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Lightweight Carry On

I am looking to replace our 10-year old ebags 21 inch carry ons that each weigh over 8 pounds. I'm hoping to shave a few pounds off our total weight! I thought I had found the perfect replacement--Osprey Ozone 2-wheel carry on. I received them yesterday, and realized they have to go back. The zippers are impossibly hard to close. I had to pull so hard I thought I was going to break them. Then the fabric got stuck in the zippers. Not going to fight with zippers every time we travel! Because of this, I'm not very interested in trying any other Osprey products.

I am looking for something in the 5 pound range, which leads me to more of a rolling duffle rather than the standard carry on luggage. I am fine with a rolling duffle or standard luggage type as long as it is lightweight. We already have lightweight backpacks for shorter trips, so I am not looking for a backpack. I'm wanting a roller for longer trips. Definitely want carry-on size, and really, really, really prefer 2 wheels. I'm willing to spend up to the $350 range. I've found one from Burton that might work, but I don't know anything about the company or the durability of their bags.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a durable, lightweight, 2-wheeled carry on? I'd prefer something from a reputable company with a good warranty--not looking for the most inexpensive bag. I've spent hours looking, and I'm hoping someone has a brand recommendation that I just haven't run across yet. Any comments to offer on the durability of Burton bags?

Thank you for your help!

Posted by
4648 posts

I love my Away carry-on: 7.1 pounds, under $300. It is hard sided, not a duffle. In the case if ever having to check it (it happens), I prefer to avoid soft-sided bags, just a personal hangup.

Posted by
1259 posts

"Durable and lightweight" tend to be mutually exclusive. The RS wheelies are a bit polarizing around here but they are inexpensive enough to be replaced after a few years' abuse. Suggest you spend a few hours on pack hacker.com and onebagtravels.com to explore their in-depth reviews of adventure luggage items. You'll also get many suggestions from folks with plenty of experience here on the forum.

I have an older version of this North Face 21" wheelie, built like a freakin' tank, but masses a stout 7+ pounds.

Bummer about the Ospreys. Usually superbly crafted equipment but good to know their hardware choices may have changed and not for the better.

Posted by
195 posts

I second the Away bag. It's light, moves smoothly, and the warranty can't be beat.

Posted by
14249 posts

You might look at the Travel Pro International 21" carry on. It's 5.4 pounds and looks like it's on sale at the Travel Pro website for $144.49.

https://travelpro.com/collections/rollaboard-luggage/products/maxlite%C2%AE-5-international-expandable-carry-on-rollaboard%C2%AE

I'm sorry the Osprey didn't work for you. After a lot of research I settled on that one but mine does not have zipper problems. I can see why you are returning them as you'd not want kids to have to fight with the zip every flipping time.

In my search, I also looked online at some of the Samsonite bags which always seem to be on sale at Kohls if this is a store in your area. I wound up going with the Osprey just because of the weight. There are some Samsonites that are very light that ship from UK but I did not look at them.

My main criteria was light weight. I have the RS 20" but it weighs 6 pounds and I would only consider something lighter than it.

Posted by
45 posts

I lucked out and found an American Tourister Ultralight Tech 2 wheeled bag that is small enough to meet any airline carry on requirements. It is also very light and easy to handle. This was a thrift store find and I paid $14 for it. Between it and my “personal item “ I was able to take what I needed. I tend to pack light and was able to comfortably pack for a 2 week Portugal trip this fall. It’s surprising how much it holds.

Posted by
4335 posts

I second Pam with the Travel Pro International 21" carry on. I have 2: an expandable and a non-expandable and use them depending on length of trip - but am very happy with it. It IS a 4 wheel spinner, which some people don’t like. However I am not gentle with it and it does fine as a 2 wheel when needed. The hard-side saved all my clothes from a drenching when I arrived on Skye in the middle of a downpour.

Posted by
298 posts

Thank you for the replies! You've given me a lot more to look at!

I know this could be a whole different post--I have never used a spinner bag before. I've only used bags with 2 wheels. I like the idea of a spinner, but question the durability of the wheels.

What would you say to convince me to try a spinner?

Posted by
2765 posts

Do some research on AWAY. you are paying a lot for "influencer" status IMHO

I'd recommend TravelPro in your price range.

