Tech & Gear Luggage The 11 Best Lightweight Luggage Items of 2021 Avoid excess baggage fees with these high-quality options By Justine Harrington Justine Harrington Twitter University of Arkansas Justine Harrington is a TripSavvy writer based in Austin, Texas, where she covers topics spanning travel, food & drink, lifestyle, culture, social advocacy, and the outdoors. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Updated on 09/17/21 Share Pin Email Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. TripSavvy / Chloe Jeong The Rundown Best Overall: Everlane The Twill Weekender at Everlane "It fits snugly inside any overhead compartment." Best Budget: AmazonBasics Softside Spinner Luggage at Amazon "Surprisingly affordable considering how functional it is." Best Carry-On: Away The Carry-On at Away "360-degree spinner wheels make navigating this carry-on through the airport a total breeze." Best Checked: Lipault Paris Plume Spinner at Amazon "Roomy enough for all your belongings, but it isn't too bulky." Best Underseat Bag: Samsonite Eco-Nu Wheeled Underseater at Walmart "It's undoubtedly a space-saver." Best Backpack: Herschel Supply Co. Dawson Backpack at Amazon "Sturdy, on-trend, and remarkably lightweight while still providing plenty of storage." Best for Adventures: Cotopaxi Allpa Travel Pack at Cotopaxi "Designed to withstand years and years of rugged travel." Best Expandable: Briggs & Riley Travelware Expandable Suitcase at Briggs & Riley "The Briggs & Riley Expandable Upright utilizes CX technology to expand up to 25 percent." Best Splurge: Tumi Latitude International Carry-On at Bloomingdales "The brand boasts the bag as its most durable, lightweight case." Best Softshell: Victorinox Swiss Army Connex Medium Softside Case at Amazon "This sleek softside suitcase makes optimal use of space and comes with an integrated multi-tool." With most airlines charging hefty baggage fees for overweight bags, traveling light has become a necessity. Often, the luggage itself can weigh 10 or more pounds, therefore limiting the number of items travelers can bring, or requiring them to check a second bag—at a cost. Luckily, many luggage companies have developed lightweight bags that remain durable enough to withstand wear and tear. Determining the best lightweight luggage depends on a few factors. Frequent airport travelers might appreciate a wheeled bag that breezes from terminal to terminal. However, those who enjoy short weekend trips or who travel via trains and buses might want a compact backpack. And of course there's the option between a hardside and softside case. Here are the best lightweight luggage options available online. Best Overall: Everlane The Twill Weekender Everlane 4 Buy on Everlane.com What We Like Durable fabric Minimalist design Ample size What We Don't Like No laptop pocket Potential to snag Everlane Twill Weekender Review Lightweight luggage bags are easy to travel with and help avoid overpacking. If you're looking for a sleek option, 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. Though our tester would have preferred a longer strap, it was comfortable to carry and the weight was evenly distributed. Size: 22 x 8.5 x 12 in. | Material: Cotton and leather Tested by TripSavvy This cotton twill bag is exactly what it sounds like—a solid-colored duffel. Aside from a small ‘Everlane’ pin on the side of the bag, you won’t find any other branding on the outside of the weekender. The size of the bag is quite large for a carry-on—22 x 8.5 x 12 inches—but it didn’t feel this bulky when I was toting it around. The weight is evenly distributed when it’s empty; I felt pretty stable when everything was packed. We did have to be a bit intentional about this, but the strategy was simple: Make sure there are things packed on both ends of the bag so one side isn’t heavier than the other. Putting the heavier items on the bottom, evenly distributed, is the smartest way to go. My partner was able to pack everything he needed for a four-day trip: four outfits, a pair of shoes, toiletries, and his camera. In addition to weekend trips, I could see this beautiful bag being used for so many other life situations: the gym, toting goodies between home and the office, or bringing clothes to your local Goodwill for donation (something else I actually did with this bag). There isn’t a lot of organization inside, so it might be good to use your own packing cubes for longer trips. But open it up, and it’s easy to see everything you’ve got