Lightweight Luggage – the Ultimate Guide to the Best Carry on and Checked Models

If you are trying to keep your baggage as light as possible, you need to start with the luggage itself. So, if you want to limit how much you have to pay on flights, lightweight luggage is the way to go. Unfortunately, it isn’t all that easy to find lightweight luggage as it is not explicitly labeled.

So, if you are determined to find a piece or two of luggage that weighs less, this guide will be your best bet. Here, we discuss the options available to you as well as how to make the right decision for you. This way, you will find bags or cases that meet all of your requirements. Find out all of these details and more, here.

Lightweight Luggage: Your Guide to Keeping it Weightless

When you go shopping for luggage, there are a number of things that you consider. This includes quality, durability, storage options, and even appearance. What many people don’t stop to look at is how much a case or bag weighs when it is empty. Not doing this can cost you in numerous ways later on. To prevent this from happening to you, here are all of the things that you should be aware of when shopping for lightweight luggage:

Why Is Lightweight Luggage Important?

Now, you may be wondering if you should be making the effort to actually shop for bags and cases that are lighter than the rest. After all, is it really making all that much difference to your travel experience? Well, believe it or not, opting for lighter weight can completely transform the way that you travel, particularly if you fly quite often.

Although you may not realize it bags, in particular suitcases, tend to weigh quite a bit. In fact, a medium-sized suitcase can weight anywhere from ten to fifteen pounds. Considering the weight limitations that airlines place on baggage, you will be unable to pack as much with these cases. Also, the lighter the bag, the less likely it is for you to get caught to those pesky baggage fees.

The other reason that lightweight luggage can make your life easier is that it is just simply easier to carry around. For one thing, you will be able to hoist your back onto and off security belts, and have an easier time at the baggage carousel. Not to mention, you will be able to move around the airport and your destination without having to strain yourself as much. As you can see, there are a number of reasons why you may want to consider investing in lightweight luggage.

Your Lightweight Luggage Options

So, what is that you can take with you on your journeys so that your all of your baggage will not weigh as much? Well, here are some of the options available to you:

Duffel Bags

The reason that duffel bags don’t weigh all that much is because the sides are unstructured and don’t offer a great deal of support. Also, this type of bags is made from fabric which helps to cut down on the weight considerably. The main benefit of duffel bags is that you can pack quite a lot into them as they are built to have a lot of internal space.

Travel Packs

Then there are travel packs – these are essentially oversized backpacks although they are typically made of lighter materials. These too have the benefit of allowing you to carry a larger number of items although it is quite difficult to keep these things organized. These type of luggage are best for more adventurous activities such as backpacking or trekking.


The main issue with duffel bags and travel packs is that they are not suitable for all types of trips. For one thing, while they can carry a lot of items, there are limitations on how big these bags can get. This, in turn, can limit how much you can carry. The other downside with these type of bags is that they don’t look all that elegant which means that you may feel self-conscious rolling them into hotels or resorts. This is why many people opt for suitcases. The good news is that there are actually a few lightweight options among suitcases as well. The most common type of suitcase is soft-shelled cases with hard shell cases becoming more popular. The benefit with suitcases is that they look better, are quite durable, and offer you a lot more space to carry your items.

One of the newer arrivals on the scene is fold suitcases. As the name implies, these are cases that can be folded once they are empty and no longer. These cases don’t have a lot of rigid structure and tend to weigh less because of this.

Materials to Look For

It will probably come as little surprise that the best way for a piece of luggage to weigh less is to be made from a lightweight material. Here are some of the choices that you can consider:

Soft Shell Cases and Foldable Suitcases

More often than not, you will find that soft-shelled cases and foldable cases made from either polyester or nylon, although there are various combinations available as well. The lightest cases are often constructed from polyester as it is the most lightweight fabric. It also happens to be more affordable than nylon options too.

Nylon isn’t nearly as light as polyester but does have the advantage of being quite strong and sturdy. Cases that are made from this material are a bit more expensive but tend to be of high quality as well. It should be noted that with both nylon and polyester, the denier of the material matters. The greater the denier, the thicker the material which ultimately increases the weight of the fabric.

