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Does your personal item fit in your carry on?

Hi. I'm trying to decide between 35L and 46L Osprey Ozone travel pack. I can fit everything into the 35L but there's not a lot of extra room and it's hard to get my personal item (cross-body bag) in it. There's also not a lot of room to bring anything back, though I'm not usually a big shopper it's nice to have a little room.

I'm wondering when others pack do they expect to put their personal item inside their carry on bag or do they consider the personal item as completely separate from a space perspective. It seems great to have just a single bag when moving from place to place but then again, I'd probably have to fish it out all the time.

I've gotten rather obsessive about cutting down (I'm at 18lb for everything!) and so a 46L seems a little defeating but I also want to be comfortable and I know when things are so tight, it sometimes make it harder to navigate. In some ways a 40L pack (Osprey Farpoint) would fit the bill but it's out of the question since we leave in a few days. Thoughts appreciated!

Posted by
2526 posts

Traveling with an even lighter bag is my trend. I've found what works for me as to essential versus non-essential items. Paring clothing, but retaining the concept of being able to mix and match, is quite helpful in reducing volume and weight. 18 LBS? Not me.

Posted by
68 posts

Hi Christy,
It sounds like you've done a good job of packing light! I use the 46L Osprey Porter for my pack, and like you, carry a crossbody bag as my personal item. I carry it separately, so I can have essentials within easy reach while in transit, but could stuff it in my pack if I had to. If I'm returning from a trip where I've done some shopping, I'll carry the shopping bag (as long as it's within the limits to go under the seat in front of me), with my crossbody bag stuffed in it while boarding the plane, as my personal item. It sounds like you're prepared and ready to go, so relax and have a great time!

Posted by
7720 posts

I assume by "moving from place to place. . . " you mean, for example, taking a train from one city to the next. There are some things I like to keep handy for easy access, such as water bottle, reading material, maps, snacks, etc. I don't want to dig into main bag (up on the rack) for this stuff.

Posted by
2440 posts

My cross-body purse could fit into my carry-on if need be (Rick's Euro flight bag), but believe me, when I'm coming home that bag is FULL. I consider them 2 separate things and I always check a rolling suitcase, and have had no trouble negotiating metros, buses and trains with all 3.

Posted by
478 posts

I use my RS rolling carry-on suitcase for my clothes and shoes. I do not check my suitcase. I use a good-sized tote bag that zips closed (important!) for my "personal Item". That has all the essentials I want to be able to access on the plane. I pack an empty medium-sized soft purse or day bag in either my large tote bag or my suitcase that I use on my daily outings once I get to my destination.

Posted by
50 posts

Thanks for your replies. Bruce, I agree we all have different packing styles and possibilities. My husband wears a size 13 shoe and is 6'3" which by definition makes packing light a lot harder!

Holly, thanks for your thoughts. I've been thinking about getting a light weight foldable zip tote for exactly the purpose you describe. Actually, there are there's 7 ounce foldable backpack that looks like it could double duty as a larger day pack if needed and a larger on-board bag on my return. I have exactly 7 hours according to amazon to purchase that and get it before I leave! Seriously though it's nice to hear of your experience.

Stan, I agree that you need things accessible. I almost always have a purse/small backpack when I travel but my travel these days is mostly for work where I get to where I'm going and sit there for 3-14 days and then fly home. I even check bags (the horror!....just kidding). The movement every few days seems like it puts a new dynamic in the mix, but your right. Not sure why it'd be any different.

Posted by
5819 posts

You may want to give some consideration to the concept that stuff expands. Start with clean clothing neatly folded or rolled and ending up with clothing that's been sink washed, then add stuff that I bought during during travels. If my bag was close to maxed out at the start, I would be in trouble on my return journey if I didn't check a bag returning home.

Posted by
1179 posts

On many trips my personal item is my carry on. I can still get my cross body purse inside of it. I use the Patagonia light weight travel Tote pack. It works well for day trips, day hikes, carrying groceries too.

Even when I bring a full size bag I make sure I travel with one bag. When I get to my seat I take the personal item out of the big bag.

A nice light weight seat side bag is the Sea to Summit sling bag. Just put your purse and travel essentials in it. The sling bag zips closed so you don't have to worry about it losing its contents.

Posted by
959 posts

My personal item is usually just my small cross body purse, and going over, yes it fits in in carry-on. I do keep it out, but it will fit. On the way back, my personal item ends up being a little bigger bag, like my RS Civita backpack, and it will have some things I bought in it and will not fit in the carry-on. On the way over, the Civita bag is folded up inside the carry-on. I prefer to have as few things to carry as possible.

