I've Got the Whole World...In My Pack

The perfect bag for any trip: how to travel with a carry-on-sized bag as your only piece of luggage, and still have room for souvenirs

Eagle Creek Switchback 22 Wheeled Convertible Luggage
A bag like the Eagle Creek Switchback 22" travel backpack not only fits into the overhead bin (so you needn't check any luggage), but it can hold everything you need for any trip—and it comes with a zip-off daypack.

Actually, if it really does feel as if you've got the whole world in your pack, you've done something wrong and really need to take a peek at my handy-dandy packing list.

The best all-around luggage choice is—brace yourself—a carry-on-sized backpack Partnerwith a zip-off daypack (or a seperate small backpack).

Hard-backed suitcases are cumbersome and heavy, huge frame packs are for hikers, and both need to be checked on airlines—a wholly unnecessary hassle.

With a carry-on-size pack, you can hop on and off the plane, sling your stuff on your back whenever you need to hoof it, and it’ll force you to pack light.

“Carry-on size” is determined by each airline individually, but is always measures by adding together all the dimensions (length plus width plus height).

Note that for many lately it has been slipping from the old 60" to around 45" total , so when shopping for a bag make sure it fits those smallest requirements. That way just about any airline will O.K. it. (Hint: With soft-sided bags, you can get away going over by a few inches, since you can squish them into acceptable-looking dimensions.)

(The bags featured below under "Carry-on Travel Bags" meet the requirement, as do—for ultra-light packers—the last two smaller bags.)

The best travel bags

CARRY-ON SIZED BAGS (40L–60L)

Wheeled bags

Eagle Creek Switchback 22 Wheeled Convertible Luggage
Eagle Creek Switchback 22"

22" x 14" x 9"
7 lb, 4 oz
(40L)
Daypack: 19" x 12" x 6"
» Details
High Sierra AT3 Sierra-Lite 22-inch Wheeled Backpack with Removable Daypack
High Sierra AT3 22"

22 x 13.5" x 9"
10 lb, 3 oz (52L)
Daypack: 16.5" x 12" x 5.75"

» Details
eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21-inch Wheeled Duffel
eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21" Wheeled Duffel

21.5 x 15" x 9"
8 lb, 11oz (45L)

» Details

 

Backpacks (no wheels)

Eagle Creek Gear Hauler
Eagle Creek Gear Hauler

22" x 14" x 9"
2 lb, 9 oz (48L)

» Details
eBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible
eBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender

22" x 14" x 9"
3 lb, 15 oz (54L)

» Details
Osprey Porter 46
Osprey Porter 46

22" x 14" x 9"
2 lb, 8 oz (46L)

» Details
 

468x60_Find the Best Selection of Carry-On Luggage

SLIGHTLY LARGER BAGS (55L+)

REI Stratocruiser Wheeled Convertible Luggage 25-inch
REI Stratocruiser 25"

Main bag: 25" x 15" x 10.5"
Daypack: 18" x 11" x 5"


Total: 10 lb 6 oz (80L)
» Details
Eagle Creek Switchback 26-inch
Eagle Creek Switchback 26"

Main bag: 26" x 14" x 10.5"
Daypack: 19" x 12" x 6"

Total: 7 lb, 15 oz (58L)

» Details
Eagle Creek Rincon 90L
Eagle Creek Rincon 90L

Main bag: 30" x 12" x 14"
Daypack: 18" x 11" x 6"


Total: 5 lb 11 oz (93L)
» Details
 

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COMPACT BAGS (Under 45L)

Traverese Pro 19
19" Traverse Pro (w/removable daypack)

19" x 14" x 7.5"
6 lb, 9 oz (37L)
» Details
Victorinox Werks Traveler 4.0 WT 20 Wheeled Carry-On
Victorinox Werks Traveler 4.0 WT 20 Wheeled Carry-On

20 x 15 x 9"
7 lb, 1 oz (44L)

» Details
Travelpro Maxlite 2 20-inch Expanding Spinner
Travelpro Maxlite 2 20"

20" x 14" x 9"
7 lb, 3 oz (41L)

» Details
 

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in Macth 2013.
All information was accurate at the time.


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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.