The Best New Carry-On Bag, According To Our Travel Editor
It’s simple, affordable, and surprisingly spacious.
Like the little black dress, the upright vacuum cleaner, or the non-stick skillet, the carry-on bag is one of life’s essential items. But within those categories are infinite choices, and having the right one can make life just that much easier.
When it comes to carry-on bags, most folks are inclined to pick a rollerboard, and it makes sense. When you’re Usain Bolt-ing to gate E34 from Concourse B, it’s nice to have a bag that will glide along behind you as you attempt to make your connection. But in almost every other aspect, the classic rolling suitcase is a major drag.
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From its rigid shape to a handle that only works half the time, the rollerboard is perhaps the least adaptable piece of luggage available. I came to this epiphany after spending a few trips (both airborne and on the road) with Baggu’s Weekend Bag, which has accompanied me on one airborne trip, several road trips, and a few spur-of-the-moment, 10-minutes-to-pack adventures.
If you are like me, the words “gate check” send chills down your spine. But with this bag, I don’t have to worry about boarding in Zone 3 on a full flight, and even if the overhead bins are all full once I’m on board, I can stow it under the seat in front of me since it isn’t an inflexible box. It’s also worth mentioning that I can set it on the seat next to me in any waiting area, hold it in my lap on a train, squeeze it in a crowded trunk, place it behind my seat in the car, and generally keep it close at hand in a variety of square footages.
The second selling point: this bag is much more spacious than it appears and since it isn’t an inflexible box, I can fit in more shoes or other strange-shaped necessities without having to play a game of Tetris to make it all fit and zip shut. It also easily fits a 15-inch laptop, which slides in-and-out quickly without disrupting the other items inside.
But what about the aforementioned running-through-the-airport-at-high-rates-of-speed scenario? Yes, carrying a bag versus dragging it does take some strength, but when I don’t have time to stand on an escalator or need to cram myself in a monorail, it’s easy to keep my momentum since I don’t have to stop to extend and lower a handle.
While this bag doesn’t have all the compartments and storage spaces you might be use to, I’ve solved the problem with a set of Mumi’s packing cubes, which keep items folded and separated in any kind of suitcase. What it does have is a internal zipper pocket that detaches into a surprisingly adorable clutch--two super functional bags all-in-one.
My only issue with this do-it-all piece? The name is somewhat of a misnomer. Most “weekend” style bags have barely enough space to truly hold everything you need for two-to-three days worth of travel necessities, however this one has held enough to get me through five days. I haven’t given up entirely on my rolling suitcase, but until further notice, this washed-denim number is my luggage ride-or-die.