Looking for the "Perfect" Carry-on Bag

Old Sep 11th, 2008, 01:37 PM
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Looking for the "Perfect" Carry-on Bag

I like to travel using only carry-on luggage, but I haven't yet found the "perfect" piece. My definition of a "perfect" piece of luggage is one that has wheels so that I don't have to carry it, and that will fit under the seat in front of me so that I don't have to lift it into the overhead compartment. Does such a paragon of luggage exist?
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Old Sep 11th, 2008, 01:45 PM
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I think where you are going to lose on this quest for the perfect piece of luggage is the fact that you want it to have wheels, carry enough for you to travel carry on only, AND for it to fit under the seat.
I suppose it depends on how light you can go.
The standard 22" roller will not fit under most seats, especially those on the aisles with an "entertainment electronics" box under them.
If it's just an overnight trip, then I think you can find something small enough, with wheels, but I think it depends on how much you expect to pack.
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Old Sep 11th, 2008, 05:02 PM
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Depending on your seat, there may be very limited space under the seat in front of you - it may be blocked by a box, as mentioned above, or the "legs" of the seat may get in the way. If you wind up in a bulkhead seat there is no seat in front of you. You'd do better to settle for a little less than perfection and drop that requirement. There will probably be someone around who will put your bag up for you if you can't manage it. (Hopefully AFTER you've taken out the stuff you need on the flight.)
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Old Sep 11th, 2008, 11:49 PM
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If you want something that is likely to go under the seat, then you need to go down to at most a 16" bag. Travelon has several wheeled options at 16" or smaller:
http://tinyurl.com/52237e

If you can't fit everything in a 16 inch bag or smaller, then you're not likely to get it under your seat.
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Old Sep 12th, 2008, 03:54 AM
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And why don't you want to put it overhead? If you really don't have sufficient upper body strength to manage, or are too short to do it, then you will be looking at a pretty small bag, essentially a wheeled day bag. But if you're quite petite then your clothes and shoes are likely small, so it actually would be manageable.

In some instances even a small bag will have to go in the overhead, though: equipment blocking the space or bulkhead seats are the usual issues. In that instance you'll still need assistance.
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Old Sep 12th, 2008, 08:05 AM
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I don't think it is practical to travel (for more than 1-2 days) with a suitcase that will fit under the airline seat in front of you. And it leaves you no place to put your feet, so uncomfortable on long flights. Especially since wheels take up extra room (compared to a softsided duffle for example), it's simply not practical.

I do have a nice carry-on Travel Pro 16" x 13" x 8" that fits under the seat but it's more like a briefcase, that I use in addition to a 22" suitcase that I check, nothing I could pack in as my only bag for an entire trip.

What's wrong with the overhead bins?


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Old Sep 12th, 2008, 08:20 AM
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If the OP is short, then having a bag that fits under the seatin front of her is actually an advantage, as she can prop her feet on it rather than letting them dangle uncomfortable from the edge of the seat. My legs aren't that short and even I find this position nice for a change.
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Old Sep 12th, 2008, 09:06 AM
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I have short legs, so having my bag under the seat in front of me is never a problem. Leg room isn't the issue; in fact, as Therese points out, I can pull the bag partway out and use it as a foot rest after takeoff. The overhead bin is more of a problem for me (1) because I don't have much upper body strength and I hate having to ask someone else to lift my bag for me -- I feel that if I brought it on the plane, I need to take responsibility for it, and (2) I like having all my STUFF readily accessible without having to get out of my window seat and dig around in the overhead to get something out of the bag while we're in flight. On my last trip (5 days) I took only a carry on bag that fit under the seat, but it had no wheels so I had to schlep it over my shoulder, and my shoulder didn't like that one bit.
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Old Sep 13th, 2008, 04:48 AM
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I think you'll be limited to a middle seat only in this case.
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Old Sep 13th, 2008, 07:58 AM
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That's the trick about it. A soft sided bag can slip easily under the seat. That very same sized bag once you add the handle, frame, and wheels becomes too big to fit under the seat. How about using that same bag buy buying one of those separate folding metal frames with wheels then you bungie cord your bag onto it.

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Old Sep 14th, 2008, 01:05 PM
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Thanks for your suggestion, suze -- don't know why I didn't think of it before. One of those "I could have had a V-8" moments. Funny part is, I already own a folding luggage carrier. Duh!
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Old Sep 15th, 2008, 11:16 AM
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It would be the ultimate in perfect if it only had wheels... the Jansport Euro Sak. It fits everything perfectly with room to spare. If it only had wheels .
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Old Sep 19th, 2008, 01:12 PM
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Weindell,

Do you also intend to check a bag or would this be your only bag?

