Top five best cabin bags for 2020
By Callum Tennent
A quality cabin bag will ensure you start your trip on the right foot. The best cabin bags are light enough to lift, will fit snugly in the overhead locker, and won't crack open should they suffer a drop.
It might be tempting to opt for the cabin bag you simply like the look of the most. After all, luggage is just luggage, right?
Our in-depth testing has revealed that that couldn't be further from the truth. From broken zips and sticky wheels to sodden contents following a simulated downpour, our lab has discovered that making a bad choice could make negotiating the airport a real pain.
In the table below we reveal the very best models from our testing. Every cabin bag goes through the same tests, so you can be sure that any model we recommend offers durability and is easy to handle and move.
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Top five best cabin bags
If you're flying with Ryanair then there's no better carry-on bag on the market right now. From our water resistance test to being loaded up with weights and dropped, this bag took everything we had to throw at it in our lab. It’s also light, despite the hard shell and generous capacity, meaning you can get full value from Ryanair’s 10kg weight allowance. Sign in to see what cabin bag we're talking about.
If you want a classic, soft-sided cabin bag that does the job well, this case is the one for you. It’s impressively comfortable to lift and pull around, and it proved to be durable as well, making it an excellent all-rounder for your travels. It’s also more affordable than some of its big-name rivals, so it’s certainly one for your wishlist.
An absolute bargain, this cabin bag didn't disappoint for how easy it is to manoeuvre around and carry, thanks to it's soft padded handles. Although some cracks did surface during our harsh impact testing, the all-round performance from this trusted brand was enough to earn it a Best Buy.
Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of February 2019.
Not found the product for you? Browse all of our cabin bag reviews.
Top five tips for picking the best cabin bag for you
- Hard or soft?: The most important choice you'll have to make; Hard luggage offers greater protection, but you can usually cram more into soft baggage.
- Weight: The difference in weight between bags is surprisingly large. It's not just that a heavier bag will be more difficult to hoist into the locker and drag around the airport - it'll eat into that precious on-board weight allowance, too.
- External pockets: These can make fetching important items, such as your smartphone or passport, quick and easy.
- Two or four wheels?: A two-wheel case will serve most people fine, but a four-wheel case is easier to move around. A single jammed or broken wheel isn't the end of the world on a four-wheeled case, either.
- Internal divider: A big, empty case seems like it offers more space for packing, but an internal divider takes up next-to-no room and can make organising your belongings that little bit easier.