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Best Lightweight Luggage To Make Traveling a Breeze

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Updated February 29, 2024

If you’ve recently taken a trip and found your luggage was just too heavy, it may be time to purchase a new, lighter option that won’t hold you back when you travel. “My pro tip for packing is this: Practice walking up a set of stairs with your luggage before you leave for the airport,” says Alexa West, author of The One-Way Ticket Plan and founder of The Solo Girls Travel Guide. “If you’re struggling now, you’ll certainly be struggling on the other side of the world.” We’ve spoken with West and other travel experts who weighed in on the best lightweight luggage for all types of travelers, no matter whether you’re trying to find the best hardside luggage, the best carry-on luggage, or even just a really good backpack. Read on for these pro-approved picks below.

What to consider when buying lightweight luggage

Budget

Lighten the load literally, but also monetarily. You want to ensure the lightweight luggage option you select falls within your budget; items on the below list range from below $50 to $600 and above.

Lifetime Warranty

Particularly in instances where you’re making an investment purchase, it's important to determine whether a retailer offers lifetime warranty for a product in the event of damage.

Style

You’ll likely be using your lightweight luggage for many years to come, so you’ll want to be mindful to select a color and style that will appeal to you for the foreseeable future, and that it will also be able to withstand dirt and stains.

Size

You’ll want to select a piece of lightweight luggage comfortable for you to wield based on your body size. You should also ensure that the option you choose can accommodate your desired amount of gear, particularly if you have a tendency to travel with minimal luggage for long periods of time.

Our top picks for the best lightweight luggage

Best lightweight carry-on luggage: Rimowa Original Cabin Carry-On

Stephanie Miller, owner of The Scenic Suitcase, appreciates how Rimowa’s Original Cabin Carry-On is “stylish, durable, and extremely lightweight.” Though it’s on the pricier end of the luggage spectrum, Miller considers the Cabin to be worth the splurge for a number of additional reasons. “What I like best is the fact that it’s zipperless, so I never have to worry about the safety of my belongings or my zipper breaking on a trip,” she says. Miller has brought her Cabin on her travels to all seven continents. “I love it just as much now as the day I bought it,” she adds. Miller is also appreciative of Rimowa’s lifetime guarantee in case the suitcase were ever to break, noting, “That peace of mind is priceless.”

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 21.7 inches x 15.8 inches x 9.1 inches
  • Material: Aluminum, polyester, plastic
  • Weight: 9.5 pounds
  • Price on publish: $1,375

What we like:

  • TSA-approved lock system
  • Interior divider
  • Lifetime guarantee

What we don’t like:

  • Steep price tag
Best lightweight carry-on luggage
Rimowa Original Cabin Carry-On

Rimowa Original Cabin Carry-On

Best lightweight hardside luggage: Samsonite C-Lite Large Spinner

Roughly ten years ago, Brenna Holeman, the founder of This Battered Suitcase, chose to invest in a piece of luggage that she would be able to carry for the foreseeable future and landed on Samsonite’s C-Lite Large Spinner. “It has since traveled with me to over 60 countries and has been on boats, trains, planes, and everything in between, yet it's still in fantastic condition,” Holeman reflects. She considers the piece to be a worthy investment, adding, “It's spacious, sturdy, and incredibly light for a hardside suitcase.”

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 30.7 inches x 21.5 inches x 12.6 inches
  • Material: Curv Material Recyclex
  • Weight: 6.31 pounds
  • Price on publish: $600

What we like:

  • TSA-approved lock system
  • 360°-rotation wheels
  • Zippered divider and cross straps
  • 10-year warranty

What we don’t like:

  • Steep price tag
Best lightweight hardside luggage
Samsonite C-Lite Large Spinner

Samsonite C-Lite Large Spinner

Best lightweight luggage for international travel: LEVEL8 Road Runner Pro Carry-On With Laptop Pocket

International travel often brings with it unfamiliar terrain and a series of climate changes, and Nellie Huang has sworn by her LEVEL8 Pro Carry-On With Laptop Pocket for over two years. “It’s the most reliable lightweight trolley suitcase I’ve had,” says the travel writer and founder of WildJunket. “The spinner wheels are so sturdy, they’re still in top shape after I dragged them through the cobblestoned streets of Cusco, Peru; the jungle-like trails of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula; and the steep slopes in the mountain towns of Albania.” Huang frequently packs the bag full with two weeks’ worth of clothes while stashing away her laptop in the front pocket. A built-in USB port allows for easy on the go charging capabilities, too.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 21.5 inches x 14.4 inches x 9.2 inches
  • Material: Bayer Makrolon® Hard Shell
  • Weight: 9.3 pounds
  • Price on publish: $209

What we like:

  • TSA-approved lock system
  • 360°-rotation wheels
  • Lifetime warranty

What we don’t like:

  • Limited color selection
Best lightweight luggage for international travel
LEVEL8 Road Runner Pro Carry-On With Laptop Pocket

