Do you have a great carry-on bag?

Old Jun 25th, 2008, 03:34 PM
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Do you have a great carry-on bag?

Fodor's editor and frequent Forums poster Doug Stallings recently appeared on the CBS Early Show to recommend carry-on bags for travelers hoping to stop checking a bag due to the $15 charge many airlines are now charging. You can read his recommendations here:

For those in the market for a new bag, I thought we could have a master list here of good options.

If you like your carry-on, please share it.

I borrow my SO's Tumi bag whenever I can; I can fit so much in that bag! I managed to go to Alaska for 9 days with just that bag (and a small back pack). The only drawback is that when it's full it's really heavy and can be tiring to carry (it doesn't roll).
Katie_H is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2008, 04:23 AM
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It's funny that you posted this, as I just returned from a short trip yesterday and I was thinking during the trip how much I loved my carry-on bag.

My recent trip was only 4 nights, but last year the same bag got me through 11 nights in Europe.

The bag is a 19" Samsonite roller. I don't have a model number right now. I'll look and post it if I can find it.

What I like about it is that it's compact and not bulky. It doesn't have alot of pockets and extras on the outside, which keeps it streamlined. All of this means I never have trouble stowing it. I've even had it under the seat in front of me on one occasion! The telescoping handle works every time and the wheels roll smoothly also. Those things are important too!

I'm anxious to see other recommendations, and I'll look for a model number on my bag.

Happy Travels!
phieaglefan is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2008, 05:44 AM
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We've been going to the caribbean islands for more than 25 years. Only once did we have luggage lost many years ago and it completely cured us to check bags, ever again. I am convinced I will never be going anywhere that I need to check luggage, so the $15 fee didn't faze us. We go for 10 days each year. We have one personal bag and one duffle each. I use a Vera cloth duffle bag and in it I pack my things in those plastic bags that you roll tightly to release the air (not the kind you have to vacuum) out. It's amazing what I can get into it. I just bought another Vera duffle that is carry on size but has casters so it will be easier than ever this year. Maybe fuel costs will decrease if people take less 'stuff' with them and stick to carry on, but I realize if you are a family traveling with alot of small kids, this is probably not going to work for you.
LorrieB is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2008, 07:33 AM
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Eagle Creek Switchback 22-inch roller, with a detachable daypack -- love it love it love it and have been using it for about 10 years now.
lisa is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2008, 07:47 AM
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We bought a couple of the Rick Steves 22" rollaboard bags last summer for our trip to France. The bag weighs just 7 pounds, is very durable, and I like the simple design. On that trip it was myself, my mom, and my 16 yr old DD and we each managed with just this carryon bag, no checked bags, for almost 2 weeks. Upon return, my DH borrowed my bag for a business trip and has now taken it over and uses it almost weekly. The bag sells for only around $120 and comes in a few colors.
mms is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2008, 07:49 AM
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My husband and I both LOVE our Travelpro Flightpro 22". We take a couple of 10-17 day trips abroad each year and if we can't fit what we need in there, it just doesn't need to go with us. This bag has lots of interior space once you take out all of the added bags they stock it with. I have a bad back and this is light enough that, even fully loaded, I can manaage just fine. Additionally, my husband travels every week for his work and he beats the heck out of his bag and this one is going on 3 years old and not a single problem!
mum4k9 is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2008, 08:01 AM
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I also have the Rick Steves 22' rollaboard and love it. The 7 pound weight was a huge consideration in purchasing it.

I've had it 2 years now and went to Central Europe for 4 weeks with it and 2.5 weeks to Turkey with it and just a day pack(backpack style) and had no troubles fitting everything into it.

One thing I do though is I pack everything in ziplock bags. I use every size ziplock...1 gallon, 2 gallon, quart, pint...everything goes into a ziplock. This way I never have to use the expansion option, well, except on the way home when I don't care if I lose my luggage.

And, I purchased my bag on-line (I think it was from and saved the shipping charge I would had to have paid if I purchased from the Rick Steves website.
LowCountryIslander is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2008, 08:23 AM
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Katie, What requirements exactly are we specifying too? The 19" more universally accepted carry-on? Or up to 22" which some carriers still accept?

