Kmart and Big W suitcases scored comparably to much more expensive brands like American Tourister and Samsonite. Read our carry-on luggage review to find out more or check out our luggage buying guide to find out what to look for in a suitcase.
Share your thoughts about carry-on luggage in the comments below.
The last time I saw a Choice carry-on luggage review I commented that with a 7kg weight limit a top criterion should be the case’s weight. I carry flight-needs, laptop and delicate gear in my cabin bag, and I handle it myself, so withstanding 3rd-party handling is not a criterion for me.
I cannot see the sense in recommending cabin bags weighing 4.2kg (so you can put 2.8kg of gear in them?) or 3.7kg or 3.0kg bags. In recent years I ignore anything over 2kg and really look for 1.8kg or less, but still with the ease of good spinner wheels.
The best cabin bag I’ve seen (but not in the review) is the Samsonite Uplite (black/grey), 1.8kg, expandable to 42.5 litre packing capacity. The reviewed Samsonite 1.8kg 72 Hour DLX is only 36 litres and its front pocket zip is too low; the Uplite’s is better placed. The Uplite also has good spinner wheels, a TSA lock (security if I’m sleeping) and it’s also better than the Antler Oxygen (which is light and as good as the 72 Hour DLX but wasn’t reviewed).
For the Uplite I paid $180 delivered ($329 retail haha). Also, you haven’t included IT Luggage in either review. My wife and daughter have used theirs for years (1.6kg and 1.8kg) and the luggage is still fine, because they handle it themselves (no airport or transport people thanks). The Uplite is better for me though.
So once more I say, for cabin bags WEIGHT is more important than you/Choice seems to think. For checked luggage, yes, robustness is more important. Maybe you assume you can always get away with over-weight carry-ons. In Europe with 2 of the budget airlines and here with Tiger and Jetstar we’ve sometimes been checked and we’ve been OK, even with our bags having spinner-wheels. We’ve seen other people not being OK and having to check their “cabin bag” and/or pay extra. Hope this helps some travellers.
My carry on bag is a soft Antler bag with wheels and a strap to allow it to be attached to my suitcase. I have found this bag very useful and easy to use for both short domestic and very long international flights. Being soft fabric means that the bag is very light maximising the amount I can pack in it.
I usually pack this bag with my essentials in case my ‘checked bag’ goes missing plus valuables like my camera. It is also useful for overnight trips as it takes a lot of ‘stuff’.
I also take a small backpack with me when I fly. It is small so I can slip in under the seat and therefore it is easily accessible. The backpack takes my laptop, a book and any medication I may need during the flight - no need to access the overhead locker. I only pack enough medication for the flight, the rest goes into the other carry on bag.
The backpack is easy to carry on my back over a long time, avoiding shoulder pain. It is also handy during checkin as the laptop can be pulled out for inspection and it has plenty of pockets for loose change and all those metal bits that set off the scanner!
Maybe it is time to do this again. And this time please let the main focus be on weight. You still have a 4.2 Kg Antler Juno in the top 5. It would leave 2.8 kg to put into it.
When is it OK that your suitcase is heavier than what you have in it? For me, never.
… and you can buy IT luggage virtually everywhere but it is not seen in your test.
Travel luggage for me is about much more than suitcases. Suitcases go in the hold of the aircraft, while a certain larger than domestic airline size is handy for the train.
I decided long ago that a carry on suitcase was more a waste than a benefit. Especially if along the way there was more than one flight. International vs domestic. Full service vs discount. Smaller aircraft (eg Dash-8, Saab etc) with further restrictions.
I now use a backpack or larger size soft shoulder/travel bag. There are plenty of options, all lighter than the suitcase with wheels and a handle.
The convenience of dragging your luggage down the aisle on board vs the flexibility of simply a bag on your shoulder/s. It’s a personal choice to suit ones needs.
In the long past days when I travelled on business one requisite was arriving with a pressed shirt and suit ready to go, much easier with a traditional roll-a-board or similar carry on than any duffle or backpack. I often went intercontinental for a 1~3 days requirement (7~18 hours air time each way) including travel. A not uncommon Monday included a ‘Honey, I have lunch in Tokyo Wed, back Thursday.’ and off for a late afternoon flight.
It is more important to have your kit in hand when going long haul. I fully appreciated the ease of carry-on of whatever type, especially when air traffic went bad and I could change flights without worrying about checked baggage catching up timely, or ever.
These days if I can recognise the shirt from the trousers it is all good.