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Best rolling carry on for under $150

The title says it all. I'm looking for a decent rolling carry on for around $150 or less. I need something that will last for a few years. I've used the RS convertible carry on before so I am considering the RS options.

Posted by
24013 posts

There are some differences in carry-on size limits, I believe. Do you mean the US-airline limit or the European-budget-airline limit (not that those are all the same)?

The luggage world is forever changing. I think it is best to have criteria. You have already set your budget - this is important. Next, determine the size. Good, trustworthy brands to research are eagle creek, ebags, samsonite, LL Bean, Eddie Bauer. Next - determine style. I like a simple "book or clamshell opening" with handles on top, bottom, and side. An external 1-2 pockets for easy access to documents, 2 - sturdy wheels (some like 4 wheel spinners), strong pull handle that is not a T- bar. Compression straps are good feature. Durable zippers. There you go! Have fun shopping. I found a durable, small Swiss Gear case last weekend at Marshall's for $50. I would have bought it if I needed it. Take a tape measure with you when luggage shopping. Measure from bottom of wheels (where wheels contact floor) to top of case. Don't trust dimensions listed. Manufacturers sometimes measure dimensions differently - such as just the case - not the wheels.

Posted by
4316 posts

If you ever fly Air Canada, its size limit is 21.5 inches. From there follow th excellent thought process above. I would add, take a luggage scale with you as some are quite heavy. Even 'Light weight' can be over 6 pounds for a wheeled bag.

Posted by
11884 posts

I agree about style components. I don’t like the book style of opening, I prefer a top open style as to me it’s easier to manage in a small European hotel room. I do like 2 wheels over 4.

I look at TJMaxx every time I am near there and, laughing, I keep a tape measure in my purse! I often see TravelPro brand there. If I were seriously looking I’d keep a small luggage scale in my purse too!

I read your comment and I think we are on the same page with opening access. By "book" style, I meant the type that the lid has a zipper that wraps around on three sides and the lid peels/flips back. I did not mean to refer to the case where the zipper is located half way between lid and bottom. I prefer the deeper dimension for larger items like dirty laundry bag or shoes, thick coats, etc.. Thanks for clarification.

Posted by
1221 posts

SierraTrading Post is TJ Maxx's mostly online division and often has last year's Eagle Creek and more for a good price.

Posted by
949 posts

CostCo’s Kirkland Signature brand luggage is great value. I had a 22” that I used for monthly travel for over ten years before upgrading to a Gate8 trifold.

The CostCo brand starts at $99 for a 22” and the quality is what you would find in $150-200 bags.


Posted by
11884 posts

Sunbaked, I misunderstood what you meant so yes we do like the same thing.

I ~think~ Rick’s Ravenna is the kind with 2 equal halves so you need a place to lay the whole thing open. His rolling carry on has the top that opens so it fits on a standard luggage rack.

Posted by
5718 posts

I bought this one about 5 years ago, so it's been through five 3-week trips to Europe: Eddie Bauer, Expedition Drop Bottom Rolling Duffel - Medium. I see it's currently $199 but does go on sale sometimes, depending on how soon you need to purchase yours. I really like its features.

Posted by
13030 posts

If you could provide me with some more detailed information on what you want, I might be able to give suggestions.

How many wheels?
International Carry On or U.S. Domestic?
Do you have a weight limit?
Hard or soft shell?
Suitcase style or rolling duffel bag?
Anything else you are looking for in a bag?

For $150 it's going to be hard to find something of quality that will last. In that price range you might be better off going to a discount store like TJ Maxx or Mashalls armed with a tape measure and a luggage scale. (Don't trust the advertised dimensions as that might not include wheels and handles. The airlines count wheels and handles.)

Posted by
51 posts

In reply to Frank II
two or four wheels I don't care
Lightweight is best but I'm open to anything given my limited budget
don't care hard or soft
Don't care

Posted by
286 posts

I also have travelpro maxlite pro international. I've used it on 6 trips and no signs of wear. I bought it online from Currently $87.00

Posted by
13030 posts

If you go to eBags and use the filters to look for a carry on size bag under $150. There are many choices.

Posted by
112 posts

I have an RS Rolling Carry On and just gave it up for an eBags Weekender Convertible (backpack style). The RS roller has some smart features and is I think more dimensionally efficient than the Travelpro, which I looked at back when, due to the shape of the front pockets, But in the end, the thing with rollers I feel is wasted space to accommodate the handles, not to mention the wheels. I'm forever trying to find ways to fill between the gaps. I had another backpack so I feel comfortable with going with one again.

Posted by
2988 posts

I have the RS wheelie (not the Ravenna). Buy it on sale if you go for it. Got it in early 2015, so not that old, but fairly well used and checked regularly. It is less than 6 lbs and 21". I love bags so I keep wanting to purchase another one, but this one still looks and behaves like new, so I can't justify it. Plus I like the pocket arrangement in the front. It's perfect for my travel system. I keep trying to switch to another one of my wheelies (because I'm an addict), but another one never makes it on a big trip no matter how hard I try. I have yet to use the size expander zipper even at the end of the trip so I think it is pretty large in itself. I pack for what I want to bring versus filling every nook and cranny because it is there.

Posted by
3872 posts

We've had good luck using the RS rolling bag that is small enough for European airlines. It has held up very well over several long trips. Only slightly over your budget. Perhaps you can catch it on sale and still be under budget.

Posted by
9855 posts

My wife ha the Travelpro maxlite international and it has done well. No regrets
At ~$80-85 a solid value

Posted by
11294 posts

This is the newer versions of the bag I use, and am very happy with - the Delsey Hyperlite 20" two wheel suitcase. It's a Macy's exclusive:

Since you're in NYC, you can go into Macy's to look at it. Since luggage is so personal, make sure any bag you buy will work for you and your packing style. Note that is also available as a 4 wheel "spinner," if you prefer those.

It's now on sale as a closeout (I guess they're coming out with version 3.0), and at least when I bought my 1.0 version in 2016, the store would match any online sales. For about $72 with their discount code, it's a great deal.

The bag really is "hyper-lite"; it flew up when I first picked it up in the store, as it was so much lighter than I was expecting. It seems pretty sturdy for such a light bag, although of course it's not as sturdy as the bags with lifetime guarantees, which in turn are heavier and more expensive, like Eagle Creek or Tumi.

Posted by
996 posts

I have two RS bags that fall into that category, but I recently purchased a Delsey bag (hard sided) that fits those requirements. I haven't traveled with it yet. It's going on my next trip, but this is a seriously lightweight bag for being hard sided. And it LOOKS great.

Posted by
18679 posts

this is a seriously lightweight bag

With all the 2 to 3 lb bags around, how can 4.6 lb be "seriously lightweight?

While looking at some of the bags listed here, I came across the Eagle Creek Load Hauler. 1 lb 13 oz! Now that IS seriously lightweight (compares with my OPEC bag, but with cinch straps). Eagle Creek's website lists it price at $129, but I found it offered on several website for just over a hundred.

But, the website shows 5 views of essentially the same bag in different colors, but no view showing how the bag opens and what the pocket are like. How come?

Posted by
77 posts

Lee, the video shows the bag open. The inside is one large compartment. There are two small pockets on the outside, one for the 3-1-1 bag and another that looks roughly the same size described as a gear pocket.

Posted by
40 posts

I've used this bag for years, on numerous domestic and international trips - it even survived being checked once! Though I pray I never have to check it again, I'm not sure it would survive.

It's very lightweight for a wheeled bag, and the inside is an open space, due to the way the very wide handle is configured. (The downside to this is, you can't really sling another bag over the handle.)