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As weight restrictions are becoming the norm worldwide for carry-ons, those in the know are increasingly seeking the lightest weight luggage on the market. Thankfully, many brands are taking note; many new models of travel packs, trolleys, and weekenders are produced with their weight in mind, giving you more opportunity to pack however you’d like. A lightweight bag can really come in handy, particularly for minimalist and single-bag travelers, especially those needing to tote dense equipment like cameras and other tech.
If you’re on the hunt for the best lightweight carry-on luggage, read on to find some of the premier pieces on the market.
From trips across town to expeditions around the world, Australian brand Bellroy explicitly designed the Weekender to keep your belongings perfectly organized and easy to retrieve. Specialized pockets inside and out hold and protect items like a water bottle, laptop, and passport. At the same time, an integrated key fob, luggage handle pass-through, and fold-over zippered opening make using it feel effortless. Like most Bellroy products, this lightweight duffel is made of premium recycled materials and trimmed with their signature eco-friendly leather.
Rimowa Essential Lite Cabin U
Rimowa’s lightest suitcase yet, the Essential Lite Cabin U only weighs 4.4 pounds – far under the industry median for a piece of luggage this size – so you still have plenty of wiggle room within even the strictest airline’s weight requirements. Rounding out the design are all of the same premium trappings you’d expect of the legendary German brand: ball-bearing mounted ultra-quiet wheels, an extendable T-bar-shaped handle, and their signature leather luggage tag.
While a Rimowa suitcase is undoubtedly an investment, they are the inventors of the polycarbonate suitcase and arguably still execute them the best. If your only rubric is quality, the lite Cabin U might be the best lightweight luggage under five pounds on the market today.
The Strøm 30L Backpack
Though designed for traveling in the snow, those exact details that make Db’s backpacks so durable in the arctic can protect your belongings anywhere. Of them, the Strøm 30L Backpack is a midsized option that can even pass as an underseat bag on some airlines.
Despite the rigid internal boning that helps it to keep its shape – even when it’s empty – it still only weighs about two and a half pounds, leaving you plenty of leeway even for heavy tech items like drones, cameras, and your laptop. The outer shell is water and impact resistant to give you extra peace of mind for all of your expensive tech. As airline size requirements vary wildly from one airline to another, its size and versatility make the Strøm 30L Backpack one of the best lightweight carry-on luggage for international travel.
Rollink Flex Vega Collapsible Suitcase
If your apartment is short on storage, you’ve likely struggled with storing your luggage when you’re not on the road. Thankfully, the Flex Vega Collapsible Suitcase from Rollink may solve this problem perfectly with the world’s first collapsible suitcase. Its unique design allows it to expand into a sturdy, rolling suitcase with a polycarbonate shell that protects your belongings and rolls effortlessly but stows diminutively like a duffel or a travel pack might. And no matter your personal style, it comes in enough colors that there’s bound to be one that suits you.
Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage
It may seem counterintuitive, but soft-sided luggage may be the better bet for frequent travelers, as polycarbonate suitcases are more prone to show the wear and tear they endure. Enter the Travelpro Maxlite 5, a super affordable and dependable rolling trolly crafted from a stain and water-resistant material. Though it’s only five and a half pounds, it has a whopping 46 liters of packing space; if you need more room, it expands an extra two inches, just in case. Bonus: unlike most hard-sided trolleys, the front pocket has many organizational features to keep your essentials at hand.
Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack 35L
Whether you’re a beginner or an old pro at single-bag travel, the Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack is sure to impress. It’s designed specifically to maximize your packing space while remaining within the size requirements for a carry-on so you can feel completely unfettered out on the road. Unlike many of its competitors, the Outbreaker comes standard with a waist belt to help distribute the weight across your back evenly, making it a cinch to carry to any destination.
Bric’s B|Y Ulisse 21″ Spinner
If you require a slick, sophisticated trolley without the heavy price tag, the Ulisse 21″ Spinner from Bric’s will suit you perfectly. Its unfettered design invokes the best qualities of cosmopolitan living and is embossed with a pattern inspired by city streets. Though it has a 40-liter capacity encased in a hyper-durable frame, it only weighs five and a half pounds; this is partially due to the use of polypropylene, known for being much lighter and less brittle than most of its counterparts.
Samsonite Proxis 22 x 14 x 9 Carry-On Spinner
Samsonite created their own proprietary material to craft the Proxis Carry-On Spinner, making it one of their most lightweight suitcases to date. Called Roxkin, this revolutionary, multi-layered shell provides resiliency without brittleness, so it pops right back into shape even if it happens to get dented. While it’s small enough to adhere to even some of the most strict baggage size requirements, it has a vast amount of smartly organized packing space. It even has a USB charging port to keep you connected on the go.
Dagne Dover Landon Carryall Bag
Because it’s made from durable premium neoprene, the Dagne Dover Landon Carryall Bag is able to maintain its crisp appearance while remaining superlight. Integrated into the design are several interior mesh pockets, an exterior pocket for a phone or passport, a luggage handle, and laptop sleeves. You can use the included mesh zipper pouch and shoe bag to separate your items further. The latter, along with the dust bag and lining, are made with a revolutionary fabric called Repreve (a type of recycled polyester). Because it is made from discarded plastic bottles, each Landon purchased helps to keep our oceans clean.
American Tourister Stratum XLT Spinner
From the legendary luggage brand American Tourister comes one of the most versatile pieces of luggage on the market: the Stratum XLT carry-on. Though it’s made from ABS rather than polycarbonate, it still weighs under seven pounds and boasts even more durability than many of its hard-sided competitors. The shell is imprinted with a corrugated design that improves its structural integrity and helps mask any minor dings or scratches it might collect during your many adventures.