Being at the mercy of airlines when it comes to your luggage can be a huge inconvenience. With baggage fees becoming the norm for most airlines, checking luggage makes even less sense. The solution? One bag travel.


Attempting to haul a steel-framed suitcase onto planes, subways, taxis and buses, down cobblestone streets or through narrow alleys is not only a hassle, but screams "tourist." Using a lightweight, wheel-less MLC (maximum legal carry-on) bag is a quicker, cheaper and far less stressful way to travel.

 

Here are some of our favorite bags you may want to consider replacing your old suitcase with.

 

Overview:

Designed by two New Zealand natives who were fed up with their travel gear, the Minaal pack encompasses everything you would expect in a 21st century travel bag. Its clean lines and metallic blue hues certainly sets it apart from the competition. Minaal also made sure to include a lockable protective device compartment with neoprene sleeves to hold a laptop or tablet, an adjustable sternum strap and padded back for increase comfort, used 1000D Cordura to protect the bag against the harshest environments plus added a removable rain cover for when it pours.

Features:

  • Size: 35L
  • Price: $299
  • Dimensions: 22" x 14" x 8"
  • Weight: 3.12 lbs
  • Material: Cordura
  • Laptop Compartment ✓
  • Zip-away Straps ✓
  • Hipbelt *extra $
  • Hipbelt Pocket ✓
  • Shoulder Strap *extra $
  • Drink Holder ✓

Overview:

Gregory Mountain Products (known simply as Gregory) has been in the hiking pack business since 1977. Although not a hiking pack, the Boarder series shares the same ergonomic design and comfortable fit as its larger sized brothers.  The Boarder 35 includes a 17" laptop panel with an innovative clamshell opening to allow for easy security screenings, a liquids pocket and zippered mesh pocket for clothing organization.

Features:

  • Size: 35L
  • Price: $169
  • Dimensions: 20.25" x 12.75" x 9.0"
  • Weight: 2.14 lbs
  • Material: Ballistic Polyester
  • Laptop Compartment ✓
  • Zip-away Straps ✗
  • Hipbelt ✓
  • Hipbelt Pocket ✗
  • Shoulder Strap ✗
  • Drink Holder ✗

Overview:

Osprey has been in the pack business since 1974 and is praised for its commitment of as an outdoor industry leader in sustainability and environmental and social concerns. They also offer one of the best warranties on the market; the All Mighty Guarantee: Any reason, any product, any era. The Farpoint 40 comes in two sizes so is ideal for those individuals with a smaller torso. The bag's shoulder straps and hipbelt also zips away together for easy transport and it includes dual front compression straps. It's important to note though that the hipbelt does not stow away while in use and the compression straps block access to the main compartment.

Features:

  • Size: 40L
  • Price: $160
  • Dimensions: M/L 21" x 13" x 9"
  • Weight: 2.75 lbs
  • Material: Nylon
  • Laptop Compartment ✓
  • Zip-away Straps ✓
  • Hipbelt ✓
  • Hipbelt Pocket ✗
  • Shoulder Strap ✗
  • Drink Holder ✓

Overview:

GoRuck was founded by a former military member in 2008 and it shows in their bags' build quality by being virtually indestructible. The military-grade GoRuck GR2 is by far the most discrete bag out there and makes up for its shortcomings in both functionality and versatility. Even though it does not feature a hipbelt and is quite heavy compared to other bags, it has several compartments to help you stay organized (one of which is dedicated to a laptop up to 17" or a hydration bladder), two external compression straps and several rows of MOLLE webbing. Did we mention that it's bombproof?   

Features:

  • Size: 40L
  • Price: $395
  • Dimensions: 22" x 12.5" x 9"
  • Weight: 5.30 lbs
  • Material: Cordura
  • Laptop Compartment ✓
  • Zip-away Straps ✗
  • Hipbelt ✗
  • Hipbelt Pocket ✗
  • Shoulder Strap ✗
  • Hydration Bladder Ready ✓

Image sourced from tortugabackpacks.com

Overview:

The founders of Tortuga Backpacks set out to design the perfect travel pack for urban travelers. That meant it had to be durable, offer convenience and be comfortable enough for the long haul. It's safe to say they did an excellent job. The Tortuga travel pack offers everything you would expect for today's urban trekker;  easy access from all angles, a safe place to store your laptop, interior/exterior compression straps, exterior pockets for bottled water and guide books, padded shoulder straps and a thick weight-bearing hip belt. 

Features:

  • Size: 45L
  • Price: $249
  • Dimensions: 22" x 14" x 9"
  • Weight: 5.1 lbs
  • Material: Waterproof Sailcloth
  • Laptop Compartment ✓
  • Zip-away Straps ✓
  • Hipbelt ✓
  • Hipbelt Pocket ✓
  • Shoulder Strap ✗
  • Drink Holder ✓

Overview:

Patagonia has been producing high-end outdoor clothing and gear since 1972 and their MLC (maximum legal carry-on) bag is no exception. The Patagonia MLC has been around for years and seems to get better with each generation. The current design includes a padded laptop compartment that doubles as a clothing organizer, a main pocket with two compartments for organization; a second pocket keeps shoes separate from clothing and two exterior pockets providing quick access to travel document and small gear. It also features multiple carrying option; wear it on your back like a pack, your shoulders like a messenger, or carry it like a brief case.

