The Best Carry-On Luggage of 2024

Watch out, wobbly handles. Back off, boring colors. These compact carry-ons are making their way to an overhead compartment near you.

Woman with a red Lojel suitcase at a train station

Lojel’s Cubo Small carry-on offers a rare top-loading opening for a hard-shell suitcase.

Courtesy of Lojel

Where in-line fixed wheels and rickety handles were once the standard, sleek and sturdy luggage options have rolled in to steal the show when it comes to the best bags for short trips. These rolling carry-ons—and backpacks and duffels for the wheel-averse—are compact and colorful but spacious enough to pack what you need for a few days of adventure.

Before you purchase a new carry-on, you’ll want to consider the kind of traveler you are and the features you’ll want in your next piece of luggage: Do you prefer hard shell or soft shell luggage? Two wheels or four? Or are you heading to a city or going somewhere off the grid where wheeling a suitcase along dirt paths will be a hassle? If you’re traveling for work, will you need a bag with a laptop compartment? Most importantly: Will it fit into the overhead bin on an airplane? (Carry-on size restrictions vary from airline to airline, but most domestic carriers allow bags up to 22 x 14 x 9 inches to be placed in overhead bins.)

With all the bells and whistles, though, one question remains: Which one is actually right for you? We reviewed 13 of our favorite carry-on bags to make your decision easier.

Away Bigger Carry On in slate gray

In 2023, Away gave its hard-shell luggage a full redesign based on customer feedback over the years.

Courtesy of Away

The Bigger Carry-On by Away

Best overall

  • Buy now: from $295,
  • Style: Hard-shell spinner luggage
  • Capacity: 47.9 liters
  • Dimensions: 22.7 x 14.7 x 9.6 inches
  • Weight: 7.4 lbs.

The 7.4-pound Bigger Carry-On by Away recently underwent a full redesign in 2023, based on customer feedback over the years. At its core, the new Away suitcase is still recognizable with its hard polycarbonate shell that is separated into two larger clamshell compartments that offer a whopping 47.9 liters of space. It includes TSA-approved locks, a hidden laundry bag, and an interior mesh compression system that packs down bulky items. But it also now comes with an underside grab handle that makes it easier to pull and lift from overhead bins or baggage carousels. Away also redesigned the trolley handles on its suitcases to be more comfortable and stable.

Plus, this bag has one of the most value-minded prices of all the luggage on the list. Despite its reasonable price, the bag looks really sleek and has Hinomoto wheels—arguably the highest quality wheels in the luggage industry and made with ball bearings to ensure an ultra-smooth ride. Plus, Away’s limited lifetime warranty covers any damage to the shell, wheels, handles, zippers, and more. The polycarbonate exterior is available in a number of matte- and gloss-finished colors, including clay pink, black, orange, and several shades of green.

>> Read the honest review: Is the Away Bigger Carry-On Worth the Hype?

Pink July carry on

Worried about the corners of your suitcase getting crushed? July makes its carry-ons with aluminum bumpers.

Courtesy of July

Carry On by July


  • Buy now: $295,
  • Style: Hard-shell spinner luggage
  • Capacity: 42 liters
  • Dimensions: 21.5 x 15 x 8.5 inches
  • Weight: 7.4 lbs.

Essentially Australia’s version of Away, July started selling its bags online in the United States in 2021. Made with a crush-proof German polycarbonate shell, the standard July Carry On offers lots of space for your belongings (42 liters) while only weighing 7.4 pounds and still meeting domestic carrier size requirements. Available in nearly a dozen matte colors from a sleek forest green to a trendy pink clay hue, these bags are made with a multilevel telescoping handle for people of various heights, proprietary SilentMove 360° spinner wheels, and aluminum bumpers to prevent the corners from being crushed.

The bags also include an ejectable USB-C battery, integrated TSA locks, a hidden laundry bag, and a Y-strap compression system to help pack it all in. Want to personalize your bag? For an extra $50 you can add your name or initials in a variety of fonts and alphabets. July luggage is backed by a lifetime warranty on manufacturing defaults and includes a 100-day trial in case you change your mind for whatever reason.

Silver Rimowa Original Cabin carry-on

The Rimowa Original Cabin carry-on comes in silver, seen here, plus black and subtle champagne gold called Titanium.