I'm very interested in the list people come up with. I can't seem to find one light enough in weight to be acceptable to me. If people could include what their favorite suitcase weighs empty, would be a big help.
suze is online now  
Old Jun 26th, 2008, 08:38 AM
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On the article on posted Jun 25th, the first bag recommended is the RedOxx Skytrain.... under the category of "maximum cubic capacity in a bag... ie without wheels".

Under alternatives, listed is the the eBags weekender convertible at the amazing price of $69.

I'm a big eBags fan, and love the Weekender Convertible... inexpensive, hard wearing, and good shoulder straps.

When I need to maximise how much stuff I can carry on legally, I use one of these and an eBags laptop backpack.

Of course moving through airports with one bag on each shoulder is easier if you are over 6' with broad shoulders.. but for me it works very well for trips of almost any duration.
TomCayman is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2008, 10:20 AM
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I think I'll be buying a new carry-on soon. My current one, which I like a lot, is by American Tourist. It measures 21" but almost 23" if you included handles and wheels; and weighs about 8lbs.

My only concern is I've read recently on Flyertalk that London Heathrow is now VERY strict with carry-ons. The security is making everyone put their luggage thru the "sizer" and it is only 21". So if I have to put mine in, I'm sure it won't fit because of the handle/wheels. Since I do go through Heathrow at least once a year, I need something that will fit in its sizer. Also, I've read that AA is hiring independent "gate-keepers" at some US airports' security lines (eg, DFW & MIA) who make pax to use the sizers as well; so the problem is not limited to Heathrow only.

What I probably will get next is a 19" 4-wheel spinner and the weight has to be 7lbs or less. I've seen a lot of spinners on my recent trip, and it's nice that you can just roll it "as-is" when walking. I think I'm gonna bring my own measuring tape to the store be make sure the length is 21" or less with handles & wheels included. That's why I'm leery of buying suitcases on line... it's definitely something I want to see and try out in person.
yk is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2008, 11:26 AM
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I love my Liz Claiborne 21 inch Penelope carry-on. I travel every six weeks and have used this bag for most of my trips. I also use a laptop backpack from that is great. Highly recommend both.

I just bought a smaller carry-on, the Travel Pro Walkabout 19" and will use that for my next trip. It looks really small but I was able to put quite a bit of clothes in it so feel confident this bag will also fit my needs for short weekend trips.
kailanihawk is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2008, 11:56 AM
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Flightpro 4 19-inch Rollaboard Suitcase. It's about 7/8lbs and is 19 in. H x 9 in. W x 15 in. L.

I bought it from for $90 last year (it's $100 now). If you fly Delta, go through their Skymiles site to earn 1 mile per $1 spent at overstock and $1 shipping.

I just got back from 2 1/2 weeks in Italy and it worked out great (I only rent apartments with washers/dryers).
mvor is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2008, 12:38 PM
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I have a couple of bags. I have the Samsonite Pro-DLX 21" carryon. It is a great bag. Really well thought-out interior. Pretty rugged. Very nice.

Unfortunately, in Europe, they are kind of ridiculous with the carry-on limits and rolling bags scream to be weighed. So, I also have the Mandarina Duck Work Duffel, for use on European carriers. Another really great bag, if you don't need wheels.
travelgourmet is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2008, 01:06 PM
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Backpack. It's the only way to fly (and travel). It's great to have your hands free.
I don't even want to bother with rolling luggage anymore. Just got back from New York City using this system for the first time. We stashed daypacks in our backpacks to use on a daily basis as we tripped around. Went from Greenwich Village to Yankee Stadium all in a day using our handy daypacks. On the morning we checked out we still had a few hours of sightseeing to do, so we just wore our backpacks around Central Park and a museum visit (packed lightly). Now before you think this is only for college kids staying in hostels - I'm 62 and like staying in nice places! We are taking our backpacks to Europe for three weeks next month as well as wearing money belts and day packs for day touring.
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Old Jun 26th, 2008, 02:42 PM
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I have a Samsonite spinner (21inch? it fits in the overhead) and I love it. My back isn't what it used to be and even the two-wheeled bags would wear on me after a while. This spinner is great and when the ground is uneven I can still pull it like a two-wheeler. Even thought the two-wheel rolling luggage puts very little pressure on my back, the spinner puts absolutely no pressure on my back. I love it.
RonDace is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2008, 04:24 PM
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I think shopping for the ideal luggage is up there with buying the perfect pair of jeans .... impossible to satisfy all points and bumps. However, the older I get and the more I travel, the more I simply cannot participate any longer in the race to use all the overhead space with carry-on luggage. I've had men (and women) of all ages and sizes push me away as they place two or three oversized bags in the space I had coveted. And obviously it will be getting much worse. I know I risk loss of baggage and money when I check a bag but it just seems to be worth avoiding the shoving, pushing and hassle. Just a point of view.
maile is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2008, 04:35 PM
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I also am a dedicated checker of one small suitcase, and will continue to do so.

