Bringing carry-on luggage instead of checked baggage is a great way to say money and time while traveling. But strict weight restrictions (and heavily imposed fees if you don’t meet them) mean that you’ll want your luggage bag to be as light as possible when empty.
Here’s how to choose the best lightweight carry on luggage under 5 lbs.
Types Of Lightweight Carry On Luggage
Though luggage can technically refer to any kind of traveling bag (such as tote bags, backpacks, and overnight duffel bags), I will be specifically referring to those resembling the common suitcase, with a handle and wheels. This is because this type of luggage is often difficult to find in lighter options, especially under 5 lbs.
However, even within this narrower category, a few different types can be seen. Here are some types of carry-on luggage to consider.
A suitcase-type of bag is likely the most common one you think of when you consider luggage options. Usually large and rectangular (though they may be smaller as lightweight carry-ons), these bags have hinged lids that open around the middle.
Most, if not all, modern suitcases will be made with wheels, so you’ll have no issues bringing them around, even if they are bulkier than some of the other bag types. They might be particularly good for people who pack a lot of items on their journeys.
Duffel bags, often known as gym bags or overnight bags, are soft, cylindrical bags. They usually come with shoulder straps, though wheeled ones (the ones I’ll be talking more about) may not.
Most duffel bags use some form of top zip closure, though a few old-style ones will use drawstrings instead. They are convenient, balanced bag options that could work well for those who pack a moderate amount of things and don’t want the bulk of a suitcase.
Roller backpacks are very commonly associated with school students, but they don’t have to be. They’re compact and great for light packers, and they are often easier to move around and lift if needed.
Backpacks can also, as their name suggests, be worn on your back. They could work well for people who like a lot of carrying options, or for those who will be bringing the bag over different terrains and will have to carry it occasionally.
A lot of people think of briefcases are just for bringing to work, but they can be a surprisingly useful style of carry-on luggage when they come with wheels. Some people also consider tote bags briefcases.
A briefcase is usually quite flat, meaning it works well with thin electronics and documents, or for well-packed clothing – not for bulky items. Roller briefcases may be a good option for professionals who travel a lot, or just for those who like a moderate amount of space in a flatter, more compressed packing style.
Features To Look For In Luggage Under 5 Lbs
Different airlines have different size requirements for carry-ons. Do your research before purchasing a new bag. The last thing you’d want to do is purchase carry on luggage that won’t be allowed on the airplane at all, or can’t fit properly under the seat or in the overhead cabins!
You should also take into account how light or heavy you tend to pack. If you always pack light, a smaller bag is easier to bring around and maneuver. If you always pack a lot of things, you’ll want to get as big a bag as you can.
A carry on is going to have to go with you from your home to the airport, through your plane trip, and through your vacation. As such, it needs to hold up. Do you need a bag that’s weather-resistant? Perhaps water resistance suffices? Maybe you just need a sturdy bag? Whatever the case, durability is important.
If you travel very frequently, you’d likely benefit from investing in a more well-made (and, therefore, typically more expensive) bag. If you’re not a frequent traveler and you don’t plan to bring your carry on through rough expeditions, simpler luggage bags will do the trick just fine.
Storage and Organization
While I touched on the need for a spacious bag when I talked about size, there’s more to storage than just space. You’ll want a carry on that allows you to organize your items. Throwing everything into one compartment works fine, but it does make things hard to find.
Lots of pockets, dedicated storage compartments, quick-access areas, and even straps for securing your items can be important. Figure out what you need and look for a luggage bag that works for you.
Best Lightweight Carry On Luggage Under 5 lbs The Reviews
1. AmazonBasics Underseat Luggage
- Highly spacious, especially for its relatively small size
- Multiple zippered pockets and sections allow for easy separation and organization of items
- Carrying handles make it easy to move around
- Telescoping handle can be easily hidden within its own zippered area for easier carrying
- The wheels run very smoothly
- Quilted styles are available to provide additional style options
- Comes with a one-year limited warranty
- May be too large to actually fit under certain cheaper airplane seats
- May suffer damage more easily than other options with rough handling or frequent use
- May be too tall to fit over the handles of larger luggage bags
- The telescoping handle may not always lock in place accurately
- Despite being under 5 lbs in weight, it may still be too heavy for some
The AmazonBasics Underseat Luggage weighs in at 4.7 lbs. Measuring 13 x 13 x 9 inches, this bag is a rolling suitcase bag with a telescoping handle. The handle locks into place to allow for easy maneuvering, and it can also be zipped away when retracted in order to keep it out of the way. This allows the user to easily make use of the two carrying handles as an alternative mobility method.
