Tried and Tested – Cabin Bags

With more of us opting to take compact, cabin-sized baggage on flights rather than wait by the carousel we put a selection of hand luggage to the test.

Best Overall

Samsonite Lite DLX Spinner, 55cm, £299

Made from Teflon fabric protector-coated polyester with fixed zip lock, four spinner wheels and telescopic handle, this case looks and feels very smart. Its 38.5-litre capacity expands to 42 litres and fits a huge amount for its size*. Inside, find an integrated wet pocket, lowered butterfly straps, removable shoe pocket. Our tester fitted in his suit and a great deal more – perhaps even enough for a week. It moved extremely smoothly and relatively noiselessly. Five-year warranty meant it was a great investment too.

Best Budget

Constellation LG00575KHAMIL Universal Cabin Case, £39.99 Amazon

Adjustable at front and sides, this case has a generous 33-litre capacity. Its handy front zip pocket keeps essential items within easy reach. It is slightly more compact than other suitcases but consequently adheres to most airlines’ baggage criteria*. While it was extremely lightweight and relatively easy to manoeuvre – our average-height tester found the retractable handle the perfect height – the case did wobble a couple of times when fully packed. The jacquard material also picked up a few marks en route. Great value for money.

Best Hard Shell

American Tourister Bon Air Spinner, 55cm, £105

Surprisingly lightweight despite hard shell. Separate compartments with zips and straps securely held everything in place, and the 31.5-litre capacity allows for a long weekend pack*. It’s easy to manouevre and has a multistage pushbutton locking handle, comfortably adjusting for travellers of any size. However it is awkward to open when travelling as it needs space to open out fully to access essential items as there’s no separate pocket. It also picked up a few marks after use.

Best Holdall

Lipault ‘Ines de la Fressange’ Duffel Bag, £75

This duffel bag is lightweight and has a generous 45-litre capacity – we easily managed to fit enough for a mini break. With careful packing, it could carry enough for a week. However, if travelling by air, care would have to be taken if you need to adhere to baggage restrictions*. It looks contemporary and is practical with multiple pockets and pouches, including a front zip pocket for essentials. It can be carried via its two handles or the detachable strap, which sits comfortably on the shoulder, even when packed to capacity. But – and as with any hand-held bag – it did start to feel heavy carrying it over a distance.


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