Features:

  • Size: 45L
  • Price: $189
  • Dimensions: 20.5" x 13.5" x 7"
  • Weight: 3.12 lbs
  • Material: Recycled Polyester Twill
  • Laptop Compartment ✓
  • Zip-away Straps ✓
  • Hipbelt ✗
  • Hipbelt Pocket ✗
  • Shoulder Strap ✓
  • Drink Holder ✗

Overview:

Tom Bihn has been designing and making bags since 1972. Their innovative construction, attention to detail and high quality materials have resulted in a huge fanbase. The duffel-looking Aeronaut differs from most travel bags by being divided into three main compartments: a large center compartment coupled with substantial end pockets. These end pockets are ideal for shoes, separating clean from the unclean clothes, toiletries and electronics. The Aeronaut also includes contoured shoulder straps (with a removable/adjustable sternum strap) and converts easily from backpack to messenger (with optional shouter strap).

Features:

  • Size: 45L
  • Price: $295
  • Dimensions: 22" x 14" x 9"
  • Weight: 3.06 lbs
  • Material: Ballistic Nylon
  • Laptop Compartment ✗
  • Zip-away Straps ✓
  • Hipbelt ✓ (optional)
  • Hipbelt Pocket ✗
  • Shoulder Strap ✓ (optional)
  • Drink Holder ✗

Overview:

Another quality product by Osprey, large and lightweight best describes this beautiful bag. Even though the Porter is quite large at 46L, It still meets carry-on size restrictions for most airlines. The bag's StraightJacket™ compression system features padded wings to help protect and secure any size load. Another unique feature are its reinforced cord loops which let you attach an Osprey Daylite daypack (sold separately).

Features:

  • Size: 46L
  • Price: $130
  • Dimensions: 22" x 14" x 9"
  • Weight: 2.50 lbs
  • Material: Ripstop Nylon
  • Laptop Compartment ✓
  • Zip-away Straps ✓
  • Hipbelt ✓
  • Hipbelt Pocket ✓
  • Shoulder Strap ✓ (optional)
  • Drink Holder ✗

Overview:

This L.L.Bean Quickload may be the cheapest bag on our list, but don't let that deter you from considering it. If you're looking for an affordable convertible bag (to be worn on your back, shoulder or carried in your hands) look no further. It's large enough to pack for a getaway lasting several weeks and extremely light. It features mesh pockets inside the main compartment to separate smaller items or dirty clothing and an exterior panel to accommodate shoes or other items.

Features:

  • Size: 48L
  • Price: $129
  • Dimensions: 21" x 14" x 9"
  • Weight: 2.12 lbs
  • Material: Nylon
  • Laptop Compartment ✗
  • Zip-away Straps ✓
  • Hipbelt ✗
  • Hipbelt Pocket ✗
  • Shoulder Strap ✓
  • Drink Holder ✗

overview:

Eagle Creek designed their first travel pack nearly 40yrs ago and have been producing durable, yet lightweight, travel gear every since. The Exploration Series Gear Hauler is no exception. It features multiple carry options, an air mesh back panel, a sternum strap and load lifter straps, durable Bi-Tech weather-resistant exterior, water resistant “bathtub” bottom, quick stash 3-1-1 compartment for easy organization, lockable zippers, padded 15” laptop sleeve and another for your tablet, safety reflective accents for nighttime visibility, Eagle Creek’s “No Matter What” life time warranty, and sweet bottle opener.

features:

  • Size: 48L
  • Price: $159
  • Dimensions: 22" x 14" x 9"
  • Weight: 2.62 lbs
  • Material: Ballistic Nylon
  • Laptop Compartment ✓
  • Zip-away Straps ✓
  • Hipbelt ✗
  • Hipbelt Pocket ✗
  • Shoulder Strap ✓
  • Drink Holder ✗

overview:

The Hero's Journey is not your average travel bag. It takes convertible travel luggage to the next level by using two bags that can work in tandem or alone. The main bag meets the maximum FAA recommended dimensions for carry-on luggage and the smaller daypack that attaches to the top qualifies as a personal carry-on item.  Combine the two and you have a 55L pack ready for short backpacking trips in the wilderness or train-hopping across Europe. The top pack is a perfect day bag. It can be carried on your shoulder or attached to your hip using the main bag’s hip belt. Choose to turn it inside out and you have a 10L daypack with shoulder straps a water bottle holder. The main bag of the Hero’s Journey is the same size of the Aeronaut 45. However, it has one large compartment instead of two end compartments. The bag features compression straps, webbing loops, a removable internal divider, side pockets, a padded back panel covered in Aero-Spacer Mesh, and a removable, pre-bent, internal frame sheet with an aluminum stay. Optional side pockets are also available.  

FEATURES:

  • Size: 55L
  • Price: $480
  • Dimensions: 22" x 14" x 9" (main bag)
  • Dimensions: 14" x 9" x 5.5"(top pack)
  • Weight: 3.06 lbs
  • Material:Halcyon
  • Laptop Compartment ✗
  • Zip-away Straps ✓
  • Hipbelt ✓
  • Hipbelt Pocket ✓
  • Shoulder Strap ✓
  • Drink Holder ✓ (daypack)