10 Best Carry-On Backpacks5 min read

By Ben Griffin

Hiker Extraordinaire

Traveling is fun.

But in this day and age when there are so many different security checkpoints and regulations wherever you travel, it might get exhausting sometimes.

No matter what time you show up for your flight it seems that there is never enough time to go through customs, TSA, and get to your gate without being winded.

Even if you are one of the few that plans ahead to get through all that in a decent amount of time, you may be delayed due to oversized carry-on that ends up having to be checked in.

Then you have to deal with the added costs of checking that item and you are without all your toys and entertainment during your flight.

What if though you could find a carry-on backpack that you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt would pass through customs? What if there was one bag that could save you money and time when going through all the security checkpoints? Wouldn’t that be nice? Well, here you are going to find the ten best Carry-On Backpacks for your next plane trip.

The Purpose Of A Carry-On Backpacks

A lot of people don’t realize that carry-ons are life savers when it comes to the horrible situation where the airlines lose your luggage.

Most people don’t even think twice about packing extra clothes for emergency situations like that.

They think that a carry-on should be something you bring that has all your entertainment and goodies to keep you occupied until you reach your destination.

However, the real reason behind a carry-on is so that when you get to your destination and find that your luggage hasn’t arrived yet, you aren’t stuck with only the clothes on your back.

Things To Consider When Buying Carry On Backpacks

Before you go searching for your perfect carry-on backpack there are a few things you need to consider.

You need a backpack that will carry everything you need to bring with you and then some.

After all, the rule of thumb is to bring an extra change of clothes, personal items, and whatever else you think you may need.

You should also pack your valuables in your carry-on since it is less likely to get lost during your flight.

In order to pack everything you need in such a small space, you need to know the Dimensions of your carry-on.

You also need one that will provide you with comfort for layovers and travel around.

After a 7-hour flight and a 2-hour layover, the last thing you want is a bag that is uncomfortable.

You will already be miserable thanks to the time change.

So getting a bag that is soft with cushions in the straps just makes things that much easier for you.

Lastly, you want a backpack that will hold everything you want to bring with you or the capacity.

A backpack that has multiple pockets to keep everything organized is the way to go when traveling.

It also makes it easier for the TSA agents to go through when you are at the security checkpoints.

The faster you can get through that area with no headaches the better.


Let’s look at the dimensions.

There are three little words you never want an airline steward to tell you: “That doesn’t fit.” When those words are uttered you are guaranteed to have to bring your carry-on to the checkout counter.

That is why it is so important to know the limits of your carry-on.

You want to know that it will fit easily in the overhead compartment or under your seat with no issues.

Sure, you can use the airport’s baggage checker to make sure.

Or, you can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your bag will fit by doing a little research and knowing how big each carry-on for the different major airlines can be.

Rules for the Major Airlines

There are basically 9 major airlines that people use to get around the country.

American United Delta Hawaiian Virgin JetBlue Southwest Spirit Alaskan Each one of these major airlines allows you to bring with you one personal item like a purse or small bag and one carry-on at no cost to you.

The sizes of these items differ between the different airlines.

Take Alaskan airlines for example.

Your carry-on must be at the maximum 24in x 17in x 10in.

That includes the wheels and handle that you use to move it around.

But when you look at Spirit, the airlines won’t allow a carry-on to be bigger than 22 x 18 x 10 inches.

The standard size for your carry-on through JetBlue, American Airline, Delta, United, and Hawaiian is 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches.

Believe it or not that one inch can mean all the difference between getting your carry-on in the overhead bulkhead and having to check it in.

So pay attention to the dimensions of your carry-on to avoid this little problem.


Now, when it comes to comfort, you want one that is comfortable for you to be lugging around.

The comfort level is crucial, especially when you have layovers and are traveling through different airports.

You don’t want a bag that is going to cause you to hurt.

One of the main pressure points that get irritated during traveling is the shoulder and neck area.

That is because that is where the weight of your backpack rests.

You want a carry-on backpack that will provide you with padding in that area so you don’t hurt after your trip.


Lastly, you want to think about how much stuff you can pack in your carry-on and how organized you can get it.

There are some carry-on backpacks that open up and lay flat.

These are super awesome when going through all the security checkpoints.

It makes it easy for the TSA personnel to open it up and see everything all at once instead of digging through it.

Plus, these kinds of backpacks hold everything from your laptop to an extra set of clothes and a toothbrush each in different compartments so everything is in its place.

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