Posted by
362 posts

I always put the purse I plan to use on arrival in my carryon bag. Then I carry this massive purse/tote bag as personal item, a bag that fits under the seat in front of me, of course, but it also is extra carry space. Once I arrive, I switch to a smaller cross body bag, but while I'm getting from point A to point B I'm trying to make the best use of what I can carry onto the plane without costing me any extra.

Posted by
50 posts

Thanks for all your replies. I've opted for the larger choice (46L) to have room. I also bought the foldable backpack that I can use if need be. This feels like the right choice. If I like I can use the backpack for a larger underseat carry-on, day trips where I want to carry more than just my cross-body bad, and as an extra bag for things I pick up along the way.

Posted by
1349 posts

I am carrying a 46L Osprey Porter, not full and cinched down. I will also have a cross body purse as my personal item. On the way back I may carry the don't tell rick bag as my personal item with my purse inside that. I imagine my Porter will be more full as well.

Hi there, this post is really amazing and I agree that while traveling we need to prefer lighter bag. Because heavy bags creates problem to carry and we can't able to travel in fresh mind.

Posted by
5697 posts

For an extra bag -- IKEA has nylon foldup shopping bags (99¢ - I keep one in my purse at all times) and larger zippered bags (about $4) Both are lightweight, fold down small. Or, of course, the reliable Civita daybag.

Posted by
2765 posts

No, on most Airlines you are allowed a personal item and a carry on so I take advantage of that. My carry on is either a backpack or a rolling bag, packed reasonably full but with some room left. I can get it down to 17lbs when required by weight limits (hello Alitalia!) but 20ish is my normal when flying on carriers with higher limits.

My personal item is my daybag - a crossbody purse. It has my camera and wallet/purse type items. This way I can set my carry on down with my husband and take my “personal item” to get food. I have my money and passport right there, so no digging through a whole carry on to get it. On arrival I can drop my carry on off at the hotel and head out with my daybag. My DSLR camera and lens is a couple pounds itself so would eat too much into weight limits.

Posted by
648 posts

I use a small ameribag as my personal item, but for crossing the airport, boarding trains, and moving from city to city it lives in my backpack as does my daypack.

Posted by
3740 posts

I need the space in the crossbody bag to supplement the space in my carryon since I seldom check anything.

Posted by
407 posts

I prefer to travel with hand luggage only on my outward journey and I have to keep my main carry-on bag under 7kg. So I use my "extra item" to the max. Within one or other of them I will pack either a small fold-flat handbag ("cross-body purse" in US-speak) and a very lightweight fold-up carry-bag for daily use/or shopping in towns, and also a small thin backpack that folds up into its own pocket for countryside walking/hiking or cycling.

Posted by
18677 posts

If necessary, the small case containing my netbook, charger, mouse, and important papers would fit inside my eTech Weekender Jr. sub-regulation-sized main carryon without exceeding the 8 kg weight limit, but since I prefer to have it always available to me, and the airline allows a personal item, I carry them separately. The Weekender goes in the overhead bin and the computer case goes under the seat in front of me.

Posted by
156 posts

I’m not a big fan of packing the personal item due to reduced space in the carryon. My strategy is to use a small to midsize backpack with a trolley sleeve to fit the pack over the handle of the roller bag. The RS Ravenna daypack is good for this purpose for short trips. If I use a larger backpack, I make sure not to fill it too full so that it will fit under the seat in front of me. I carry my Dopp kit, iPad, extra bottle of water, and other inflight “needs” without having to get up and access my carryon in the overhead. Works pretty well.

I don’t ever use T-type handled roller bags for this reason. And if I’m using a backpack without a trolley strap, there are some inexpensive straps you can use to secure the backpack (or any other small bag) to the carry handle. (See other comments about flight crews’ preferences).

Another handy little item is the smaller Eddie Bauer or High Sierra fold up backpack or duffel. They’re small enough to go in your carryon without taking up much space.

Bottom line, as others have pointed out, is that packing light is key. And I still struggle with that, though I get a lot of encouragement from this forum! :))

Posted by
2988 posts

As I want to be able to check my wheeled carryon at a moment's notice, preferably check it mostly, my personal item has everything I need plus a change of clothes so it doesn't fit in my carryon. However, every vacation is slightly different and I adjust accordingly. While I pack light, I like convenience so the personal item helps me be flexible.