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The Best Carry-On Luggage 2017 (As Tested By A Frequent Flier)

Best-Carry-On-Luggage-2017 Reviews of Raden Luggage, CalPak Luggage, Samsonite Luggage, Travelpro, Delsey Luggage and more

Best-Carry-On-Luggage-2017 Reviews of Raden Luggage, CalPak Luggage, Samsonite Luggage, Travelpro, Delsey Luggage and more

 

The Best Carry-On Luggage in 2017

I bought my first luggage set in high school and it was a pink/purple Diane von Furstenburg set that faithfully stood me by for about 10 years! The distinctive color made it easy to spot on the luggage carousel and its sturdy construction withstood the pull, tug and throws of many international trips.

It wasn’t until I started traveling extensively for personal vacations and for work business trips (every other month) that I realized how advanced today’s luggage sets have become and how tired I was of pulling a 2 wheeled suitcase that I decided to upgrade.

In the time since, I’ve tried not just one or two but many, many different pieces of luggage – from classic brands to hot, new start up brands. Here’s my comprehensive guide to buying the best carry on luggage for your buck in 2017!

 

What to Look For in Carry On Luggage


Size | The best size for carry on suitcases in 2017 is a 22″ piece as this is the current airline standard to classify as a carry-on bag. This maximizes space as much as possible while stilling fitting within overhead requirements on most domestic and international flights. I have found that when I expand a carry on, flight attendants tend to claim its “oversized” so I would try to make sure you can depart with the suitcase in its tightest form.

The full specs for carry-on bags for reference are: 9 in x 14 in x 22 in (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm) including the wheels and handle.

Wheels | Four wheels is the new standard. Ditch any two-wheeled carry on piece as you’ll be struggling the entire trip with lugging, pulling and tugging. Four wheels provides the flexibility of pushing the luggage upright while still being able to pull it behind you should wish.

Handles | Ideally a carry-on will have short top handle and side handle for lifting as well as an extra sturdy telescopic handle that can both push and pull the luggage with ease. The best telescopic handles are tall enough to allow you to pull your luggage at a comfortable arm length while also contracting to mid-way.

Construction | Old school carry on luggage had a deep compartment with an outer flap. Ditch these for 2017 and look for a suitcase with ‘sandwich’ construction which has two halves for easier organization. I like to separate with clothes on one half and shoes / toiletries on the other half.

Hard or Soft | This is more a matter of personal preference. Soft carry-on luggages allow you to really maximize storage and squeeze in that extra inch of room. Hard carry on luggage is sleeker and has a more distinctive, luxurious look. Whichever you choose, make sure there are plenty of internal pockets for organization.

 

The Best Carry On Luggage Reviewed

10 of the Best Carry On Luggage Brands Reviewed

In no particular order, here are my top picks for the best carry-on luggage. I’ve tested these throughout 2016 and these are solid suitcase choices for business travel, sleek fashionable options for the stylish traveler and everyday affordable luggage options under $70 as well. There’s a mix of both hard case and soft-top suitcases to suit either preference. My hope is you’ll find the perfect carry on luggage option for you, regardless of your travel style!

 


 

Samsonite Omni Hardside Spinner 20″ 

19.0″ x 14.5″ x 9.75″ | 6.8 lbs | $$

 

This is Amazon’s #1 selling carry-on luggage for business travel good reason!

Samsonite Luggage Review: It’s lightweight with re-engineered spinner wheels for easy mobility and also comes with a TSA lock. It also comes in over 10 colors so there’s bound to be a color to suit everyone in the family although must business travelers will likely choose the black. Finally, the outer case features a micro diamond, brushed exterior that beautifully hides scratches and dings to still look “as new” after countless wears. Subtract points for the lack of a side handle and bottom handle.

