Best Carry On Luggage Reviews – Lightweight, Underseater, Spinner & More

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Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Having the lightest carry on luggage or the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! When looking for the best carry on bags, some want the convenience of the lightweight carry on luggage, while others want the durability of the best hard case luggage. Each type of carry on luggage has its pros and cons. But when considering how airlines are changing the rules for your bags, it makes more sense to seek out the lightest carry on luggage possible.

Whether you’re on a round-the-world trip or a short family holiday, finding the lightest carry-on luggage for international travel and domestic flights can save you time, energy and money. Here are our reviews of some of the best carry-on luggage, as well as tips for choosing the best carry-on bag for your next travel.

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage | rolling carry on luggage | lightweight carry on luggage | spinner carry on luggage | rolling luggage | carry on bag | carry on suitcase | travel luggage

Best Carry On Luggage: Lightweight, Underseat, Spinner, & More

Want to travel light? Then choosing the lightest carry-on luggage is an important step. But what is the lightest carry on luggage? And do you sacrifice features of the best carry on luggage when you go lightweight?

You don’t have to travel carry-on only to want the lightest carry-on luggage. It’s important to have a carry-on bag you like. You can use backpacks as a carry-on bag, of course, but it is nice to have luggage that stands by itself rolls along the terminal floor with the weight off of your back, and possibly fit under your seat.

Either way, your carry-on luggage is important. After all, whether you’re flying to Sumatra or Spain, your carry-on bags will be what you depend on while in the air.

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Contents

Best Carry On Luggage Comparison

Best Spinner Carry On Luggage Reviews

Many of the best carry on suitcases have rollers of some kind. In recent years, we have migrated more toward rolling underseat luggage and small carry on suitcases with spinner wheels. This first section has some of the best spinner carry on luggage, many of which are the lightest carry on luggage on the market today.

Travelpro Crew 11 Expandable Spinner Carry On Luggage Review

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage | rolling carry on luggage | lightweight carry on luggage | spinner carry on luggage | rolling luggage | carry on bag | carry on suitcase | travel luggage
The Travelpro Crew 11 Expandable Spinner a rugged nylon-based bag, is one of our best carry on luggage recommendations for many reasons. For one, it has some of the best wheels in its class. The MagnaTrac magnetic wheel technology helps you roll smoothly and change directions with ease.

Another great advantage of the Travelpro Crew 11 is its exterior USB port. This lets you connect and charge USB devices straight from this rolling suitcase. The dedicated power bank pocket is on the side. Keep in mind that the power bank doesn’t come with the bag, and a battery pack like that throws this rolling bag out of the running for the lightest carry on luggage.

The retractable handle expands long enough for taller folks too, which is not as common as it should be. Inside the bag, you have a compartment to keep wet clothes separate. It also has as a 2-fold garment bag if you have clothes you want to keep wrinkle-free.

Pros:

  • Specialized pockets
  • Smooth-rolling wheels
  • USB charging technology

Cons:

  • May not fit in overhead bins of smaller US domestic airplanes
  • The height is 23 inches including wheels (but some reports no problem carrying into the aircraft)
  • If your bag looks too puffy with too many things in it, you may be asked to check it in

Check Price: Travelpro Crew 11 Expandable Spinner

Travelpro Maxlite 4 International Carry On Spinner Luggage Review

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage | rolling carry on luggage | lightweight carry on luggage | spinner carry on luggage | rolling luggage | carry on bag | carry on suitcase | travel luggage

The Travelpro Maxlite Carry On Spinner is a 100% polyester soft-side rolling bag. It makes our list of the best carry on luggage because of its versatility and water-resistant features.

Despite its small size, the Maxlite 4 holds a lot. The main compartment of this carry on suitcase can be expanded up to 2 inches deeper, allowing you to carry more when needed. It also has a compartment as large as the zippered lid, which makes a good spot to load shirts, maps or document that should remain flat.