in there with a quick glance. — Erika Owen, Product Tester TripSavvy / Erika Owen Best Budget: AmazonBasics 29-Inch Softside Spinner Luggage Buy on Amazon What We LIke Compression straps Flexible fabric Below airlines' luggage weight requirements Fits most carry-on size requirements What We Don't Like Shows wear and tear 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. Weighing less than eight pounds, the bag is light and surprisingly affordable considering how functional it is. Size: 30.9 x 17.5 x 12.9 in. | Weight: 7.9 lbs. | Material: Polyester Best Carry-On: Away The Carry-On Away 4.2 Buy on Awaytravel.com What We Like Ejectible battery Laundry bag Glides smoothly over most surfaces What We Don't Like Overly flexible shell Charging compartment is hard to open Away Carry-On Review 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. Our tester appreciated the telescopic handle that extends to almost three and a half feet, making it ideal for taller travelers. Storage-wise, the featherlight carry-on is equipped with an interior compression system and hidden laundry bag. The bag is available in more than ten colors including white, violet, black, blush pink, and navy. Size: 21.7 x 13.7 x 9 in. | Weight: 8.1 lbs. | Material: Polycarbonate Tested by TripSavvy The design of the Away Carry-On is, of course, very of the moment. Understated and a bit chunky, the grooved shell and zipper closure is, to us, the suitcase equivalent of high-rise, wide-leg pants. It’s well-groomed, yet adamantly casual. Inside, this bag isn’t especially groundbreaking, but it has the basics covered, plus a few nice bonuses. One side of the shell has a zippered mesh compartment for awkward-shaped items like shoes and toiletries. The other has straps that hug our favorite feature of Away Carry-On’s interior: a removable panel that compresses the clothes. We found that it evened out the surface of our soft items, so the two shell halves come together smoothly. For a five-day trip, we packed two pairs of shoes, two pairs of pants, two dresses, four shirts, a sweater, underwear, and a small dopp kit, and it all fit easily into The Bigger Carry-On. Other editors on our team who own the standard Carry-On size have no problem fitting a similar amount of clothes into their bag—though they usually have to stow the dopp kit inside their personal item instead. Bottom line: The Away Carry-On won us over. The design is charming, the features are solid, and the price point is terrific for what you get. — Joy Merrifield, Product Tester TripSavvy / Joy Merrifield Best Checked: Lipault Paris Plume Spinner 3.8 Buy on Amazon Buy on Lipault-usa.com What We Like Durable Easy to maneuver Waterproof shell What We Don't Like Pricey Lacks organizational pockets Lipault Paris Original Plume Spinner Review Lipault Paris doesn’t skimp on cutting-edge style or functional features—just take a look at the Plum Spinner to see for yourself. With its water-resistant nylon exterior and spacious interior, this is a darn good suitcase. Our tester has owned several Lipault bags and marvels at how they withstand the test of time. Plus, the four spinner wheels mean you won't have to work any harder to transport it from the baggage claim to your cab. Its lightweight construction is, of course, what landed it on this list, though. It's roomy enough for all your belongings, but at just 6.6 pounds, it isn't too bulky. The checked luggage bag comes with a three-year limited warranty and is available in six lovely colors: black, cherry red, taupe, khaki, navy, and plum. Size: 28.3 x 19.7 x 11 in. | Weight: 6.6 lbs. | Material: Nylon and PVC Tested by TripSavvy There’s no doubt about it: The Lipault Paris Original Plume Spinner is one stylish piece of luggage. It is an easy-to-maneuver, chic suitcase that will make you feel like you are traveling in VIP style. We particularly love the shiny nylon twill exterior, which gives it a luxe but modern and minimalist look. Plus, with the vibrant colors (such as Navy, as we received) it comes in, it’s sure to stand out at the baggage claim. The soft, cushiony structure is a nice touch, too—and not just because it looks good. The PVC reinforced nylon is waterproof and durable. I have owned a couple of Lipault suitcases for over seven years now, and aside from getting a lot of stains and scuffs (many of which I haven’t been able to clean off), they have stood the test of time. The material is strong enough to withstand rough handling at airports. The side carry