Personally I hate spinners :) You also give up some packing space for those extra wheels

Posted by
4335 posts

Everyone has an opinion and it depends on what’s most important to you. I like the maneuverability of the spinner (in crowds, in airplanes, on streets and sidewalks, in airports) and it is far easier on my shoulders than pulling a 2 wheeler. Yet, if I need to (on really rough pavement or uphill), I can pull it just like a 2 wheeler. So for me it is best of both worlds. I have used a spinner for years in all kinds of places and while I am sure that wheels can go bad, just like any kind of wheeled luggage, I can’t figure out why people think the odds are higher of that than 2 wheels. If one breaks, pull it like a 2 wheeler since you still have 3 wheels. To me, the real choice is wheels or not. I did not expect to be as happy with a spinner as I am.

Posted by
4174 posts

Note that the TravelPro linked above is an international bag:
Overall Dimensions (includes wheels and carry handles):
H:21.75 in. W:15.75 in. D:7.75 in.

That may or may not be an issue for your airline. Be aware that the wider width may not be possible to wheel in front of you or pull behind you down the aisle(s) of the plane like you can with a 14 inch wide bag.

I have an Osprey Global 2-wheeled bag that weighs 4.5 pounds. Its dimensions are 50 x 36 x 23cm, 19.5 x 16 x 8in and its capacity is 38L. I used it in the summer because it was easy to pack, partly due to the T-shaped handle and partly due to the square shape. I had no issues with zippers.

That handle along with having only 2 wheels make it lighter than any bag I know of that has a U-shaped handle and/or 4 wheels.

However, having a U-shaped handle is convenient for putting a personal item on top of the main bag to wheel it around. Whether T or U-shaped, you can always pack stuff around or between the handle guides -- especially if you can unzip the liner which typically doesn't fit closely around the guides.

Full disclosures:

I have 2 other 2-wheeled bags that have T-shaped handles and weigh only 4.5 pounds. Both have square bottoms and curved tops which I find harder to pack.

  1. Osprey standard 22 x 14 x 9in, 42L capacity. No zipper problems.

  2. Eagle Creek International carry-on. Expandable -- 51.5 x 35.5 x 20-24cm, 20.25 x 14 x 8-9.25 in., 36-39 L capacity. This is called "international" but it's just shorter and shallower when not expanded, not wider like that TravelPro or my Osprey Global.

Good luck with your bag search. Please report back with what you choose and why. This bag-addict thinks that all my older bags are better than the newer versions which may be heavier or otherwise not as good as mine. I'd love to be proven wrong. 😉

Posted by
10395 posts

I bought a new bag this year and settled on a 5.5 pound Travel Pro soft sided spinner. It’s hard to find both 2 wheeled and soft sided spinner bags anymore. I like the 4 wheels for the same reason that Texas Travelmom does. I bought mine for under $100 at Macy’s. They have great sales on luggage. Another good source is Ross, TJ Maxx and Tuesday Morning.

Posted by
69 posts

We bought DELSEY Paris Clavel Hardside. 5.3lbs and not too costly

Posted by
14249 posts

I agree with Andrea...if you decide on a 4-wheeler, do buzz by TJ Maxx because they ALWAYS have spinners! IF you have a hand held travel scale take it with you shopping so you can measure as you go. Also, if you are intending to use it as a carry on the way many of us did this summer, take your tape measure with you as the listed measurements sometimes don't include the handle and wheels.

Finally, I suggest setting up a spreadsheet to keep track of things, hahaha! Yes, I did this this summer!

Oh, yes, do you have an AAA office near you? They often have luggage so that might be someplace to look as well.

As to the 4-wheelers, the reasons I go for a 2 wheeler are because they are usually a little lighter in weight than the spinners and I've had to pull my 2-wheelers across cobbles, in dirt, on broken pavement and felt the 2 wheels would maneuver better.

Posted by
5687 posts

. I like the idea of a spinner, but question the durability of the wheels.

If you go with Travelpro, they sell replacement parts.

I have a Travelpro Maxlite Rollaboard (2 wheels) that is more than 10 years old. I haven’t had any problems with it, but one of the reasons I went with Travelpro was the easy availability of replacement parts.

Posted by
5687 posts

I can’t figure out why people think the odds are higher of that than 2 wheels.

I think this is because a spinner has smaller, exposed wheels. 2-wheeled bags usually have larger wheels that are partially recessed, thus making it harder for the entire wheel to break off.

That being said, I had a 2-wheeler where one of the wheels broke and could not be easily replaced. When I bought a new suitcase, I looked for companies that sold replacement wheels for their suitcases.

Posted by
2765 posts

I dislike spinners because I am tired of getting runover on the Atlanta airport trains, hotel shuttles and subways all over the world by run away luggage!