The water-repellent coating of this carry on suitcase covers both interior and exterior. The 360º rollers provide smooth navigation, with a low center of gravity and an innovative bottom tray design for added stability. This is not an underseat bag. In fact, if you overstuff it, this spinner suitcase may not even fit in the overhead compartment. So be mindful about filling it past normal capacity.

Pros:

  • Water-resistant coating inside & out
  • Full lid compartment
  • Smooth rollers
  • 2″ expandability

Cons:

  • Does not fit in the overhead of some smaller US domestic planes
  • May need to remove items from side pocket to fit international size restrictions

Check Price: Travelpro Maxlite 4 International Carry On Spinner 

Delsey Titanium International Spinner Carry On Luggage Review

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage | rolling carry on luggage | lightweight carry on luggage | spinner carry on luggage | rolling luggage | carry on bag | carry on suitcase | travel luggage

If you are a fan of the hard case luggage, the Delsey Titanium International Spinner is certainly some of the best carry on luggage you can buy.

Having the best hard shell luggage helps you keep everything from being squished by other luggage in the overhead bins. A large front compartment makes it easy to access anything you store there. Your laptop will be safe in its padded sleeve.

This hard-side spinner carry on luggage has a matte scratch-proof exterior, which means it might look like a new carry on luggage for longer. You can maneuver easily in the airport with its double spinner wheels.

You’ll also find a TSA-ready lock built in. That’s another reason why we consider this to be one of the best hardshell carry on luggage options out there.

Pro: Super rugged and super smooth to maneuver

Con: May not fit in the overhead compartment of some European airlines

Check Price: Delsey Titanium International Spinner Carry On Luggage

Goplus GLOBALWAY Expandable Spinner Carry On Luggage Review

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage | rolling carry on luggage | lightweight carry on luggage | spinner carry on luggage | rolling luggage | carry on bag | carry on suitcase | travel luggage

The durable exterior and rugged multi-directional wheels of this small rolling suitcase make the Goplus Globalway Spinner one of the best carry-on luggage items on the market. From its wheels to its zippers, expect smooth operation.

Tall people will also appreciate that the retractable handle extends up to 42 inches. This means that people of all heights can roll through the airport with ease. It’s multi-directional wheels mean that even young kids can push or pull easily.

Pros: smooth rolling and long handle

Cons: No outside storage units

Check Price: Goplus GLOBALWAY Expandable Spinner Carry On

Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Spinner Luggage Review

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage | rolling carry on luggage | lightweight carry on luggage | spinner carry on luggage | rolling luggage | carry on bag | carry on suitcase | travel luggage

The people at Samsonite have been making some of the best carry on luggage out there for decades now. The Winfield 2 is no different. Its brushed polycarbonate exterior to super rugged and scratch resistant, while inside you have lots of dividers and zippered pockets to keep everything organized. Oversized zippers and telescopic handle as well. Features like these mean that the Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Spinner isn’t the most lightweight carry on luggage on the market, but it is some of the most durable.

The Winfield 2 has rolling inline wheels and multi-directional spinners. This means that you can pull this effortlessly on two wheels or push it one-handed on four.

Pros: Smooth rolling, durable yet soft exterior

Cons: Tight fit and NOT expandable, and may not fit on some smaller planes

Check Price: Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Best Spinner Luggage

Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 Softside Spinner Luggage

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage | rolling carry on luggage | lightweight carry on luggage | spinner carry on luggage | rolling luggage | carry on bag | carry on suitcase | travel luggage

The Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 Softside Spinner makes our list of best carry on luggage because of its mobility and versatility. It has a large main fabric-lined central compartment and a padded laptop pocket. The Silhouette Sphere 2 Spinner also has a built-in organizer, which can be removed and loaded separately when required. Wetpak and modesty pockets are a few of its specialized compartments for easy and specific packing. That also includes a folding device for wrinkle-free clothes when you need them.

