining from 15 upcycled plastic water bottles. Then, in addition to that, they use vegan leather details and wrapped steel handles with an aircraft-grade recycled aluminum handle.
While the primary benefit lies in its construction, there are many features you’ll appreciate. The suitcase includes 360-degree wheels allowing easy movement in crowded areas and an internal compression strap keeping items in place during transit.
If you are a traveler constantly striving to improve the environment, or you’re just worried about your carbon footprint, you know that the Paravel Aviator Carry-On is for you!
- Minimal carbon footprint, Paravel offsets your first trip for you
- 360-degree wheels
- Sustainably made
- Doesn’t Expand
- Limited Warranty Of Five Years
Paravel Aviator Carry-On Specs:
|Dimensions||21.7″ x 13.7″ x 9″|
11. Delsey Chatelet: Most Stylish Carry-On Luggage
Founded in Paris, France, it seems inevitable that the Delsey Chatelet would come in first in the category of the “Most Stylish Carry-On Luggage.” The company operates under the ideology that people should be able to travel elegantly, pushing them in the direction of stylish and reputable carry-on that functions efficiently.
The Delsey Chatelet is a hard-sided carry-on with a unique look and intricate detailing. You’ll notice a fellow passenger is carrying a Delsey Chatelet from a mile away because it has a simple yet bold design that is enough to catch the eye of other travelers with a keen eye for fashion.
The details that go into the design are what make it so stylish but that’s because Delsey has focused on not just the design but the function. It has plenty of space, just over 48 liters of capacity, and is kept secure by the 100% virgin polycarbonate shell.
The greatest benefit to this carry-on model is its aesthetic, but you’ll also benefit from plenty of practical features. The suitcase has quiet Japanese Hinomoto wheels, a super soft interior liner, and secure TSA-compliant locks that don’t require keys.
The promising attributes include the smart fit layout within the suitcase, brake wheels that work with a push of a button, and a storage bag for when the carry-on isn’t in use. You have to keep it covered and safe!
If style is your middle name, then the Delsey Chatelet is likely already on the top of your list. With its unique design and quality materials, you’ll be the talk of the airport.
Want to see more from this brand? Check out our list of the best Delsey luggage.
- High capacity storage
- Braking front wheels
- Storage bag included
- No USB port
- Higher cost with a lack of electronic add-ons
Delsey Chatelet Specs:
|Dimensions||22″ x 15″ x 10″|
12. Calpak Ambeur: Most Spacious Carry-On Luggage
This family-owned and operated business opened in 1989 and has been making memorable luggage at an affordable price ever since.
The Calpak Ambeur is often named one of the most instagrammable pieces of luggage, and with good reason, it’s gorgeous to look at, but it’s just as practical.
Along with a durable and water-resistant ABS and polycarbonate hard shell, you receive 46 liters of storage capacity with an assortment of organizational dividers to make the most of it. You can take it through the airport on dual spinner wheels with 360-degree mobility and an extended handle, then close it up with TSA-approved locks.
At 6 pounds, it’s lightweight, especially for all that storage, and fits within most airline carry-on dimension limits. If your return journey sees you with more items to fit into your suitcase, it can be expanded two inches more for additional storage and checked in if it’s too large.
There aren’t any fancy add-ons, though, no USB cords or anti-microbial laundry bags. This is a simple carry-on with plenty of space to hold your belongings and move them safely from point A to point B.
If you like to stand out from the crowd and need lots of room for your belongings, the Calpak Ambeur should be your go-to carry-on bag.
- Family-owned and operated
- Unique design with 46 liters capacity
- Durable materials
- No T-shaped handle
- No add-ons like charging pockets
Calpak Ambeur Specs:
|Dimensions||21″ x 14″ x 9″|
13. TUMI Continental Dual Access: Best Easy Access Carry-On Luggage
Whether you’re grabbing your laptop to send off an invoice while you wait in the terminal or stowing away sunglasses you won’t need until you land, often the most challenging part of carry-on luggage is getting to your items while you’re en route.
TUMI realized this need and created a piece that, while the most expensive carry-on bag on this list, has a design that still offers easy access to the items stowed within it, plus two different ways of organizing them along with plenty of extras.
