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Airplane bag to go with backpack

I have an Amazon basics 40L backpack I travel with , which fits everything, The only thing is I have to unpack snacks, a book , a water bottle and an iPad for the plane. I then have to repack everything before I deplane so I don’t leave anything behind. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can use to carry some of these items to and from the plane. Maybe also a bag I can bring to the beach so I don’t have to bring my entire back pack.

Posted by
16032 posts

This might be more than what you are looking for. BUT

So on my fishing trip to Europe in September I didnt want to check any luggage, but my RS Back Door Bag just wasn't going to carry it all. So I looked up the maximum "personal item" size for Turkish Air (each airline varies a bit - but not much). It turned out to be nominally 16" x 12" x 6" (40cm x 30cm x 15cm). Then I went hunting on Amazon. I found this for $20.00:

I managed to put in it
Wading Boots, Hip Waders, Fly Box, Fly Reel, Heavy Socks, Long John Bottoms, Light Shell Jacket, Lines, tippets, nippers and forceps. Basically all need for fishing except the Rod and the Net (they fit in the RS bag just fine).

And it all fit neatly under the seat in front of me!!!Ai7Zk-szxfTJidJjYaDjGJqXIWVbWQ?e=XxieXJ on the one flight when I really had to do that. Liked it so much that now I use it for all my fishing trips. The rod tube and the net fit neatly in the outside cinch straps. Put it on and hike to the river. I have since bought a second one.

Posted by
4418 posts

There are a myriad of simple, thin folding bags for your infrequent usage. Look for 'folding tote bag' in Amazon. They may be similar to the item shown above, but thinner...and weight little. That could suit beach needs. Ensure you review the sizes as some are more sport duffle size, than tote bag to fit under front seat.
Alternatively review the stuff Eddie Bauer carries. I have 2 sizes of their foldable back packs and they have a zip pouch thing that is made for what you want to have close on the plane.
Really, even a foldable shopping bag could suit the bill, but it doesn't have any closure system.

Posted by
884 posts

As a previous poster said, a foldable single layer bag or backpack is very useful for this. After I clear security and am at the gate, I take the bag and put in it the things I want during the flight. My kindle, ear buds, wet wipes, hand lotion, waterbottle, etc. I carry it separately on board, stow my bigger carry on in the overhead and then just use the smaller bag.

The foldable bag is also useful as a day bag for touring or when shopping as many European stores don't provide shopping bags for free.

Posted by
2713 posts

I take along a plasticized reusable supermarket shopping bag, the smallest size, and once I'm through security and at the gate, I take out all the things I'll need in-flight and put them in this bag.
I can fit a book, Ipad, snacks, glasses, small cosmetics bag in there, and it fits under the seat in front with room for my feet beside it. .
Make sure you get one that stands up on its own, so it doesn't collapse on itself.
No need to buy fancy bags when these cost about $1-2.

Posted by
3090 posts

So many bags, so little time...

I've been thru a myriad of bags with this purpose. If I want everything to fit in my carryon easily, I've used a reusable shopping bag, and just pull it out when getting on the flight or at my seat, depending on crowds. This is the most one bag friendly option, IMO. The problem I have with this is that there is no zipper, so if I'm not careful, I could lose one of my items.

RS's iPad bag works well as it can easily hold glasses, meds, iPad, snacks, etc. and be pulled from the carryon last minute also, but my husband uses this. We have a fold up backpack from Costco (free for rejoining a couple of years ago), which should be perfect...but I don't like the look particularly for out certain days for me, which is kind of nuts because it is a practical bag. It was to go with H on our RS trip last not tested.

I presently use a Sherpani, kind of like this bag, which is a backpack, cross body and tote, and it fits BA underseat guidelines. With this bag I can check my carryon or not and still have all I need, including a change of clothes, and if I pack well, I can still fit it in my carryon bag with just my seat essentials so one bag only...but it is not as easy as a thinner bag. I would use this for day trips during the trip as well.

And then I digress: I also pack a small crossbody, empty in transit, for my daily essentials during the trip, including my camera. And a tiny purse for my important stuff, which never leaves my body, like this. In fact, this is my all the time purse at home.

I'm a layer type person so I travel with numerous sizes. When I am out of my hotel room, I hate to carry something larger than I need to carry. So, packing one extra bag flat is how I do it.

Posted by
12665 posts

MariaF, that is a great looking bag/folder for a seat back "container". I see it's a Travelon brand and for those in the US often TJ Maxx has Travelon products at knocked down prices. I've not "shopped" in ages so no idea if they are out there yet. That won't work for the beach though.

Like Wray, I've used a number of things thru the years. The best were extra packing cubes but I travel with an iPad Mini so only one of them would probably have contained your iPad. The last trips in 2019 I also took along some clear thin plastic bags from the produce section of the grocery store to put the cube in when in the seat back. At the end of the trip - last trash pickup thru the cabin I stowed the packing cube and threw away the plastic bag. I carry a couple with me anyway for various reasons and had spares for my trip back home.