On the exterior, you have four spherical spinner wheels for multi-directional navigation. The outer casing of this rolling carry on luggage is soft but durable, with a water-resistant coating for rainy-day travel.

Pros: Specialized pockets

Cons: Wheels so smooth that you need to be careful on inclines

Check Price: Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 Softside Spinner Boarding Bag

American Tourister Moonlight Hardside Spinner

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage | rolling carry on luggage | lightweight carry on luggage | spinner carry on luggage | rolling luggage | carry on bag | carry on suitcase | travel luggage

The Moonlight Hardside Spinner 21 makes our list of best carry on luggage thanks to functionality and style. With single spinner wheels and a solid locking handle, this rolling suitcase delivers the smooth navigability you expect from American Tourister. As a hardside suitcase, you get the rugged exterior, and the confidence that your stuff inside is protected. Need a little extra room? Then expand the main compartment by 1/5 inches. What we really like about this particular line of rolling luggage is the variety of styles and patterns it comes in. We’ve displayed pink here, but I want the popsicle patterned one. One of the most stylish entries in our list of best carry on luggage.

Check Price: American Tourister Moonlight Hardside Spinner

COOLIFE Luggage Suitcase PC+ABS Spinner

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage | rolling carry on luggage | lightweight carry on luggage | spinner carry on luggage | rolling luggage | carry on bag | carry on suitcase | travel luggage

This COOLIFE Spinner suitcase makes our list of best rolling luggage thanks to great wheels and a rugged exterior. The shell of this spinner carry on suitcase is made with ABS plastic (think legos & computer keyboards). The especially durable material makes the COOLIFE Spinner Suitcase especially impact resistant. The interior has zipper pockets in the lid, while on the bottom you get double-spinner wheels for smooth rolling performance. All this and a telescoping handle and TSA-approved lock built in.

Check Price: COOLIFE Luggage Suitcase PC+ABS Spinner

CHESTER Carry On Luggage

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage | rolling carry on luggage | lightweight carry on luggage | spinner carry on luggage | rolling luggage | carry on bag | carry on suitcase | travel luggage

Utilizing a polycarbonate shell, this hardside spinner suitcase makes our list of best carry on luggage thanks to its hard-to-match durability. Harder and more flexible than most plastic compounds, polycarbonite makes rugged and lightweight luggage. Silent multidirectional wheels and an ergonomic aluminum handle make it easy to maneuver through crowded airports, and a TSA-approves size and built-in lock make it easier to get from the security line to your seat.

Check Price: CHESTER Carry On Luggage

Kenneth Cole Reaction Hardside Spinner Carry On Luggage

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage | rolling carry on luggage | lightweight carry on luggage | spinner carry on luggage | rolling luggage | carry on bag | carry on suitcase | travel luggage

My daughter just got one of these this year and it’s been some of the best carry on luggage she’s used. The outer shell of this hardside spinner suitcase is made from ABS plastic, which is especially durable. I also like that it has extra impact protection at the corners and sturdy handles on the side and bottom as well — very useful when pulling it out of overhead compartments and the trunks of small taxis. The 8-wheel spinners roll smoothly, and the handle is strudy and locks in places easily.

Check Price: Kenneth Cole Reaction Hardside Spinner Carry On Luggage

it luggage 21.5″ Quilte Lightweight Expandable Spinner

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage | rolling carry on luggage | lightweight carry on luggage | spinner carry on luggage | rolling luggage | carry on bag | carry on suitcase | travel luggage

Some of the lightest carry on luggage anywhere, it Luggage is sturdy, rolls smoothly and holds all you need. High-tensile polyester fabric means that it’s durable. A fiberglass frame and a single-piece aluminum handle mean it’s lightweight. This softside carry on luggage has all the space and less of the weight. At just under five pounds, it’s some of the lightest carry on luggage on the market. And with eight spinner wheels on the bottom, also one of the smoothest rolling suitcases available.

Pros: Some of the lightest carry on luggage on the market

Cons: Only one outside pocket.

