Our Favorite Fashionable & Functional Carry-on Luggage
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Packing for a recent overnight business trip, I grabbed my trusty black-wheeled carry-on bag and stuffed it with all the essentials: clothing, toiletries and cosmetics, tablet and chargers and some files I needed to read on the plane. At the airport, I noticed that almost everyone was pulling plain black carry-on bags like mine, too.
As I looked out at this sea of boring black bags, it occurred to me: it doesn’t have to be like this. We choose specific colors, style and functionality for our handbags, our shoes, even our phones and accessories. Why is our luggage so boring?
So I set out to find bags that, first and foremost, were light, well-constructed and had the right assortment of pockets, but also weren't boring. Here are my picks for four pieces of functional and fashionable carry-on luggage you’ll want to pack for the weekend.
Knomo Scala Wheeled Business Bag
If you’re looking for a fashion-friendly wheeled carry-on bag for short trips, the Knomo Scala Wheeled Business Bag is for you. It’s made of lightweight nylon so it doesn’t weigh a whole lot, yet it has lots of room for packing all your gear. There are two main compartments, one with a laptop pouch and organizer for your tech gear and the other with space for clothing and pockets for tucking away shoes or toiletries.
A zippered compartment runs the width of the bag, perfect for stashing your tablet or reading material for the plane — or in my case, maybe some snacks too. I particularly like the easy-to-reach zip pocket on the front of the bag that provides instant access to your glasses or smartphone.
The wheeled bag has padded handles if you want to simply carry it and a telescoping handle if you want to pull it behind you. The handle even has a splash of color to match the bag, making it quite an elegant-looking (though pricey) travel bag. The Scala bag comes in scarlet and taupe as well as black. Dimensions are 17.75” x 14.25” x 6.5”, and weight is 6 pounds.
Price: From $349 on knomobags.com, $239 on Amazon
Hedgren Cindy Rolling Business Case
The Hedgren Cindy Business Case is anything but boring. Currently available in red and light gray, with black and estate blue coming this fall, this bag can easily fit under an airline seat or in an overhead compartment. Its quilted nylon fabric is expandable in case you need to stuff in an extra pair of jeans.
This bag features pockets galore. One zippered compartment is packed with interior pockets for those who like to keep cables, cords and other accessories organized, with more slots for business cards and a phone. The main interior compartment, which closes with a zipper, can hold clothes for a quick trip and up to a 15.6-inch laptop. There’s a retractable handle so you can roll the bag easily onto the plane, then retract the pull and use the handles.
At $199, this is pricey for an overnight bag, but it’s a worthwhile splurge as a sturdy, attractive bag to take to a conference or for an overnight stay. Dimensions are 17.3” x 7.1” x 13.8”, and weight is 6.1 pounds.
Price: $199 on Amazon
Olympia Deluxe Fashion Rolling Overnighter
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly rolling bag, the Olympia Deluxe Fashion Roller is a good choice. It’s made of polyester and comes in black with different colored piping. The top of the retractable handle matches the color of the piping, making this as attractive a getaway bag as the more expensive options. According to Amazon reviews (4.5 stars), it’s quite durable too.
There’s a roomy main compartment for clothes and a padded laptop sleeve and a front zipper pocket with double zippers for cables, chargers, reading material and so on. I particularly like the pockets on either side of the bag that close with Velcro, giving you easy access to a phone, keys or a water bottle. This bag is on four wheels, so while it will fit into overhead compartments, it may not be as squishable as the others and is a little heavier as well. Dimensions are 17” x 14” x 8.25” and weight is 7 pounds.
Price: $45 at Amazon
Biaggi Contempo Foldable Spinner Cabin Bag
Whether you’re headed on vacation or short on storage space in your apartment, Biaggi Foldable Bags are true space-savers. They’re roomy enough for clothing and toiletries yet still fit in an overhead compartment, and when they’re unpacked, they fold in half for easy storage.
These bags are so roomy, you’ll be able to fit in everything on your packing list and then some. For pocket lovers, there are full-length zippered mesh compartments for toiletries, shoes or dirty laundry. The outside front has a zippered compartment that runs the full width of the bottom for shoes, magazines or anything you need to reach in a pinch. Another zippered compartment on top handles smaller items like glasses or your smartphone.
Biaggi bags aren’t just clever — they’re beautiful and sturdy. They’re available in multiple models and carry-on sizes. I like the 22-inch Foldable Spinner. It was easy to maneuver through a crowd; the four wheels glided easily any direction I pulled or pushed, and the nylon exterior can take a beating. The four wheels and sturdy build do add slightly more weight to the bag. The retractable handle locked into position and didn’t collapse under pressure. Best of all, the bags are available in fun, fashionable colors like purple, red, blue and other eye-catching options. Dimensions are 22” x 14” x 11”, and weight is 8.4 pounds.
Price: $199 on biaggi.com, larger sizes available on Amazon from $140
[images via Knomo, Hedgren, Olympia, Biaggi]