Not all good products can win a title in the category best, but there are several bags we have tested that get our thumbs up and deserve a mention.
Solgaard Hand Luggage Cabinet Plus ($ 295) is a tiny slightly above what most airlines state as the maximum dimensions, but the difference is so small that it is accepted 95 percent of the time. WIRED reviewer Louryn Strampe praises her optional clip-in closet clothing organizer, which ensures efficient packing. The built-in TSA lock is easy to use and there is an internal powerbank pocket. This suitcase is included in our Favorite Upcycled Products guide.
Samsonite Outline Pro Luggage ($ 152) is a hard-side, four-wheel spinner cabin made of an outer shell of durable polypropylene. Excellent features include an inside fabric made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles and a “WetPak” storage pocket to keep damp items separate from the rest of your luggage. Product reviewer Medea Giordano, a notorious overpacker, was able to fit an entire long weekend wardrobe into Outline Pro.
Patagonia Black Hole 40L ($ 129) is another fantastic adventure duffel with a water-repellent fabric coating and backpack straps. Compared to the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler, less of the exterior fabric is water-repellent and it is one and a half inches too thick in one dimension for U.S. domestic cabin luggage requirements. But it’s a duffel so you can squeeze it to fit in an overhead trash can if it’s not completely packed full.
Paravel Aviator International Carry-On ($ 345) has an inner lining made from recycled plastic bottles, a telescopic handle made from recycled aluminum and vegan leather upholstery to help it stand out from all the regular black bags at the airport. Product reviewer Jaina Gray really fell in love with its spacious interior and durable, anti-wear hard shell exterior.
The North Face Base Camp ($ 129) is a cylindrical duffel bag, unlike most duffelbags these days. If you are a folder, it can be hard to keep everything straight and wrinkle-free when backing it into the curved bottom of Base Camp, even if those who roll their clothes have no problems. The materials felt cheaper than other duffel bags in this guide. It is a workhorse that is often used by outdoor audiences, so even though the waterproof fabric and handles are durable, they just do not feel as comfortable to touch.
Larger carry-on luggage away ($ 295) offers all the same practical interior organization modules as our top-luxury hard-shell pick, the Away Bigger Carry-On Aluminum Edition, but for less than half the price. And you can choose from a variety of colors, from discreet navy blue to pink, green or lavender. The optional push-out battery bank costs $ 20 extra.