handles are also soft and padded. I was able to carry and maneuver the suitcase very comfortably without hurting my hands. If you are a minimalist packer who cares about looks, then this suitcase may be for you. However, the lack of practicality when it comes to packing is disappointing, and if you like an organized bag, it’s best to choose a different option. — Charlene Petitjean-Barkulis, Product Tester TripSavvy / Charlene Petitjean-Barkulis Best Underseat Bag: Samsonite Eco-Nu Wheeled Underseater Courtesy of Walmart Buy on Samsonite.com What We Like Made from sustainable materials Lightweight Accessory sleeves What We Don't Like Only good for short trips When it comes to compact, lightweight underseaters, Samsonite's offering is hard to beat. Handcrafted from a high-strength polyester made from recycled bottles, this durable, scuff-resistant bag is built to last. Measuring 18 x 14 x 8 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 lightweight luggage bag features a spacious interior compartment, internal laptop and tablet sleeves, tie-down straps, shoe compartments, as well as a large external zippered pocket. The Samsonite Eco-Nu Wheeled Underseater is available in three attractive shades: black, deep teal, and hot pink. Size: 18 x 14 x 8 in. | Weight: 5.3 lbs. | Material: Recyclex polyester The 8 Best Underseat Luggage Bags of 2021 Best Backpack: Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack Dagne Dover Buy on Dagnedover.com What We Like Has a 20L capacity Easy to clean material Has a luggage sleeve What We Don't Like Expensive Sometimes a good backpack is all you need when you're packing light or just want to free up your hands. Dagne Dover's backpack comes in three sizes, small, medium, or large, and the latter is perfect for traveling. The exterior has secure side pockets (great for a water bottle or umbrella) and open the main compartment to reveal a secure laptop sleeve and zip pockets for smaller items. Also, the neoprene material is water-resistant and easily washable. This is a bag that's functional, but also quite fashionable with a range of colors, including blue, dark moss, heather gray, and a blush pink. Size: 13.25 x 5.25 x 17.5 in. | Weight: 2.6 lbs. | Material: Neoprene Best for Adventures: Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack Cotopaxi Buy on Cotopaxi.com What We Like Spacious interior Versatile Distributes weight evenly What We Don't Like Expensive The sporty-chic Allpa Travel Pack from Cotopaxi is our pick for any outdoor adventure. 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 lightweight 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. Size: 20 x 12 x 8 in. | Weight: 3.8 lbs. | Material: Nylon and polyester Best Expandable: Briggs & Riley Travelware Suitcase Courtesy of Briggs & Riley Buy on Briggs-riley.com What We Like Exterior zippered pockets Garment folder Compression straps What We Don't Like A little heavy The Briggs & Riley Expandable Upright utilizes CX technology to expand up to 25 percent, though it’s still relatively lightweight (especially for a hard-sided suitcase), at just 10 pounds. Once you’ve used its expansion properties to pack an extra pair of shoes or blouse, it compresses back down to its original size, to prevent your belongings from shifting around too much. This cult-fave suitcase boasts a ballistic nylon outer exterior that resists the wear-and-tear of travel, and the cushioned top-carry handle and integrated bottom fabric handle combo makes for easy, smooth handling. There are also several organizational compartments: a tri-fold garment folder and panels on the inside, and a large u-zip front pocket, and other small pockets on the outside for easy access. Size: 25 x 18 x 10.5 in. | Weight: 10.2 lbs. | Material: Nylon The 8 Best Briggs & Riley Luggage Items Best Splurge: Tumi Latitude International Carry-On Tumi Buy on Bloomingdales Buy on Saks Fifth Avenue What We Like Lightweight Durable TSA locks What We Don't Like Limited color options Invest in a well-made luggage bag like the Latitude International Carry-On from Tumi, which the brand boasts as its most durable, lightweight case. The 22 x 14 x 9-inch hardside spinner weighs only 6 pounds, yet it's constructed out of ballistic material that bends to maximize its packing capacity. The outer shell is also beautifully designed, with a color selection of navy, silver, or black. Its interior boasts two compartments with tie-down straps, zippered pockets, and a hanger bracket for easy packing. Better