Check Price: it luggage 21.5″ Quilte Lightweight Expandable Spinner

Best Underseat Carry On Luggage

When most people are searching for the lightest carry on luggage around, they’re thinking of rolling suitcases that go into the overhead compartment. But what about at your feet? Some of the best carry on luggage never leaves your side. Here we list up some of the best underseat luggage. Often smaller and lower volume, even the best underseat luggage doesn’t hold as much as the larger hardshell suitcases mentioned above. That said, the best underseat luggage can hold a lot more than you think. Look at these below.

Lily Bloom Wheeled Underseat Carry On Luggage

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage men | carry on luggage for men | best carry on luggage for women | best carry on luggage international | best carry on luggage wheels | carry on bag

The designs of this stylish underseater make it great for anyone who likes to have the most unique and cute carry on luggage on the plane. Lily Bloom focuses on sustainable fashion. For example, this rolling travel bag has a fully lined interior made from recycled plastic. Specialized interior pockets of this Lily Bloom underseat carry on keep your most important items in the right place.

At approximately 4 pounds, it’s also some of the lightest carry on luggage around, but of course, as an underseat bag, it doesn’t carry as much.

Pros: Stylish and small

Cons: Pockets are tight, and the handle is a bit wobbly

Check Price: Lily Bloom Under the Seat Carry On With Wheels

Travelpro Crew Rolling Tote Underseat Carry On Luggage

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage men | carry on luggage for men | best carry on luggage for women | best carry on luggage international | best carry on luggage wheels | carry on bag

Using ballistic nylon with a Duraguard coasting, Travelpro’s entry into the best underseat luggage is versatile and rugged. At around 7 pounds, it isn’t the lightest carry on luggage, but it’s made of quality materials and has a lifetime warranty. The bag has two ball-bearing wheels and a smooth and sturdy powerscope handle to easily navigate through crowded terminals.

The reinforced seams and big-tooth zipper make it more rugged than many of the best underseat luggage, but overstuff it and it may require effort to get under the seat. Normal packing size is no problem. The padded outer sleeve holds electronics, but be wary if your laptop is over 15 inches as it may or may not fit.

Pros: Super rugged, and easy-to-use electronics sleeve

Cons: Heavier than most of the best underseat luggage, & can’t hold some 15+” laptops

Check Price: Travelpro Crew Wheeled Underseat Luggage

Samsonite Wheeled Underseat Luggage (Large) Review

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage men | carry on luggage for men | best carry on luggage for women | best carry on luggage international | best carry on luggage wheels | carry on bag

There’s a lot to love about this rolling underseat travel bag, but what puts it on the best carry on luggage list is its size and functionality.

Made of a durable polyester-nylon hybrid, the wheeled underseater has a built-in hanging organizer. Remove this from the bag and use it in the closet or wherever you please.

Its inline skate wheels roll smoothly from the terminal to your plane, where you can place your bag under the seat. That’s right: this bag fits under the seat of most domestic and international flights.

There are side water bottle pockets and a wetpak system for dirty laundry as well.

Pro: Never fighting for overhead space

Con: No laptop sleeve, smaller and therefore can’t pack as much as the others listed here

Check Price: Samsonite Large Wheeled Underseat Luggage

Ciao Wheeled Weekender Underseat Carry On Luggage Review

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage men | carry on luggage for men | best carry on luggage for women | best carry on luggage international | best carry on luggage wheels | carry on bag

The Ciao Wheeled Weekender Underseat bag stands out in this list of the best carry on luggage because of its small size and 100% ballistic nylon exterior for added durability.

This Ciao carry on bag fits easily under the seat. Yet it holds a lot of clothing and travel gear, as well as other personal items in its many mesh and zippered pockets.

I also like that this rolling underseater has dual poles in the handle, which makes it easier to roll through a terminal and change directions quickly.