I regularly travel for 3 to 4 nights in this boarding bag from Samsonite:

http://shop.samsonite.com/storefront...XXX-cC10-.html

It's not cheap, but I did get mine at a discount at TJ Maxx.

Mind you, I travel for business twice a month with two or three women's pantsuits from Talbots. Typcially, I take black, gray and khaki. I wear one on the plane. I wear one pair of flat dressy shoes and pack one pair of heels in my bag. I also take a makeup case, blowdryer/brush, a casual outfit to wear home and PJs. I always take a sweater set from Talbots that can match one of the pants suits or go with the casual pants to dinner.

Also, I take my LAPTOP in the laptop section of this bag and only carry my purse. So that I don't have to carry my laptop in hand, my purse is large enough to accomodate my laptop.

It fits under the seat or in the overhead, but I typically put it in the overhead. Planning ahead with my book, trail mix, blackberry and earphones in my purse allows me to avoid having to access the overhead and keeps me from annoying my fellow passengers.

Assess what you're taking and I promise you CAN travel lighter. When I returned from a 4 night trip yesterday with this bag, some women on the shuttle asked how long I could go with that bag. I told them much the same as I shared here. They had ENORMOUS bags and several carry-ons on their return from a cruise to the Bahamas. They both felt as though they had taken entirely too much and really wanted to learn how to take less.

We'll see more and more of this as people become expert travelers.
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Old Sep 20th, 2008, 01:02 PM
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I travel with rolling duffel bags. They are the best of both worlds. We started using them on sailing trips when locations to stash empty luggage was at a premium on boats. We use the LL Bean rolling Adventure Duffel bag. The medium size meets airline requirements. They have several other styles as well. It is lightweight, can be stuffed to overflowing and is sturdy enough to be checked. They are quite inexpensive and can even be monogrammed.

http://www.llbean.com/webapp/wcs/sto...nro&position=1
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Old Sep 20th, 2008, 01:56 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions -- you've all given me some good things to think about.

mom23rugrats, on my last trip (5 days to visit my kids in Chicago) I carried a Delsey Helium Fusion personal bag (15 x 10 x 12) and it was my only luggage. It's a great little bag -- I was able to get the necessary clothes and toilet articles, plus a folding hair dryer and a travel size sleep-sound machine, into it with no trouble. It fit easily under the seat in front of me on the plane. The only trouble is, it was very heavy to carry around on my shoulder. And yes, I have to take the hair dryer and the sleep-sound machine.

I have a few months before my next trip, so I plan to take some time to research the suggestions provided on this thread. Thanks again.
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Old Sep 20th, 2008, 02:01 PM
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I use the same kind of rolling Samsonite bag (a briefcase-type bag) that Mom23rugrats uses. I can get a long weekends worth of stuff in it. I got mine at the outrageously low price of $25 at a discount place, sort of like TJ Maxx, but smaller, called Rugged Warehouse. Quite a bargain as they usually cost about $125-$150.

I wish Seat Guru told you what seats have the "boxes" under them. Not all planes have them. A lot of United planes do, I have noticed that.
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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 09:28 AM
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Aahh, the endless quest -- I swear by the LeSportsac line, which are nylon and perfectly flat when empty; they are flexible, when full, they become your seat ottoman, but can flexibly stuff into overhead compartment if need be whereas 'luggage' pieces have their inflexible dimensions. If on a long trip, you pack them into your checked baggage for purchases, or in between overnight destinations, etc. But they dont have wheels. Neither does my Etro duffel, but it is beautiful and huge and too can be stuffed overhead in all situations. Also the line by Baggelini (sp?) has awesome pieces, some wheeled, that all coordinate and are soft. Yes I am an accessories person. If duffel is carryon #1, I take a large leather tote as #2 and keep in it a tiny travel purse for passport, phone, lipstick, trips to restroom. The trick is to pick pieces are are extremely light when empty. Happy travels!
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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 02:05 PM
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Hmmm... where is Rugged Warehouse? Is it a chain?
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Old Oct 8th, 2008, 09:55 AM
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My favorite right now is my Pathfinder Presidential wheeled tote (Pathfinder is expensive, but great quality and guaranteed for life).

I can pack for about 2 nights in the bag, it will fit under most seats, and (most importantly) will fit in the overhead of the smaller Canadair and Embra commuter jets (like the RJ-50's and the -135s that Delta Express and Contintental Express fly).
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