yet, a three-stage telescoping handle and four, lightweight spinning wheels offer great mobility, while an integrated TSA lock secures everything inside. Size: 22 x 14 x 9 in. | Weight: 6.24 lbs. | Material: Polypropylene Best Softshell: Victorinox Swiss Army Connex Medium Softside Case Buy on Amazon Buy on Swissarmy.com What We Like Expandable Extra features Spacious interior What We Don't Like A little heavy No more lugging around bulky, heavy suitcases on your next vacation—just get the Connex Medium Softside Case. Though it’s on the lightweight side, 9.5 pounds, this sleek suitcase makes optimal use of space, with a spacious main compartment that expands. The smooth-rolling Lisof wheels are near silent when in use and there’s even an integrated multi-tool (inspired by the Swiss Army Knife) that has an ID tag, pen, and SIM card replacement gadget. Size: 11.8 x 17.3 x 25.6 in. | Weight: 9.5 lbs. | Material: Nylon Best Hard Sided: Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Courtesy of Calpak Buy on Calpaktravel.com What We Like Interior accessory pocket Durable shell Expandable What We Don't Like Limited color options Fitting the Ambeur Carry-On in an overhead bin is easy. This sharp-looking 22-inch suitcase on spinner wheels will get you through the airport with no trouble, and the hard-sided fabric is both fade- and scratch-resistant. The adjustable height trolley comes in handy, and the interior pockets allow for easy access to all your belongings (there’s even a removable mesh accessory pocket on the inside, alongside the main compartment). Ultra-stylish, with clean lines and made from high-quality materials, the Ambeur is great for those who don’t need a ton of packing space. Size: 22 x 14 x 8.5 in. | Weight: 6 lbs. | Material: Polycarbonate The 10 Best Hardside Luggage Bags of 2021 Final Verdict It’ll come as no surprise to those who know their luxury luggage brands that Everlane makes the best lightweight suitcase around: the Twill Weekender (view at Everlane). This bag is as sleek as they come, and as with everything Everlane makes, it’s ethically sourced and made from high-quality materials (in this case, water-resistant cotton twill). It fits neatly inside any overhead compartment and is just plain stylish, with rich color options to choose from. What to Look for in Lightweight Luggage Material Soft-sided bags are much lighter and offer travelers a little extra wiggle room. Consider bags made of materials like ballistic nylon, cotton twill, and polyester to save on the bag's overall weight. However, should you be traveling with particularly fragile items, a hardshell case will better protect them because they're made of durable materials such as polycarbonate. Portability Let’s face it: for schleps through the airport, roller bags are a lifesaver. But when it comes to mobility on public transit or crowded city streets, it’s great to have your bag off the ground and close to you. Think about what type of travel you’ll be doing most frequently and decide accordingly. Features These days, suitcases are getting lighter and lighter without compromising on features. Think about if you'd like a battery pack, organization pockets, or more packing space in your next piece of luggage. While these features may be useful, they could make the bag more expensive. But if you'll use them while traveling, the extra money spent will be worth it. FAQs How small does luggage have to be to fit in the overhead compartment on planes? Typically, carry-on bags must be 9 x 14 x 20 inches (including handles and wheels) or smaller to be able to be placed in the overhead compartment. That being said, you should always check your airline’s specific requirements and size chart before your trip. Does luggage that’s designed to be lightweight still come with expandable capacity? Yes, just because a piece of luggage is lightweight doesn’t mean it can’t expand (which is great news for over-packers). Even smaller suitcases can have expandable capacity. Why Trust TripSavvy Justine Harrington is one of those wanderlust-driven weirdos who actually relishes the packing process and she prides herself on being a true minimalist packer, no matter the destination. She pored over hundreds of reviews and dozens of brands to highlight the best lightweight luggage available. Once you pack light, you’ll never go back. The 9 Best Checked Luggage of 2021 Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! 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