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Illustration for article titled The Five Best Carry-On Luggage Bags, According to Our Readers
Image: Billion Photos (Adobe Stock)

In our latest Co-op project, you guys let me have it for daring to think about taking a vacation during a pandemic. And I know, I know—cases are spiking in diverse places, and the thought of getting away from it all seems even more of an impossibility.

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But folks, remember: A vacation is anything you can do to take a break from your daily life. And I can’t say this definitively, but I’m willing to bet there’s more than just a few of us who need one right now.

Even if you’re just hopping across the freeway for a few nights in an upscale downtown hotel, that’s a vacation. (Which is totally something I’m planning to do because, whew, being the designated daily play date for my inquisitive nephew to keep him out of his parents’ hair is exhausting.)

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Here’s Webster’s take on the primary definition of the noun “vacation” if you don’t believe me:

1: a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation

That doesn’t specify how far you have to travel, the mode of travel, or the activity, so I’m pleased to tell you that taking a vacation right now—today, if you want—is a very real possibility, and a safe one if you’re taking proper precautions.

And so your great suggestions for carry-on luggage do not have to go to waste. Speaking of which, let’s check them out!

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P.S.: Y’all REALLY love backpacks. I can dig it.

Delsey Paris Helium Aero | $99 | Amazon

Illustration for article titled The Five Best Carry-On Luggage Bags, According to Our Readers
Image: Delsey Paris

As for carry-ons, my main roller is a Delsey Paris Helium Aero and my underseat is a Samsonite spinner that stacks on top of my Delsey when I’m between gates. I like the Delsey because it’s a textured hard case that takes a beating but it is small enough to fit everything but regional turbo prop aircraft.

I like the underseat Sampsonite spinner because it fits everything my Delsey doesn’t plus my iPad, portable battery pack, a bottle of water plus snacks, my noise cancelling headphones and my DSLR camera. I used to carry a backpack but found the contents inside dig into my back and shoulder after awhile. Plus the top flap panel makes it easy to get into the bag while it is stowed under the seat in front of me without having to pull the entire bag out.

It’s actually a great time to buy luggage of all types as eBags is having an huge sale. The Sampsonite underseat is on sale for 70% off and the Delsey line is on sale for 20% off.- Cash907

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Thule Landmark Travel Pack | $180 | Amazon

Illustration for article titled The Five Best Carry-On Luggage Bags, According to Our Readers
Image: Thule

A convertible backpack. Great when you can’t drag your wheelie bag down the busy sidewalks of New York or Paris. Fairly unstructured so you can cram a week’s worth of gear inside, the more organized of you can use packing cubes. Shoulder strap is good from car to gate, backpack straps come out for that wander to the hidden rental apartment. - WelshDaveInDenver

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Osprey Porter 46 | $78 | Amazon

Illustration for article titled The Five Best Carry-On Luggage Bags, According to Our Readers
Graphic: Quentyn Kennemer

Osprey Porter 46: It’s a backpack that is carry-on sized. Unzips fully, has a laptop sleeve, and, should you need it, a bear whistle.- commenter (actual name)

My wife and I each have the slightly smaller Farpoint / Fairview 40 and love them. They’re easy to fit in an overhead bin, plenty of room for things like clothes, and no waiting for checked luggage. I’ll admit I have to be far more careful about what I pack, but in general we have used the wheeled luggage since we got them a couple of years ago. - Kumicho

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AmazonBasics Carry-On Luggage | $31 | Amazon

Illustration for article titled The Five Best Carry-On Luggage Bags, According to Our Readers
Graphic: Quentyn Kennemer

Worked as an international industrial chemical salesmen out of Huston and RDU for years. Go cheap and low-vis with your luggage if you want to keep it.

Your instinct to throw away old luggage is the correct instinct. Even the nicest suitcase will eventually have every nook covered with a fine dust of airport bathroom overspray, luggage compartment dust, and hotel carpet fiber. The wheels and handle will eventually break, bend, or stick no matter how fine the Japanese/German engineering. No one is actually impressed with your ZeroHaliburton or Rimowa anymore than a nice watch in 2020, and the nicer ones show damage and scuffing sooner.

You really want a replacement (not repair) warranty if it breaks, acceptable quality, and zero emotional attachment if the damn thing breaks.

There’s a few AmazonBasics models. $30-45 bucks, often on sale. The best feature is you can add a 4-Year Warranty for only $6. That’s insane.

Thing is 90% as bombproof as anything that isn’t very premium. They make a Premium model in pretty colors for $20 more.

I will also vouch for Ogio’s warranty as being excellent—they replaced my ripped laptop bag with zero questions asked, no registration or receipt with a cc on file in case I didn’t send the old one back. - toolazyforsomethingclever

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Patagonia Black Hole 55L Duffel Bag | $139 | Back Country

Illustration for article titled The Five Best Carry-On Luggage Bags, According to Our Readers
Graphic: Quentyn Kennemer

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel. Very light, Strong. 60L duffel meets TSA carry-on regulations for most commercial flights. Has backpack straps and carry handles. - Orange Torana

I have used the 60L as a carry on for many airlines including international flights. I had to check it in Myanmar as they were weighing all the baggage for a prop plane with tiny upper compartments. I haven’t tried it on budget airlines.

Patagonia changed the volume of the current black holes, so now it’s a 55L ... not sure if that old 60L is really 60L. - aaalien

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Associate Editor. I'm trying to be the very best like no one ever was. To play every game in the world is my real test. Finding the time to is my cause.

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