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Best Overall: Everlane The Twill Weekender at Everlane "It fits snugly inside any overhead compartment."
Best Smart Suitcase: The Away Carry-On at Away Travel "The featherlight carry-on is equipped with an interior compression system and hidden laundry bag."
Best Budget: iFLY's EZ-Glider at Walmart "For grab and go items, the exterior has one large top pocket...and one extra-large lower pocket."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack at Cotopaxi "Four reinforced grab handles provide multiple carry points when you’re not using the shoulder straps."
Runner-Up, Best Budget: AmazonBasics 29-Inch Softside Spinner Luggage at Amazon "There’s ample storage, along with solid, secure-closing zippers and four 360-degree spinner wheels for easy mobility."
Best Checked: Briggs & Riley Medium Expandable Spinner at Amazon "Four spinner wheels mean you won't have to work any harder to transport it from baggage claim to your cab."
Best Hardshell: Samsonite Centric Expandable 20-Inch Hardside Carry-On at Amazon "For additional security, use the side-mounted TSA lock to protect your belongings."
Best Backpack: Herschel Supply Co. Dawson Backpack at Amazon "The pack features a modern-day mountaineering look with a magnetic snap-flap and adjustable toggle-cord closures."
Best Splurge: Tumi V3 International Slim Carry-On at Amazon "It’s made from a specialized multi-layer polycarbonate alloy and has several noteworthy features both inside and out."
Best Underseater: Samsonite Wheeled Underseater at Amazon "Thanks to a push-button locking handle and smooth rolling in-line skate wheels, lugging it around the airport isn't a chore."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Everlane The Twill Weekender
If you're looking for sleek, lightweight storage, Everlane's Twill Weekender will do just the trick. Crafted from extremely durable water-resistant cotton twill and ethically sourced from Ho Chi Minh City, the classic carry-on comes with zero bells and whistles (just an exterior slip pocket and interior zip pocket)—and that’s just the way we like it. It’s available in five color combos, including reverse denim and black leather and dark green and black, and at 22 x 8.5 x 12 inches (with a 12-inch shoulder drop), it fits snugly inside any overhead compartment. For minimalist-leaning travelers, it doesn’t get much better—especially considering the bag's sub-$100 price tag.
Best Smart Suitcase: The Away Carry-On
The Away Carry-On offers a staggering array of smart features, from an ejectable battery that charges your phone to a TSA-approved combination lock for extra security. And, while it’s undoubtedly convenient to be able to charge your phone on the go, even if the Away Carry-On didn’t boast such tech-savvy features, we’d still love it all the same. The shell is made of durable polycarbonate and the 360-degree spinner wheels are smooth, which means that navigating this bad boy through the airport is a total breeze. Storage-wise, the featherlight carry-on is equipped with an interior compression system and hidden laundry bag; its exterior dimensions are 21.7 x 13.7 x 9 inches. The bag is available in 10+ colors, including white, violet, black, blush pink, and navy.
Best Budget: iFLY's EZ-Glider
For a lightweight bag that glides effortlessly across the airport but can hold a lot of travel gear, consider iFLY's EZ-Glider suitcase. The suitcase measures 26 x 17 x 11 inches – qualifying it as a “checked” bag. For grab and go items, the exterior has one large top pocket (unlike standard bags with a small top pocket) and one extra-large lower pocket. It is made from a hybrid polyester fabric and has four, bright yellow spinner wheels with 360-degree turning ability that stand out in the luggage claim. Secure your clothes with the interior straps, and utilize the designated shoe pockets to keep dirt away from clean items. The reasonably priced luggage weighs 6.1 pounds and has a 10-year warranty.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack
The sporty-chic Allpa Travel Pack from Cotopaxi nabs our runner-up spot. The carry-on compatible pack has a 35-liter interior, plus a weight-distributing harness system that includes contoured shoulder straps, an adjustable sternum strap, and a padded hip belt for true comfort, balance, and ease. Crafted from 1608D ballistic nylon paneling and TPU-coated 1000D polyester, the Allpa Travel Pack is designed to withstand years and years of rugged travel. There’s plenty of storage space, too, including spacious mesh compartments on the inside, a suitcase-style zipper opening on the main compartment, two zippered pockets on the top, and padded laptop and tablet sleeves. Four reinforced grab handles provide multiple carry points when you’re not using the shoulder straps. Not to mention, the Allpa Travel Pack comes with several travel accessories including mesh laundry bags, a snap-on water bottle sleeve, and a nylon shoe bag. You can pick one up in royal blue, Caribbean blue, spruce green, or black.
