- Buyer's Guide
Best Carry-On Finalists – The Second Annual Carry Awards
What do you need when you’re preparing to hit the skies? Good food and leg room? Forget it! Think about something you can control. This is one of the broadest categories, as carry-ons need to cover travel, work, play and still fit in an overhead bin.
Bags in this space generally fall into a business vibe, adventure vibe, or a relaxed weekender vibe, so it’s important to know what will resonate with you. We generally don’t dig hard cases for carry-on, as they don’t shape and squeeze into tight or slightly irregular spaces. Occassionally, we make exception though for those who don’t need too much versatility.In this category, we’re seeing more personality and options than ever, which might make it tricky to pick a favorite. But go on, you know you want to…
You have two votes to use as you will…
Allocate your 1st choice with 2 points
And your 2nd choice just with the 1 point.
Note: any votes made over the allotted limit will be wiped from the voting tally.
Why the Rimowa? Because you’ll look like The Boss. No, really. Small wheeled cases generally look a bit dorky, but this thing is Keyser Soze, secretly coordinating the world’s entire underground everything. It has more presence than a B-52. It doesn’t have to squeeze into spaces, as spaces will reshape themselves for this.
Here’s a bag that asks for very few compromises from you. It looks good in almost any setting, it maximises your carry on space, it can swap between single strap or backpack carry, and it has pocketing for almost anything you’ll carry. While nominated last awards, the bag has been updated for faster conversion and more nailed details.
This backpack is about getting everything you can into a bag and taking it all onto the plane/train/rickety old bus. There’s plenty of section, pockets, and parts to help organise. There’s ample padding, and there’s enough access points to make sure you’re never digging too deep to find that thing.
Half way between a business carry-on and an adventure travel pack, the Aviator uses flexible and sensible zones to help you organise your one bag travel. Straps can all tuck away for checking in, there’s a solid waist belt for helping with the load, a rain cover, and you have zones for shoes, tech, laptop and clothing.
This is small capacity for a carry-on, which means it works better as an overnighter only, or a supplement to check in luggage. Great organising, excellent build quality, and incorporates the modular system for hanging laptops, tablets and tech.
Who’s to argue with taking one of the most respected carry ons available (and last year’s Carry Awards winner), and stripping back the tactical thing for more subtlety. All the ruggedness of the GR2, but with a more minimalist vibe.
Raising over $340K on a goal of $30k wasn’t a bad start for this Kickstarter launch, with a convertible carry-on that tries to always have you covered. The patterning is sophisticated, the organising features are resolved and it sports a seam-sealed rain cover included as standard. This looks like a bag from a much more mature company than it is.
Being able to swap between wheeling or carrying sounds awesome, but hybrid packs have generally suffered from being too heavy or awkward to bother with. The Ozone finally gets this equation right, through hard work and evolution. Weighing 6lbs (2.75kg) with its added zip-on backpack, this bag is light even when compared to pure wheeled cases. Refined pattern work, just enough features, and a convertible system that doesn’t need a rocket scientist, this is Osprey at their best.
– VOTING HAS NOW CLOSED –
What’s not here?
There is loads of great carry-on getting around, as this is a category that people care about. Red Oxx has big fans, and awesome organizing, but for us the generic handles and fussy look just slide them out of the core group. The Arc’teryx Covert is an awesome bag for a specific set of needs. Briggs & Riley are building some great kit worth a check. It’s been great to see the SLICKS pack return, which is an excellent carry on option. And lots of our work backpacks would be right at home in this category also.