Anyone who has ever spent time trying to track down lost luggage knows that checking a bag can be a total nightmare. That's why savvy travelers tend to fly with only a carry-on, which guarantees that you reach your final destination with your belongings in tow, and lets you breeze by the suckers at baggage claim. Sure, the size requirements of carry-on bags can require some creative packing solutions, but the best carry-on luggage for men actually offer a surprising amount of storage, thanks to extra compartments and pockets.
The first (and obvious) rule for shopping for a carry-on is that it needs to be within the size requirements for airlines. Some brands claim to be "carry-ons" but actually exceed the maximum measurements, so it pays to check the specs. While all airlines have different restrictions, the general rule of thumb is that the bag needs to be smaller than 22 by 14 by 9 inches for a standard domestic flight, and 21 by 14 by 9 inches for international travel.
Next up, you'll want to consider how you'll be using the bag. A carry-on duffel is a great wheel-free option for traveling over rough terrain, while a USB port-equipped carry-on might be best for seamless business travel. Last but not least, cost will certainly come into play since like most luggage, carry-ons can get pricey, especially if you're shopping for a well-known brand.
No matter what your budget, there's sure to be a bag below that suits your needs. The carry-ons in this roundup all come with high ratings on Amazon and hundreds, even thousands, of positive customer reviews.
1. The Best Carry-On Luggage For Business Travel
Backed by more than 250 customer reviews (with more than 70 percent of them being five stars), this sleek Travelpro 21-inch carry-on is a civilian version of the bag that professional flight crews have used for decades. It comes with an external USB port for recharging any USB device and a dedicated pocket for a power bank. Made with high-quality ballistic nylon, this durable suitcase has a patented contour-grip extension handle that adjusts to three different convenient lengths, and eight MagnaTrac wheels that roll smoothly in any direction. In terms of packing, the Travelpro boasts a lot of options, including a full-length interior lid pocket, side mesh wet pockets, and a removable hanging garment bag for suits. Plus, it comes with a lifetime limited warranty for the first three years after registration.
Fans say: "Having acquired over a million frequent flyer miles, I'm pretty particular about luggage. This one is the best I've every owned. It's extremely light. It rolls smoothly--I mean really smoothly--through the airport. It's almost effortless to push this thing. The charger pack allows me to sit anywhere in the airport without fighting for a spot next to the charger. The zippers are big and seemingly bullet proof. It fits nicely in the overhead bin, and the reduced weight makes it less dangerous to get it up there without hurting someone."
2. The Best Carry-On Duffel Bag
This water-resistant, nylon 3-in-1 carry-on duffel bag is supremely versatile. It can be worn as a backpack, duffel bag, or cross-body bag, and meets both international and domestic carry-on size requirements. It has plenty of clever design details too, like the breathable, mesh backpack straps that can be concealed when not in use. Plus, this rucksack has an abundance of pockets: three zippered pockets, one laptop compartment (fits models up to 15.6-inches), and two accessory pockets. With a one-year warranty and a 4.2-star rating, this multi-purpose bag is adventure-ready.
Fans say: "Bought this to use as a carry-on for an international trip and it was amazing! It fit the carry on standards for the Delta express jets (tiny little planes) and the bigger Delta planes, as well as Iceland Air. I was able to fit a weeks worth of clothes and then brought a small backpack for toiletries."
3. The Best Carry-On Luggage For International Travel
Backed by more than 3,000 customer reviews, this lightweight Kenneth Cole 20-Inch Carry-On is ideal for trips abroad, thanks to its sturdy hard shell and versatile positioning — the four molded "side feet" allow you to stand the luggage upright or on its side. The 360-degree spinner wheels allow for easy movement over a surprising range of terrains and the handle options are solid. There's a telescoping trolley handle, plus a top grip handle and side handle, so you can grab and go. For double-side packing, there are two spacious fully lined compartments, and a large interior organizer zipper pocket to store smaller items like underwear and socks. What's more, the water-resistant shell is easy to clean.
Fans say: "Best suitcase. Sturdy spinner. Used for international travel and stored on board cabin with no problem. Surprised at how much it could pack in. Bought four more for family vacation, all in their favorite colors. ... Price was right! Extremely affordable, better quality than I expected for the price."
4. Another Hardshell Carry-On With A Cult Following
If you're looking for an extremely durable carry-on, you can't go wrong with the Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage. Boasting an impressive 4.2-star rating and more than 3,800 customer reviews, this lightweight suitcase is beloved by many for its heavy duty design. It's made with 100 percent polycarbonate that can absorb impact by flexing under stress, and then spring back to its original shape, and the sharp molded exterior comes with a brushed pattern to hide scuffs. Inside you'll find fabric lining and an interior divider, as well as two mesh organizational pockets. The multi-dimensional spinner wheels let you glide easily through the terminal or hotel lobby. Best yet: it comes with a 10-year limited warranty against and defects in materials or workmanship
It's worth noting that while the packing dimensions measure 20 by 13.5 by 9.5 inches, the overall dimensions are actually 23 by 14.5 by 9.5. Many reviewers noted that they had no issue while flying domestically, but to be on the safe side, it's worth calling your airline ahead of time to make sure it will be accepted.
Fans say: "The 20” one is the maximum size allowed for carry-on and has fit in every overhead bin I've tried it in. ... It's easy to pull around the airport and fits a surprising amount of stuff considering its diminutive size."
5. The Best On A Budget: An Expandable 20-Inch Spinner
For just $50, this 20-inch AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Carry-On can be used for a business trip, quick weekend getaway, or international vacation. Made with a protective hard shell with a scratch-resistant finish, the durable suitcase has more room than you would might expect, including a divider for double-size packing and three zippered pockets for smaller items. Plus, it can be expanded up to 15 percent for additional capacity (although that may affect it's international carry-on status). The telescoping handle makes for easy maneuvering and the four, double-spinning wheels move in any direction for easy mobility.
Fans say: "Took it on a 2 week overseas trip, airports, trains, buses, metro, street... this thing took it all like a trooper. The wheels have a good size that allow it to roll on most city streets. The trip had one flight with very tight luggage constraints, this luggage fit everywhere. Highly recommend."
Also Nice: A Set Of Packing Cubes With More Than 2,800 Reviews
For the uninitiated, packing cubes are total lifesavers for maximizing space and keeping items organized over the duration of your trip. This TravelWise Packing Cube System comes with five breathable cubes, including one small, two medium, and two large packing cubes. Plus, they're made of lightweight, durable nylon that can be easily washed.
Fans say: "Having traveled for a living I thought I knew how to pack a suitcase. Well, I bought these cubes after hearing about them from several friends. After having just returned from 2 weeks of traveling all over Italy I’m here to tell you that my suitcase was the most organized it’s ever been. No matter where a cube would be packed in my suitcase, I always knew what was in each cube because of the see through black mesh."
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