The Frames

What many people forget is that soft shell cases have frames that help them to stand up straight. These too carry weight so you need to be careful about what you decide on. If you choose ones that are made from either graphite, aluminum, or fiberglass, you will find that the cases are fairly lightweight. To decrease the weight even further, you should look at the options with honeycomb construction that make these structures even lighter.

Hard Shell Cases

When it comes to hard shell cases, the lightest options that are available are ABS plastic, polypropylene, and polycarbonate. If you want the lightest possible hard shell case, you should opt for the one that is made from polypropylene with the ABS plastic coming in second place, and the polycarbonate models last of all.

While polycarbonate hard shell cases may not be the lightest option, they are quite hardy. The advantage with cases made from ABS plastic is that they are often quite reasonably priced and relatively strong.

Hard vs. Soft Cases

If you are looking for a suitcase that has a little more to offer in terms of support and structure, then the obvious choice would be between hard and soft cases. This does give rise to a new question though – which one is lighter?

Now, it may seem that soft cases are undeniably lighter than hard-shelled suitcases as they are made from fabric. However, this is not always the case. In certain instances, if the soft case is made from strong and thick fabric and has a heavier frame, they can actually weigh more than some hard-shelled options. In the end, the only way to determine which one is lighter for certain is to weigh the suitcases and make the comparisons with this number.

The Significance of Striking a Balance between Weight and Durability

It can be tempting to get carried away with choosing the suitcase that weighs the least amount. While this may be your main goal, you should also keep in mind that you need durable luggage that is capable of withstanding wear and tear for a time. After all, you can’t have your case falling apart after only a couple of uses. This means that you must find a balance between lightweight and durability.

Let’s take soft cases, for instance. Now, if you want as light an option as possible, you will probably opt for polyester rather than a heavier nylon fabric. Nonetheless, it is still important to buy a suitcase that is made up of at least 600D material so that the fabric has some strength, at least.

The same thing can be said for hard shell cases as well. You will need to think about whether it is more important for you to protect your belongings or to keep the weight low. For the best possible mix of these two outcomes, a material like polycarbonate or ABS plastics will offer you better results.

How to Keep the Weight Down

Remember, that most types of luggage, suitcases in particular, come with a carrying system – the wheels and handle. You will need to take these into consideration as well when determining just how much your luggage with weigh on its own.

Where your grand scheme for carrying as low a weight as possible may fall apart is when it comes to the packing portion of your trip. It doesn’t matter how lightweight your case is if you tend to pack too much for your travels. The best way to curb this habit is to get yourself a suitcase that makes it quite difficult to do so.

Here, a hard case suitcase will come in most handy as it is very difficult to over pack with these backs. Add to this is the fact that it has limited storage options so you can stuff in a few extra items here and there. Zipperless luggage is also a great option for you to consider. Since there is no zipper to make expansion possible, you will have to find a way to only pack as much room as the suitcase has.

So there you have it, everything that you need to know about lightweight luggage and how to choose pieces that are actually light.

Top 10 Best Lightweight Luggage

1 – Skyway Mirage 2.0 20

Skyway Mirage 2.0 20-Inch Wheelaboard Luggage
  • Durable material water-resistant ripstop fabric resists tearing and abrasion, keeping your bag looking new.
  • Easily manoeuvrable multi-stage retractable handle with ergonomic grip fits comfortably in your hand for optimal comfort and easy movement. Custom 360 spinner wheels glide smoothly in any direction.
  • Comfortable handling cushioned top and side carry handles promote easy lifting and optimal handling. Bottom grab handle enhances manoeuvrability.
  • Easy access to travel essentials padded front compartment with zippered flap entry allows handy access to essentials. Flap features an additional zip pocket for extra storage.
  • 7.5x14.5x22

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Skyway Mirage 2.0 20:

Reviewers like these things about the Skyway Mirage 2.0 20

  • Most users said that it’s expendable handles always glide like nicely.
  • Users also said that it is very sturdy and lightweight.
  • Most reviewers mentioned that the wheels glide effortlessly.
  • Some users said that it’s a slick nylon-type material so it cleans pretty easily.
  • Many users said that the swivel wheels make them very easy to maneuver.
  • They said that it has huge capacity and very well made.
  • Reviewers also said that with the frame being so lightweight, this bag can hold a lot.
  • Many travelers said that his would be great to share with another person or even a whole family.
  • Most of them mentioned that they would highly recommend this product.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some users complained that there is lack of a handle on the bottom side of the bag.
  • Some other user complained that the handle broke after a few trip and gentle handling.
  • Another user complained that the secondary zipper pull broke off.

