Carry-on luggage has become a must-have travel companion for jet-setters and occasional travelers alike. A good carry-on is not just a bag; it’s an essential part of your journey that helps you stay organized, mobile, and stylish.
The Importance of Quality Carry-On Luggage
A quality carry-on offers several advantages. It’s convenient, allowing you to bypass baggage claim and hit the ground running. It’s also reliable, protecting your essentials from the bumps and bruises of travel. Lastly, it’s versatile, meeting airline size requirements while maximizing packing space.
What to Look for in Carry-On Luggage
When shopping for carry-on luggage, there are several factors to consider to ensure you choose the best option for your travel needs:
Top 12 Carry-On Luggage Choices this year
The Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage is a fantastic companion for any traveler. The outer shell, constructed with sturdy polycarbonate material, is both lightweight and designed to withstand the rigors of modern travel. Its sleek design gives it a sophisticated look while its spinner wheels ensure smooth mobility.
Inside the luggage, you will find a fully lined interior with cross-straps and a privacy curtain with its own zippered organizational pockets. The expandable feature is another major advantage, as it provides additional packing space when needed.
The TSA compatible combination lock is a welcome feature, providing an extra layer of security. This suitcase is also built to absorb impact, flexing under stress, then popping back into its original shape, eliminating dents and dings.
However, the Samsonite Omni PC is not without its minor flaws. It has been reported that the outer shell can get scratched easily, and the lack of an external pocket means you may have to open your suitcase for anything you need to access quickly.
- Durable and lightweight polycarbonate construction.
- Expandable for extra packing space.
- TSA compatible combination lock for security.
- Outer shell is prone to scratches.
- Lack of an external pocket for quick access to items.
The Rimowa Original Lufthansa Edition Cabin is an epitome of luxury and functionality. Crafted with high-end anodized aluminum, this luggage is not only stylish but also remarkably resilient. Its unique grooved design is recognizable worldwide, and it’s a status symbol for many jet-setters.
The interior is designed thoughtfully with two flex-divider systems that help to keep your belongings organized and secure during transit. The multi-wheel system ensures optimum maneuverability, and the TSA-approved locks add an extra layer of security to your valuables.
One of the most significant advantages of this luggage is its durability. The high-quality materials and construction mean that this piece of luggage is built to last and can withstand the harsh treatment that often comes with air travel.
However, the Rimowa Original Lufthansa Edition Cabin does come with a hefty price tag, making it a considerable investment. Some users have also noted that the aluminum exterior, while durable, can be prone to visible dents and scratches.
- High-quality, durable anodized aluminum construction.
- Thoughtfully designed interior for organization.
- TSA-approved locks for additional security.
- High price point.
- Aluminum exterior can show dents and scratches.
The TUMI Alpha 3 Expandable International 4 Wheeled Carry-On Luggage is a premium suitcase designed for the serious traveler. The luggage is well-known for its superior durability, thanks to the patented FXT Ballistic Nylon fabric that is resistant to wear, water, dirt, and abrasion.
Inside, the luggage is equipped with several compartments and pockets, including a hanger bracket and mesh tie-down straps, to keep your clothes and accessories organized and wrinkle-free. The expandable feature allows for extra packing capacity, making it a versatile choice for both short and extended trips.
The luggage is also equipped with a USB power port and a TSA-approved lock, providing modern conveniences to travelers. The four dual spinner wheels are not only sleek but also ensure smooth maneuverability across all surfaces.
However, some users have noted that the bag can be a bit heavy when fully packed, which can be a consideration for those who struggle with heavy luggage.
- Constructed with FXT Ballistic Nylon for superior durability.
- Features multiple compartments for organized packing.
- Comes with a USB power port and a TSA-approved lock.
- Can be heavy when fully packed.
- Premium price point may not suit all budgets.
The Briggs & Riley Baseline Essential Carry-On Luggage is a perfect blend of practicality and luxury. Renowned for its innovative design, it features an outsider handle that ensures a flat packing area for wrinkle-free clothes, setting it apart from other suitcases in the market.
Constructed from 1680D ballistic nylon, the suitcase guarantees durability and resistance to wear, moisture, dirt, and abrasion. The interior is equally impressive with a cinch-down mesh garment panel to keep your clothes flat and minimizing creasing. It also includes a built-in tri-fold garment folder for suits and dresses.
