Travel smarter with the best carry-on luggage of 2019


The rules of flying have changed dramatically over the years. While weight allowance and how much luggage we can check has decreased, the cost of our checked baggage has increased. But there are plenty of savvy resources that help travelers pack more efficiently and minimize how much luggage they bring on a trip.

Some travelers have even hacked their packing down to one piece of carry-on luggage. But every adventure in packing begins with luggage, having the proper luggage can make traveling with just your carry-ons easier and more comfortable.

To determine the best carry-on luggage of 2019, researched and tested a wide range of carry-on luggage, as well as interviewed experts at Delta Airlines. When it came to luggage for the overhead cabin and personal bags for under the seat, here’s what found to be the best.

1. Samsonite Flexis 21″ Spinner

Samsonite Flexis 21" SpinnerSamsonite Flexis 21″ Spinner — Photo courtesy of Seamus Bellamy /

When it comes to wheeled carry-on’s deems the Samsonite Flexis 21″ Spinner to be the very best. It’s three exterior pockets make packing electronics like iPads and laptops, as well as snacks, sundries and a water bottle easy.

An elastic retention straps keeps everything secure and in place, while the self-healing Strong Grip Zip prevents zipper failure. When it came to wheeling the bag around the airport, testers found maneuvering over pavement, concrete sidewalks, wood floors and tiles effortless. The bag’s 2,520 cubic inches of packing space allows it to fit in the overhead compartment with ease.

Where to buy:

Amazon – Click for Price »

2. Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45

Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 — Photo courtesy of Seamus Bellamy / deems the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 as the best soft-sided carry-on, perfect for storing in the overhead compartment. Since the bag has no wheels, not only does it mean more space for your luggage, it also means you can compress the bag to fit into even smaller spaces.

You can get the Aeronaut 45 in two different kinds of light-weight fabrics, both of which are tough-wearing – a 1050c ballistic nylon or the 400d Halcyon/420d ribstop nylon. Regardless of which fabric you choose, the Aeronaut comes in a variety of colors all of which come with a weather-resistant urethane finish. And to ensure your belongings stay dry, even the zippers are waterproof.

Where to buy:

Tom Bihn – $300.00 »

3. Kirkland Signature Softside Spinner 22″ Carry-On

Members of Costco will not only enjoy a low price with the Kirkland Signature Softside Spinner 22″ Carry-On, they’ll also get a limited lifetime warranty. Even though the materials aren’t as quality as the Samsonite Flexis and there were early signs of wear on the wheels, it got decent marks in’s field tests. Considering the price and it’s limited lifetime warranty, it’s a decent bag that gets the job done for a reasonable price.

Where to buy:

Costco – $79.97 »

4. Travelpro Maxlite 4 International Expandable Carry-on Rollaboard

The Maxlite 4 has the durability of hard luggage but the ability to collapse like a soft-sided carry-on bag. When the lid is pushed into the body of the bag completely, it cuts down its size by 25% making it a cinch to store your luggage when not in use. With plenty of pockets, the Maxlite 4 helps optimize space when packing. It’s a great bag for travelers who want to become more organized.

Where to buy:

Amazon – $240.00 »

5. Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 21″ Expandable Spinner Suiter

The Magna 2’s removable garment bag makes this piece of carry-on luggage perfect for business meetings or travel to formal events. When it came to’s rigorous testing, such as completing an obstacle course to see how it handles, packing a week’s worth of clothing, and rating its carrying comfort, the Magna 2 checks off all the boxes.

But, even though the dimensions are technically small enough for carry-on, the wheels stick out too far for storing in the overhead compartment. You may get through security fine with this bag, but if your flight is full and they need to check people’s carry-on bags, chances are you may need to check this luggage.

Where to buy:

Amazon – $249.90 »

6. Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller

Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage RollerTimbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller — Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Domingo

With its water-resistant compartment on top of the bag and its durability, the Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller makes for the perfect carry-on luggage for an adventure in the outdoors. The water-resistant pocket makes stashing wet shoes and clothes easy, protecting your other belongings from getting dirty.

It also has the capacity to fit enough clothing for about a week’s worth of travel. According to testers, this bag may be slightly too large for the overhead compartment when packed to its full capacity, but the wheels do come off making overhead storage possible.

Where to buy:

Amazon – Click for price »

7. American Tourister iLite Xtreme 21″ Spinner

When it comes to a budget-friendly carry-on for the overhead compartment, try the American Tourister iLite Xtreme 21″ Spinner. Coming in at around $89, calls it a decent piece of luggage for the price. Though it is slightly lower quality than the Samsonite Flexis, which is’s top pick for overhead carry-on luggage, the iLite Xtreme Spinner offers many of the same features.

But don’t overstuff this suitcase. According to, it’s loose polyester pockets and wheels prevented the bag from sliding into their sizing device. So you may want to leave a little room in this bag to have it fit in the overhead compartment.

Where to buy:

Amazon – Click for price »

8. Arc’teryx Covert Case

Arc'teryx Covert CaseArc’teryx Covert Case — Photo courtesy of Arc’teryx

When Arc’teryx isn’t making bags for the regular traveler, the company is designing high-end outdoor gear and military kits for Special Forces operators. So you know you’re getting a quality, durable carry-on bag with the Covert Case. In’s testing, the Covert Case came in second to the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 when it came to soft-sided bags.

It lost some points because it doesn’t carry as much as the Aeronaut 45, but with its 40-liter capacity, it can still carry all of the clothing, toiletries and sundries you’ll need for a week-long trip.

Where to buy:

Amazon – Click for price »

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