Sold on Amazon for under $100

Check the latest reviews and see all color options here

Best-Carry-On-Luggage-2017-Samsonite-Omni-PC-Hardside-Review

Best-Carry-On-Luggage-2017-Calpak-Lomita-22-Review

 

Calpak Carry On

19.0″ x 13.0″ x 9.0″ | 8.4 pounds | $$

 

The perfect carry on piece for those looking for attractive hard shelled luggage options at an affordable price.

Calpak Luggage Review: Mesh pockets on the interior, a TSA approved lock and perfectly sized packing cubes make Calpak a stylish, affordable carry on luggage piece. Calpak is a solid middle choice – it has less storage than a soft-case carry-on but more than other hard-case luggage options that I’ve tried. Most of their luggage is sold in stylish matching sets and I love that their packing cubes are perfectly sized for their carry ons!

Sold at Nordstrom

Check the latest reviews and see all color options here


 

Raden A22 Smart Carry On Spinner

20.5″ x 14″ x 9.0″ | 8.4 pounds | $$$

 

Raden is a sleek, smart attractive carry on for 2017. The hard outer shell is deceptively flexible enough to absorb shocks and pounds. It’s also the lightest carry on piece I own!

Raden Luggage Review: Raden luggage is a bit more expensive than the other options I’ve featured but it has a series of impressive features to justify the higher price tag. First, it comes with a handy phone app that syncs via bluetooh and allows you to lift the luggage top handle to automatically weigh your bag. It also has built in GPS to easily locate your bag anywhere in the world along with a handy phone and laptop charger built in. Perhaps the only downside is that the bulky battery makes Raden’s carry on interior slightly smaller than other carry on luggage.

Sold at Bloomingdales

Check the latest reviews and see all color options here

Best-Carry-On-Luggage-2017-Raden-A22-Spinner-Review

Best-Carry-On-Luggage-2017-Delsey-Luggage-Helium-Aero-Spinner-Review

 

 

Delsey Luggage Helium Aero Carry-On Spinner

20.5″ x 14.5″ x 10.0″ | 10.4 lbs | $$

 

Delsey is a high quality French luggage brand that offers a 10 year worldwide warranty – you know you’re buying quality!

Delsey Luggage Review: The Helium carry on comes with a 100% polycarbonate shell that resists cracks and breaks. I especially like the metallic finish, which looks sleek, shiny and much more expensive than it actually costs! Of all the carry on luggage pieces listed here, this Delsey has the best spinner wheels for mobility. Other positives: the shell is expandable (rare for a hard case) and comes with a TSA approved lock.

Sold on Amazon

Check the latest reviews and see all color options here


 

Incase Eo Travel Hardshell Roller

23.0″ x 15.0″ x 8.0″ | 10.4 lbs | $$$

 

Incase is an ultra stylish option for business travelers who value functionality and form.

Incase Luggage Review: This roller is quite distinctive and a good pick for those who want the sleekness of a hardcase with the flexibility of a soft case, as the exterior is made of a cotton/polyester/rubber blend. For business travel, the Incase Luggage is one of my top picks, as it has a dedicated technology pouch that fits up to a 17″ laptop as well as an assortment of smaller pockets for wires, cords, hard drives etc. The one downside is the glossy front scratches pretty easily.

Sold on Amazon

Check the latest reviews and see all color options here

Best-Carry-On-Luggage-2017-Incase-Eo-Travel-Hardshell-Roller

Best-Carry-On-Luggage-2017-Travelpro-Maxlite-4-Expandable

 

Travelpro Maxlite 4 Expandable 22″

21.0″ x 14.0″ x 9.0″ | 7.5 lbs | $$

 

An affordable soft-shell carry on for the old school traveler, who prefers lightness and 2 wheels.

Travelpro Luggage Review: This is a classic soft suitcase, with 2 wheels and a deep main compartment (so not a sandwich suitcase). That being said, the front lid is roomy enough to fit a couple shirts and pants and overall, there are lots of zipped compartments for organization. The Travelpro is quite light and transitions well for business trips to European vacations.