LEVEL8 Road Runner Pro Carry-On With Laptop Pocket

Best lightweight luggage for seniors: Calpak Luka Soft-Sided Mini Carry-On

Seniors looking to stay extra organized while traveling will appreciate the efficiency of the Luka Soft-Sided Mini Carry-On from Calpak, one of the best luggage brands out there. The outer pocket can safely house a range of electronic devices, novels, and paper itineraries, making it easy to locate in-flight essentials with ease. The suitcase’s interior capacity ensures even the most anxious travelers feel prepared. “With lost luggage issues on the rise, I always recommend carrying on two to three outfits, toiletries, and basic essentials,” says Jen Terra Halberg, luxury travel advisor and founder of Jen Terra Travels. There’s also a padded laptop sleeve and multiple interior pockets to keep everything organized.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 16 inches x 14.5 inches x 9 inches
  • Material: Water-resistant Luka polyester
  • Weight: 5.1 pounds
  • Price on publish: $165

What we like:

  • TSA-approved lock system
  • 360°-rotation wheels
  • Multiple interior pockets, including a padded laptop sleeve

What we don’t like:

  • May need to be checked on smaller planes
  • Smaller capacity (but that’s expected with a carry-on)
Best lightweight luggage for seniors
Calpak Luka Soft-Sided Mini Carry-On

Calpak Luka Soft-Sided Mini Carry-On

Best lightweight luggage sets: Away Luggage Sets

Many avid travelers appreciate Away’s other luggage offerings, which come in a range of sizes and can be purchased as sets. You can also simply order two different styles that appeal to you and create your own “set,” as Julie Patterson did. The luxury travel advisor and content creator behind Wanderfully Planned has purchased both The Carry-On and The Large from Away. “The thing I love the most about them is that both suitcases have an additional zipper that allows you to increase your packing space,” Patterson says. “This is great especially when returning from a destination where you may have picked up a few extra things to bring home with you.” For more details, check our Away carry-on luggage review.

Editor’s tip: If minimal luggage weight is truly a priority, check out Away’s F.A.R. (For All Routes) line, which is designed to be as light as possible. The F.A.R. Convertible Backpack and the F.A.R. duffle bag are especially good choices—especially for weekend bags, according to Time Stamped Shopping’s editor Brie Dyas. “You can fit multiple changes of clothes, shoes, toiletries, and anything else,” she says. “I’ve even thrown in a tennis bag inside of the larger duffle!”

Specifications (for The Carry-On):

  • Dimensions: 21.7 inches x 14.4 inches x 9 inches
  • Material: Polycarbonate hard shell
  • Weight: 7.5 pounds
  • Price on publish: $315

What we like:

  • TSA-approved lock system
  • 360°-rotation wheels
  • Mesh pockets and hanging pocket
  • Underside grab handle for easy lifting

What we don’t like:

  • May not hold enough for longer trips
Best lightweight luggage sets
Away The Carry-On

Away The Carry-On

Specifications (for The Large):

  • Dimensions: 29” height x 20.5” length x 12.5” depth
  • Material: Water-resistant nylon and polycarbonate hard shell
  • Weight: 12.1 pounds
  • Price on publish: $375

What we like:

  • TSA-approved lock system
  • 360°-rotation wheels
  • Can house gear for over two weeks of travel

What we don’t like:

  • Heavier and takes up more storage space
  • Glossy finish costs $20 more
Best lightweight luggage sets
The Large in Navy Blue

The Large in Navy Blue

Best budget lightweight luggage: Modoker Convertible Garment Bag with Shoulder Strap

Those in search of a reliable lightweight luggage option under $50 will appreciate the Modoker Convertible Garment Bag with Shoulder Strap. It functions as a hanging garment bag (which can house a full suit) and also rolls into a carry-on sized duffel. “It also has a convenient section for shoes, a small pocket for your passport, keys, etc, and a large interior that can fit the rest of your travel items,” shares Shannon Hara, the founder of Traveling Teacher Girl.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 11 inches x 22.8 inches x 11 inches
  • Material: Water-resistant nylon and polycarbonate hard shell
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Price on publish: $43.99

What we like:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Multifunctional
  • Ultra lightweight
  • Can slide over suitcase handle

What we don’t like:

  • Not suitable for longer trips
Best budget lightweight luggage
Convertible Garment Bag with Shoulder Strap, Modoker Carry on Garment Duffel Bag for Men Women - 2 in 1 Hanging Suitcase Suit Travel Bags (Grey)

Convertible Garment Bag with Shoulder Strap, Modoker Carry on Garment Duffel Bag for Men Women - 2 in 1 Hanging Suitcase Suit Travel Bags (Grey)

