If you’re getting ready to travel, you need reliable luggage that holds your stuff while being easy and comfortable to use. When it comes to finding the best carry-on luggage, what are some of the issues you should consider? Read on to find out how you can find the perfect carry-on luggage for your next trip.

What is the Best Size Luggage for a Carry-On?

When shopping for carry-on luggage, remember that these items are designed to be there with you on the plane. Unlike check-in baggage, your carry-on will be smaller and it must fit be able to fit under for a “Personal Bag” or in the overhead bin as a “Carry-on” suitcase. The most common size of a domestic carry-on is 22″ x 14″ x 9″, but that size limits do vary by airline, with each airline posting their specific size limitations on their website. All airlines allow free of charge a personal bag, such as a handbag or other bag that will fit under the seat in front of you.

The common maximum size for a personal bag is 16” x 14” x 8” and varies by airline and by seat placement with center seats generally offering more space than do window or aisle seats. Again, each airline defines under-seat size limits on their websites. Here again, measurements include wheel and handles generally international flights have different size and weight limitations making it very important to check with your carrier before packing or arriving at the airport.

 

Types of Carry-On Luggage

Now that you know the basics regarding size, it’s time to think about which style or type of carry-on luggage will work for you. You have a lot of options when it comes to a carry-on that will fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.

There are soft construction bags such as soft-side luggage, duffels, satchels, backpacks and briefcases made from a variety of fabrics such as nylon, polyester, microfiber, leather and cotton canvas. They come in many sizes and configurations and most travelers make their selection based on how they are traveling, their destination and what they plan to do during their stay. Generally, soft construction bags other than leather are lightweight and offer a high level of flexibility.

Their downside is they don’t offer a high degree of protection for their contents and clothing tends to get wrinkled with little or no stability for contents. All fabric bags use zippered openings that can easily be opened with any sharp object even a pen or pencil and the fabric of most can be cut, so if security is a concern fabric bags can easily be compromised.

Hardshell carry-on such as the variety of plastics such as polycarbonate, polypropylene and ABS are generally range from ultra-lightweight to lightweight offer less flexibility than fabric bags but morestability for packing. They also offer a higher level of security being far more difficult to penetrate theshell. However most use a zippered opening and there again the zippers can be easily compromised. In this category of carry-on and under-seat case there is aluminum that offers a superior level of security being impossible to penetrate without the use of cutting tools and with a frame closure eliminating zippers making breaking into a case very difficult. Aluminum cases tend tobe heavier, more costly but offer the highest level of protection for their contents.

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Wheels: Two or Four?

Most carry-on luggage includes wheels on the bottom that makes it much easier to navigate around town, in and out of lodging and moving through airports. Carry-on luggage with two wheels can roll forward and backward for easy movement and are generally pulled behind their user. Two-wheeled luggage typically has the wheels partially recessed into the bottom of the case to protect the wheels, however the recessed wheels created less packing space. This luggage is easy to maneuver on all types of terrain but needs to pull it behind you when you walk and walking a long distance over city streets can put a strain on your wrist, elbow and shoulder.


Four-wheeled carry-on luggage, known as spinners, have replaced most 2-wheel luggage offering more flexibility with wheels that can rotate a full 360 degrees. This means you can move your bag in any direction making it a lot easier to maneuver on streets, in and out of buildings, in airports, and on and off aircraft. A four-wheeled spinner can be rolled alongside you are eliminating the stress on your wrist, elbow, and shoulder and can be pushed or pulled when desired. Spinners are designed with wheels recessed or non-recessed with each design have both pros and cons. Recessed wheels take up space inside the case taking up valuable packing space and restricting the interior configuration requiring packing around the protrusions. Non-recessed wheels offer more interior packing space and offering better utilization of interior space. The non-recessed wheels are thought to be more susceptible to wheel damage however the strength of the wheels attached to the case is more important than whether or not they are recessed or non-recessed. It is best to look for luggage with wheels that are an integral part of the case and not just mounted on the case.

Interior Features of the Best Carry-On Luggage

There are as many interiors of carry-on luggage as there are individual carry-ons. Traditionally soft carry-on such as duffels or satchels have no interior hold-downs for articles. Generally, it is suggested that clothing be rolled as opposed to folded, which is fine for casual clothing.

A benefit of soft-side carry-on and soft bags, in general, is they often have outside pockets for easy access to tickets and identification. Both Soft-side and hard-side carry-ons have varying methods for holding garments in place. Soft-side cases have adjustable straps, while hard-shell cases will offer tie-down straps or some combination of straps and zip-around curtains to hold garments in place. Most will have one or more zipper pockets for smaller essentials. In some soft-side carry-ons, usually, at upper price points, there might be separate compartments, dividers, built-in padding, and more pocketing.

Hard-shell carry-ons, for the most part, have limited inside compartments and pockets for small essentials and suggest packing small and breakable essentials between layers of clothing for their protection. Hard-shell plastic carry-ons at upper price points may offer compression systems to hold clothing in place and offer more interior pocketing for small essentials. Hard-shell aluminum carry-ons, because of their rigid construction and compression systems, offer the best method to keep clothing secure and wrinkle-free.

Most hard-shell carry-ons come with built-in TSA-approved locks that can be opened by airport security but otherwise lock the case to help keep contents secure. And again, if the case has a zipper, that remains the easiest way to break into a case.

There are some plastic cases with aluminum frames, and an all-aluminum case has aluminum frames that offer the highest level of protection and security for contents, but all of these cases will be at higher price points.

What About Style?

If aesthetics is important to you, choose carry-on luggage that features a color or style that appeals to you. Today you can find a huge variety of luggage colors and designs, many of which are trendy in nature but will be outdated in short order. When considering a look or design you should think about how long and how much use you want to get from the purchase. Some luxury luggagemakers produce styling and colors that are meant to last and not go out of style.Another helpful tip when it comes to color and style: choose something you easily recognize so it’sa cinch to spot your luggage when it reached the carousel at baggage claim. Bright or bold-colored stand out against the sea of black luggage.

More Things to Consider

If the environment is important to you and sustainability has significance remember that aluminum cases are biodegradable, recyclable and naturally RFID blocking unlike most fabrics and all plastics.A luggage purchase is more closely related to an automobile purchase than a clothing or accessory purchase. Most of us select the make, model, color and features that speak to us as individuals. The parameters of the purchase are for many an extension of how the see themselves and even how we want others to see us. Some of those factors are performance, appearance, durability, functionality and dependability and the order we assign to each is an expression of who we are.

Choose Your Carry-On Wisely

From durable materials and smooth-rolling wheels to sleek designs, the best carry-on luggage will give you the functionality, durability, and pride of ownership to make every trip a pleasure. We ask you to consider our line of products for your next purchase. To find out more about our products or ask a question, please feel free to reach out to us today.

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