The CX technology allows the bag to expand up to 25%, then compresses back down to original size, offering ample space when needed. The four double swivel wheels ensure effortless 360° navigation, making your journey smoother.
Despite its many advantages, some users have reported that the bag might tip over when overly packed, which can be an inconvenience.
- Innovative outsider handle for wrinkle-free packing.
- Constructed from durable 1680D ballistic nylon.
- Features CX expansion-compression technology for additional packing space.
- May tip over when overly packed.
- On the pricier side compared to other carry-on luggage.
SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable Roller Luggage is a classic option for those seeking reliable, functional carry-on luggage. The brand has been trusted for years for its commitment to quality, and this model lives up to that reputation.
The exterior is made of durable polyester, ensuring the bag can withstand the rigors of travel. It features two front panel pockets for easy access to travel essentials and an expandable zipper to accommodate additional packing space.
Inside, the suitcase has a spacious main compartment with tie-down straps to keep your clothes in place and a large zippered mesh pocket on the interior panel for smaller items. The bag’s stability is enhanced by its locking telescopic handle and reinforced padded top handle, and the 360-degree spinner wheels offer smooth mobility.
While the SwissGear Sion has many positive attributes, its soft-side design may not offer as much protection for fragile items as a hard-side suitcase would. Additionally, some users have noted that the bag’s zippers could be more durable.
- Made of durable polyester and features an expandable design.
- Includes multiple interior and exterior pockets for organized packing.
- Spinner wheels offer smooth mobility.
- Soft-side design may not protect fragile items as well as hard-side suitcases.
- Zippers could be more durable.
The DELSEY Paris Chatelet Hard+ Hardside Luggage is a sophisticated and chic option for the discerning traveler. Boasting a unique Parisian design, this carry-on is not only aesthetically pleasing but also extremely functional.
This luggage comes with a durable polycarbonate shell, which can withstand rough handling and harsh travel conditions. The recessed lock and the unique brake system are notable features that enhance the security and stability of the luggage. The brake system is especially useful in preventing the bag from drifting away on a slope.
Inside, the DELSEY Paris Chatelet Hard+ offers two packing compartments complete with tie-down straps on one side and a zippered divider on the other to keep your belongings organized and in place during travel. The bag’s four double spinner wheels ensure superior maneuverability and keep zero weight on your arm.
Despite its many merits, the DELSEY Paris Chatelet Hard+ does have a few drawbacks. Its beautiful exterior can be prone to visible scratches, and some users have found the bag’s brake system to be a bit tricky to use at first.
- Unique Parisian design with a sturdy polycarbonate exterior.
- Features a brake system for added stability and a recessed lock for enhanced security.
- Two spacious compartments for organized packing and easy access to items.
- The exterior can show scratches easily.
- The brake system can be a bit tricky to use initially.
The Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage is a top-rated product among frequent flyers and travel enthusiasts. The suitcase’s lightweight design and durable polyester fabric make it a standout choice for those who prioritize convenience and longevity.
The Maxlite 5 offers several standout features, including a strong, sturdy handle system, smooth-rolling wheels, and a bottom tray design that adds stability and ensures the suitcase won’t tip over. The bag also offers a generous packing space that expands up to 2 inches, providing additional room when needed.
Inside the suitcase, you’ll find a full-length interior lid pocket, side accessory pocket, and adjustable hold-down straps for packing convenience and flexibility. However, some users have noted that the exterior fabric, while durable, can be prone to scuff marks and dirt.
- Lightweight design with durable polyester fabric.
- Expands up to 2 inches for additional packing capacity.
- Features a sturdy handle system and smooth-rolling wheels for easy maneuverability.
- The fabric, while durable, can show scuff marks and dirt.
- Lack of built-in lock system for added security.
Amazon Basics 21-Inch Hardside Spinner is an excellent option for those on a budget. Despite its affordable price point, the luggage doesn’t compromise on quality or functionality. The exterior of the suitcase is made from extra-thick ABS for enhanced strength and durability.
One of the key features of this suitcase is its hard-shell exterior, which provides impressive resistance against scratches and impacts that can occur during travel. The 21-inch size makes it suitable for carry-on travel, fitting comfortably in overhead compartments. This bag also features a fully lined interior with a divider and three zippered pockets for easy organizing.
