Best Lightweight Carry-On Luggage – Here It Is!
Don’t worry, your bag doesn’t need to be this small to be light ;-), but we have not compromised on the weight! When we picked which bags to review, we decided that lightweight for us means around 5 lbs. or less. Some manufacturers call luggage light even when it weighs 7 or 8 lbs. We don’t agree with that. The weight limits used by some airlines are as low as 11 lbs., and 15 lbs. are common. If your carry-on bag weighs 8 lbs. in itself you’ve already used up half or more of what you’re allowed to take with you onboard.
Enjoy our pick, we hope you will find your favorite companion for your future trips!
Read on, or use the table of contents to take you directly to the most interesting part 🙂
- Hartmann 7R Global Carry On Spinner
- Samsonite Black Label Cosmolite Spinner 55/20
- Victorinox Lexicon Ultra-Light Carry-On
- Eagle Creek Load Warrior 20 Inch International Carry-On Luggage
- Bric’s Luggage Bellagio Ultra-Light 21 Inch Carry On Spinner Trunk
- Lucas Vortex Ultra Lightweight Collection 20 Inch Spinner
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Hartmann 7R Global Carry On Spinner
- Size: 21.6″ x 15.7″ x 9.1″
- Weight: 3.9 lbs.
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
We like this Hartmann carry-on a lot, despite the fact that it’s a spinner, because of its outstanding design and features.
The wheels are made with spring wire steel which makes them shock absorbing and quite durable. They obviously don’t make much of a contribution to the weight. The trolley handle is made of carbon fibre, a very strong material that will not break when you run to the gate. It retracts all the way down and will not be in the way when you store the bag in the overhead compartment. It also locks in place when pulled out and when pushed back into the bag.
The shell, which is available in black, aluminium or rose gold, is extremely durable and lightweight. This is due to the new and innovative composite material called Curv. It’s amazingly beautiful as well, considering it’s made of woven polypropylene. The fact that it’s metallized probably accounts for some of the beauty.
Have you ever run through a heavy rain with your carry-on in tow, worrying about whether the splash from the passing car just soaked your underwear? If you buy this bag that is a worry you can forget, since the strong zipper is water-resistant and will keep your clothes dry and nice inside.
There are many additional features. An integrated and recessed TSA combination lock keeps your belongings safe. There are two soft leather-wrapped handles, one on top and one on the side, for when you have to carry your bag up the flight stairs. A removable leather ID-tag is included as well.
Inside is a well-spaced and divided interior with textile lining, complete with cross straps to hold your clothes where you want them. There are mesh dividers and two zipped pockets as well as a removable one for your small stuff.
The Lifetime Limited Warranty means that your bag will be replaced or repaired if a problem occurs that is due to manufactural defects. This is valid for the lifetime of the product.
Fun facts: 7R stands for the gene in the human genome that is said to control our lust for adventures and taking risks. Presumably, 20% of the world’s total population have the gene, and these people are the ones who explore new territory and try out new ideas. The Hartmann 7R-collection stands for style fused with innovative engineering.
A lot of pros, aren’t there any cons? For credibility, we somewhat wish there were, but we have to admit: we love this carry-on whole-heartedly!
Samsonite Black Label Cosmolite Spinner 55/20
- Size: 21.6″ x 15.7″ x 8.0″
- Weight: 4.1 lbs.
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
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This Samsonite lightweight carry-on is another favorite of ours. It’s actually made of the same material as the Hartmann 7R, the Curv composite, which makes this too extremely light.
We are slightly concerned about the wheels on this spinner, but given that it’s a carry-on and won’t be checked they might be good enough. You may want to avoid too harsh and bumpy surfaces though.
The interior is lined with textile but we think it’s not quite as well spaced as the Hartmann. Other users have reported that the fabric gets ”snagged” easily, but we have not noticed that. There are cross straps to hold your clothes and a mesh divider. Also, as with the Hartmann, it holds more than you’d think due to the thin shell that gives plenty of space left inside.
There’s a TSA combination lock, two plastic handles and a bungee cord so you can secure luggage put on the top of the bag. This bag too has a water-resistant zipper for rainy days.