The extras are nice additions. There’s a zipper pocket with a removable USB cable that can be easily accessed and attached to a power or battery pack, plus a removable garment bag with a fiberglass rod that can hold a suit before or after your travels. There’s also the option of a complimentary monogrammed luggage tag to be added before shipping.
The inner segmented design allows for two different ways of getting into the case. The option of a front lid or split-case zip entry into the main compartment is then reinforced.
It features a high-quality and durable ballistic nylon outer covering, aircraft-grade aluminum handle, and reinforced corners. TUMI Continental Dual Access is at the top of many travelers’ wishlists.
The TUMI Tracer technology is the most incredible benefit to the TUMI Continental Dual Access Carry-on bag. It helps to comfort the typical anxieties we often have whenever our bag isn’t in our hands, such as what if it gets lost? Or, what if it’s stolen?
The TUMI Tracer has a tracking program option that can help you find your misplaced baggage instantly. If you find yourself traveling with a carry-on that you suddenly check, TUMI Tracer can offer some peace of mind.
Whether or not the price is worth the level of organization TUMI provides is up to you, but it’s a great piece of carry-on luggage that will give you plenty of space zippered and open to store your things.
If you are a traveler who regularly has to retrieve and stow items, you know that dual access carry-on bags are worth the extra money. TUMI is there to help you get everything from Point A to Point B without issue; it just may cost a bit more.
- Plenty of pockets inside and out
- Stash items away on both sides
- TUMI tracer technology
- Doesn’t come with a power bank
- Priciest option
Tumi Continental Dual Access Specs:
|Dimensions||22″ x 16″ x 9″|
14. Samsonite Theorym Underseater Spinner: Best Underseat Carry-On Luggage
Samsonite is a well-known and trusted manufacturer of luggage that has been in operation for over 100 years. During that time, they’ve created multiple luggage lines, and one of the newest is the Theorym line, aimed at modern travel and customization.
It starts with its outer fabric, which isn’t made from polycarbonate or nylon like the other pieces of luggage on this list. The material it’s made from is called Recyclex®, a modern blend created from recycling rPET plastic bottles. The resulting fabric is durable, flexible, and surprisingly eco-friendly.
Then it continues with Stackit technology that allows the Underseater to become the foundation for other luggage to stack onto or for it to sit on top of large pieces. A laptop compartment and USB port on the side are welcome upgrades from traditional carry-on luggage.
Of course, luggage should keep your belongings safe, and you’ll find that this bag does that well. Samsonite even goes so far as to have a removable Zipwash lining that can be taken out, washed, and then replaced to freshen it up after long trips. This will also help lengthen the life of your bag, although with it a limited 10-year global warranty, you’ll have plenty of protection either way.
The Theorym Underseater Spinner is a great bag to fit under the seat ahead of you rather than taking up overhead bin space. It has expansion capabilities, dual wheels, carrying handles on the top and side, a RightHeight Trolley, and includes a packing cube.
Whether looking for a bag to stow under the seat ahead or just a smaller carry-on bag that’s more manageable for you, Samsonite displays their knowledge of luggage in this carry-on model and looks to the future.
- Eco-friendly – made from recycled plastic bottles
- Limited 10-Year Global Warranty
- Not expandable
- Smaller than other traditional carry-on bags
Samsonite Theorym Underseater Spinner Specs:
|Dimensions||18″ x 14″ x 9″|
15. Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L: Best Carry-On Backpack
While carry-on suitcases are considered the norm, more and more travelers are moving toward carry-on backpacks. They still fit in the overhead bin and have the same packing space, but are much more versatile and don’t limit you to smooth paved surfaces. This travel backpack from Peak Design makes traveling more manageable, with multiple compartments and expansion features.
Whether traveling by foot, plane, or both, the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L has you covered. Try it as a day pack, adjusting the backpack into its most compact form for a night or just a few days away. If you venture out for several days, you can enlarge the bag to accommodate more gear.
