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Carry-On That Meets European Limits

Has any one found carry-on luggage, especially the roller type, that meets European airlines' stated depth limit - generally 20cm or just under 8 inches? Everything I see for sale in USA is 9 inches deep, although length (55cm or 21.65") and width (40cm or 15.75") are usually within the limits. If not available in USA, there must be brands available in Europe.

Posted by
3112 posts

Thanks for some great suggestions, Steve. It's mostly the shifting issues that have gotten me away from a soft sided bag, even though I prefer its lighter weight and narrower depth. I'll definitely look into your ideas, but am still curious about other options.

Posted by
18313 posts

Something "that holds it's shape better" isn't going to keep your clothes from settling if the bag is only partially filled. What you need is a soft bag with cinch straps to reduce it's volume. They have that on the Classic Rick Steves Convertible Carry-on.

I've fought this for years, especially as I learned to pack less and less. At first I solved that problem by getting a slightly smaller bag, an Outdoor Products Essential Carry-on. That bag's a little smaller in volume than the Rick Steve's carry-on and only 1¾#. Eventually, that bag was also too big, so I plan to do my next trip with an Appenzell Day Pack (1¼#, 6 in deep).

I'm continually amused at people who put 15# of stuff in a 7# roller bag and then complain that the extra 7# makes it too heavy to carry, and that justifies the rollers.

Posted by
11264 posts

Have you thought about using packing folders/cubes to prevent shifting? Works for me. I have ones from RS and Eagle Creek and I find the ones from eagle creek hold their shape better.

Eagle Creek just came out with a newPack-It Complete Organizer which is a cube and two half cubes sewn together. (Don't let their open dimensions fool you...they're wrong.) Open, it's 20 x 13.5 x 3. Add an 18" folder for shirts and pants and you'll have one well organized, well formed bag with just about no shifting--especially if your bag has outside compressions straps. (Yes, the two items will add a bout 1 3/4 lbs to your total load and there are some here who are foaming at the mouth about this ready to pounce to tell how they travel to Europe with just a quart sized baggie. But to help your "shifting" problem, it's compromise you might want to make.)

Another idea is the Tom Bihn Tri-Star. 19 x 13 x 8, three compartments, with hidden backpack straps.

Posted by
18313 posts

I've put my ETBD convertible carry on in the sizing box at Lufthansa's gates on many occasions, and, because it is less than fully packed, it has always conformed to fit.

Posted by
3112 posts

Guess I should clarify. I have a vintage (from the 90's) RS convertible, which I like and still use sometimes. I'm hoping to find another bag more structured than the soft sided, as my clothes tend to settle in soft sided, and what starts under 8" when laid flat winds up wider when carried around. I've tried packing cubes, but they can also shift. I'd like to find something that holds it's shape better than soft sided, is max 8" deep, and ideally would have a roller feature.

Posted by
31471 posts

I was also going to suggest the same solution that Frank II mentioned, the Eagle Creek Pack-It folders. Any clothing in the folder is supported by a rigid board, so it's not going to shift. However, it will add very slightly to the weight.

I've been travelling with an Air Boss on domestic trips for the last year or so, and it's worked well, although as some have noted it can be heavy and large if it's overpacked. The Tom Bihn Strap is a bit more comfortable than the strap supplied with the AB.

I had thought about trying it for my trip to Europe this year, but after much consideration I've decided to stay with my venerable Eagle Creek Backpack. I find Backpacks generally much easier to get around, with the weight nicely balanced between the hips and shoulders.

Cheers!

Posted by
18313 posts

"... how they travel to Europe with just a quart sized baggie."

Not me. (But working on it. ;o)

Posted by
251 posts

I second what Frank II and Ken suggested-- the Eagle Creek Pack-It Folders. You can use them to keep your clothes from shifting. Also, if you're set on having a smaller bag, as Lee suggested, if you can pack light enough you can use Rick's Appenzell Day Pack which fits within the European airlines' depth requirements. But in terms of luggage with a hard shell I'm not aware of any in particular that fits those dimensions...

Posted by
11264 posts

D.D.--being in Germany, you're lucky because this piece of luggage is not available in the U.S:

AirLight Cabin Trolley

Posted by
18313 posts

You just have to plop your bag on the dirty, nasty rail platform, or wherever.

With a carry-on bag you don't really have to put it down, or you can put it on a bench.

With a roll-aboard, unless you carry it everywhere (and then what's the point of wheels?), those wheels have to roll on the dirty, nasty platform. And what about your shoes? Do you throw away your shoes every time you walk on a dirty, nasty platform? Or do you wear those same shoes into your home or hotel room?

Posted by
3112 posts

Didn't realize Lufthansa had an online store. Thanks for pointing that out, Frank II, as it provides some leads on conforming luggage. Lufthansa's online prices seem a little high, so as I travel in Europe I'll keep my eye open for similar luggage at a more affordable price.

Posted by
11264 posts

While I can't vouch for the store, this was the piece of luggage I was thinking of when I first saw the question. While the line of Sub-O-G luggage is available in the U.S., this size is not....

Sub-0-G Cabin Roller

19 x 13 x 7 and weighs under 5 lbs.

Just checked....they're out of stock. It's possible this has been discontinued.

Posted by
11264 posts

But I did find this:

Skyway Ultra No-Weight 19in. Vertical International Case

Posted by
408 posts

I used to use packing cubes/bags/etc. Now I roll my clothes and find that they stay put fairly well in my bag. And there's no added weight.

Posted by
3112 posts

Thank you to all who posted positive responses to my question. Your information is definitely helpful. That includes D.D., whose comments I found very helpful, but which have now been lost due to one negative post.

Posted by
638 posts

I'd just like to add, don't take the manufacturer's supplied dimensions as reality. I recently shopped for a carry-on with wheels that would meet British Airways' requirements. Which include a max length of 22 inches.

I shopped with a good quality measuring tape in my purse. I don't know how many "22 inch" and "21 inch" bags (per their labels and manufacturer's descriptions) were actually longer than 22 inches in reality, including the wheels and (sometimes) handles. Likewise with the depth dimensions - a bag rated as 9 inches deep could turn out to be more like 10 or even 11, again I guess it was the extra bulk of the wheel/handle stuff.

I did find a wheeled bag that would fit without question into the metal carry-on sizing box at BA's counter at my local airport. Interestingly, the manufacturer lists it as a "20 inch" bag.

Posted by
11264 posts

You want a lightweight bag, with wheels, that will fit as a carry-on on most European airlines:

Medium Foldaway Wheeled Cabin Holdall

And it only weights 3 lbs.

Posted by
23 posts

I ended up buying the RS 21" roll-aboard instead of Eagle Creek's hovercraft2 19/20 inch. Even with the size, I'm still not sure how one is able pack under 8kg to meet carry-on requirements for Lufthansa and GermanWings. You might also consider a ScottEVest for wearing your weightier items, such as electronics. Has anyone successfully carried-on the RS 21" aboard Lufthansa?