For my personal item I have been using a LeSportsac or Baggallini tote which is soft sided and fits under the seat. I stow the seatback bag in that going on/off the plane.

Posted by
13839 posts

I'm also going to suggest a foldable backpack. They are very lightweight and if you don't need it, can be folded up and put in your main bag.

There are lot so of inexpensive ones on Amazon but pay careful attention to the dimensions. They are sometimes smaller than you think.

Here are a couple of better known, slightly more expensive ones:

Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Day Pack


Eagle Creek Packable Daypack--currently on sale.


Just go to Amazon and search for "Packable Daypacks" and a slew will show up.

Posted by
1660 posts

Hi traveler,

If you are near TJMaxx stores, check out their travel aisles. Depending on the stores' demographics and how big their inventory is, you may be able to find some lightweight backpacks or tote bags.

I have seen in the past, with all the TJ Maxx stores I visit, nylon tote bags - small duffle style and a backpack style for under $10.

With nylon, it would be easier to keep clean especially if you intend on bringing it to a Beach area.
(RS Packable Backpack is very similar.) Also in TJMaxx stores, they tend to have travel items as you approach check out. In the past, I have seen those type bags.

The backpacks have fairly sturdy straps for what you intend to put in them as well as a few zippers.

Other suggestions would be Marshalls; although their travel inventory is not that great. I haven't been into a Burlington Coat Factory, but you could also check them out if you are close to any.

Good luck in your search.

Posted by
1660 posts

Oh and another thought. TJMaxx usually gets in a decent inventory of Kipling lightweight travel bags. I have seen backpacks and tote bags. They are very lightweight, very durable, can be wiped clean, and usually have a lot of black ones as a standard color.

Posted by
1978 posts

I have reusable shopping bags that fold up to the size of my palm. I always bring at least two on every trip, since we need them at the grocery store. Search on Amazon for reusable shopping bag with pouch and you’ll see tons of choices.

Posted by
17 posts

After trial & error, I have found this works for me...
I have a lightweight rolling carry-on, into which I pack all my plane luxuries/necessities of snacks, water bottle, blanket, pillow, ipad, N.C. headpones, pillow, etc. and a folded Longchamp tote bag or equivalent. Additionally I wear a crossbody purse. This works really well for walking around the airport.

Just before boarding the plane, I take out everything from the rolling carryon that I want with me at my seat, and put it in the Longchamp tote that has been packed in the rolling carry-on. To this bag I also add my crossbody purse. Now I still have only a personal item and carry-on. Once on the plane, the carry-on goes in the overhead bin and the zipped Longchamp goes under my seat as my personal seat bag. When deplaning, I find there isn't always enough time or room to put the bag back into the roll aboard, so I just wrap it on the handles of the roll-aboard until I have deplaned and at the gate area, and can reorganize if needs be. The longchamp material is nylon, so I've found it fine for a beach bag, grocery bag, lunch bag, overnite bag, bus bag or what ever I would need another bag for.

This system works even if I switch it up and use a small compressible backpack instead of the Longchamp. If I still needed a tote type bag, I will take a recyclable grocery bag that folds up to the size of a deck of cards or smaller.

Have fun experimenting.

Posted by
13839 posts

I've let the webmaster know he has work to do with the previous post.

I’m late getting on this thread. Just go to the Rick Steve online store here. There is the civita backpack, the packable duffel, the packable backpack, the hide-away tote. These are all “cheap” options. All of them collapse easily. Some of them fold up into little pouches. Good for swim stuff, sport bag, groceries, laundry, and flight bag (under seat). I have two duffels and the civita. Basic, gets the job done.

A packing cube with a handle strap will work also. Just depends on what size you need.

Patagonia is expensive, but has a light weight travel tote that can work as a backpack or a tote bag. Not my favorite though. It’s somewhat large and floppy, except when it’s fully packed with dirty laundry.

Note: I would steer clear of the RS packable backpack. It’s only 14 inches long in the torso area. Better for kids or short adults. Most adults would not want to wear this. There is such a thing as too small.

Here’s an idea. Ebags classic packing cubes. I just test packed one of my cubes for you. The medium cube at 14” x 10” x 2.75” will work for you easily. Ebags has a great sale on its cubes right now. I recommend that you get one of the value sets which contains both a medium cube and a small cube. Then, you can play around with the sizes and have a couple of extra cubes for other items. These cubes have a handle strap on them for carrying. Easy to get through security with the partial mesh front.
You can use them as you wish. Easy to retrieve from your pack and repack.

Note: The small Ebags cube is too narrow for a regular sized iPad. May work for a mini. Ebags lists the dimensions. The medium would still be better if packing a water bottle and snacks. You should measure your iPad and water bottle and look for a bag with appropriate volume and dimensions. Cinch sacks and shoe sleeves could work.

Posted by
317 posts

Magellan travel tote bag is a good option because it contains anti-theft features that also make it a good choice for a day bag at your destination.