For those traveling by plane, the bag fits the carry-on dimensions of most major carriers but can also be made larger to take the place of a regular piece of checked baggage. It’s not just one open space either. You’ll find protective laptop compartments and mesh dividers to separate and organize your various items effectively, which is great if you’re traveling with a child or pet.
The most impressive benefit to the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L is its ability to hold such a vast amount of items in one bag. With its cavernous main compartment, you can bring on board the same stuff you would in a traditional carry-on, but you get to carry it all on your back for a hands-free experience.
I think they’ve really leveled up the backpack, but it’s not for everyone. If you have back issues or need to carry too many heavy items, you might find strapping on a travel backpack isn’t an option. Since the backpack doesn’t have wheels, carrying it is the only option.
The Travel Backpack 45L offers top-of-the-line storage that rivals other carry-on suitcases but in a format that’s familiar and easy to move from place to place.
Travelers who dislike taking up extra space with a rolling carry-on will appreciate this innovative design on their next vacation.
- Easy to carry
- Multiple compartments
- Expands and contracts into a variety of sizes
- No wheels for alternate transport
- Soft-sided material
Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L Specs:
|Dimensions||22″ x 13″ x 9.5″ (Standard) , 22″ x 13″ x 11″ (Expanded)|
|Capacity||35L (Standard), 30L (Compressed), 45L (Expanded)|
Carry-On Luggage FAQs
Picking the best carry-on for your travel needs can be overwhelming at times. To help you in that quest, we list the top questions regarding selecting your next piece of carry-on luggage.
What is the best brand of carry-on luggage?
Monos is the best brand of carry-on luggage, in my opinion. They make high-quality, durable, and stylish luggage reasonably priced.
I also appreciate their attention to detail and desire to create timeless pieces that work well at affordable prices.
Another perk to purchasing a Monos carry-on is that it comes with a lifetime guarantee. Moreover, you have up to 100 days to try it out. If you don’t love the product, you have the option to send it back for a refund.
Is a soft or hard-sided carry-on better?
Hard shell suitcases provide better protection against damage. However, the rigid exterior means the bag can’t expand to include more items or shrink into smaller spaces. Soft shell suitcases are less protective but can be compressed to fit into spaces like overhead bins and under seats.
With that being said, many travelers have a preference for soft-sided suitcases. The flexibility of the design is a selling point for those wishing to fit as much as possible into their carry-on. Some people just dislike the upkeep necessary for carry-on suitcases with hard outer shells.
Is 24 inches too big for a carry-on?
Yes, 24″ is too big for a carry-on suitcase. The standard domestic carry-on luggage size is 22″ x 14″ x 9″ although dimensions will vary based on which airline you are traveling through. If you exceed those dimensions, you are likely to pay a checked luggage fee and have your bag placed underneath the plane.
No matter your carry-on size, you must be mindful of how much you fit in the suitcase. For travelers utilizing soft-sided carry-ons, adding too many items can cause the width of the bag to expand to a size outside of the allowed dimensions. When this occurs, you will also be subject to the checked baggage fee, as mentioned above.
Is carry-on luggage worth it?
Yes, carry-on luggage is definitely worth it! If you’re on a short weekend trip, don’t want to check a bag, or simply want to bring some items on the plane, carry-on luggage is a must-have.
Additionally, with the fees now attached to checked luggage, the switch to packing less and saving more is in full effect. Securing your necessary travel items into a tiny suitcase can help you bypass excessive baggage fees.
Final Thoughts on the Best Carry-On Luggage
For years, travelers have put a significant amount of thought into luggage. However, the focus was often on checked bags with a focus on maximum storage for the best possible price.
With new travel rules in place throughout most airlines, a service that was once complimentary now comes with considerable fees attached. As a result, you’re probably looking to switch to packing less and primarily using carry-ons as your primary form of luggage.
If you’re like me and take to the skies frequently, having a suitcase that can withstand repeated use and consistent wear and tear is crucial. Having to replace luggage repeatedly is frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive.
You may find yourself in a place where you don’t know which luggage brands have the best carry-on luggage options. Knowing which features to look for is a task, and narrowing down all the different options is overwhelming. Hopefully, this article on the best carry-on luggage helped fix that.