The Cosmolite carry-on comes in 4 different colors: emerald green, black, silver and red. We love the emerald green and the red the most 🙂 They definitely stand out from other bags in the gate!
The warranty works in the same manner as for the Hartmann, if a manufactural defect causes trouble during the lifetime of the product, you will get it repaired or replaced.
To summon up, a great lightweight, hard sided carry-on, well worth the money. But, it does not carry the same aura of excellence and elegance as the Hartmann 7R.
Victorinox Lexicon Ultra-Light Carry-On
- Size: 20″ x 14″ x 8″
- Weight: 5.5 lbs.
- Global Lifetime Plus Limited Warranty
Even if it is somewhat less lightweight than the two bags above, this Victorinox still qualifies as an ultra-light carry-on. (And now you can truly appreciate the extremely lightweight properties of the Curv material!)
The Swiss company Victorinox has a well-earned reputation and history of maintaining excellent quality in all their products. This is not an exception. We are even more pleased as this bag is a 2-wheeled, stable inliner.
Contrary to the hard-sided bags above, this is a soft-sided one. What you like best is up to you. Hardsided bags protect fragile objects inside your bag better. Softsides are perhaps more comfortable when you have to carry your bag.
The interior is lined with textile and has two parallels straps instead of cross straps. We prefer the cross variety over the parallel, it simply does a better job holding your clothes where you want them. Some of the space is occupied by the trolley-handle mechanism, but considering the slim design of this small carry-on suitcase that’s only to be expected.
Other features are TSA combination lock, exterior zip pocket that can hold a tablet or your travel documents, dual trolley handle that locks at three different heights, and a slide-out ID-tag.
The bag is only available in black.
Did you notice the plus in the warranty statement? This means that whatever happens to your bag in the first 5 years after you bought it, the warranty covers repair or replacement. You have total protection for your bag. Should your cab driver accidentally drive over your Lexicon so the wheels fall off, the warranty covers it. After the first 5 years, the warranty covers manufactural defects in materials or workmanship for the lifetime of the product.
The dimensions of this Victorinox carry-on is well inside the international carry-on requirements, which are usually somewhat stricter than for domestic flights. But remember, always check with the airline you’ll be flying with.
Overall, this is a good quality, small lightweight carry-on for your shorter trips. Not fancy, not elegant, but totally reliable and robust.
Eagle Creek Load Warrior 20 Inch International Carry-On Luggage
- Size: 14” x 20.25” x 8”
- Weight: 4.9 lbs.
- No Matter What Warranty
A backpack? Seriously? Seriously, no. This looks suspiciously like a backpack, but is not. Actually, it’s hard to put into any set luggage category. It’s not a backpack, not a suitcase, not really a duffel bag… it’s simply a Load Warrior!
First of all, it opens all the way like a suitcase. No groping around with your hand in the dark trying to feel the thing you’re looking for. It’s all in the open.
One of the reasons we generally discard backpacks is that your clothes get crumpled. However, Eagle Creek have developed a brilliant system for packing, called Pack-It. There are two product lines, and one of them, Pack-It Specter, is designed for ultra-light packing. It includes a garment folder, allowing you to pack pressed shirts and then unpack them still looking sharp. The material the folder is made of is the same used for lightweight tents, so your best shirt is safe inside.
The packing system also includes a toiletry kit, a shoe sac and a packing cube. Keeps everything in place and in perfect order. We’re impressed and happy.
Also, this soft sider is indeed a rollaboard as well, and to make it even better, it’s a 2-wheeled inliner. It’s equipped with large, treaded and well-protected wheels. They’re good for a run along a gravel path 🙂
There are handles all over, on the top, at the bottom, on the front and on the side. Always somewhere to grab hold of the bag and lift it up and into the overhead bin.
Other great features are very tough, water repellent and durable fabric, called Geo Ripstop and Helium. The bag is expandable, when you want it to be. There is a strap for keeping stuff at the top, a bottle opener (!), a single-tube aluminium trolley handle, reflective accents and several zippers, all lockable. At the top is a zipped pocket for the stuff you want to have easy-to-reach.