The suitcase includes four double spinner wheels that ensure smooth-rolling mobility in any direction, which users appreciate. However, some customers have reported issues with the durability of the handle and the wheels, suggesting they may not hold up under heavy use.
- Affordable and offers excellent value for money.
- Hard-shell exterior provides impressive resistance to scratches and impacts.
- Fully lined interior with divider and three zippered pockets for organization.
- Some issues reported with the durability of the handle and wheels.
- The exterior can show scuff marks after prolonged use.
The Wrangler Hardside Spinner Luggage is designed to offer travelers convenience and efficiency. With a size of 20 inches, it’s perfect for those who frequently travel for business or short-term trips. The hardside design ensures your belongings are protected from any potential damage during transit.
One of the standout features of this luggage is its built-in USB port, which allows you to charge your devices on the go. This feature, combined with the phone or tablet holder at the top, provides travelers with a mobile office convenience not found in many other models.
The luggage is equipped with four spinner wheels for 360-degree movement, ensuring easy maneuverability. However, some users have noted that the wheels can be a bit stiff and may require some effort to move in certain situations.
- Built-in USB port and device holder for added convenience.
- Hardside design for added protection.
- Perfect size for short-term trips or business travel.
- Wheels can sometimes be stiff and challenging to move.
- The USB port requires a power bank, which is not included.
The Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage offers a unique blend of style and functionality. With its 20-inch size, this piece of luggage is the ideal carry-on for a weekend getaway or a short business trip.
Constructed from durable ABS material, the Melbourne is designed to withstand the rigors of travel. This luggage features a lightweight design, making it easy to maneuver in and out of overhead compartments and through crowded airport terminals.
One of the main draws of the Rockland Melbourne is its expandability, offering 15% additional packing space when needed. This is an incredibly handy feature for those last-minute additions. Its spinner wheels provide 360-degree movement, ensuring smooth rolling during your travels.
However, some users have noted that the luggage’s shell can be prone to scuff marks and scratches. Additionally, the handle, while generally sturdy, has been reported to feel somewhat flimsy when the luggage is fully packed.
- Made from durable and lightweight ABS material.
- Expandability offers 15% additional packing space.
- Spinner wheels for easy maneuverability.
- Shell may be prone to scuff marks and scratches.
- Handle might feel flimsy when the luggage is fully packed.
COOLIFE Luggage introduces a suitcase that is not only practical and durable but also aesthetically pleasing. This luggage set is composed of three suitcases of different sizes, including a carry-on model perfect for short trips.
The suitcase is made from a combination of ABS and PC materials, making it both lightweight and sturdy. Its hard shell design protects your belongings, while the fully lined interior with multi-use organizational pockets makes packing and unpacking an easy task.
The COOLIFE Suitcase features 360-degree spinner wheels that provide smooth and quiet movement. Its telescoping handle ensures easy maneuverability, and the TSA-approved lock offers added security for your belongings.
However, some users have reported issues with the zippers, noting that they can be prone to breaking. Additionally, while the suitcase is generally durable, some customers have experienced issues with the wheels breaking under heavy load.
- Made from a combination of ABS and PC for durability and lightness.
- Features a fully lined interior with multi-use organizational pockets.
- Comes with a TSA-approved lock for added security.
- Zippers can be prone to breaking.
- Wheels may not withstand heavy loads.
The Newcastle Softside Expandable Spinner Luggage from London Fog is a luggage solution that combines style, convenience, and durability. The softside luggage is ideal for travelers who prefer flexibility and lighter weight in their luggage.
Crafted with a woven plaid fabric, this luggage not only looks attractive but is also durable. The material is designed to resist abrasion, tears, and punctures. Inside, the suitcase has a large, fully lined main compartment that expands, providing more packing capacity when needed.
The suitcase comes with multi-directional 360-degree spinning wheels that offer smooth mobility. The aluminum, locking retractable handle adds to the maneuverability, making it easy to move around busy airports or train stations.
However, customers have noted that the suitcase’s outer material, while durable, can get dirty easily. Also, some users have reported that the handle may not be sturdy enough to withstand rough handling.
- Made with durable woven plaid fabric.
- Features a fully lined interior with an expandable main compartment.
- Comes with multi-directional 360-degree spinning wheels for smooth mobility.
- The outer material can get dirty easily.
- The handle may not withstand rough handling.
