13 best carry-on luggage and bags to travel with in 2021

Pack your bags and take off in style, all while skipping the dreaded baggage drop line.

Carry-on luggage is a lifesaver when traveling for long weekends and short trips, or for having everything you need handy in one place while the rest of your suitcases ride under the plane with the bigger bags.

However, one of the most stressful aspects of flying is making sure your beloved carry-on bag is the right size to stow in the cabin, as no one wants to be pulled over by TSA or while boarding and asked to rearrange or check an extra item.

Here’s where we can help, as all of the suitcases and backpacks listed here are all TSA-approved and should fit nicely in most airplanes’ overhead or under-the-seat storage areas.

Read on for the best hard-shell and soft-shell suitcases, duffles, backpacks and more that you can carry on all through 2022 and beyond.

A black Samsonite suitcase on wheels

Don’t spin out in line for baggage drop. Instead, check out this Samsonite Spinner, which measures 22-inches and can easily be brought on board. It is also now on sale at Walmart for over $100 off, so the time to buy is now.

A gold hard-shell suitcase from Away

Up, up and away! This bag truly is the gold standard — or silver, rose gold or black. The Aluminum Edition of the Away Carry-On is an elevated version of the OG bag, which you should grab now, as the coveted classic bag is sold out for the time being.

A blue carry on suitcase on wheels

There’s nothing wrong with basic when you need a strong and dependable suitcase. This Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner bag is a great carry-on choice, as it can expand to hold all your holiday travel needs and comes in fun colors that are easy to spot in a crowded airport of black and silver bags.

A light pink carry on hard shell suitcase with a black handle and wheels

Trade up this travel season, to a new carry-on from Herschel. The Trade Luggage Carry-On has a hard shell exterior and comes in two sizes: a larger 23-inch carry-on and a standard 21-inch.

A black Ted Baker suitcase on wheels
Ted Baker

Pass through TSA with flying colors with this bag from Ted Baker. Not only is it super stylish, but the added features like the lock and dual zippers make it perfect for any type of travel.

A white and orange hard shell suitcase

We know air travel is a huge pollution problem, so at least you can travel carbon neutral with this Paravel bag. The Aviator Carry-On is constructed and shipped to you with the environment in mind, plus they also aim to offset the emissions from one flight for each bag made.

An olive green carry on suitcase with black wheels and handle

Travel light this year. For those who love having less to schlep through the airport or pack into the car, this July suitcase is for you. It only weighs 1.8kg or about 4 pounds and comes in some pretty fun colors like olive green and light pink to easily spot in the airport.

A black soft shell roller suitcase

Act fast, as this high-performance carry-on from Briggs & Riley is on sale now for $100 off, while supplies last. This brand is sold on Amazon and also has an option for a matching checked bag, should you want to travel with the stylish matching set.

A black roller suitcase

Travel like a pro with this beloved suitcase brand. The Travelpro Maxlite bag is a great one for both domestic and international travel, keeping everything you need close with two front pockets and is easy to roll through the airport with four wheels and a PowerScope Lite handle that locks in at two different heights.

A black carry-on size suitcase on wheels

For a soft-sided bag with all the pockets you could ever want, try out this carry-on for size. Speaking of, the bag measures 22-inches and meets most size requirements for overhead bin storage. The bag comes in either black or a dark eggplant purple, both of which come with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

A small light pink carry on duffle

Don’t panic when the overhead storage fills up before you’ve even boarded, as this bag can be tucked under the seat for easy access and stress-free traveling. The best part is that the Calpak bag comes on wheels, so when the flight is over, pop up the handle and head to your final destination.

A black duffle bag
Dare to Roam

Dare to roam wherever your heart desires, knowing your bag is the cleanest one on the plane. The Scout Weekender is actually made of antimicrobial technology, keeping germs at bay as well as water with their specialty coating.

A yellow duffle bag with straps
Dagne Dover

While you cannot bring water on board, you can bring a bag made of 23 recycled water bottles. This bag from Dagne Dover is made of recycled Neoprene fabric that is both durable and functional, complete with a laptop sleeve that fits most 16-inch computers and a handlebar sleeve to easily split over any of the roller-bags above.

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