Sold on Amazon

Check the latest reviews and see all color options here


 

Tumi Alpha Expandable International Carry-On

22.1″ x 14.0″ x 9.1″ | 12.9 lbs | $$$$

 

Tumi is always a classic choice. I especially love the light grey/brown color combination.

Tumi Luggage Review: I love the classic look of Tumi and it’s a favorite brand for business travelers. This is a “sandwich” type soft carry on, with 2 equally sized compartments. One compartment has a zippered cover, which works well to contain dirty clothes. The outer lid has two zippered compartments which I find handy for storing a manila folder of papers and my phone/passport on the go! Overall, a solid carry on but definitely a little more expensive due to the Tumi brand.

Sold on Amazon

Check the latest reviews and see all color options here

Best-Carry-On-Luggage-2017-Tumi-Alpha-Expandable-International-Carry-On

Best-Carry-On-Luggage-2017-Briggs-&-Riley-Baseline-Carry-On-Expandable

 

Briggs & Riley Baseline Carry-On Expandable Upright

22.0″ x 14.0″ x 9.0″ | 11.3 pounds | $$$$

 

A beautifully flat bag with an extra roomy interior that stands the test of time.

Briggs & Riley Luggage Review: I was introduced to this brand through C and really love how functional and light weight their luggage pieces are. The interior is extra roomy and the exterior is a soft shell with structure. I’m one of those people that over packs and struggles with carrying luggage up and down stairs, thus nicking the bottom half the time, but the Briggs & Riley still looks like new despite the beating.

I didn’t quite realize how expensive their luggage is (as it was C’s before we met) but he’s had his Briggs & Riley for 6 years now and it still looks amazing – the quality is absolutely fantastic and they offer a lifetime guaranty – which I think is a true testament to the durability.

Sold at Amazon

Check the latest reviews and see all color options here


 

SwissGear Travel Gear 21″ Spinner

20.0″ x 13.5″ x 7.5″ | 8.0 pounds | $

 

Available in a range of colors and under $80, the SwissGear is my affordable carry on pick.

SwissGear Luggage Review: A well made carry on that’s light and has no trouble fitting in airplane over head bins. It’s a great budget option and one of the most popular for the price on Amazon! Compared to more expensive brands, the wheels and handles felt slightly looser and more flimsy but it’s also a fraction of the price. Overall, a good affordable buy for short domestic trips.

Sold at Amazon

Check the latest reviews and see all color options here

Best-Carry-On-Luggage-2017-SwissGear-Travel-Gear-21-Spinner

Best-Carry-On-Luggage-2017-Samsonite-Aspire-Xlite-Expandable-Upright-21.5

 

Samsonite Aspire Xlite Expandable Upright 21.5″

21.5″ x 14.5″ x 8.0″ | 11.3 pounds | $

 

The perfect carry on piece for those looking for attractive hard shelled luggage options at an affordable price.

Samsonite Luggage Review: If you like the Samsonite brand but want a classic carry on with just two wheels and one deep pocket, this is the bag for you. It’s light, strong and holds a lot making it good for both business and personal travel. On the lid, there’s a mesh pocket for smaller items like undergarments or socks as well as a plastic compartment for toiletries. The Samsonite Aspire is under $100 and another of my affordable carry on favorites!

Sold at Amazon

Check the latest reviews and see all color options here


 

Must Have Accessories for Carry On Luggage

Attachable Luggage Tote

Nothing beats the ease of traveling with shoulders free. Whether you’re a woman looking to put down your handbag or a man traveling with a business briefcase, you need a travel tote that will beautifully attach to a carry on roller’s long handle.

Lipault makes my favorite travel tote bag. The sleek black exterior resists stains and looks sharp while the interior can comfortably fit a 15″ laptop, DSLR camera, notebooks, a change of clothes and the necessities. My favorite feature is the large zippered pocket on the exterior which slides right over your carry on luggage handle so that you can wheel both together with ease!

