Your choice of carry-on luggage has all the power to make or break your next adventure.
Hence, a badly designed or low-quality bag can create an emergency at the worst time, replacing whatever event you had scheduled with frantic stitching, taping or shopping for replacements.
Savvy travelers don’t let that happen—and particularly not when it comes to the bags that are going to go everywhere with them. Therefore, they even avoid baggage fees.
It seems like there are probably a lot of fine pieces of luggage out there. And no one is ever probably going to agree on the best carry-on luggage for international travel, or the best carry-on luggage for men or women. Therefore, this list was created with a different angle—the kind of adventure you have ahead of you.
While there’s a lot out there, we’ve worked to find something for everyone. And, as a result, we created a list that includes some of the best luggage of 2020.
The Best Carry-On Luggage of 2021
Best Budget Carry-On Luggage
First of all, planning some long walks through light foliage? And hoping to get through three airports without paying airline bag fees or hating the weight of your bag?
The Osprey Farpoint 40 is a perfectly rugged yet affordable backpack (rather than some other more expensive options on the market) and it comes with an attractive minimalist look and wonderful features that are far outsize to its cost.
Those features include a massive center compartment that is easily organized with its interior compression straps. In addition, on the outside, a pleasantly thick harness makes for comfortable movement in the airport terminal or through the jungle. Due to its features, this piece of carry-on luggage is a must have for avid travelers.
For more information, read our full Osprey Farpoint 40 review.
Osprey Farpoint 40 Bag Specs:
Best Carry-On Luggage for Digital Nomads
Looking forward to some city sights? Whether you’re taking on London or Tokyo, the Tortuga Outbreaker is another backpack ready to serve as your chic command center. And it is chic.
It’s all here for experienced travelers: Padding for tablets, sturdy lockable zippers and, furthermore, the delightfully-innovative hip belt pocket that makes it easy to move wallets and passports around.
In addition to all of that, it’s entirely waterproof (that should make London more pleasant since it rains a lot!). And, most of all, it’s definitely a fitting piece of carry-on luggage for those who care how they look while wearing a bag.
For more information, check out our full Tortuga Outbreaker Review!
Tortuga Outbreaker Specs:
Best Carry-On Hardside Spinner Suitcase
For what it does, the Away Carry-On is one of the best pieces of carry-on luggage for international travel.
The hardsides will come in handy when you want to compress in as many clothes as you can without losing carry-on flexibility. In addition, it’s also tough enough to handle being tossed around when you have to check it.
Most of all, it also comes equipped with a TSA-approved battery so that you can power your USB devices anywhere in the world as long as you have access to an outlet.
Away Carry-On Specs:
Best Carry-On Luggage for Business Travel
Designed for international business travelers, the Briggs & Riley International Carry-On is an excellent option for work travelers who still want the features to have some fun wherever they’re traveling.
Most of all, the bag is tightly sized for international carry-on requirements, but it can also expand to a much larger capacity when needed. Because of that, it’s ideal for all business travelers and the like, who enjoy it as much as free work trips themselves.
Furthermore, unlike some business luggage, this one comes equipped with a fabric that is aggressively resistant to tears, water and fading, and supported by a strong warranty. Due to that, it’s a preferred choice. Also, all that, and it still looks good next to you while you’re wearing a suit.
Briggs & Riley International Bag Specs:
|Capacity||35L expands to 45L|
Best Carry-On Rolling Luggage
The cheekily-named “Gear Warrior” lives up to its name with both look and features.
The Eagle Creek Gear Warrior comes in adventurous colors that match the canvas construction well. The outside (and inside) of the piece is also crisscrossed with straps and compartments designed to tightly tote everything from bicycle helmets and water bottles to delicate electronics.
And it’s also an incredibly light pack that can be effortlessly carried or rolled to any distant destination.
Eagle Creek Gear Warrior International Specs:
Best Carry-On Weekender
Nearly every seasoned traveler has a duffel bag with a special place in their heart due to everything they go through with a duffel in tow. And it’s always a duffel that’s attractively aged and soft in the way that only well-used luggage can be, usually also covered in faded patches and stickers.
And every cherished duffel starts with one that has the quality to survive adventure after adventure. The Holdall is an excellent and also another lightweight option with a timeless natural look.
It should also be noted that this bag is even more compact than most of the options on this list because of its size, so it’s better for weekend trips than longer jaunts. You may never want to take another weekend trip without it.
Barbour Wax Cotton Holdall Specs:
Best Carry-On Adventure Duffel
This bag also seems like it could be one of the toughest on the market. Yet, if you want a bag that’s light, resistant and also ready to be hefted around to the Himalayas, consider the Gregory Alpaca. Because that’s exactly what this bag is, and then some.
While classically styled as a duffel with two sturdy hand straps, this piece is also equipped with two shoulder straps so that it can be worn like a backpack. Because of that, it’s also a convenient and comfortable option.
Furthermore, the fabric is also lined on either side with thick daisy chains that make this otherwise low-tech backpack easy to fit with more advanced straps and also mounts.
Gregory Alpaca 45L Duffel Specs:
Which of these pieces of carry-on luggage would also be your top choice? Let us know in the comments below!