I used to do carry-on-only exclusively, but I can't stand to any more. Because I often travel solo it is a pain to have to deal with all my stuff at airport transfers. It is too restrictive with the gel/liquids rules. And I *hate* dragging it on and off planes & the entire fight for overhead compartment space.

No one has charged me yet for a single checked suitcase weighing well under 50 lbs. but IF they want to I will happily give them the 15 bucks!

suze is online now  
Old Jun 27th, 2008, 07:57 AM
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I think suze raises an interesting point. I have always been a dedicated checker myself, and I have used a 20" wheeled convertible back-pack carry-on from Tumi almost exclusively since 2003. I can easily carry it on most airlines (it weights a little less than 7 pounds empty, 22 pounds fully packed), but I almost always check it.

Unfortunately, I'm also very very cheap, so I doubt that I'll willingly check any longer, except for an upcoming trip to the Philippines, when I won't be charged for my checked bag.

I wanted to buy the newer version of my Tumi, but it's now 2 pounds heavier, so that's not going to happen. After reviewing all that lugagge, I'm actually leaning to the Eagle Creek line now, but I'm also tempted by the back-pack style Skytrain (or a similar cheaper bag).

Any suitcase that measures 22 x 9 x 14 fully packed (including wheels and handles ... i.e., 45 linear inches) usually meets the carry-on requirements for most U.S. airlines, but I have to say that a 22" wheeled bag can look pretty big when fully packed, and depending on the brand may be larger than the carry-on limit (see yk's post).

British Airways allows 56 x 45 x 25 cm, so most 21" bags (sometimes called 22" bags) should fit in the sizers at Heathrow, but a lot of other European airlines have much more stringent size and weight requirements, some as small as 6 kg (12.4 pounds) for the cheaper airlines. I don't think that's doable for me even packing as light as I typically pack.

It's interesting, though, that some airlines list smaller limits for Heathrow (55 x 40 x 20 for Luthansa, for example), and most standard 21" bags would not meet that requirement because they are 9" deep.
doug_stallings is offline  
Old Jun 27th, 2008, 08:14 AM
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What I find can be misleading is the dimensions that's listed for various suitcase. When they say 22", it's difficult to know if that includes the handles/wheels.

That's why I plan to buy a 19" (not including handles/wheels) and will only buy it after I see it in person and measure it with my tape! Call me anal, but the last thing I want is to have to check my carry-on just because it's 1/2" too big.

It's not even so much about paying for a checked bag, but rather the hassle of waiting at baggage claim, and the ever-increasing risk of missing luggage.
yk is offline  
Old Jun 27th, 2008, 08:22 AM
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yk, I think you're absolutely correct. For example, even though there is an Eagle Creek Hovercraft 22, I reviewed the Hovercraft 20 to ensure that it would meet the carry-on requirements, and I felt that it still might not make the cut on some airlines.

The one thing I can say is that foreign airlines (especially European airlines) are much more likely not to weigh or measure your bag if it does not have wheels. I would feel completely confident in saying that the Red Oxx Skytrain or the Tom Bihn Aeronaut would be carry-on bags under any circumstances. And some travelers who pack lightly might be able to get away with them for total carry-on travel even on some of the more restrictive airlines (those that allow only 8-kilo bags, for example). Though I don't know anyone who could manage the 6-kilo airlines.
doug_stallings is offline  

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