Pros: Super small yet super rugged

Cons: May need to be turned sideways when fitting under aisle seats

Check Price: Ciao Wheeled Weekender Underseat Luggage

Samsonite Eco-Glide Wheeled Underseater

 

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage men | carry on luggage for men | best carry on luggage for women | best carry on luggage international | best carry on luggage wheels | carry on bag

This rolling underseater bag from Samsonite is one of best carry on suitcases for those packing light or going on an overnight trip. Above the spacious main compartment, you have a smart sleeve for documents, a tablet or e-reader or some small laptops. The top sleeve and “glove box” storage design give you fast access to your electronics, toiletries or any other small items you might need quickly. Backed by Samsonite’s 10-year warranty.

Check Price: Samsonite Eco-Glide Wheeled Underseater

Delsey Quilted Rolling UnderSeat Tote

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage men | carry on luggage for men | best carry on luggage for women | best carry on luggage international | best carry on luggage wheels | carry on bag

This soft-sided rolling underseater is a great carry on bag for someone who wants something lightweight with lots of pockets. The Delsey Quilter UnderSeat Tote has a cloth exterior, which makes it a lightweight carry on suitcase, but also makes it vulnerable to dust and stains. It has a great front organizer pocket system, as well as zippered and mesh pockets on the sides giving you room to hold a water bottle, cosmetics, small gadgets and more.

Check Price: Delsey Quilted Rolling UnderSeat Tote

Nicole Miller Taylor Collection 15″ Under Seat Bag

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage men | carry on luggage for men | best carry on luggage for women | best carry on luggage international | best carry on luggage wheels | carry on bag

For those who prioritize style and unique design the Nicole Miller collection makes some fine lightweight carry on luggage. This rolling underseater has five exterior zippered pockets and cloth exterior with leather accents. Inside, you get funky animal print lining. Two inline skate wheels and a one-button telescopic handle help you roll through the terminal.

Check Price: Nicole Miller Taylor Collection 15″ Under Seat Bag

Delsey Luggage Cruise Lite Hardside Underseater

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage men | carry on luggage for men | best carry on luggage for women | best carry on luggage international | best carry on luggage wheels | carry on bag

This unique rolling underseater is a great piece of carry on luggage for a number of reasons. First off, it’s made from polycarbonite, so it can withstand a lot of hard knocks. It has a good ergonomic handle and strudy wheels to pull it through the airport. But what makes it one of the best rolling carry on luggage is the “90/10” zippered opening in the lid. This design makes it easy to get to devices and documnts easily.

Check Price: Delsey Luggage Cruise Lite Hardside Underseater

Steve Madden Wheeled Suitcase Under Seat Bag

Steve Madden Wheeled Under Seat Bag

At five pounds, this is one of the lightest carry on suitcases in the underseater category. The design is similar to the Nicole Miller underseater luggage mentioned above, but lighter. You get 5 exterior zippered pocket, 2 rollers and a one-button telescopic handle.

Check Price: Steve Madden Wheeled Suitcase Under Seat Bag

Amazon Basics Best Underseat Luggage

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage men | carry on luggage for men | best carry on luggage for women | best carry on luggage international | best carry on luggage wheels | carry on bag

Here’s one from Amazon’s own line of carry on luggage. We include it here in the best underseat luggage because of the design and price. It’s basically one large main compartment with a large front organizer panel with zippered pockets that fit papers, keys, and larger items.

No spinner wheels on this one. It’s two in-line skate wheels in the back. At 13 x 13 x 9 inches, it’s a small carry on bag. And at just under 5 pounds, it’s not the lightest carry on luggage you can buy. But it’s small, sturdy and does the job well.

Pros: Size and capacity (carries more than it looks).

Cons: Still too large to fit under some LCC (low-cost carrier) airline seats

Check Price: Amazon Basics Best Underseat Luggage

Best Camera Bag Carry On Luggage

Okay, so in addition to the spinners, the best underseat luggage and the hardside suitcases mentioned above, I wanted to give a shoutout to my favorite luggage of all time. It isn’t the lightest carry on luggage. It isn’t hardside or an underseat luggage. But I love it and have used it forever.