Posted by
1259 posts

Those TravelPro internationals are listed on the site as massing 7.7 pounds. Earlier versions may have weighed less.

The two- vs four-wheels discussion is often biased by what people own and use, not objective evaluations. Visit some thrift shops and deep discount stores to locate a carryon-sized spinner for less than $25 and bring it home to practice packing and hauling around the house and neighborhood. If you like the quad mechanics, start power shopping.

When I was on a short layover in Denver a few monts ago, I tallied more than 100 folks as they carried their bags past me. IIRC, 60-70 were spinners, compared with a handful of wheelies and a few backpacks. Spinners are the preferred bag but not all of those people could steer them. There are some tradeoffs in external dimensions, total mass, interior volume.

Posted by
18763 posts

Note that the TravelPro linked above is an international bag: H:21.75
in. W:15.75 in. D:7.75 in.

Lets see how international it is: Yes: Air Canada, British Air, Lufthansa, Turkish No: KLM, Air France, ITA, Qatar, Quantas, Virgin

How about for domestic carriers: Yes: Frontier, Southwest, Spirit No: Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, United

The point, the term “International Bag” really doesn’t hold up in use but a 55 x 35 x 20 cm bag will get you on 90% of the airlines domestic and international if you want the maximum flexibility.

2 wheels or 4 is a personal choice in how you want to move your bag around nothing else unless you plan on pulling it down cobblestone streets and even then I don’t think there is much difference because you can pull the 4 wheel on 2 of its wheels and it might be easier than a two wheel with deeply recessed wheels.

Weight of any configuration, 2 or 4 wheels, soft or hard can be found in 6 pounds or less but do remember that if you pack legally, with more airlines than not, your bag will never weigh more than 8kg no matter what the empty weight is so its about capacity not weight (less empty weight = more capacity).

Price does not confirm longevity so with a few exceptions they all are going to last about the same period of time and there are plenty of great bags under $150.00

Posted by
4335 posts

Interesting on the weight. The 19” international carryon (non expandable) I bought and just finished a trip with said it was 5.48 lb. The expandable 20” says it is 6.3 lb. However everything I find online right now also says mine has 8 wheels - and I just pulled it out of the closet and it only has 4! I swear I am not crazy…..

I am the opposite of Carol, though. I hate getting tripped up by people changing directions in front of me pulling a suitcase behind them below eye level. However I really think there are inconsiderate travelers with all kinds of luggage (but none of us here) so maybe that shouldn’t be a factor. Being able to considerately manage whatever we use should be. And that truly is a different topic. :)

Posted by
298 posts

You all are giving me a lot to think about, and I am reconsidering everything I thought I wanted! LOL! Thanks for your replies!

Posted by
27414 posts

You can pull a 3-wheeled spinner bag like a 2-wheeled bag only if the wheel that failed is on the front of the bag or you can rotate the wheels to create that scenario (and hope the matching wheel doesn't fail quickly, as happened to me 30 days later). There's a very good chance it will be a rear wheel that fails, because the damage will probably occur as you cross a rough surface--like cobblestones--and have to pull the bag on two smallish spinner wheels. Bouncing a full bag on two spinner wheels across cobblestones is quite a stress test.

That said, most spinner bags now have double wheels, which I imagine are somewhat sturdier. And it doesn't really matter how much better I think a 2-wheeler is for my purposes if I cannot find any for sale in the size/weight I need.

I see others have recommended the TravelPro MaxLite, which I do not own but have been able to handle (thank you, Laura). I think it's among your best options.

If you value light weight more than sturdiness, you might take a look at the It line. The company used to make soft-sided bags (I grabbed two 24" bags for $30 each at TJ Maxx or Marshalls in 2020 as things were shutting down), but it may have switched over to producing only hard-sides now. It bags are noticeably lighter than most others (my first weight 3.5 pounds), and they are very inexpensive. There is a trade-off, though: They just aren't as sturdy as bags like TravelPro.

I don't know whether It makes a bag of a suitable size for you, but I think trips to TJMaxx and Marshalls would be worthwhile in any case. I've see some TravelPro bags there as well.

Posted by
18763 posts

Here is my vote, but I am ashamed I paid so much for a bag ($149 when i bought it a few years ago on Amazon): https://bricstore.com/p/by-ulisse-21-expandable-spinner-blue/

I have beat the crap out of it and it still ticks along.

What I like best about the hard side is they are Clam Shell so half of my clothes are neatly placed in each half and I dont have to tear everything out when I am looking for something in it.