Most stylish lightweight luggage: July Carry On

Those in the market for peppy, colored luggage will enjoy July’s Carry On, which is available in a wide range of on-trend hues. Jessica Kameko Rooks, the founder of Travel With Meko, most appreciates the suitcase’s 360-degree silent wheel spinners, durable hard eggshell exterior, portable rechargeable battery, and lifetime warranty guarantee. “I’ve encountered numerous instances of luggage damage when checking in bags during my travels, and what sets July apart is its commitment to replacing damaged luggage every time, effectively making it a one-time payment for a lifetime of use,” Rooks shares.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 11 inches x 22.8 inches x 11 inches
  • Material: Water-resistant nylon and polycarbonate hard shell
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Price on publish: $44

What we like:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Multifunctional
  • Ultra lightweight
  • Many color options

What we don’t like:

  • Not suitable for longer trips
Most stylish lightweight luggage
July Carry On

July Carry On

Best lightweight underseat luggage: London Fog Under the Seat Bag

Those looking to travel with just carry-on luggage—but without sacrificing packing space—should consider London Fog’s Under the Seat Bag. Olga Maria Czarkowski, founder of Dreams in Heels and Latinas Who Travel uses the bag to store a couple of full outfits, shoes (which she places within a zip-open shoe compartment), accessories, and her 15-inch laptop. “The zippered exterior pocket is perfect for quick-access essentials like your passport, boarding passes, and chargers, while the interior mesh zip pockets allow organization of toiletries, tech accessories, and other small items,” Czarkowski adds. “The best part is that since it fits under the seat, I can still take my carry-on bag on board!”

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 15 inches x 13 inches x 8 inches
  • Material: Fabric
  • Weight: 5.5 pounds
  • Price on publish: $125.14

What we like:

  • Fits underseat
  • Interior zippered divider
  • Ultra lightweight

What we don’t like:

  • Large range in pricing among various color options
Best lightweight underseat luggage
London Fog Brentwood II 15" 2-Wheel Under The Seat Bag, Cappuccino, Carry Inch

London Fog Brentwood II 15" 2-Wheel Under The Seat Bag, Cappuccino, Carry Inch

Best lightweight duffel bag: Nomatic 40L Travel Bag

Sometimes traveling with wheeled luggage is less than ideal, and in such instances, Miller relies on her Nomatic 40L Travel Bag. She uses the pockets and compartments in the carry-on safe bag to house shoes, passports, a water bottle, and tech gear. The bag is also easy to use while sightseeing, given that it converts from a duffel to a backpack. Miller enthuses that, “Its innovation and versatility is second to none!”

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 21 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches
  • Material: Polyester and nylon
  • Weight: 3.42 pounds
  • Price on publish: $290

What we like:

  • Includes laundry bag
  • Multiple interior compartments
  • Ultra lightweight

What we don’t like:

  • Utilitarian looking versus on-trend
  • Only one color option
Best lightweight duffel bag
Nomatic 40L Travel Bag

Nomatic 40L Travel Bag

Best lightweight backpack: 55L Osprey Fairview Travel Pack

Alexa West swears by the following motto: “The fewer things you travel with, the more free you are to explore! If you can’t carry it, it shouldn’t be coming with you.” For this reason, West almost always travels with a backpack instead of a traditional suitcase, and shares that she can comfortably pack three months of travel gear into her 55L Osprey Fairview Travel Pack, our pick for the best travel backpack for women. “The weight is perfectly distributed, making it easy to chase after trains and taxis without struggling,” West says. “If you’re traveling to beach destinations or moving from city to city, a backpack is the most convenient way to go, rather than dragging a rolling suitcase through the sand or down cobblestone streets.” West also takes advantage of the backpack’s zip-off daypack and laptop sleeve. “I use this to take my laptop to a cafe for a day of work just as often as I pack it with sunscreen and a towel for a day at the beach,” she adds.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches
  • Material: Polyester
  • Weight: 4.181 pounds
  • Price on publish: $220

What we like:

  • Includes fully detachable daypack
  • Versatile

What we don’t like:

  • Women-specific build
Best lightweight backpack
55L Osprey Fairview Travel Pack

55L Osprey Fairview Travel Pack

How we selected the best lightweight luggage

To select the best lightweight luggage options, we spoke with a range of travel experts, including bloggers, travel advisors, and more. These individuals each shared their honest personal feedback regarding a lightweight luggage option that they have used during their travels.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is considered lightweight luggage?

Lightweight luggage generally refers to suitcases weighing 10 pounds or less.

What brand of luggage is ultra lightweight?

The lightest weight brand of luggage experts cited above is July’s Carry On and the Modoker Convertible Garment Bag with Shoulder Strap, coming in at 2.5 pounds each.

Which is lighter, hard or soft luggage?

Soft luggage is generally lighter than hard luggage, but this all depends on a suitcase’s size, too, as larger suitcases will often weigh more regardless of material.

Is hard luggage better than soft?

Whether you select hard or soft lightweight luggage is a personal preference. Hard luggage may offer more protection, particularly if you’re packing valuable items, but soft luggage can be easier to store, and oftentimes folds up in the case of a duffel bag or backpack.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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