There’s nothing quite like the feeling that comes from travelling sans check-in. Relieved from worries about lost luggage and freed from the shackles of strict bag drop times and tedious carousel lines, you’re suddenly walking a whole lot lighter. Not only are you feeling mentally lighter, but you’re physically lighter too. Less stuff means less to lose and less to carry. It's honestly surprising what leaving behind the equivalent of your own body weight in a giant check-in can do for the soul.
While it’s clear that travelling carry-on baggage only is your literal ticket to a whole new world of spontaneity, how does one actually become this type of traveller? According to the many experts and frequent flyers we’ve spoken to, it’s less complicated than you might think—pack less and invest in a great bag. Simple, huh? So, whether you prefer a backpack, lightweight duffle, or wheeled case, keep reading below for seven carry-ons so good you’ll never want to check a bag again.
July Carry On Light Expandable
Combining the best of both worlds, at just 2.2kg, this lightweight wheeled and hardshell case will tick the box for nearly every type of traveller. The expandable design, which takes it from 35 to 40-litres gives you the flexibility to pack more when you need (or fit in that extra shopping), but still keeps things lightweight and compact enough for when you're flying with weight and size-conscious budget airlines. Shop here.
Antler Clifton Cabin
The stylish and compact design of this hardshell wheeled carry-on makes it a top pick on our list. Designed for exceptional use and function, the polycarbonate outer is both strong (to protect your belongings), while remaining lightweight and easy to manoeuvre. With a 38-litre base capacity that expands up to 43-litres thanks to a inbuilt expander zip, even the most overzealous packers should be able to fit in everything they need with ease. Shop here.
Rimowa Essential Lite Cabin
While a Rimowa suitcase is certainly an investment, there’s a reason they consistently come out on top. While many luxury travel brands absolutely nail features and aesthetically pleasing designs, many don’t factor in the ever-decreasing weight allowances of most airlines. Thankfully, Rimowa has come to the table with its lightest luggage offering yet. Incorporating the quality, design, and stability that we have come to expect with Rimowa products, this clever carry-on weighs 30% less than their usual offering, providing the perfect blend of portability without making any compromises. Shop here.
Kathmandu Hybrid Trolley V3 32L
If the last few years have taught us anything, it's that travel can be unpredictable, which is exactly the type of circumstances the Kathmandu Hybrid Trolley has been designed for. Blending the ease of a lightweight wheeled bag, with the portability of a backpack, this 32-litre case can quickly and easily transform from a wheeled carry-on to a comfortable backpack, making it perfect for multi-destination travel. Shop here.
Bellroy Lite Duffel
The ultimate lightweight and portable option, this is a traditional duffle-style bag with a twist. Made from 100% recycled PET plastic bottles, this incredibly lightweight but durable bag can be folded, rolled, and packed or used as your main carry-on luggage. The water-resistant ripstop fabric means there are no worries about over-stuffing the bag’s spacious main compartment and the external zip, integrated key clip, and internal slip pockets keep things organised and tidy when on the move. Shop here.
Double Oak Mills Lyle Leather Weekender
Perfect for quick work trips or weekends away, this classic chocolate brown leather duffle is stylish and practical. Big enough to fit your essentials, it'll tie together your dapper look without causing a fuss at airport check-in. Carry it using the handles, or opt for the leather shoulder strap. Shop here.
Designed for weight-conscious travellers, this ultra-light and cleverly designed hardshell carry-on combines the very best of Samsonite’s design features. Made with their Curv® technology and award-winning iconic design, the C-Lite wheeled case weighs in at only 1.9kg, allowing you to get the most out of your packable weight allowance. The smooth double wheels, elongated pull handle and inbuilt USB port also make it a dream to use for both business and personal travel. Shop here.
Cotopaxi Allpa 42L Travel Pack
Designed to be a wearable suitcase, this comfortable backpack comes equipped with a weight distributing and low profile harness system (including a hip belt) that easily tucks away when you need it to. With 42 litres of packing space, you’ll have more than enough room to fit everything you need, as well as find your belongings easily thanks to the suitcase-style clamshell design. As a bonus, the backpack also includes multiple pockets for internal organisation, including a padded sleeve that fits up to a 15-inch laptop and an included rain cover. Shop here.
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Image credit: Antler | July
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