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

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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.

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. We definitely agree and call it our best overall carry-on.

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. Best Budget Carry On: 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 the best budget carry-on on the market. This simple hardside spinner will protect your stuff no matter where your journey takes you.

3. Best Business Friendly Carry On: 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.

Enter Bric’s 21-Inch Spinner Carry-On, our pick for the best business-friendly carry-on.

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 Underseat Carry-On: 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, our top pick for best 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 International Carry On: 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. Best Hardside Carry On: 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 best 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.

What to Know When Buying A Carry-On Suitcase

1. Size

Carry-on suitcases come in various sizes from different manufacturers and there is no one-size-fits-all model. When purchasing, consider the following:

Overhead – While they’re all different in storage space, a standard piece of carry-on luggage, which measures out to 9 in x 14 in x 22 in, should be able to fit into most airlines’ overhead compartments.

Underseat – When space in the overhead compartment is not enough, you might be able to try your luck in the underseat compartment. This space usually measures out to 11 in x 17 in x 20 in.

2. Material

When it comes to the materials used to compose the carry-on suitcases, these are the most common types.

Polyester & Nylon – Durable, lightweight, and, in most instances, quite affordable. A good well-rounded material that is suitable for travel.

Aluminum – Provides the ultimate in security and durability.  Unlike soft-sided ballistic nylon carry-ons, trying to fit this suitcase into tight overhead bins may be impossible. 

Leather – Carry-ons made of leather sport a traditional look and are very durable. Full and top grain leather will last you for decades and will always look nice (assuming to care for the leather properly).  Genuine leather on the other hand is made from bits of leather mixed with a binding agent (i.e. glue) and will crack and deteriorate with age.

3. Casing

Softside – Carry-ons that have a softer casing mean you can fit a few more things inside. While it’s not as protective as harder casing carry-ons, one of the biggest benefits is that you can often cram these suitcases to fit into tighter spaces.

Hardside – Given that suitcases are often tossed around during the course of their travel, this rigid hard-shell design will do a great job at protecting everything in the main compartment.  The biggest drawback of a hard-shell carry-on is that it may not fit into the overhead bins – particularly with smaller aircraft used for regional flights.

4. Wheels

Spinner Wheels – Spinner wheels can easily and freely move around as these wheels can go straight and take corners well.

Fixed Wheels – Fixed wheels on carry-ons are wheels that are unable to rotate. They are more difficult to use because of their lack of flexible mobility. Because of this, these wheels tend to be more dependable than spinner wheels.

5. Handle

Locations – The handles on carry-ons are generally located in two spots: the top and side. Neither one is considered better than the other, although the top handles make it simple to move your carry-on if it has wheels on them.

Telescoping Handle – Nevermind the fancy name, this handle is the retractable handle on the top of a carry-on suitcase. It can be pulled up by the simple push of a button and should stay locked in place.

Fixed Handle – Lacking the versatility of a telescoping handle, the fixed handle is set in place on the carry-on and can be in either the top or side location. The main benefit of this handle is that it cannot become jammed.

Cargo Handle – this handle on cargo-type bags is often a piece that wraps around the straps of carry-on luggage. Since this piece is detachable, it can easily become lost but is less likely to break than a hard handle.

6. Extras

There are more and more carry-on suitcases that are beginning to incorporate more features to provide more value. Not all of them come equipped with extra features, but some of the more common ones now include the following:

Laptop Compartment – These pouches are slots you store your laptop computer in so it is fairly accessible. The only real hazard of this feature is that it can easily be exposed and put in danger, especially with carry-ons that have a softside casing.

Battery – Depending on the airport, it can be a challenge to find an outlet plug to charge your mobile device (typically USB). A handful of carry-ons now incorporate a removable battery that can charge your mobile device without an outlet.

Given the recent migration to USB type C – make sure that the battery contained within your carry-on is compatible with your device.

Laundry Bag – Some carry-ons might include a laundry bag which is helpful because it helps to keep your clothes compact and organized. It’s also a great way to separate your clean clothes from your dirty clothing for multi-day trips.

Expandable Zipper – For many soft-sided carry-ons, the expandable zipper can be a lifesaver.  An expandable spinner gives you a lot more room for small accessories, books, or even a souvenir or two.

Hip Belt – For carry-ons intended to be carried like a travel backpack, a hip belt can provide additional support and comfort when worn extensively. 

7. Style

Solid Color / Dark Colors – Carry-ons with a solid, dark color are more formal and classic in appearance and style and it is harder to notice any stains or dirt on them.

High Visibility– Given that most carry-ons and suitcases look nearly the same, getting one that is bright and noticeable can be helpful in identifying your piece.  Of course, these high-visibility carry-ons are not formal and will also show stains, scuffs, and other surface marks rather easily.

8. Weight

While weight likely won’t be a huge deal should you go with a spinner or fixed wheel carry-on, a lightweight body can make it much easier when trying to fit the piece of luggage into an overhead bin or simply carrying it through a train car (especially important if you plan to travel through Europe).

