Save your shoulders

The 10 Best Carry-Ons

April 6, 2015 Buying Guides By

Whether it’s wrongly taken off the baggage claim or loaded on an incorrect flight, losing a checked bag is an occupational hazard for frequent fliers, which is why most carry their personal effects on instead. For the seasoned traveler, a carry-on bag needs to hold a few changes of clothes and maybe an extra pair of shoes, have pockets for mid-journey access and meet the requirements for fitting in an overhead compartment (typically 22 x 14 x 9 inches). Every one of these carry-ons meets these criteria. What really separates them from backpacks and duffels? Wheels and telescoping handles, because rolling beats hauling a bag over your shoulder.

Tumi International Slim Carry-On


Tegris is an innovative and rugged composite material that’s used in NASCAR race cars and by NFL players for added protection. And this roller is made primarily with the same Tegris material, so you know it’s a hardened traveler. Additionally, this 7.9-pound bag has a telescoping handle, four swivel wheels and impact-resistant caps on its corners for further protection.

Travelpro MaxLite3 22-Inch Expandable Rollaboard


Travelpro was founded in 1987 by a pilot, and has since become the go-to carry-on bag for flight crews. Their 22-inch bag has an aluminum handle that locks in two positions, weighs just over six pounds and has one main compartment for travelers who don’t like to overcomplicate packing. Each bag is made of 100 percent polyester and is available in either black or blue.

REI Wheely Beast 22 Inch


The 22-inch model is the smallest bag (and only carry-on) in REI’s Wheely Beast series. It’s tough, armored with both a sturdy aluminum frame and rugged Cordura nylon material. Other features include numerous grab handles, interior compression straps and zip pockets for smaller items. The bag can hold up to 42 liters of gear.

The Ultimate Tech Travel Organizer

The Tech Dopp Kit 2.0 from LA-based brand This is Ground is the perfect way to keep your camera gear and other travel tech neatly organized. Learn more about it and find other amazing products in the Gear Patrol Store.

Zero Halliburton 22-Inch Carry-On


The company started making aluminum travel cases in the early 20th century. Today they make top-of-the-line bags for business executives. Their 22-inch carry-on is made of Cordura nylon and has a padded laptop pocket for people who like to get work done while traveling. Other specs include a telescoping handle and an expandable main compartment.

Osprey Packs Ozone 22 Carry-On Bag


Osprey is no stranger to making packs and bags for seasoned travelers. Their Ozone 22 weights 6 pounds, is available in two colors (light green, light blue) and comes with an adjustable harness.

Incase Eo Roller


Here’s a travel bag for the tech-savvy guy. It’s designed with a compartment to house a Macbook and multiple pockets for chargers and electronic accoutrements. The bag has a weather-resistant coating and an expandable main compartment — and its urethane wheels are electric yellow, for panache.

A Versatile Duffle Option

The Aer Gym Duffel was originally built as the perfect gym bag, but also turns out to be an amazing carry-on option for a quick weekend trip thanks to ample pockets and a dedicated space for shoes. Learn more about it and find other great products at the Gear Patrol Store.

Victorinox Lexicon Ultra-Light Carry-On


This is a minimalist carry-on that weights 5.5 pounds. It comes with 80-millimeter inline skate wheels, a lock that’s Travel Sentry-approved and easy-access compartments for your in-flight devices: Kindle, Macbook or even a gold ol’ paperback book.

Eagle Creek Morphus 22


What distinguishes Eagle Creek’s carry-on is its patent-pending Morphus technology, which allows it to quickly transform from one carry-on to two. The removable bag zips off and and can be carried as a backpack or using a shoulder strap. It’s up to the traveler whether they want to use this as either one or two bags; either way it’ll be abrasion- and weather-resistant.

Briggs & Riley Domestic Expandable Carry-On Spinner


A bag geared towards business travelers, this one has both a traditional main compartment and space for suits. It’s made from ballistic nylon, has four double-swivel spinner wheels, and is capable of expanding 25 percent in the event of a mid-vacation shopping spree.

Rimowa Topas Stealth Cabin Aluminum 55cm Carry-On Case


Rimowa has been a pioneer in European luggage design since the end of the 19th century, and the grooves on their case shells are their staple. This aluminum roller is rugged, waterproof, beautifully black and TSA approved.

Further Reading: The New Breed of Carry-On Luggage

Unfortunately, the airline still might lose your checked bag. Read the Story

Tucker Bowe

Tucker Bowe has been on Gear Patrol's editorial team since 2014. As a Tech Staff Writer, he tracks everything in the consumer tech space, from headphones to smartphones, wearables to home theater systems. If it lights up or makes noise, he probably covers it.

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