It’s available in three color settings: black with blue details, smokey blue with red details, and tan/olive with brown details. We prefer the smokey blue…but that’s us 🙂
The warranty for this bag is called No Matter What. That means that during the Load Warrior’s lifetime Eagle Creek will repair or replace it should it somehow fail you. And this is regardless of the cause of the malfunction. We have no problems with that!
Overall impression? This is a top notch lightweight soft sider carry-on for all your flights. Not extravagant, not designed for beauty, but good looking, high quality and designed for durability and usability.
Bric’s Luggage Bellagio Ultra-Light 21 Inch Carry On Spinner Trunk
- Size: 21” x 8” x 14”
- Weight: 5.8 lbs.
- 5 Year Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty
This Italian piece is frankly somewhat outside our scope here, since the weight is almost 6 lbs. and we have stated that only bags around 5 lbs. or less should be included in this review. But, we totally fell for this retro looking sweet carry-on, and so decided to include it after all. We’re only slightly embarrassed about it.
Bric’s is a well-known manufacturer of high-end products, and this bag will not make you disappointed.
The shell is made of polycarbonate, claimed to be crack-resistant, and as far as we have learned withstands scratching very well. For looks only, it is trimmed with leather details, and comes in several different colors, from soft pink to strict navy blue.
Included features are TSA combination lock, water-resistant zipper, business card pocket (on the inside), and of course a telescopic handle.
The interior of this carry-on makes us almost want to cry, it’s so well planned. It’s no only divided by a mesh, but actually has double deck compartments so you can pack your clothes as if in two separate bags. In one of them is a hanger system for your shirts or skirts.
Admittedly, this is a spinner, and you know what we normally think of those. However, we have some faith that this will do the job since it’s equipped with high-quality Japanese Hinomoto rubber wheels.
Do we recommend it? Of course we do, but we have to point out that it does not quite fill the requirements for truly lightweight carry-ons. On the other hand, you have the chance to feel like in a film from the fifties when you roll into the airport with this in tow. Or actually, you should carry it with you, since rollaboards were not invented back then.
Lucas Vortex Ultra Lightweight Collection 20 Inch Spinner
- Size: 21″ x 14″ x 7″
- Weight: 3.8 lbs.
- Limited 5 Year Warranty
This is a budget alternative lightweight carry-on luggage. The weight is admittedly very low, which is perhaps this bag’s most outstanding feature.
The Lucas soft sider is made of so-called honeycomb polyester, the honeycomb bit mainly referring to the pattern in the fabric. The fabric is certainly durable enough for a carry-on.
It has two exterior pockets with zippers, these are not lockable. The main zipper is lockable, of course, and extends all around the bag which opens well and thus is easily packed. It’s expandable when you need it to hold more stuff. The interior is fully lined and with two straps to hold your clothes where you want them.
The extendable dual handle comes out when you push the button on it, and has multistage locking to fit every traveller length. There is a carry handle on top but not on the side.
You have a choice of 5 colors: black, grey, purple, pink, or blue.
However, we do have some objections to this budget spinner and lightweight bag. Our greatest concern is the wheels. For many users they have simply become worn out very quickly, sometimes after only being used on one trip. How is that possible?
The main problem seems to be that the wheels are not properly aligned and so they don’t roll well and not in cooperation. Sometimes they simply get stuck. This is, of course, a major setback for a spinner. And, we have to say it, this is a problem all spinner wheels systems face. Some manufacturers manage to handle this and overcome the difficulties, others don’t.
Another, smaller, concern is the extendable handle. It’s kind of wobbly and unsteady, and for one user actually broke after only one trip, but this may have been a one-time event.
Finally, the bag itself is somewhat unsteady and falls over easily. Especially so if you put something in the front pockets. This is to some extent due to the light weight, but we believe that the design is less than optimal when it comes to the weight distribution in the product.
This bag is cheap, and the saying ”you get what you pay for” seems appropriate here. The bag itself is fine for its price, but the wheels make it feel like something of a gamble to buy it, we’re sorry to say. But there is the 5-year warranty, and the possibility of holding the manufacturer (24-7 Internatinal LLC) responsible if you have a wheely breakdown.