Courtesy of Rimowa

Original Cabin carry-on by Rimowa

Best aluminum carry-on luggage

  • Buy now: $1,430,
  • Style: Aluminum zipperless luggage
  • Capacity: 35 liters
  • Dimensions: 21.7 x 15.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Weight: 9.5 lbs.

German heritage brand Rimowa is known for its aluminum-shell luggage that is built to withstand wear and tear but also bend, depending on its environment. The 9.5-pound, 35-liter Original Cabin carry-on is only separated into two clamshell sections on the inside, but what it lacks in interior compartmentalization, it makes up for in exterior flash and durability. Its sturdy handle slides up and down with ease and adjusts perfectly to travelers of all heights, and its zipperless construction and TSA-compliant locks mean you can worry less about people breaking into it.

But the wheels are its best feature: Rimowa’s proprietary Multiwheel system is made with ball-bearing-mounted wheels with cushioned axles. To the layperson, that means they offer the smoothest roll of any suitcase we’ve ever used—and not just on airport linoleum. They’ve also glided across bumpy pavement, rough carpeting, and even dirt roads. Plus, all new Rimowa suitcases purchased from July 25, 2022, now come with a lifetime manufacturer’s guarantee that covers all functional aspects of the suitcase.

>> Read the honest review: Is Rimowa Aluminum Luggage Actually Worth the Price?

Monos Carry On Pro Plus in white with abstract stone print called terrazzo

Instead of carrying your laptop’s weight on your shoulders, pop it into the exterior pocket on this stylish Monos suitcase.

Courtesy of Monos

Carry-On Pro Plus by Monos

Best carry-on with laptop pocket

  • Buy now: from $284 (was $315–$345),
  • Style: Hard-shell spinner luggage
  • Capacity: 46 liters
  • Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 8.38 lbs.

The Monos Carry-On Pro Plus is the bag that finally convinced Michelle Baran, Afar’s senior travel news editor, to hang up her Team Checked Luggage hat and finally join Team Carry-On. “What I love about this super lightweight spinner is that it features an exterior pocket that fits a 15-inch laptop,” Baran said. It comes in eight standard colors, as well as a few limited-edition ones including the highly recommended Terrazzo pattern that looks just like the beloved tile of the same name. Major added bonus: Monos is an eco-conscious company that uses vegan materials and recyclable and reusable packaging, plus 1 percent of revenues go to nonprofits dedicated to “preserving and restoring the natural world.”

White suitcase

Aer’s first rolling luggage comes with brakes built into its wheels.

Courtesy of Aer

Carry-On by Aer

Best wheeled carry-on with brakes

  • Buy now: $319,
  • Style: Hard-shell spinner luggage
  • Capacity: 48 liters
  • Dimensions: 22.7 x 15 x 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 8.4 lbs.

Founded in San Francisco in 2014, Aer built its brand on making simple travel backpacks made from durable Cordura ballistic nylon. These sleek, minimalistic bags come with pockets for all the essentials (passport, laptop, etc.) and can be carried as a backpack, shoulder bag, or briefcase. In 2024, it launched its first wheeled suitcase made with the same dedication to ultra-durable materials and smart design. Available in five colors, the 48-liter Aer Carry-On has an integrated pocket inside for an AirTag, a trolley handle with four height settings, Cordura recycled ripstop interiors, and most importantly—a Hinomoto wheel brake system to prevent the suitcase from rolling away.

Samsara Grand Carry-On in bright yellow

Worried about getting gate checked? This Samsara carry-on comes with a designated exterior socket for an Apple AirTag.

Courtesy of Samsara

Grand Carry-On by Samsara

Best smart carry-on suitcase

  • Buy now: $440,
  • Style: Hard-shell zipperless luggage
  • Capacity: 43.5 liters
  • Dimensions: 22.5 x 15 x 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 10.8 lbs.

Samsara luggage has all the features you’d expect from a premium suitcase—smooth 360° spinning wheels, a telescopic handle, TSA-compliant combination locks—and some that might surprise you like the clever built-in compartment for securing an Apple AirTag (not included). This zipperless luggage also features a flat top that doubles as a work space and a compression system to help keep your clothes in place. It comes in black, yellow, or white.

This hybrid carry-on is also made with a combination of polycarbonate and recycled (and recyclable) aviation-grade aluminum for extra durability. And if there are problems, Samsara backs up its products with a five-year warranty on the body and a one-year warranty on parts (including the handle, wheels, and locks).

Silver Arlo Skye Frame Carry-On

You don’t need to battle with zippers to open Arlo Skye’s Frame Carry-On.