Best-Carry-On-Luggage-2017 Reviews of Raden Luggage, CalPak Luggage, Samsonite Luggage, Travelpro, Delsey Luggage and more

Packing Cubes

Once you get a packing cube set, you’ll never go back to free range luggage. Packing cubes help maximize space inside your luggage by neatly organizing clothing and separating your dirty worn clothes from freshly laundered ones.

Amazon carries a wide range of packing cube sets and brands

Best-Carry-On-Luggage-2017 Reviews of Raden Luggage, CalPak Luggage, Samsonite Luggage, Travelpro, Delsey Luggage and more

from this…

Best-Carry-On-Luggage-2017 Reviews of Raden Luggage, CalPak Luggage, Samsonite Luggage, Travelpro, Delsey Luggage and more

….to this!

 

Best Carry On Luggage 2017 – Summary Comparison Chart


To summarize, here’s a handy chart to compare each of the different luggage brands so you can easily identify which carry on luggage option is best for you! I’ve grouped my 10 luggage picks by hard shell and then soft shell.

 

No.LuggageDimensionsWeightTypePrice
1Samsonite Omni Hardside Spinner 19.0 x 14.5 x 9.756.8Hard$$
2Calpak Lomita Hardside19.0 x 13.0 x 9.08.4Hard$$
3Raden A22 Smart Spinner20.5 x 14.0 x 9.08.4Hard$$$
4Delsey Luggage Helium Aero  20.5 x 14.5 x 10.010.4Hard$$
5Incase Eo Travel Hardshell Roller23.0 x 15.0 x 8.010.4Hard$$$
6Travelpro Maxlite 4 Expandable21.0 x 14.0 x 9.07.5Soft$$
7Tumi Alpha Expandable 22.1 x 14.0 x 9.112.9Soft$$$$
8Briggs & Riley Baseline 22.0 x 14.0 x 9.011.3Soft$$$$
9SwissGear Travel Gear Spinner20.0 x 13.5 x 7.58.0Soft$
10Samsonite Aspire Xlite Expandable 21.5 x 14.5 x 8.011.3Soft$


All dimensions in inches and weight in pounds. 
Price Table: $ <100 dollars; $$ ~100-200 dollars; $$$ ~201-300 dollars; $$$ ~301+

 

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Best-Carry-On-Luggage-2017 Reviews of Raden Luggage, CalPak Luggage, Samsonite Luggage, Travelpro, Delsey Luggage and more

 

Packing List Series


Mexico

Jamaica

Cuba

African Safari

NYC

 

Travel To..


Africa

Americas

Caribbean

Asia

Europe

 

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LeahFebruary 8, 2017 - 8:04 am

I am all about good luggage!! These sound awesome!

KenzieFebruary 9, 2017 - 2:53 pm

I’ve been looking for some new luggage! Those packing cubes look like a great buy too!

JoyceFebruary 21, 2017 - 9:21 pm

Love this comprehensive roundup! The samsonite omni, raden, and tumi look super interesting!

Characters & Carry-ons

[…] I particularly recommend Raden, Tumi or Samsonite for work carry-ons since they have very sleek and understated black options. Raden’s bags are also especially light weight and have built-in GPS and charging ports. Read this review post for the best carry on luggage options. […]

[…] If you have a sandwich-construction suitcase, I keep shoes on the zippered off side with my toiletries and then clothes on the other half. You can read more about my recommendations for best carry on luggage here. […]

Bri GibbsApril 13, 2017 - 9:10 am

What are the two brands of luggage at the top of the article?
You have two pieces on the left and one piece on the right. They are all shades of green. What and where can I find those pieces?

SherApril 14, 2017 - 6:29 pm

Hi Bri – those are from Away luggage. I haven’t tried them yet but they’re another new, “smart” luggage type brand with sandwich-style construction. Let me know if you get it and end up loving it!

[…] NYC | Carry On Luggage […]

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