This roller bag is made from polyester and has a simple nylon lining. It is made to easily fit under most airplane seats or overhead compartments while still maintaining plenty of space within. This is very essential if you’re someone like me, who doesn’t want to use checked baggage if possible, but still wants to bring along everything they need!
The main compartment of this bag is large enough to fit shoes and clothing, and it has plenty of useful internal pockets that can separate smaller items easily. Side pockets are also present, as well as a front organizer that can be easily accessed, making it perfect for holding important items like passports or plane tickets.
A wide range of different colors is available for this lightweight carry on luggage bag, including many in quilted designs, allowing you to opt for style and function at the same time. In addition, a one-year limited warranty comes with the bag, providing you with extra peace of mind when purchasing. If you’re looking for a lightweight carry on luggage option that you can fit as much as possible into, this might be a good option for you.
2. Samsonite Luggage Andante Wheeled Duffel
- Highly spacious with plenty of pockets
- Shock suspension wheel housing and SoftSpin wheels allow for smoother mobility
- Waterproof and weather-resistant
- Comes from a renowned brand for bags of this variety
- Low price is good for those on a budget
- When it comes to quality, you essentially get what you pay for
- Light duty and may lack durability with frequent use or rough handling
- A lack of shoulder strap reduces your carrying options
- May have difficulty standing up straight, depending on what you pack
- May be too large for certain airlines
The Samsonite Luggage Andante Wheeled Duffel is a duffel bag style of luggage that is wheeled and has a telescoping handle that can lock in place for you to pull along. It also has two carrying handles, though it lacks a shoulder strap. Still, its SoftSpin wheels run smoothly against the ground for easier mobility thanks to a shock suspension housing.
This carry on luggage bag has a large opening so you can easily look inside and have access to all your items at once. It is quite spacious inside, with additional pockets to make for better organizational options. It measures 22 x 12.5 x 12 inches and weighs 4.2 pounds, making it decently lightweight.
This bag is made from polyester fabric, which allows it to be waterproof and resist a decent amount of weather damage. This would have been great when I was on my last beach trip! With that being said, it is a notably light duty piece of luggage, and should likely not be used for your rougher expeditions. With that being said, Samsonite is a relatively famous brand for its luggage, so you know that this company has experience in creating good baggage options.
With three colors available, all at a low price, it is functional yet simple. If you’re in search of a simple duffle bag that is spacious but budget-friendly, and you don’t plan on taking very rough trips all the time, this one could be a keeper for you.
3. IT Luggage 22″ 8 Wheel Spinner
- Uses 8 spinner wheels for easy turning and maneuvering through 360 degrees
- A fiberglass make allows for added durability and strength without sacrificing lightness
- Tie-down straps are present within the luggage bag to keep items in place
- Front pockets provide extra space to store other items
- Very close to a normal luggage bag
- There is no internal padding, which may be an issue for those bringing fragile items
- Handle is known to have some issues with sticking and may be too fragile for rough use
- May be too large to comply with certain airline’s carry on rules
- Other heavier models from the same line may be of better caliber
- A lack of internal pockets can make organization more difficult
The IT Luggage 22″ 8 Wheel Spinner is a rolling suitcase luggage bag with a telescoping handle that locks into place for easy portability. It also has carrying handles on its side and top, so you can choose to lug it around if you desire. The bag measures 22 x 14 x 9 inches externally, making it small enough for many airlines carry on rules, and it weighs a mere 4.07 lbs. In fact, this particular luggage bag claims to be the lightest of its kind in the market!
This carry on luggage bag uses an impressive 8 wheels, which are all spinners, to allow you to move, rotate, and maneuver the bag 360 degrees as needed without the need for awkward fumbling. I personally find spinners to be very useful; I always have trouble when I have to turn around with a roller bag, so I much prefer being able to just spin it in place!
This baggage item is also relatively durable thanks to its fiberglass frame, which helps provide strength while still maintaining its signature lightness. Inside the bag, you will find an interior identical to any other standard-sized suitcase: two tie-down straps keep packed items steady, while a mesh pocket serves as a convenient separate storage space. Two outer zip pockets can also be used to hold useful items.