Think Tank Camera Bag Airport International Review

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage men | carry on luggage for men | best carry on luggage for women | best carry on luggage international | best carry on luggage wheels | carry on bag

I’ve been carrying a version of this bag for the last ten years. It’s not the smallest, nor the lightest carry on luggage. But it makes the list of best carry on luggage because I think it’s one of the best and most secure electronics bags around.

To be clear: this secure rolling suitcase is not designed as an overnight bag. It’s designed to carry cameras and other electronics It was one large main compartment and lots of soft Velcro dividers to split off the section. The fill lid has clear zipper pockets for all your wires, batteries and SD cards.

For gear-heads only

The Think Tank Airport International is designed for people who have several camera bodies, 3+ lenses and a laptop and they want to carry it on the plane.

I was once one of these people. I bought the bag when I was still working on Nikon projects and needed to carry multiple cameras and a laptop to a shooting location (the cameras were for pros to use, not me). Since then, I have since continued to use the bag for nearly a decade. I’ve shed most of the camera gear now, but still fill it with all our other electronic gear: speakers, scanners, microphones and other tools that I use for the blog and podcast.

It’s super rugged and has heaps of security features, such as TSA-approved lock and a built-in cable and combination lock to secure the bag to a fixed object.

What I like best is the exterior laptop pocket, where you can slide your laptop in and out inside a fully-padded sleeve. That way I have access to my laptop quickly since it’s outside of the bag. The laptop bag makes the security line much easier, as well, and the sleeve has great pockets, too, and a rugged detachable handle.

I’ve been carrying this on and off of planes since 2008.

Pros:

  • Pockets and/or versatile dividers to fit all your electronics and photo gear
  • A sturdy beast, and doubly secure
  • Lots of great specialized pockets
  • Exceptional (and detachable) laptop bag

Cons:

  • Much heavier than anything on this list
  • Make sure to pull out the laptop sleeve and hang it from your shoulder  before letting baggage handlers throw it around

Check Price: Think Tank Airport International

What to Look For in the Best Carry On Luggage

Finding the best carry on luggage for travel is a big deal. Seriously: the lightest carry on luggage and the best underseat luggage can make the difference between traveling carry on only or having to check a bag in! Read on for some of the best hardshell luggage, the best luggage with spinning wheels and more. best carry on luggage | rolling carry on luggage | lightweight carry on luggage | spinner carry on luggage | rolling luggage | carry on bag | carry on suitcase | travel luggage

Before I list out some of the lightest carry on luggage and the overall best carry-on luggage, let me detail a few of the things you should be looking for. Most of the best carry on luggage in the world shares these few attributes.

Size

The size of your carry-on luggage is one of the first things you need to think about. This is obvious of course, but worth mentioning. The best carry on luggage is small and compact enough to meet airline standards and fit under the seat (ie “underseater”) or in the overhead bins of commercial aircraft.

Airlines are getting stricter about what they allow on the plane. So if you’re looking for the best carry-on luggage, make size your top priority. Do you usually fly with a particular airline carrier? If so, it’s worth checking their most recent size and weight requirements. For example, some of the European airlines such as Ryanair have smaller size allowances than US airlines. This is an important factor to consider if you’re looking for a carry on luggage for Europe travel and planning to use Low-Cost Carriers (LCC) in Europe.

Weight

Like your bag’s dimensions, weight is crucial to the best carry-on luggage for any travelers. The lighter the bag, the more room you have to pack your own things or buy more along the way. The lightest carry on luggage is always worth seeking out.

The best carry-on luggage is capable of holding a lot, but the bag itself doesn’t weigh you down. When they weigh your bag at check-in, even a few ounces makes a difference occasionally. It doesn’t always have to be the lightest carry on luggage, but the lighter the better.

