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ISO a weekender-sized bag that is light but check-able

I need to replace the weekender-sized bag I picked up in Australia in 2000. To replace it I'd like to find something that is very light, but sturdy enough to be checked if I decide to do so.

It doesn't matter to me if it has wheels or not.

Do you have a bag you love that meets these criteria?

  • lightweight
  • weekend-sized
  • wheels or not doesn't matter
  • check-able
  • fits under the seat on a normal sized plane or in the overhead on a commuter-sized plane

Any ideas?

Posted by
353 posts

Bonus points if it's not too girly and my husband will feel comfortable carrying it on his short trips too. :-)

Posted by
32241 posts


I'm not sure what size is considered a "weekender", but a few excellent quality products you could have a look at.....

  • Tom Bihn - a couple of products that might work for you are the Tri-Star, Western Flyer or even something smaller like the Night Flight Travel Duffle. Many products are available in both a cordura nylon or a Halcyon material which is somewhat lighter.
  • Red Oxx - they have a number of products that may work for you, including the newly released Mini-Boss which is not only extremely rugged but nicely sized for carry-on.

Both of these manufacturers tend to be on the high end of the price scale, but they both make exceptional quality "made in the U.S.A." products. Red Oxx was started by an ex Green Beret parachute rigger, so the products are built along the lines of military equipment and will stand up to just about anything.

Posted by
353 posts

Thanks, Ken - I will check out those brands!

And he might carry a Hello Kitty bag ironically so I won't rule it out yet. :-D

Posted by
15520 posts

What's your budget?

I can suggest bags that are under $100 and over $500 and everything in between.

Very few wheeled bags will fit in the overhead of a commuter sized plane.

Here's a start:

eBags Motherlode Weekender TLS and eBags Motherlode Weekender Junior
eBags Weekender Tech and Junior
Eagle Creek Weekender bags (Adventure, Flyte and Tarmac)
Rick Steves Convertible Carry On
Osprey 46
Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 and Aeronaut 30
Tom Bihn Tri-Star
RedOxx Air Boss
Redoxx Skytrain

That's a start of non-wheeled Convertible bags (except the Air Boss)

For wheeled:

Rick Steves Rolling Backpack
Lipault Foldable 22
Victorinox Ultralightweight Lexicon

and if you really want to blow the budget:

Rimowa Air

Posted by
353 posts

Budget - if it will last me 10 years I'm willing to go up to $300. Less expensive is nice, but for a really high quality small bag I will pay extra.

Posted by
71 posts

By asking for a bag that is "check-able" but also "fits under the seat on a normal sized plane" seems to indicate that you're looking for a small yet extremely rugged bag that won't show damage after potentially rough handing by airlines.

Tom Bihn's Night Flight has been nothing but excellent for me as a personal-sized piece of luggage, and the 1050 ballistic nylon could likely survive an encounter with a particularly stomping inclined elephant. Although I haven't used them, they also make a set of Packing Cubes for the bag if you're looking for a minimalist packing solution.

Posted by
353 posts

Based on this thread I am currently deciding between:

Red Oxx Mini Boss
Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30

I like the looks of the Kipling bag but I am worried the outside pockets might read as "girly."

I've sent all 3 on to my husband to see if he has a preference.

Posted by
353 posts

Nikky - that's spot on - I want something that I will normally carry on but can hold up to baggage-handler treatment if I need to check it on for some reason.

Looking at the Night Flight now...

Posted by
15520 posts

If you go with a Tom Bihn bag, and want indestructible, stick with the ballistic nylon over the Halcyon. It is tougher.

If you are interested in packing cubes, Tom Bihn now has two lines of cubes made for each bag: their regular cubes an a new line of ultralightweight cubes made of material they call Aether. I have both and will now probably lean towards the Aether due to their weight.

On a side note....a few days ago going through security, I was behind a woman who had a Tom Bihn shoulder bag that I didn't recognize. She told me had it for nearly 20 years and always travels with it. It looked in great condition.