Help A Reader With A Carry-On Bag Recommendation

Help A Reader With A Carry-On Bag Recommendation

Million Mile SecretsHelp A Reader With A Carry-On Bag RecommendationMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Reader David M writes in asking for a carry-on bag recommendation:

I’m in the market for a new carry-on bag and was wondering if you could make any recommendations.

Most of my travel is domestic coach (probably 8-10 trips/year), with maybe 1-2 international flights sprinkled in (also typically coach—I fly with my family a lot and I have 3 kids J).

Any pointers would be great, Thanks!

I don’t know much about carry-on bags, since I usually buy a $70 carry-on bag at TJ Maxx (after buying a discounted TJ Maxx gift card online).

I bought my last carry-on bag in 2007 and it is still going strong, though it is a bit tattered.  I figure that even if I buy a new bag every 3 to 4 years, I am still saving money versus buying a more expensive bag for $300+

But I’ve never researched carry-on bags like I’ve researched frequent flyer programs, so I don’t know what to suggest to David!

What’s your favorite carry-on bag? Which bag would you recommend to David?

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Darius -- I happened on this old thread while looking for info on carry-on bag size limits. Flying HAW AIR to Hawaii next week, and I just read in WSJ that they are pretty strict with the carry-on size limit, and even include the wheels in the size limit. So a 22-in carry-on actually measures 23.5-in.

I don't want to get stuck with a surprise checked-bag fee at the airport, so I'm asking your advice (and that of readers):


I called HA-- they said that if the bag doesn't fit their sizing frame (22x14x9), you can gate-check the bag, but also said they would then charge a checked-bag fee.

Perhaps they only use the sizing frame if a flight is heavily booked?

So any observations/comments? Or am I just having a case of the Upcoming-Flight Jitters?

Thanks in advance.

Thanks in advance.

Whoops! Here's the correct link for the" rel="nofollow">Osprey Porter 46. Sorry about that!

Oh, and here two other worthy backpack-style bags that haven't been mentioned yet, which are at the opposite ends of the quality/price spectrum:

The" rel="nofollow">Campmor Essential Carryon. Low, low price, and HUGE amount of packing space! Cons are that fully stuffed it would exceed the allowable dimensions for European carriers, and it lacks exterior compression straps (so it works best with packing cubes to give the contents some structure).

The "Osprey Porter 46. Has an excellent compression system! Also, it has an excellent tuck-away hip belt as well as tuck-away padded shoulder straps; the hip belt makes a big difference when carrying a full load any distance. And Osprey has an excellent guarantee; they stand behind their products, so if you break a buckle (for example), you'll have no problems getting it fixed. The build quality is fantastic. It's pricier than the other bags I've mentioned, but should last a lifetime. Again, when fully stuffed, it will technically exceed the legal carryon dimensions of most European carriers (as will nearly all bags sold in the US market).

I'll toss in another backpack-style contender: the" rel="nofollow">Cabin Max. A lot of carryons made for the US market slightly exceed the legal carryon dimensions for most European carriers (especially the discount ones like Ryanair and easyJet); if you've packed a lot, there's a risk they may not fit into the sizer and you might be forced to check them. The Cabin Max bag is built to meet the specific dimensions required by Ryanair, so it should be OK just about anywhere. I haven't yet had the chance to try my new one out yet, but the build quality seems decent for the (low!) price.

Will never dream of travel without my Samsonite Lightweight 21" Spinner Carry-On.

got it at Macys a couple of years ago for under $100 and absolutely love it. Since unless Im going overseas ( in that case I will check 2 huge luggages fulls of presents for my family) I will never take more than one bag (plus a huge personal objet) owning the Samsonite has help mi travelling immensely. It is absolutely a pleasure to push, it almost roll itself, I may dare to say it drags me!. It helps me to carry my computer case, (where I also pack really nicely rolled my underwear) and when your boarding gate is number 87, that really counts. You can expand it if necessary, but when we went to Europe for TWO MONTHS it was all we took, compacted. Plus our personal objet, our purse (two big backpacks) and my funny bag, where I always keep pass, money and tickets, and it is easy to hide when I close my jacket.

(and in his carry on, my husband had a tuxedo for the formal night at the cruise!)

If you want to know how we did it, look at this:

I think that beats Wes list!

Nowadays many companies don't let you take a personal objet and a purse, so my personal objet has been upgraded to a huge tote, that I will never been able to carry if not on top of my red Samsonite with the super spinning wills! I also take a bag with food (where some extra little thing always found it way in) and a pillow. And a print form the company where it says that you can take those objets in addition to the rest.

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