Runner-Up, Best Budget: AmazonBasics 29-Inch Softside Spinner Luggage
Easy to hoist into overhead bins and very easy on your wallet, the AmazonBasics Softside Spinner Luggage is a great pick all around. Its soft exterior means you can maneuver it into tight spaces, but it’s also expandable, offering up to 25 percent additional packing capacity. Lightweight and durable, the spinner has a 150D-polyester interior organizer with three zippered pockets, so there’s ample storage, along with solid, secure-closing zippers and four 360-degree spinner wheels for easy mobility and comfy maneuvering virtually anywhere. The fabric lining also effectively helps protect your items from scratches. Measuring 17.2 x 12 x 29 inches (and weighing less than eight pounds), the bag is light and surprisingly affordable considering how functional it is.
Best Checked: Briggs & Riley Medium Expandable Spinner
Briggs & Riley doesn’t skimp on cutting-edge style or functional features—just take a look at the Transcend VX Medium Expandable Spinner to see for yourself. With its weather-resistant nylon and twill exterior and spacious interior, this is a darn good suitcase. The option of expanding your bag an additional 2.5 inches means you can always sneak in a final (albeit unnecessary) outfit, while four spinner wheels mean you won't have to work any harder to transport it from baggage claim to your cab. Its lightweight construction is, of course, what landed it on this list, though. At 11 x 18 x 25 inches, it's roomy enough for all your belongings, but at just 10.8 pounds, it isn't too bulky. The checked bag is crafted from durable Permasquare fabric and comes in three lovely colors: rainforest, merlot, and slate.
Best Hardshell: Samsonite Centric Expandable 20-Inch Hardside Carry-On
The Samsonite Centric 20-inch Carry-On is beloved for its scratch-resistant texture, roomy interior, and lightweight aluminum frame. For those who prefer a sturdy hardshell suitcase to anything else, this is the perfect bag: its re-engineered spinner wheels and array of handles offer effortless mobility, while a full-zip interior divider and cross straps offer utmost control when it comes to organization. The bag even expands by 1.5 inches if you need a little extra space. For additional security, use the side-mounted TSA lock to protect your belongings. The Samsonite carry-on measures 19.6 x 14.75 x 9.1 inches, weighs 7.5 pounds, and is backed by a 10-year limited warranty for peace of mind. Among the color options are teal, blue slate, silver, burnt orange, and black.
Best Backpack: Herschel Supply Co. Dawson Backpack
If your travels involve traipsing around cobblestone streets in Europe or schlepping up tons of stairways, an adaptable piece of luggage is crucial. The Dawson Backpack from Herschel is sturdy, on-trend, and remarkably lightweight while still providing plenty of storage. Made of 100-percent polyester, the pack features a modern-day mountaineering look with a magnetic snap-flap and adjustable toggle-cord closures, a 13-inch laptop sleeve, exterior flap pockets, and an exterior zip compartment. Despite all the pockets, the Dawson boasts a slim silhouette and truly lightweight construction (not to mention low-maintenance fabric), which are ideal components of any quality daypack. There are eight color options to choose from, including black, camo, tan, and wine.
Best Splurge: Tumi V3 International Slim Carry-On
The Tumi International Slim Carry-On is so sleek and lightweight that you’ll marvel at how easy it is to store in overhead bins and tote down tight airplane aisles. In fact, this is Tumi’s lightest luggage offering, which makes it an easy pick for best carry-on. The bag weighs just 6.4 pounds and measures 21.75 x 15.75 x 7.9 inches. It’s made from a specialized multi-layer polycarbonate alloy and has several noteworthy features both inside and out, including three zippered pockets and tie-down straps, a three-stage telescoping handle system, a retractable top handle, an integrated TSA lock, and four smooth-moving wheels. Though the bag is certainly a major investment at $500+, Tumi offers a five-year warranty so you don't have to worry about replacing it anytime soon.
Best Underseater: Samsonite Wheeled Underseater
When it comes to compact, lightweight underseaters, Samsonite's offering is hard to beat. Handcrafted from a high-strength 100-percent poly/nylon blend, this durable, scuff-resistant luggage is built to last. Measuring 13 x 13 x 6.5 inches and weighing 5 pounds, it's undoubtedly a space-saver. Thanks to a push-button locking handle and smooth rolling in-line skate wheels, lugging it around the airport isn't a chore, either. In terms of storage capabilities, the Samsonite features a spacious interior compartment, internal wetpack pockets, removable toiletry and hanging organizer pouches, as well as side water bottle pockets. The Samsonite Wheeled Underseater is available in four attractive shades: black, deep teal, hot pink, and purple cloud.