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8 Best Carry-On Luggage For Men Ready To See The World

We all know someone who has a horror story of how the airport lost their checked luggage or how it ended up on the wrong plane and went to the opposite side of the earth.

More often than not, it’s probably better to travel with carry-on luggage to avoid these sorts of headaches. Traveling with a carry-on suitcase means you’re in control of your luggage at all times and will ensure that the airport (or airline) won’t lose your stuff.

In this guide, we’ll review several of the best carry-on luggage for men that work well for a variety of situations and scenarios so you can find the perfect one to meet your needs.

6 Tips for Buying a Carry-On Suitcase

1. Size

Carry-on suitcases come in various sizes; when purchasing, consider the following:

  • Overhead: A standard piece of carry-on luggage should be able to fit into most airlines’ overhead compartments which measure approximately 22″ L x 14″ W x 9″ H.
  • Underseat: Slightly smaller than the overhead bins, the underseat dimensions are a modest 17″ L x 13″ W x 8″ H.  Additionally, some carry-on luggage is made specifically to fit under the seat.

2. Materials

Modern carry-on luggage is typically made from one of the following materials: synthetic fabric, aluminum, or leather.  Here’s how they differ from one another:

  • Synthetic Materials: Durable, lightweight, and, in most instances, relatively inexpensive, synthetic materials such as nylon or polyester are perfect for travel.
  • Aluminum: Provides the ultimate in security and durability.  However, unlike soft-sided carry-ons, trying to fit an aluminum carry-on into tight overhead bins may be impossible. Lastly, aluminum is also lightweight.
  • Leather: Carry-ons made of leather sport a traditional look but are not as durable as other materials. Leather also tends to be a bit heavier.

3. Casing

Before you get a soft or hard-side carry-on luggage, know the following:

  • Soft-side: Carry-ons that have a softer casing allows you to fit a few more things inside.  However, a soft side isn’t as protective and your valuables may get damaged if not properly packed.
  • Hard-side: A rigid hard-shell will protect everything in the main compartment.  However, the biggest drawback to this design is that it may not fit into the overhead bins or under the seat.

4. Wheels

Consider the following when deciding on which wheels you want for your carry-on:

  • Spinner Wheels: Spinner wheels can easily and freely move around as these wheels can go straight and take corners well.  Perfect if you have a cup of coffee or phone in your other hand.
  • Fixed Wheels: While their mobility is slightly limited, fixed wheels are less likely to break than spinner wheels.  

6. Extras

Here are a few more niche features that you may find in select carry-on pieces:

  • Power Bank: While some larger airports are getting better by offering plenty of outlets to charge your device, having a power bank in the suitcase to charge your phone is a nice little luxury. 
  • Laptop Compartment: If you don’t plan on regularly carrying an additional messenger bag or backpack, a laptop compartment can keep your computer protected while in transit.
  • Laundry Bag: Some carry-ons might include a laundry bag to keep your dirty clothes separated from your clean clothes – great for multi-day trips.
  • Expandable Zipper: By expanding a couple of more inches outwards, you will have plenty of room for small accessories, books, or even a souvenir or two.

Best Carry-On Luggage For Men

1. Best Overall: Away – The Bigger Carry-On

The Bigger Carry-On by Away is widely regarded by travelers as the best carry-on luggage around.

There is so much to love about this carry-on. As the name suggests, it is a bigger version of its smaller carry-on, but should still be able to fit in most overhead compartments of major airlines.

Made to last you a lifetime, it is made of a polycarbonate material that is both durable and sturdy. The quality extends to the wheels as it comes with four ultra-smooth, spinner wheels, and a comfortable-to-grip, telescopic handle.

A few extra features make this luggage great. Your mobile device will always have some life thanks to the ejectable battery inside. Inside the luggage, you’ll find a handy laundry bag and a fantastic interior compression system that gives you that extra bit of packing space.

At 8.4lbs, it’s still fairly lightweight and shouldn’t weigh you down whether you are traveling via train or plane. While it’s not the most affordable carry-on out there, it should be well worth the investment, especially for business travel.  Lastly, the hidden laundry bag is great for those looking for easy organization to keep their dirty laundry separate.

Key Features:

  • Weight – 8.4lbs
  • Shell – Polycarbonate
  • Combo Lock – TSA Approved
  • Wheel Type – Spinner
  • Dimensions – 22.7″ x 14.7″ x 9.6″

Pros

  • Sleek, solid, and sturdy design
  • Loaded with extra features
  • Smooth spinner wheels
  • Tremendous value

Cons

  • May not fit in all airplane overhead compartments

What You Need To Know

If you’re looking for a carry-on that provides more packing space and comes loaded with great features, then Away’s Bigger Carry-On is the perfect pick.

2. Budget-Friendly: AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Carry-On

If not spending a lot of money on a new carry-on is your primary concern, there are tons of great value buys. Our favorite is the AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Carry-On.