Courtesy of Arlo Skye

The Frame Carry-On by Arlo Skye

Best hybrid carry-on luggage

  • Buy now: $428 (was $475),
  • Style: Hard-shell zipperless luggage
  • Capacity: 40 liters
  • Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9 inches
  • Weight: 8.1 lbs.

At 8.1 pounds, Arlo Skye’s Frame Carry-On is a bit bulkier than most hard-shell suitcases, but its hybrid polycarbonate shell is reinforced with an aluminum frame, making the bulk more bearable. The zipperless, 40-liter bag latches with two TSA-approved combination locks and is decked out with a compact charging station, portable charger, charging cable and adapter, two shoe bags, and a laundry bag. It rolls nicely and features an antimicrobial lining infused with natural silver fibers to prevent germ growth and odor-causing bacteria. Structurally, the bag looks a bit industrial, but the sleek color combinations—black, navy, and champagne with silver accents—ensure you’ll be rolling around the airport in style.

Travelpro soft-sided suitcase in classic black

This soft-sided suitcase comes in classic black, as well as pink, purple, blue, and green.

Courtesy of Travelpro

Maxlite 5 22” Expandable Carry-On Rollaboard by Travelpro

Best soft-side carry-on luggage

  • Buy now: $136 (was $170),
  • Style: Soft-side two-wheel luggage
  • Capacity: 52 liters
  • Dimensions: 23 x 14.5 x 9 inches (23 x 14.5 x 11 inches expanded)
  • Weight: 5.4 lbs.

There’s a reason Travelpro is a go-to brand for flight attendants. Its durable black nylon suitcases are virtually indestructible, have a timeless appeal, and are a fan-favorite of two-wheeled and soft-side luggage devotees. The ultra-lightweight (only 5.4 pounds!) Maxlite 5 carry-on suitcase is sized to meet most domestic airline carry-on size restrictions. In addition to one extra roomy interior compartment, this soft-shell bag also has two exterior front pockets for easy access stashing. When you need some wiggle room, the suitcase can also expand up to two extra inches to maximize its packing potential. (Thankfully, Travelpro tapered the design of this expansion zipper so that the bag’s center stays low in order to prevent toppling that some two-wheelers are prone to.) If anything does happen to your Travelpro suitcase, it’s backed by the company’s limited warranty that covers things like broken zippers, wheels, handles, and more.

Lojel cubo small in gray

Lojel’s Cubo Small offers a rare top-loading opening for a hard-shell carry-on.

Courtesy of Lojel

Cubo Small by Lojel

Best top-loading hard-shell carry-on

  • Buy now: $330,
  • Style: Hard-shell spinner luggage
  • Capacity: 37 liters (42 liters expanded)
  • Dimensions: 20.9 x 14 x 9.8 inches (20.9 x 14 x 11 inches expanded)
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs.

Typically, hard-shell suitcases feature a (somewhat divisive) clamshell style of packing. The best feature of this carry-on from Lojel is that it has a top-loading opening for those who prefer that. Its other features make it a solid choice, too. Made with durable polycarbonate from 50 percent recycled materials, the Cubo Small also has 360° spinning wheels, the ability to expand two inches if needed, TSA-approved locks, and a front compartment where you can easily access items like laptops and wallets. It comes in nine colors: burgundy, rose, off-white, mustard, navy blue, warm gray, black, stone blue, and cactus. Each suitcase has a 10-year warranty.

Black hard-shell carry-on with laptop pocket

The new Delsey Turenne carry-on comes with business-trip ready features like a laptop pocket and an AirTag holder.

Courtesy of Delsey Paris

The Turenne 2.0 Carry-On by Delsey Paris

Best business carry-on

  • Buy now: $330,
  • Style: Hard-shell spinner luggage
  • Capacity: 37 liters
  • Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 7.2 lbs.

This French luggage brand has been finding new ways to upgrade luggage for travelers since 1946. Made with a 100 percent polycarbonate hard shell, the Turenne 2.0 Carry-On is an upgrade of the brand’s hit Turenne Carry-On with even more tech-friendly features. Like the original Turenne, each suitcase includes a USB port (power bank not included), integrated TSA locks, and antibacterial laundry and shoe bags. This redesigned model also offers an interior AirTag holder (device not included), an easy-access front pocket for your electronic devices, and a removable lining that can be washed in-between trips.