What I like best about the spinner is that to get around the 8kg limit I carry the permitted Personal Item that has no weight limitation and pack it with all the heavy junk, then my "personal item" (about $20 on Amazon) has a strap so I can hang it over the handle of the spinner ... and all my luggage just glides beside me as I walk ... more importantly stays upright when I am not holding on to it (two wheelers dont always do that).

Bottom line is what ever you end up with, as long as the size meets the airline standards, will do just fine; its only a bag its not the trip.

Posted by
298 posts

Thank you everyone for your replies! I have purchased two new carry-ons! I had to get something with a little more weight than I wanted, but the bags had other features I liked. I'll report back after I get them to let you know what I decided and if I like them or not.
Thanks again for your help!

Posted by
10395 posts

Inquiring minds want to know what you ended up getting.

Posted by
1259 posts

I'll report back after I get them to let you know what I decided and if I like them or not.
Thanks again for your help!

That's the spirit!

Posted by
298 posts

I will say that I went with 2 wheels. I was almost ready to order 2 spinners from Monos. A hard-side, clam shell spinner would be the exact opposite of what we have been traveling with. I figured, let's just try something new! Had them in my cart and shipping info entered. Then I asked my husband if he wanted to try luggage with 4 wheels, and his reply was less than enthusiastic...

Can't totally upset the man who helps me with my luggage all the time!

Posted by
298 posts

Because the bags I purchased were on closeout, I wanted to make sure they actually shipped before telling what I chose. If their inventory was off, and they didn't have any more in stock, everything I type below would be a moot point.

I chose to go with the Sherpani Flite Deck 22. Sherpani is a company that many people probably have not heard of. I had purchased a piece of luggage from them a long time ago, and it developed a small hole in the pocket area where the mesh came away from the fabric. I contacted them and they sent me a new bag, no questions asked. I was able to gift the piece of luggage with the hole to my mom, who doesn't travel much. The luggage has otherwise held up very well. I've had no other issues with it, and I like it. It's just too large to fit in the sizers for carry-on, so I do not take it on trips involving a plane.

What I like about the Flite Deck 22:

  • It is 2.5 pounds lighter than my current luggage (ebags)
  • The top flap is flexible and opens toward the bottom. My current luggage has a more structured top flap and opens toward the side. With the current luggage, the top flap is heavy because it also has mesh to put clothing or a jacket, etc. in. When opening in a hotel, I always have to make it stand up against the wall or close it. If I don't put it against the wall, then the top flap hangs down the back, and I have a hard time accessing anything in it. Plus, in European hotels, there just isn't always a lot of room to place the flap open. It just seems that I am always fighting with the top flap. The Flite Deck will not need a wall to stay open. It also does not have the top mesh compartment to put a bunch of stuff in, so I won't be trying to access clothing in this flap. I will only be able to put in small, lightweight items, which is fine with me! I realize this flap will impede entry into the shoe compartment. The shoe compartment will not be something I access daily, so I am OK with that.
  • 2 wheels. My husband was not very interested in trying a spinner. I have experience with Sherpani 2-wheeled luggage, and the wheels have been great! Very quiet!
  • Large, simple inside cavity. I like using packing cubes. The inside has one large space that I can fill with my packing cubes.
  • Separate shoe compartment. At first, I was thinking of this compartment as a negative. But then I remembered how my shoes are always in the way of my packing cubes when they are in the same compartment. I like the idea of having them separated from my packing cubes. The video makes it look slightly difficult to put shoes in, but if I put them in a plastic grocery bag, they should slide right in and out. I realized that this compartment also looks big enough for my 3-1-1 bag. It will be nice to be able to pop it out of this compartment when going though security without having to open the main compartment.
  • Two-way zipper. This is essential. We don't lock our luggage, so the quality of the locking mechanism doesn't really matter to me.

What I don't like:

  • Only one color available. I wish they still had the blue color available. I like to get us different colors of luggage so we can easily tell whose is whose. I had to order two in black. After ordering, I remembered that I have more than enough plastic pulls from Tom Bihn, and I can order different colored paracord to put on the zipper pulls on each of our bags so we can tell them apart. Plus the colored cords will add a pop of color to the bags, since I'm not a fan of plain, black bags.
  • Chair locking system. It's not that I don't really like this, I just probably won't use it.
  • Side water bottle pocket. Same thing as above. I just probably won't use it.
  • The fact that the bags were final sale. No chance to return them! With my previous experience with Sherpani, I know the quality, so I was more comfortable with this stipulation.
Posted by
298 posts
  • ETA: One more con is that it's not as lightweight as I was hoping. I wanted something in the 5 pound range, and this is over 6 pounds.