It sits right at the bottom of our pricing range and you get an excellent value with this suitcase.

First off, it meets most airline requirements for fitting in overhead compartments and its hardside casing is made of extra-thick ABS that gives it some sturdy protection on short and long-haul international journeys.

It has four spinner wheels and a telescopic handle to seamlessly guide you through airports, trains, and bus stations. Inside the suitcase, there’s more than enough space (39 liters) for a quick vacation or international getaway.  With the 21″ model available in both black and blue, it won’t stand out like a sore thumb and can be easily used when on either vacation or a business meeting.

Key Features:

  • Weight – 7.34lbs
  • Shell – ABS
  • Wheel Type – Spinner

Pros

  • Best value buy
  • Extra hardside casing protection
  • Lightweight and easy to transport

Cons

  • Could use more packing space
  • No extra features

What You Need To Know

Plain and simple: if you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, then this is it. This simple hardside spinner will protect your stuff no matter where your journey takes you.

3. Best for Road Warriors: Bric’s 21 Inch Spinner Carry-On

For frequent business travelers that hop in and out of cities for quick meetings, it’s better to have a suitcase that is light, easy to transport, and can fit the necessities of a short trip.

It will fit into most overhead compartments thanks to its standard size of 21 in x 14 in x 9 in and should be able to squeeze into more restrictive spaces because of its lightweight but durable design.

It comes with two handles, one at the top and the other on the side, as well as four spinning wheels that rotate in a full circle and a telescopic handle to help you navigate through the airport.

Its lightweight material and casing make it the best choice for business travelers that need an easy-to-transport bag.

Key Features:

  • Weight – 5.5lbs
  • Shell – Nylon
  • Dimensions – 21.5″ x 14″ x 9″
  • Wheel Type – Spinner

Pros

  • Lightweight and durable
  • Will fit into just about any overhead and some underseat compartments

Cons

  • No extra features

What You Need To Know

The Bric 21-Inch Spinner Carry-On is the best no-nonsense and no-frills bag for business travelers and if you don’t care much for the extra added features of other carry-ons. The lightweight and classic design are great when flying back and forth across the country.

4. Best Carry-On Duffel: Rockland Luggage Rolling Carry-On Duffel Bag

Sometimes it’s all about comfort when traveling and for some men, that means their go-to type of suitcase is a good ol’ duffel bag. Take the simplicity of a duffel bag and add a few elements of a carry-on suitcase and you have our choice for the best carry-on duffel bag, the Rockland Luggage carry-on duffel bag.

This unique bag comes with a retractable telescopic handle and two large, fixed wheels that both come in handy for dragging the bag behind you when it gets too heavy while walking to your flight’s gate.

But it also gives you the flexibility of picking it up and carrying it or slinging it over your shoulder like a regular duffel bag when people refuse to move on those escalators and you’re in a rush to make your flight.

It’s made of tough polyester material and should be able to fit into most airlines’ overhead compartments and possibly even under the seat in front of you.

In terms of packing space, there’s plenty of it to cram your things into this duffel bag, plus a few extra pockets for loose items and charging cables. The only downside is that there isn’t a dedicated compartment for your laptop or tablet device if you’re traveling with one.

Key Features:

  • Weight – 10.4 ounces
  • Shell – Durable Polyester
  • Dimensions – 22″ x 12″ x 11″
  • Wheel Type – Fixed

Pros

  • Provides more flexibility than a regular duffel bag
  • Can fit in almost any storage compartment
  • Lots of packing space

Cons

  • No organized compartments
  • Provides little protection

What You Need To Know

If you prefer traveling with a duffel, you’ll enjoy the familiarity of this bag as well as the added benefits of a typical carry-on with this hybrid suitcase.

5. Best for Underseat: Samsonite Silhouette Underseat Carry-On

Some men may prefer to travel with a bag that is more compact so that they can keep it near them at all times.

With the Samsonite Silhouette Underseat Carry-On, you’ll easily be able to have it near you and store it safely under the seat in front of you.

This compact carry-on measures out to 17.75 in × 14 in × 8 in, comes in two different, solid colors, and is incredibly affordable.

It has the standard features of a typical carry-on with four spinner wheels for easy mobility as well as a telescopic handle.

For a suitcase this small, it has a surprising number of extra features. A USB charging port at the top of the carry-on will give your phone a quick charge, a protective compartment inside will store your laptop and tablet devices, and there are multiple pockets and compartments for more organized packing.

Since it is much smaller in size your packing space is limited, but if you’re taking a quick trip and prefer this luggage size, this will be just fine.

Key Features:

  • Weight – 7.25lbs
  • Shell – Tricore Nylon
  • Dimensions – 17.75″ × 14″ × 8″
  • Wheel Type – Spinner

Pros

  • Can fit comfortably into any storage compartment including underseat
  • Pass through sleeve allows for stacking on top of a rolling suitcase
  • Samsonite is a trusted brand for travelers around the world

Cons

  • Only good for a quick trip (2-3 days maximum)

What You Need To Know

If you prefer short trips and the convenience of having your luggage near you at all times, this underseat carry-on by Samsonite is a home run. It’s a quality piece of luggage that can store the essentials and then some.