History of Carry-On Luggage
- Pre-20th Century (Before 1900): Before the 20th century, luggage was quite different from what we know today. Travel was a luxury, and luggage was often large, heavy trunks carried by porters or loaded onto horse-drawn carriages.
- Early 20th Century (1900-1950): With the advent of passenger trains and ocean liners, more people began to travel. Luggage evolved to suit these new modes of transportation, with suitcases becoming more common. However, these were still quite large and cumbersome.
- Mid 20th Century (1950-1970): The invention of commercial air travel led to further changes in luggage design. Airlines imposed size and weight restrictions, leading to the development of smaller, lighter suitcases. However, these still lacked the convenience of modern carry-on luggage.
- Late 20th Century (1970-2000): The concept of carry-on luggage as we know it today was introduced in the 1970s. Bernard Sadow, an American luggage manufacturer, invented the first rolling suitcase in 1970. This suitcase featured four wheels and a leash for pulling, making it much easier to transport.
- Early 21st Century (2000-Present): In the 21st century, carry-on luggage has become more sophisticated. Modern carry-ons feature two wheels and a long handle for easy maneuvering. They are designed to fit in overhead compartments or under the seat in airplanes. Many also include features like expandable compartments, built-in locks, and compartments for laptops or other electronics.
The evolution of carry-on luggage reflects changes in travel habits and technology over time. As travel has become more accessible and common, luggage has evolved to become more convenient and suited to the needs of modern travelers.
Materials Used in Carry-On Luggage
here is a detailed breakdown of the materials commonly used in carry-on luggage:
Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice depends on your specific needs and preferences. For example, if you prioritize durability and don’t mind a higher price, nylon or leather might be the best choice. If you want something lightweight and affordable, polyester could be a good option. If you prefer hard-sided luggage to protect your belongings, polycarbonate would be the way to go.
Choosing the Right Carry-On Luggage for Your Needs
In choosing the best carry-on luggage for your needs, consider your travel habits. If you frequently travel for work, a carry-on with organized compartments, like the Tumi Alpha 3, might serve you best. If you’re an adventure traveler, you might prefer a durable and lightweight option like the Samsonite Omni.
How to Care for Your Carry-On Luggage
Proper care for your carry-on luggage can extend its lifespan. Regularly clean the exterior with a gentle cloth and mild soap. For hard-sided luggage, inspect the wheels and handle periodically to ensure they’re functioning well. For soft-sided luggage, check for any fabric tears that need repairing.
Quality carry-on luggage is an investment that can significantly improve your travel experience. Whether you’re drawn to the lightweight design of the Rimowa Essential Lite, the smart packing system of the Briggs & Riley Baseline, or the durability and style of the Travelpro Platinum Elite, there’s a perfect carry-on out there for you in 2023.
The standard size for carry-on luggage can vary between airlines. However, a common standard is 22 x 14 x 9 inches including handles and wheels.
Yes, but there are restrictions. In general, you can carry liquids in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less, all fitting into a single quart-sized plastic bag.
You can clean your carry-on luggage with mild soap and water. For hardshell luggage, use a soft cloth; for soft-sided luggage, use a soft brush.
Brands like Samsonite, Tumi, and Rimowa are widely recognized for their quality carry-on luggage. For budget-friendly options, consider Travelpro or American Tourister.
For hardshell luggage, polycarbonate is favored for its durability and lightness. For soft-sided luggage, ballistic nylon is a top choice due to its tear and abrasion resistance.
Always check your airline’s carry-on size restrictions before you travel. Consider using luggage with dimensions slightly less than the maximum allowed to ensure it fits in the overhead bin.
Yes, you can. Most carry-on luggage comes with a dedicated laptop compartment. However, you may need to remove your laptop for security checks at the airport.
Remove any debris from the wheels and apply a silicone-based lubricant to keep them rolling smoothly.
The choice between hard and soft-sided luggage depends on personal preference. Hard-sided luggage offers more protection while soft-sided luggage can squeeze into tight overhead compartments.
Spinner wheels offer superior maneuverability as they can rotate 360 degrees, allowing you to push or pull your luggage in any direction.
Utilize packing cubes or compression bags to maximize space. Roll clothes instead of folding to prevent wrinkles.
Many manufacturers offer warranties that cover damage. Check your warranty and contact the manufacturer for repair or replacement.
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