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Best carryon and personal item for TAP airlines

Hi everyone. I just found out earlier today that there’s a whole separate forum for packing, which is amazing! I’ll be traveling to Florence in December on TAP airlines with a connecting flight through Lisbon. I upgraded my ticket so I could choose my seat, which means I also get a free checked bag, but I’d rather just stick with carry on. The dimensions are small though and I’d like to maximize every bit of the allowance for both carry on and personal item. Since it’s December, I’ll wear my boots, a sweater and a puffy jacket that I’m modifying to have inside pockets as well as outside ones. I figure I can put small but heavy items such as my phone charger in my pockets. I’ll certainly cram as much into my pockets as I reasonably can while boarding, then I can switch bag some things to my bag once I’m to my seat. I’ve got both regular packing cubes and compression ones.

I was hoping someone might be able to recommend carry on and personal items bags to meet the allowances. Carry on is 22x16x8 and I believe 22 lbs. Personal item is 16x12x5 and 4.4 pounds. I prefer a backpack, but I like clean lines, kind of like a nice tidy rectangles I can slip onto my back, with no more padding than necessary.. My iPad does not fit in my inside pockets, just to give you an idea of how big they are/will be.

Thank you !!!

Posted by
12220 posts

Please clarify.....for your carryon do you want 4 wheels, 2 wheels or no wheels? For your PI you want a backpack?

Posted by
3777 posts

I have three 2-wheeled roller bags that each weigh 4.5 pounds empty. Mine all have T-shaped handles, which help to make them lighter. Having a bag that starts out light helps to keep it light.

The dimensions you listed are typical European or International ones.

My bags are older and some of the newer models may be heavier or have U-shaped handles and 4 wheels which can add 2 pounds to the empty weight. Pay close attention to the specs for any bag you consider. Note that bags are often expensive, so look for sales. If you shop in person, take a measuring tape and a luggage scale to verify what the labels might say about dimensions and weight.

Like Goldilocks, I test packed all 3 of my light bags with what I planned to take for my 5-week trip to Ireland and Wales this summer. I flew on British Airways and Aer Lingus.

Surprisingly, the best bag for the trip had the lowest capacity. But the interior design made it easier to pack. It's pretty square.

It's an Osprey Ozone Wheeled Global Carry-On.  50x36x23 cm, 19.5x16x8 in.  38 L, 2319 cubic inches. My luggage scale says 4.5 lbs, 2.05 kg. 

Sticking with the square shape, one possibility is a Rangeland 2021 Daypack.  40.5x30x17.5 cm, 16x12x7 inches. 21 L, 1344 cu in. 20 oz.  I think it's good for the plane, but heavy for a daypack. I've used mine a lot for road trips and never filled it full enough for it to reach its maximum depth of 7 inches. It has 4 cinching straps.

This Rangeland Unisex Laptop Tote Backpack comes closer to the dimensions, but still weighs a pound. I don't own one of these, but I'm considering it.

I'm pretty satisfied with my variety of very light roller bags and their applicability to different travel needs. I'm still not quite happy with my personal item backpacks. My neck and shoulders have just about aged out of cross-body bags. 😉

Posted by
201 posts

Sorry I wasn't clear. I don't want a wheeled bag. I'd like to use a backpack as my carry on and some other type of bag whether it's a large purse or messenger bag or whatever as my personal item. The weight limit seems pretty restrictive, so as light weight as possible.

I'll take my small travelon purse for during the day when I'm out wandering. I've got a few backpacks I normally use for travel, but TAP's dimensions are a little smaller and lighter than I'm used to (22x16x8, 22 lbs), so this seems like a good time to purchase another and I've never been quite satisfied with what I use as a personal item, so I'd love to fix that dilemma once and for all by purchasing something to match these measurements. (16x12x5 4.4 lbs). The weight has me a bit worried, but right now I'm thinking I'll probably pack a few pair of black fleece lined leggings and maybe my light weight black hiking pants to wear over them for a wind barrier as well as a few wool long sleeved shirts. I'll probably wear a sweater on the plane and of course my gloves, hat and a scarf. There's a washing machine in my Airbnb and a rack to sit by the heater for drying. For an extra pair of shoes, I'm thinking of ordering the water resistant black All Birds high top shoe. I've got a regular pair now. They're light weight and they feel like walking on a cloud. I'll admit, I haven't walked multiple miles all at once in them though, so I'll have to try them out a few times at home before I travel. Then again, I might just take a pair of black sneakers, but I'll probably decide that based on the weather forecast just before I leave since they're definitely not water resistant.

Also, since I get a free checked bag, and I'm planning to do some shopping, I'm not sure if I'll have things shipped home or just pick up a suitcase at one of the venders near the mercato. I did that when I was there in the spring and it worked out well. I'm going to play it by ear based on how much and what I buy.

I really appreciate any advice you can give. I know some of you have done lots of overseas traveling. I've done a little, but I'm still figuring out the most efficient way to do it solo, which can be a bit daunting, so these forums have been truly helpful. Thank you!

Posted by
1190 posts

You can do a broad search of the forum or the web for "international carryon luggage" and you shoudl get several dozen suggestions. 30 to 40 liter backpacks are numerous, something that will meet that personal item spec can be found by the hundreds. Decide on a budget, how much internal organization you need, and then start shopping for mass of the empty bag. If your total allocated mass for carryon is 22#, a 4-5# bag (20-25% of the total) is just a sad waste. You want an empty bag that masses 1-3 pounds and that will narrow your selection down to only a few. I carried one of these REI BigHaul 40L bags (36 ounces) to Scotland with RS a few years ago, totally adequate: https://www.rei.com/product/177057/rei-co-op-big-haul-40-recycled-duffel

Posted by
7352 posts

I dont think you'll find agreement on "best". I have used for years a RS Classic backpack bag that weighs just over two pounds empty. It's worked great, and never had an issue with an airline if it's not jammed full and bulging. But it doesnt have the framing and compartments that you seem to be looking for, which is why it's so light.

Posted by
201 posts

I think I figured out what I might use.

For the carry on (22x16x8 and 22 lbs) this one: G4Free Lightweight Packable Hiking Backpack 40L Travel Camping Daypack Foldable

For the personal item (16x12x5 and 4.4 lbs) this one: Rangeland Travel Backpack NEW 2022 21L Carry-on Daypack Fits 15-inch Laptop Notebook and Travel Accessories Meets IATA Flight Standards Chocolate

Both bags are pretty light weight, which is good. The measurements don't completely matched, but I think if I leave a little empty space in them, I can squish things around if TAP wants me to measure them. Also, I'm not terribly techy, so I hope I pasted those links correctly. Thanks!

Posted by
595 posts

I'd caution you regarding the backpack you have chosen. It only has shoulder straps and no hip belt. 22 lbs might not seem like a lot of weight, but it is in regards to your shoulder and back. When choosing a backpack for your carry-on, at the very least, make sure it has a hip belt to distribute the weight off of your shoulders. I'm a budget traveler that's always trying to save money. But there are a couple of areas where quality really does matter. And that is shoes and carry-on (hiking) backpacks.

Posted by
201 posts

Thanks for the input Gail. To be honest, this is the one I used earlier this year for a week in Florence and a week in Rome. Somehow it ended up behind some boots in my closet and I forgot I even had it! While I agree it’s always more comfortable to have the waist strap as well, I managed fine with this one in the past, so now I just have to start thinking about ways to keep the weight down.

Thanks everyone!