6. Best for International Trips: MVST Select International Carry-On Spinner

If you plan on taking that much-deserved but long international trip but you want to travel with a carry-on, you absolutely can with the MVST Select Carry-On spinner.

Big in size with generous space inside, this black-only colored Select Carry-On is a must-have for those overseas trips because it helps to keep your belongings safe and secure.

First, the dual combination locks help seal your belongings keeping sensitive items like your passport, cash, and electronic devices safe inside.

Not only will your belongings be secure inside the luggage, but the exterior itself can also take quite a bit of abuse from the hazards of traveling long distances. The aluminum-magnesium alloy shell makes the casing of this luggage incredibly resilient and robust.

Because it is made of such dense materials, it is heavier than most carry-ons and weighs nearly 10 pounds. Despite this, the dimensions of this carry-on meet the standard airline requirements.

A high-quality telescopic handle and smooth spinner wheels give this suitcase an easy means to get through those massive overseas airports and train stations without much of a hassle.

Key Features:

  • Weight – 9.6lbs
  • Shell – Aluminum-magnesium Alloy
  • Dimensions – 22″ x 14″ x 8.7″
  • Wheel Type – Spinner

Pros

  • Dual combo lock keeps sensitive belongings secure
  • Can withstand the rigors of international travel
  • Will fit in most airline’s overhead compartments
  • Sleek and unbreakable aluminum exterior

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Pricey

What You Need To Know

International travel can be taxing, this carry-on was built to withstand the punishing rigors of overseas travel while still functioning at maximum capacity. The aluminum body will keep your things secure inside.

7. Best Carry On Travel Backpack: Nomatic Travel Bag Carry-On

Part backpack, part duffel bag, and part carry-on luggage, the Nomatic 40L Travel Bag hits a home run with this forward-thinking, hybrid suitcase that we’re naming our best carry-on travel backpack.

You can transport this backpack in one of two ways: you can sling the straps over your shoulders and carry it like a backpack, or you can flip it horizontally and carry it like a duffel bag, using those same straps.

Even though it is a backpack, it still measures out to a similar size as a regular carry-on and can fit in tight quarters of overhead and underseat compartments.

If you’re on a long backpacking trip, you’ll be glad to know that this bag comes with a laundry bag to separate your clean and dirty clothes. There are many compartments with this bag including one for your laptop and one on each of the four sides of this bag to fit everything from water bottles to shoes, notepads, and other small items.

Key Features:

  • Weight – 3.42lbs
  • Shell – Nylon
  • Dimensions – 9″ x 21″ x 14″

Pros

  • Provides more versatility to transport in uneven terrain
  • Spacious packing space from multiple compartments
  • Durable and can fit in tight cabin spaces

Cons

  • More strenuous to transport especially if its heavy
  • Only comes in one color

What You Need To Know

An alternative way to transport your belongings on short trips is to use a backpack. The Nomatic Travel Bag provides you with a spacious interior and then some making this bag a great choice.

8. For Ultimate Protection: Arlo Skye Carry-On

If you like your luggage built like a tank, you’ll definitely enjoy Arlo Skye’s Frame Carry-On. Our top choice for a hardside carry-on, The Frame’s casing is truly spectacular.

A blend of polycarbonate and aluminum materials is used to create this impact-resistant carry-on, providing you with a casing made of premium quality materials to combat the wear and tear of traveling.

Despite its sturdy build, it meets the requirements of standard carry-on sizes and measures out to 22 in x 14 in x 9 in, including the wheels. Speaking of the wheels, they are of the spinning variety and can rotate the full 360 to give you good maneuverability.

There are a couple of neat features to note with this carry-on. One is that it does not have a zipper to enclose it as it uses two lockable latches on the side. Second, the telescoping handle will automatically retract back into the luggage with the simple push of a button and it won’t require you to push the handle back in.

While its lightweight design can work for domestic flights, we think this is a perfect international carry-on given its durability and security-focused design.

Key Features:

  • Weight – 8.4lbs
  • Shell – Polycarbonate & Aluminum
  • Clasp – TSA Approved
  • Wheel Type – Spinner

Pros

  • Hard to open due to the two locks
  • Sturdy construction that is built to last
  • Sleek design that is timeless

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Lacks extra features

What You Need To Know

The Arlo Skye The Frame Carry-On is simply built like a beast and is made for the punishment that can come with frequent traveling. For a luggage with a casing and exterior that will last you a long time, you should consider this option.

About Adam

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam is an expert in all things men's grooming and style. When you don't find him reading up on the latest style trends, he likes to go jogging, attempt to distinguish the differences between IPAs, and play sports with his kids.

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