When you aren’t traveling, a lightweight carry-on piece may make it a bit easier to store at home – especially if you plan on placing the luggage in the attic or at the top of a closet.

Carry-On Suitcase FAQs

Can I bring an electric shaver with a rechargeable battery in my carry-on?

Yes and no. Yes, you can bring an electric shaver with a rechargeable battery in your carry-on on the condition that they are spare rechargeable batteries and not the one that comes with your shaver. On the other hand, the rechargeable batteries that do come installed with your electric shaver must be in your checked bag.

It’s also advised that you drain your battery as much as possible in order to avoid your shaver from being accidentally turned on in your luggage.

What is the difference between a carry-on and a personal item?

The difference between these two is quite simple and comes down to the size of the item.

Your carry-on luggage must be able to fit in the overhead compartment or under seat storage spaces whereas your personal item, such as a purse or a backpack, must be able to fit in the under seat area or be small enough to be worn or carried in the main cabin area of the aircraft.

Can I bring both a backpack and a carry-on suitcase on my flight?

As we just mentioned, a backpack that can fit under the seat in front of you is considered to be a personal item and thus, for most airline companies, you should be able to bring both a backpack and a carry-on suitcase on your flight. However, if you’re flying on an older or much smaller aircraft, it’s always good to check their policies before your flight to be sure.

What are the carry-on luggage size restrictions?

The simple answer to this is that it depends. It can vary from airline to airline but the standard allowable dimensions for your carry-on should be 22 x 14 inches wide, and 9 inches deep.

If your carry-on meets these dimensions or is, perhaps, slightly bigger, it might be wise to check out your airline’s allowable luggage dimensions online or to give them a call before your flight. There’s nothing worse than getting to the airport only to find out that your luggage is over the dimension limits and you’re forced to pay to check-in your luggage.

Spinner or fixed-wheels, which should I go with?

Carry-on spinner luggage has far better maneuverability when compared to its fixed-wheel counterpart. Naturally, with more wheels on the luggage, the chances for wheels to break increase.

If you are a business traveler, we would recommend that you look for a carry-on with a lifetime warranty as you won’t have to worry should the wheels ever break.

Is a hard-shell or ballistic nylon (or other material) better for a suitcase?

When reviewing all the suitcase materials, hard-shell certainly has its advantages. It protects your belongings and can withstand a ton of abuse. Furthermore, hard-shell luggage is a bit more stylish and durable. However, if you travel regularly for business or you don’t want to ever have to check your luggage, then soft-sided luggage can squeeze better into tight areas.

Our recommendation here is to ask yourself what you plan on packing within your luggage. If it’s just clothes, then a hard-shell probably isn’t necessary. However, if it’s an expensive camera or computer equipment, then the extra durability found in the hard-shell design will be a better choice.

What does a TSA-Approved carry-on mean?

When selecting a piece of luggage, TSA-Approved is more of a marketing term rather than any sort of official designation. Per the TSA website, the size of the carry-on that is allowed onto the plane is at the discretion of the airline, not the TSA. Therefore, a TSA-Approved bag doesn’t necessarily exist – so don’t pay extra for this feature.

Now one feature that may be related is TSA-Approved luggage locks. These are locks that work with a master key (which the TSA has on hand). While they do their best to never open your luggage, using a TSA-Approved lock will ensure that they don’t have to use a pair of clippers to break it open.

Should I get compression straps to go with my carry-on?

Compression straps (sometimes referred to as luggage straps) are helpful to those travelers who want their luggage to either stand out or have an extra sense of security. Should the zipper seam ever split open due to an overstuffed piece of luggage, a compression strap acts as a backup measure to make sure that your belongings don’t fall out. It’s a little extra addition that you will wish you had on your luggage – especially if it has seen its fair share of travel.

Should I go with a piece of luggage that is durable or lightweight?

When selecting the perfect carry-on luggage, it can be tough to compromise on both durability and weight. Some of the most durable carry-ons will weigh several pounds – making them tough to use – especially if traveling internationally. However, lightweight pieces, while sleek, are susceptible to internal damage – especially if the luggage is checked.

Our recommendation here is to select a piece of luggage that is less than 10 pounds and one that compliments your natural physique. If you are a bit older or simply have a hard time lifting heavy objects above your head, a lightweight piece of luggage will likely make better sense for you. Furthermore, if you have delicate items in your luggage, then perhaps it’s better to put those into your backpack instead.

Zippers or clasps, which is better?

Clasps are more secure and are less likely to break over time given their mechanical nature. Zippers are susceptible to splitting, especially if the suitcase is over packed with clothes – so to prevent your suitcase from breaking or splitting – be sure to pack appropriately.

One advantage to zippers is that they are often paired with expandable carry-ons. Expandable zippers can significantly increase your interior storage space when on vacation or a business trip for an extended period of time.

What is smart luggage?

Smart luggage simply refers to a piece of luggage with some sort of electronic device embedded within it. Typically this will include either an RFID luggage tag or battery pack. Smart luggage helps to alleviate some of the annoyances of traveling (i.e. lost bags or waiting to use an outlet to charge your device).