Lightweight carry-on bags

Updated May 2021! 

I still really like the Tom Bihn bag but it’s too hard for me to consider carrying a bag without wheels. However, my husband loves his bag still! He added the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30 (a bit smaller) to his collection and the Pilot laptop bag as his personal item. These bags have been to multiple countries, traveled thousands and thousands of miles, fit on board just about every airline and have held up extremely well being checked when we felt like checking bags!

I am now thoroughly convinced that I’m a Lipault Lady through and through! (at least for now!). I have been traveling with the Lipault Plume Avenue Spinner in Black with gold zippers and I love it! I also have the matching duffel bag. My daughters are loving the Lipault bags too and using the spinners in Plume Avenue and City Plume models. All carry-on size. They also have coordinating tote bags and backpacks. I think they look pretty snazzy!

Lets take a look at some of my favorite carry-on luggage. For my requirements, it has to be very light-preferably under 5 pounds while empty and it needs to be approved on international carriers as well. You will also notice that I favor two wheels rather than spinners. I feel that the spinners take up too much space and are just a piece of luggage that might snap off but that is just my personal preference. I also don’t like how people push their spinners along in airports without really holding onto the bags-it just irritates me. No real reason why.

I really do love the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 bag! It is an amazingly awesome design. It’s lightweight, converts to a backpack and you can stuff a ton of clothes and shoes in it. Tom Bihn also makes awesome little organizers for the bag, like the “snake charmer” for my cords and chargers and the “311” toiletry bag. The only bummer about this bag is that it doesn’t have wheels. (but this is why there is so much internal space!) This well traveled bag has flown on many domestic and international flights and has been stuffed to capacity. I’ve never had a problem getting it in the overhead compartments.

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On our last international trip to Greece, I decided to try a bag with wheels. I used the Travelpro Maxlite 4 expandable 22 inch. This was a great, well made and durable suitcase. However, after all the ferry rides and stairs on the trip, I was wishing I had Tom Bihn backpack instead. But, this really was a trusty suitcase and I would totally use it again for domestic travel. This was the heaviest of all the bags that I am reviewing but to be fair, it’s still quite lightweight-about 6 pounds. We were asked to gate check my bag on one flight…I’m pretty sure I have could have made a stink and brought it on but gate checking was fine with me.


This next bag is a nylon roller bag. It’s the Osprey Ozone 22 inch bag. It’s really lightweight, about 4 1/2 pounds and it comes in this cool blue color. (I got this bag for my mom simply because of how light it is and for the color!) It also comes in red btw. It has compression straps-always good for the over packers (me!) and I really like the 3 pockets but especially the pocket located on the back. The only downside to this bag is how the telescoping handle takes up space internally. You really need to roll your clothes cleverly around the hump to maximize the space. This bag is about to embark on a tropical Hawaiian vacation. Lucky bag!


I’ve put all my eggs in one basket, or suitcase, with this next nylon roller bag. It’s the Lipault Pliable Upright 55/20 (a 21 inch bag). I decided that my daughters will take this bag as we travel to 10 countries in 100 days. This bag will get the ultimate workout! (I think a review after the trip will be in order!)

My girls have traveled with the Travelpro Maxlite in the past but for this trip, we will be going through numerous airports, including flying on some smaller planes, on and off of trains, boats and who knows what other forms of transportation! So, we downsized. This bag is really light-about 4 pounds and it’s really only a 20 inch bag, however, the soft, padded handle counts towards the total inches. Cons-I’m not in love with the outer front pocket and I wish there was a back pocket. Both of my daughters will use this suitcase in purple.

I was convinced that I would take my Tom Bihn bag around the world until I thought of all the hours I would be rushing through airports…then I changed my mind and decided that wheels would be best for this trip. The bummer is that this bag really does not hold as much and I was forced to cut 3 dresses and 3 tops from my suitcase. Major bummer for this over packer but I’m sure I will still have too many clothes!

Coming soon…tote bags!

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