- Buyer's Guide
Best Carry-On Champion | Carry Awards IX
Our Best Carry-On champion delivers a first-class travel experience with its practical organization, tough and water-resistant build, awesome comfort, and understated looks……
The Able Carry Max Backpack has conjured up some serious carry magic. Creating a bag that hauls all your carry-on gear while remaining comfortable and low-key on the go is a hard challenge. The Max Backpack offers 30L of space, yet somehow seems to be able to carry even more, while feeling like a smaller pack on your back. A lot of this has to do with the minimalist aesthetics, keeping the bag understated and avoiding unnecessary attention as you travel.
Now it’s no secret that travel can be downright tough on your gear. Able Carry’s solution? A burly mix of X-Pac and 1000D Cordura nylon shrugs off scuffs and scrapes as you roam, while also offering protection from inclement weather too.
Access and organization can make or break a travel bag. But Able Carry’s thoughtful approach keeps all your gear tidy and secure on the go, but easily accessible when required. A front admin pocket neatly stashes smaller items, with further quick-access pockets at the ready for travel essentials. You also benefit from an easily packable and accessible clamshell main compartment and a separate laptop compartment with a suspended, padded sleeve.
Well-padded shoulder straps, a ventilated back panel, a handy magnetic sternum strap, and Able Carry’s A-frame support take the schlep out of hauling your gear, making travel more enjoyable and encouraging you to roam a little further than you might otherwise have. All in all, this is an incredibly well-thought-out bag that will handle a variety of trips with ease. And its sleek design can double up as a day bag at your destination, ultimately making travel more convenient. Superb work, Able Carry!
These are the pieces that just missed out, and in most cases, by the smallest of margins. To them, we award a High Commendation. The below were of outstanding quality, displaying fine craftsmanship and design flair. With honor, we bow our heads in the utmost respect and kudos. If this were a dais, they’d be biting their teeth into silver medals, while their flags were hoisted into the horizon – a feat not to be overlooked. And we’re sure they’ll be back, to take it one notch higher, next year.
Heimplanet have really stepped up their carry game in recent years and it shows with pieces like their Transit Line Travel Pack 34L. Dialed in to deliver everything you need for flexible and efficient travel, this pack blends into a range of urban environments. Not to mention doing double duty as a day-to-day hauler for larger loads too. The clean exterior and tough, eco-friendly DYECOSHELL fabric let this pack fly under the radar while easily enduring the demands of travel use.
Intuitive organization makes this bag a joy to use. Quick-access pockets keep those smaller essentials secure but within easy reach, while the main clamshell compartment gives you packing flexibility. Inside you’ll find padded, suspended storage for a laptop and additional interior pockets. But there’s also a central zippered divider, giving you the flexibility to keep clothing separate from your tech or open it up to one large compartment depending on your needs. The pack also includes a removable hip belt and sternum strap, load lifters, and side compression straps to keep both larger and smaller loads comfy on the go. Fantastic job, Heimplanet!
Constantly need to flex between just-the-essentials setups and maxed-out loads? The NOMATIC Navigator Travel Backpack 32L provides a slick solution with its expandable design, increasing to 41L when you need to pack for longer trips or stash those all-important souvenirs. In addition to easy expandability, the pack offers a host of further travel-friendly features, while retaining a clean aesthetic that moves smoothly through multiple travel settings.
Your gear stays well organized as you venture, with a front admin pocket, cleverly-designed water bottle pockets, and separate exterior-access laptop storage. Add in the clamshell main compartment and you can easily store and retrieve items throughout the bag. Padded edgeless straps, a removable padded waist belt, and load lifters take the strain out of hauling your travel gear. And it’s all served up in a sleek silhouette that nimbly straddles the work/leisure divide. High-five, NOMATIC!