This luggage bag is available in eight different colors, and there are larger sizes available, too, if you’re interested in checked baggage options that are as light as possible. If your main goal is to maximize storage without the fear of difficult-to-handle bulkiness, this bag work well for you.
4. J World New York Sunrise Rolling Backpack
- More stable and balanced wheels compared to other designs of roller backpacks
- Two-handle heights that are easily adjustable and lockable
- A huge assortment of colors and designs caters to a wide range of tastes, preferences, and ages
- Has a reflective strip for better visibility in low-light situations
- Multiple pockets provide added storage options
- Multi-functional; can be used for more than just traveling
- Wheels may have difficulty turning or going around corners
- Some aspects of the bag may suffer from durability problems, especially with rough handling or extremely regular use
- Does not have cushioning, which may pose a risk to fragile contents
- May be too large for some airlines
The J World New York Sunrise Rolling Backpack looks a lot like a schooling backpack, but its roller wheels and large size make it a useful option for carry-on luggage. It measures 18 x 13 x 9 inches and weighs approximately 4.5 lbs. Smaller and larger options of the same backpack are also available.
This backpack is extremely spacious within, providing ample room for storage, and it has front and side pockets to store all manner of small items. It also has a rather unique feature: a reflective strip over its back. This may be due to the fact that it is meant to be used for a variety of practical functions, not just traveling.
To bring the bag around, you can wear it on your back with its adjustable shoulder straps, which are well-cushioned and ergonomically shaped for added comfort. The back panel of the bag is made from air mesh, which helps its breathability. Of course, its roller function is also available. A T-shaped telescoping handle, which can lock at two different heights, allows for easy mobility, while specially molded wheels are protected from bumps and wear.
You can get this bag in plenty of patterns and colors, which let you showcase your style and can cater to many different people, from your kids to your grandparents. If you’re looking for a versatile carry on luggage bag that can be used for more than just your next trip, this bag may suit your needs well.
5. Perry Ellis 8-Wheel Spinner Mobile Office
- Uses 8 spinner wheels for easy turning and maneuvering through 360 degrees
- Very versatile and can be used for other purposes, such as for work or as a laptop bag
- Compartments are surprisingly spacious in spite of its flat appearance
- Multiple pockets and dedicated compartments give you more organization options
- Highly professional appearance makes it usable in a variety of situations
- May have difficulty maintaining balance when being pulled, depending on the items you pack, due to smaller wheels and the position of its laptop compartment
- A lack of handles reduces carrying options
- Zippers are not of the best quality
- Relatively light duty, so may not hold up through extremely frequent or rough use
- May not fit comfortably in some airlines
The Perry Ellis 8-Wheel Spinner Mobile Office is a briefcase-style luggage bag with wheels that weighs approximately 4.62 pounds and measures 9.5 x 15.5 x 16 inches. It runs on 8 spinner wheels that can be easily manipulated and maneuvered to turn in all directions. This is done by the use of a telescoping handle, which you can pull along with you.
This carry on luggage item has a good amount of space within. It has flat, sturdy pockets dedicated to the storage of different items, such as laptops, books, stationery, and documents.
Of course, it can also fit a range of other items, depending on your needs. Its front pocket is especially useful for organizing items and is specifically made to be a useful place to stash items that need to be easily accessible.
This bag is notably designed in a professional fashion, with a sleek businesslike style. This allows it to be used for business trips as well as personal or family ones with no issue. I know I always want my luggage to match the occasion, so I would have loved to use this – or something similar – for my last business trip!
If you’re in search of a relatively versatile form of carry-on luggage made with professionals in mind and you won’t be doing much rough traveling, this bag could be the one for you.
So, which bag should you choose? To be honest, this depends entirely on your needs and preferences. With that being said, I certainly recommend the AmazonBasics Underseat Luggage. It is lightweight, functional, full of storage and organization space, and it’s fairly stylish at the same time.
Plus, it is easy to bring around with its smooth wheels, telescoping handle and carrying handles, so you’ll be able to focus on getting to your gate, not on trying to lug a bulky and awkward bag around.
But what if you’re in the market for a different kind of lightweight carry on luggage under 5 lbs? Well, there are still many more options out there! Don’t be afraid to shop around and compare the many types until you find the best one for your needs.