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Best Overall: Everlane The Twill Weekender at Everlane "It fits snugly inside any overhead compartment."
Best Budget: iFLY's EZ-Glider at Walmart "Glides effortlessly across the airport but can hold a lot of travel gear."
Best Smart Suitcase: The Away Carry-On at Away "Features an ejectable battery that charges your phone."
Runner-Up, Best Budget: AmazonBasics Softside Spinner Luggage at Amazon "Surprisingly affordable considering how functional it is."
Best Underseat Bag: Samsonite Wheeled Underseater at Amazon "It's undoubtedly a space-saver."
Best for Adventures: Cotopaxi Allpa Travel Pack at Cotopaxi "Designed to withstand years and years of rugged travel."
Best Checked: Briggs & Riley Medium Expandable Spinner at Amazon "Roomy enough for all your belongings, but it isn't too bulky."
Best Backpack: Herschel Supply Co. Dawson Backpack at Amazon "Sturdy, on-trend, and remarkably lightweight while still providing plenty of storage."
Best Splurge: Tumi Latitude International Carry-On at eBags "The brand boasts the bag as its most durable, lightweight case."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Everlane The Twill Weekender
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.
Best Budget: iFLY's EZ-Glider
For a lightweight luggage 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 hybrid polyester fabric and has four, bright yellow spinner wheels with a 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.
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.
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 Underseat Bag: 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 bag 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 lightweight luggage bag 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.
Best for Adventures: Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack
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.
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 luggage bag is crafted from durable Permasquare fabric and comes in three lovely colors: rainforest, merlot, and slate.
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 Latitude International Carry-On
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 six 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.
How We Tested
We bought two top-rated pieces of lightweight luggage and our reviewers tested them for 12 hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these bags, from their weight to their style and price. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Piece of Lightweight Luggage
Weight These days, suitcases are getting lighter and lighter without compromising on features, but always make sure to check a bag’s weight before you buy it—especially if you expect to carry it around during weekend trips.
Hardshell vs. soft shell Soft-sided bags are much lighter and offer travelers a little extra wiggle room. However, should you be traveling with particularly fragile items, a hardshell case will better protect them.
Carry-it-yourself vs. roller 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.