With checked luggage fees on the rise, a traveler’s carry-on bag needs to do more than ever. They not only should be light and easily maneuverable, they also have to be useful.
Super Useful Carry-on Bags
The following useful carry-on bags have features that can help take some of the stress out of travel.
Barracuda Smart Collapsible Carry-on Luggage
The Barracuda is a piece of luggage designed with a long layover in mind. The removable battery pack is a convenient feature that also doubles as a flashlight, but as you can tell from the unique look of this bag, it’s packing a few more tricks in the handle. The fold-out tray is perfect for holding your laptop or your coffee when you can’t find a flat surface, and while the circular handle may look odd, it actually makes rolling a bag through the airport much more comfortable for your wrist. When you’re not using this carry-on, you can collapse it down into a sleek shape and put it away in a storage bag that you can hang in your closet.
Granite Gear Cross-Trek
When you know you’re going to be putting your carry-on through a lot on your travels, consider a soft rolling duffel like the Granite Gear Cross Trek. Thanks to its flexible outer shell, you won’t have to worry about this bag bursting at the seams. It’s also got plenty of compartments, making the most of carry-on size limitations. It can easily be used as a backpack with straps to help distribute the weight evenly.
Eagle Creek Morphus Bag
Eagle Creek’s 22-inch Morphus Carry-On is the ultimate two-in-one bag, as it actually transforms into two separate bags. Simply zip off the top portion from the frame and you’ll instantly have a duffel and an extra rolling bag. This is perfect for anyone who tends to return with more than they left with. The duffel bag portion of the bag is also equipped with organizing pockets, compression straps, a bottle opener, and hidden straps to turn it into a backpack.
The Victorinox Spectra is a perfect pick for travelers who like to stay organized. With an easily accessible front section featuring a sleek array of pockets, there will be no more struggling to stuff your laptop into a tight pocket or blindly trying to fish out whatever you need. This front-facing access pocket is the key to keeping everything organized and available whenever you need it.
Genius Pack G3
With this useful carry-on from Genius Pack, your packing is already halfway done. With marked organizational pockets for everything from socks to phone chargers and headphones, the Genius Pack anticipates your needs. It even comes with features you probably never realized you needed, including a compartment for dirty laundry, an umbrella holder, and a strap to secure your jacket.
Bago Field Duffle Bag
If rolling isn’t your style, this shape-shifting duffel backpack is your answer. The 23-inch Bago is a great bag for the adventurous traveler, since it can switch from duffel to backpack. Made from heavy-duty materials, this bag can stand up to any challenge while offering a lot of space for a carry-on. Whether you’re traversing mountains or airports, this bag is durable and practical.
If you need a new bag that won’t take up a lot of space in your closet, this foldable duffel from Dot&Dot is spacious when you need it and shockingly small when you don’t. With side pockets for extra storage, this is the perfect size duffel for business travel or daily use. You can even keep it packed away in your other luggage as back-up in case you acquire more treasures along the way.
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Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer who is always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2016. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.
Editor’s note: At least one airline has announced a ban on luggage that features non-removable lithium-ion batteries, starting in January 2018. This story has been updated to remove any luggage that does not comply with these regulations.