Durability

Wherever your travel takes you, you want your bag to last. The best carry-on luggage for families is rugged and durable. It’s able to take some knocks from inconsiderate porters and careless airport ground staff. It can be tugged, jerked, yanked and shoved into small spaces without a stitch or seam out of place.

In general, the best hardside luggage will usually outlast the best rolling backpacks or the best soft-side suitcases. But don’t shrug off today’s best soft-side luggage. Fabric technology today makes some incredibly rugged nylon and polyester blends that can withstand a lot of abuse.

The best carry-on luggage also comes with durable zippers. If a zipper breaks, then it doesn’t matter if the bag is bulletproof. The metal involved in zippers, buttons and protective framework make a bag weigh more, but the best and lightest carry on luggage will still have durable zippers.

Comfort

Don’t think of this as a trait of the best carry-on luggage? Think again. Comfort plays a large role in what makes the best and lightest carry on luggage. Think about the handles, zippers, and wheels. How easily can you carry it? How smooth are the zippers? Is the handle of your rolling suitcase or spinner luggage long enough for your height? If you’re tall, then this is more important than you may think. It doesn’t matter if it’s the more durable and lightest carry on luggage in the world. If you have to bend awkwardly to pull the handle (like I have to with my daughter’s bag) then it’s not the best carry on luggage for you.

Functionality

What important features do the best carry on luggage have? What are just extra bells and whistles? The best carry-on luggage should help make travel easier. It should be something you actually use. For example, do you like specialized pockets and sleeves for laptops, devices, and other electronics? Do you need easy access to maps, diapers, toys or crayons? Is it a must for you to have new features such as cell phone battery pockets? Some of today’s best carry on suitcases have a power port to charge devices. Some have tracking technology. Would you use these? Or would you be better off with something cheaper or lighter? Sometimes the lightest carry on luggage is much better than extra pockets or gadgets you don’t need.

Wheels

Unless you’re in the market for a backpack, most of the best carry-on luggage comes with built-in rollers to make getting through the airport easier. Some come with two rollers and need to be pulled. Others come with four multi-directional wheels (spinners) and can be pushed or pulled. Spinner carry on luggage is very popular now, and has its pros and cons. The pros of spinner carry on luggage is the ease at which it rolls through crowded spaces. The cons of spinner carry on luggage are that it sometimes rolls when you don’t want it to, like on trains and inclines. Another issue with some spinner carry on luggage is that the wheels can break off under pressure.

Warranty

Most of the best carry on luggage has some sort of warranty. Whether it’s the best spinner carry on luggage or the best underseat luggage, look to make sure there’s a warranty. Some last only a year, while many of the best carry on luggage brands offer a lifetime warranty.

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What is the Best Carry On Luggage for You?

With the best carry-on luggage, your travel will be so much easier. Have you found the best carry-on for your air travel? Is that one of those listed above? Did I miss it? Comment below or contact me.

Further Reading:

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Best Carry On Luggage Reviews Lightest Carry On Luggage & Best Underseat Luggage PIN 4

Best Carry On Luggage - Lightest Carry On Luggage & Best Underseat Luggage PIN 1

Best Carry On Luggage - Lightest Carry On Luggage & Best Underseat Luggage PIN 2

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This costs you nothing. However, when you use our links, we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book a room. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you find the best carry on luggage for your family travel. 

Comments

  1. Hi Jason,

    Nice review here.

    I feel I am due for a spinner, one of these days. I eye spinner carryon owning travelers with jealousy as I see them cruise through the airport.

    My luggage has wheels. But it ain’t spinning so turning corners and getting through tight spots, well, that feels challenging sometimes.

    We also need to figure out how to do a long term trip with carry ons. So used to 4 or 6 month, or, 2 year trips to SE Asia. Methinks a lot less clothes and more laundry-days is the way to go, for a carry on friendly, long term trip.

    Thanks for sharing Jason.

    Ryan

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