Last year my wheelie carryon bag (oxymoron I know) packed up on the way to St Pancras to catch the Eurostar. Joy. Together with my over heavy –wheelie – main bag I managed to drag it to the luggage store and nearly spent a small fortune on something by an expensive brand, in a hurry, that wouldn’t do the job as well as my trusty Antler.
At the last second I desisted and instead managed to drag my little bag to Paris and went to have a bag browse in Galleries Lafayette, much more fun, and ended up with the bag on the left here in a pink and purple geo pattern. And it’s brilliant. Which got me thinking about what you need to look for when investing in a new one of these which you hope will last for years.
As someone who travels quite a lot both by air and Eurostar I’ve narrowed down my rules for picking the best cabin luggage if you’re going to travel reasonably often, probably take a laptop with you, and need room for extra shopping. After all who doesn’t?
In a store it’s easy to be blinded by choice and the huge range of prices from cheap and cheerful to horrifically expensive. And end up buying the wrong thing. Particularly if you’re in a hurry. From rucksack to mini-suitcase, from two wheels to four, from single to double handle. The choice is endless.
I suggest you look for the following:
Weight – Less than 2.75kg
Size – maximum allowed for cabin luggage - click through to airline cabin bag sizes – it would be so helpful if all airlines had the same dimension rules, and most of them do, but be careful if you’re a regular Easyjet flyer.
Expandable – essential for extra shopping.
Wheels – 2 or 4 but I prefer 2 so that it will stand on it’s own rather than roll down a slope…and try going on the tube with two 4 wheeled bags……..
Hard sided or soft – I prefer soft sided for carry on unless you’re going to check it in regularly
Front loading laptop pocket – preferable if you take your laptop everywhere but not essential if you’re prepared to open your bag at security.
Colour – If possible anything but black. Stand out in a crowd. But all the above come in black as well.
Handle – Always double so that you can balance your tote on top. Some bags have a single telescopic handle which is useless for making light of your tote.
Lock – preferably built in to make it easy to check in if you want to but not essential.
The two cabin luggage size bags I use regularly are the Kipling Teagan S which you can see in the top picture as I said above – not those colours but mine is bright as well and you can spot it immediately – it does come in more subtle colours. And the equivalent of the Antler Cyberlite – this one has 4 wheels, mine has 2.
Where fabric is concerned go for tough nylon in a colour that won’t show too many marks. Those shiny nylon lightweight bags you can find nowadays look very chic but they’re going to spoil quite easily particularly if there’s the occasion you want to check your bag in.