The carry-ons are available in four matte colors: navy blue, light blue, red, and black. These scratch-resistant bags are durable enough to withstand being dropped without any marks. They are also made with Delsey Paris’s Securitech zippers, which are three times more resistant to intrusion than a standard zip, according to the brand.

The real draw of this bag is its shock-absorbent 360-degree spinner wheels that make traveling across different surfaces totally seamless. Gravel, carpet, tile, or anything in-between, this bag will keep your belongings moving with ease. This model of Delsey Paris luggage is backed by a 10-year limited warranty.

The black Timbuk2 Wingman travel backpack

The Timbuk2 Wingman backpack has dual laptop pockets, a large main space for clothing, and a separate zippered compartment for shoes at its bottom.

Courtesy of Timbuk2

Wingman Travel Backpack Duffel by Timbuk2

Best carry-on backpack

  • Buy now: $179,
  • Style: Backpack
  • Capacity: 38.3 liters
  • Dimensions: 22 x 12.6 x 7.87 inches
  • Weight: 4 lbs.

The Timbuk2 Wingman is a versatile piece that can be carried as a backpack, shoulder bag, or duffel, thanks to hideaway compartments that conceal straps and keep your bag looking sleek and professional. Its main compartment has a wide zippered opening that goes around three sides of the bag. The bottom cargo pocket is great for keeping shoes or wet objects separate from your clothes. As for keeping the rest of your travel essentials (passport, laptop, cords, water bottles, and such) organized and at the ready, there are four smaller pockets located around the sides and top of the bag. Only available in black, the bag is made from a mix of durable Cordura canvas and rubberized nylon, making it easy to wipe off and clean after each trip.

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 40L

Patagonia Black Hole Duffels are lightweight but fit a ton of stuff.

Courtesy of Patagonia

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag 40L

Best carry-on duffel bag

  • Buy now: $159,
  • Style: Duffel bag
  • Capacity: 40 liters
  • Dimensions: 19.7 x 12.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Weight: 2.3 lbs.

Patagonia’s Black Hole duffels are hugely popular among outdoor enthusiasts—and for good reason. The ecofriendly brand’s durable and lightweight duffels are made with 100 percent recycled polyester fabric, lining, and webbing that is also water repellent. Available in four different sizes, the small 40L bag is the only one sized to fit in an overhead compartment though you might be able to get away with the larger 55L bag on domestic airlines.

The large main compartment comes with a full-length zippered opening that lets you access all your belongings at once. The large mesh pocket on the lid’s interior helps organize small items such as toiletry bottles, charging chords, or socks, while a zippered exterior side pocket lets you stash items quickly on the go. Padded backpack straps keep your shoulders from getting too sore and can be removed if you prefer to carry it with the traditional duffel straps. When you’re home, the entire bag can stuff into its own pocket for easy storage.

Gray Royce & Rocket carry-on open to pink interior

If you struggle to stay organized, this carry-on’s shelves are helpful.

Courtesy of Royce & Rocket

The Castle Carry-on Expandable by Royce & Rocket

Best carry-on with shelves

  • Buy now: $430,
  • Style: Hard-shell spinner luggage
  • Capacity: 37.85 liters (46.25 liters expanded)
  • Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 9 inches (21 x 14 x 11 expanded)
  • Weight: 8.5 lbs.

Featuring two fold-down shelves (which lay flat when not in use to ensure you’re not losing valuable space), the Castle Carry-on is excellent for those who struggle with staying organized—they’re perfect for arranging packing cubes and toiletry bags on once you’ve arrived at your destination.

Both the carry-on and the check-in-size Classic Bag are designed to be highly efficient and functional—beyond the dual shelves, they include a compression system and a slew of pockets (our favorite being the hidden pocket for additional privacy). It also has a TSA-approved lock, the ability to expand up to two inches, and Hinomoto Lisof Silent Run 360° Wheels. It comes in black, burgundy, and silver; customers can choose a tobacco or pink interior color.

From a sustainability standpoint, all of Royce & Rocket’s products have packing that is 100 percent recyclable. The suitcases also have a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects related to the wheels, zippers, handles, compression straps, shelves, and cracks in the polycarbonate shell, so it’ll be a suitcase you’ll have for a while.

Bailey Berg, Michelle Baran, and Cat Sposato contributed additional reporting to this story. This article originally appeared online in 2019; it was updated most recently on June 18, 2024, to include current information.

Lyndsey Matthews is the former senior commerce editor at Afar, covering travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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