I seriously considered the TravelPro Maxlite as others recommended. The main drawback for me was the top flap that opens to the side, is compartmentalized, and you can put clothing in on the underside. This is exactly what I have now and don't like. I never end up using the space in all the pockets on the outside, so it seems like a waste of space for me. I would prefer to have that space on the inside for my packing cubes rather than in a pocket on the outside.

ETA: On the comment from one reviewer about it tipping over, I think that if you pack a 2-wheeled bag with the heaviest items at the bottom, it shouldn't tip over. I've never had an issue with our current bags tipping over. We always put our shoes and 3-1-1 bag, typically the two heaviest items we carry, at the bottom. With this bag, they will both be in the bottom compartment, so there shouldn't be an issue.

I asked my husband about the lack of a side handle, as he is the one who carries the luggage if it needs to be picked up. He said he always uses the top handle and never the side handle. So the lack of a side handle is not an issue for me.

Thank you to everyone who replied! As I mentioned in a previous reply, I almost went with a spinner. Maybe someday...

For now, I hope we enjoy these bags from Sherpani. I was able to use a coupon code they sent me to get an additional 20% off, even though the website says you can't use coupon codes on sale items. The checkout system let me! With the coupon they ended up being less than $100 each. If something breaks or I don't really like them after using them, I'm comfortable having paid that amount. After I receive them and use them, I'll update on how I like them in case anyone is interested.

Posted by
18763 posts

slbdaisy, there are a few things I could get picky about, but in general I love your choice; nice clean simplistic bag at a fair price.

Also love your understanding of how useless the outside pockets are.

My experience is: 1. If you do use them for more than a few sheets of paper they expand to the point that the bag isn't legal any longer; 2. Nothing really fits well in them; 3 They steal from usable storage space in the main compartment; 4. In the overhead they hang up going in and coming out, sometimes pulling other peoples luggage down when you pull them out.

Still its about impossible to find a good soft bag that isn't cluttered with them.

Posted by
298 posts

I received the Sherpani Flite 22 a few days ago. I have had time to check them out. Overall I really like them. The design is simple with one large compartment. I do not plan to use the water bottle pocket or the zip pocket on the side. They are very difficult to get something into and out of. I took off the anti-theft tether for attaching it to a chair, as I do not plan to use this. The wheels are sturdy. I did a test pack and it didn't tip over at all. The bottom compartment for shoes is a soft pouch that shares the space in the main compartment. This was not 100% clear from the website description. I still like the idea because I won't have to bring separate shoe sleeves. And I still plan to put my 3-1-1 bag in there as well. The suitcases look nice with the different colored zipper pulls I put on.

I am looking forward to trying the luggage on our trip this summer. Thank you to everyone who replied!

Posted by
1040 posts

I do not plan to use the water bottle pocket

I have one on my bag and it's a great place to put a wet umbrella. I have never used mine for a water bottle but it's been used for my umbrella many, many times.

Posted by
1259 posts

I received the Sherpani Flite 22 a few days ago.

Excellent timing! That model has disappeared — sold out — from most Sherpani retailers. Hope it work well for you.

Posted by
298 posts

Yes, I see that it is now even sold out on the Sherpani web site. The close-out price plus 20% off is what tipped the scale in its favor for me. Maybe this post helped some other forum participants decide on purchasing it and sold it out!

I hope it lasts me a long time because I think I'll really like it!

Posted by
19169 posts

In the case if ever having to check it (it happens)

In over 2 dozen trips (all but 2 of them round trip, some with multiple legs) international and domestic, since embracing Rick's pack light, carry-on philosophy in around 2000, I have never had to check a bag. (My partner had to gate check her wheel bag once on a commuter flight, but I, with my wheel-less, convertible pack was allowed to carry it on.) But then, with a 12#, smaller than regulation sized, pack, nobody really notices.

The advantage of packing light is that, at less than 10# of stuff, I don't need wheels to move it. A 2½# convertible backpack works fine, and packed, weighs only 50% more than a gallon of milk. (Would you really need a cart to carry a gallon of milk out to your car?)

As for durability, if you pack light enough never having to check a bag, durability becomes a moot point. Keep the bag with you and make sure it's babied, and every bag becomes durable. Also, if you don't overpack, you don't put the strain on the zippers. That goes a long ways to preventing zipper failure.