10 Carry-On Bags You'll Wish You Knew About Sooner

How can you carry everything you need for your trip when checked baggage fees keep getting higher and overhead compartments keep getting smaller?

Here are ten bags that will ease your mind – and your back.

This Is Ground Voyager Weekender

Voyager Weekender from This Is Ground — Photo courtesy of This Is Ground

This gorgeous bag makes you look like a world traveler even if you’re just headed out on a local road trip. Handcrafted by heritage leatherworkers in rich hues like cognac and toffee, it’s got a casual elegance that feels luxurious.

The interior has enough room for five days’ worth of stuff, and the exterior features a tech pod to organize and protect your electronics. Speaking of electronics, This Is Ground’s partnership with Karma Go makes the Voyager the world’s first Wi-Fi enabled leather bag, giving you the option to stay connected wherever you go. 

Briggs & Riley Sympatico CX

Briggs & Riley Sympatico Collection — Photo courtesy of Briggs & Riley

The first hard-sided luggage with the ability to expand, then compress back down to its original size, the Sympatico CX collection is a game-changer, allowing travelers to pack 25% more into the most durable cases.

Available in three sizes in three colors, the bags offer even more high-tech features like self-repairing zippers, multiple handle extension settings to accommodate different heights, double spinner wheels for the smoothest ride, the SmartLink system to attach one hard-sided bag to another, and Briggs & Riley’s signature Outsider handle (no bars inside the bags make a flat packing interior).

Although you’ll probably never need it, the company also has the most comprehensive lifetime warranty in the industry. 

Filson 24-Hour Tin Briefcase

Filson 24-Hour Tin Briefcast — Photo courtesy of Filson

This is not your father’s briefcase. Made of water-repellent Tin Cloth, it’s rugged and practical and surprisingly sophisticated, with a patina that just gets better over time.

Fully lined, it features an interior laptop divider, a trolley strap to loop over luggage handles and a removable shoulder strap. It also comes with lots of pockets to stuff with chargers, headphones and enough clothes to warrant its name. If you’re headed out for the weekend instead, Filson offers a bigger but equally beautiful 48-Hour Duffle.

AWAY Carry-On

Away Carry-On — Photo courtesy of Away

The care and attention to detail put into this piece is apparent in every jaw-dropping feature you’ve ever wished for in your luggage. Lightweight? 7.2 pounds. Tough? Practically unbreakable. Warranty? Lifetime. But that’s not even hitting the highlights. 

The carry-on of your dreams, AWAY features two USB charging ports and a renewable battery. It’s got a patent pending compression system and laundry bag to pretty much organize everything for you, Japanese Hinomoto 360 spinner wheels, an interior water-resistant lining, and so much more.

Founded by two former Warby Parker execs and Forbes 30 Under 30 winners, AWAY is an industry game-changer. Because the pieces are only available online (shipping is free!) and in their own New York pop-up shop, the prices are so affordable, you’ll be able to book a trip to test out your new luggage. 

eBags Professional Weekender

eBags Professional Weekender — Photo courtesy of eBags

Backpacks are great for everyday use, but this one actually holds as much as a standard wheeled carry-on. And it will protect your back as carefully as it does your belongings.

Unlike the abyss that defines most backpacks, this one is super organized with dedicated spaces for clothes, electronics, liquids and business cards. Crafted from twisted poly fabric and flexible enough to be transformed into a briefcase or hands-free crossbody bag, it definitely earns its “professional” title.

G-RO Carry-On

G-RO Carry-On — Photo courtesy of G-RO

It’s no wonder G-RO is the most successful crowdfunded luggage campaign ever. Deceptively small, it’s actually got a larger packable interior than typical rolling bags because its wheels are on the outside of the bag. And those all-terrain wheels are amazing. Large and axle-less, they make your bag feel significantly lighter when you’re pulling it. They also glide easily, whether you’re walking across cobblestones, snow, sand, curbs, gravel and even steps.

The bag has as much going for it on the outside as it does inside. There’s an exterior laptop compartment, a waterproof pocket to keep liquids away from your electronics, and an easy-access pocket for essentials like your passport, phone and credit cards.

7 AM Enfant Voyage Bag

Voyage Bag by 7AM Enfant — Photo courtesy of 7AM Enfant

It’s virtually impossible to travel light with little kids but this is the best bag we’ve seen for keeping families organized. Lined with pockets, it easily stores and protects everything from bottles and diapers to cell phones and cameras. When unzipped, the back portion folds down so you can literally search every corner for that lost pacifier.

Soft and ultra-lightweight, it collapses for easy storage. Plus, the heather grey is so much cooler than any diaper bag. 

Eddie Bauer Expedition Drop Bottom Rolling Duffel

Eddie Bauer Expedition Drop Bottom Rolling Duffel — Photo courtesy of Eddie Bauer

Eddie Bauer built a reputation on helping adventurers brave the elements, so you know you can trust them to protect your bag from rough handling or tight overhead bins. Billed as the “Lightest, Toughest Duffels on Earth,” these bags come in three different sizes (the medium is a perfect carry-on) and are made from super lightweight ripstop nylon, and reinforced with ballistic nylon.

The drop bottom has lockable zippers for extra storage, and the main compartment is separated into two zippered sections to make organizing a snap. Like a Volkswagen filled with clowns, you’ll be shocked at how much this compact-looking bag actually holds.


CoolBag — Photo courtesy of CoolBag

This tropical bag, which comes in colors like Barbados Blue and Paradise Island Pink, screams island getaway. A great multi-tasker, it saves you from having to also pack a beach tote, cooler or backpack because it works as all of those. It also serves as the perfect flight companion, with a padded storage pocket for tablets or laptops, and rubber feet to keep the bottom of the bag off the ground.

Graced with more than good looks, this is a bag with substance – and lots of safety features. It’s got a built-in RFID pocket, a puncture-resistant zipper and combination zipper lock. It’s also got a unique security system, complete with a detachable steel cable that works as a theft deterrent.

Love 41 Leather Overnight Duffel

Love 41 Leather Overnight Duffel — Photo courtesy of Love 41

Ideal as a carry-on, this overnighter adds a touch of sophistication to any trip. Featuring a detachable purse, it’s soft and lightweight in full grain caramel leather.

Built to last, the bag has a warranty of 41 years. Even better, 100 percent of profits benefit the people of Rwanda, so you can rationalize buying one for yourself and one – or two – as a gift. 

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