2 – Ricardo Beverly Hills Malibu Bay 20

Ricardo Beverly Hills Malibu Bay 20-inch Carry-on Spinner, Gray
  • ULTRA-LIGHTWEIGHT-Dreamfel is 30% lighter than polyester and 20% lighter than nylon. Combined with a lightweight frame and large packing capacity, you can pack more without feeling weighed down. BUILT TO LAST-The overall fabrication and construction of this collection is extremely durable, resisting abrasion and tearing, while also protecting your belongings from the stresses of travel. OVERWEIGHT INDICATOR-Our innovative top handle weight indicator lets you know when you've exceeded 50 pounds.
  • REDUCED CARBON FOOTPRINT-Approved by the FDA and OEKO-TEX standards, very little waste material is created during production, saving water and energy by solution dyeing the fabric pre-weaving. EXPANDABLE PACKING VOLUME-The case expands with the pull of a zipper for added packing capacity. EFFORTLESS MOBILITY-Custom 360 Degree double wheel system smoothly glides in any direction, enhancing stability and minimizing effort.
  • COMFORTABLE HANDLING-Padded side and top carry grips promote easy lifting and optimal handling. EASY ACCESS TO TRAVEL ESSENTIALS-Multiple exterior zippered pockets make personal items and documents handy.
  • FLEXIBLE SECURITY-Adjustable tie-down panels keep personal belongings in place. SIMPLE SEPARATION-Separate small belongings from other packed items with a removable pouch.
  • 8x14x20

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Ricardo Beverly Hills Malibu Bay 20:

Reviewers like these things about the Ricardo Beverly Hills Malibu Bay 20

  • Most Users said that the pack is lightweight and has tons of space.
  • Many other users said that it is a nice suitcase, holds up well to travel.
  • They said that the wheels work great.
  • Some other users said that there are ample pockets inside that are easy to access.
  • They also said that it has the option to unzip the front and pull up to make more space.
  • Travelers said that it rolls on four wheels so you can just roll it flat and it stays with you.
  • Some other travelers said that they were able to pack their scuba gear and clothes for a week’s scuba trip in it and have space left over.
  • Most reviewers said that it is lightweight and also helps with luggage weight restrictions imposed by the airlines.
  • Most buyers said that the spinner wheels make moving the suitcase very easy.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some users complained that the zipper to access the main compartment is a little stiff.
  • One user complained that the main zipper gets hung in the corners.

3 – Lojel Lumo 19.5

Lojel Lumo 19" Spinner Electric Blue
  • Shoe bag and toiletry pouch included
  • Ultra Soft Foam Handle
  • Double Coil Zipper
  • TSA Lock System
  • 10 Year Warranty

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Lojel Lumo 19.5:

Reviewers like these things about the Lojel Lumo 19.5

  • Most users said that rolling and lifting the bag was much easier.
  • Most travelers said that they could pack for up to two weeks in it.
  • Reviewers said that the inside is well designed and roomy.
  • Some reviewers said that it is a very stylish carry on luggage.
  • Travelers also said that it is light and easy to maneuver.
  • Many users said that it fit into the overhead of a plane.
  • Users said that It is the lightest weight pack they have ever seen.
  • Reviewers also mentioned that it seems sturdy enough.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • One user said that he did not like that it lacks an outer pocket.
  • Another user complained that the stickers that they put on are very hard to remove and leave a sticky film.

4 – Travelpro Maxlite 4 25

Travelpro Maxlite 4 25" Expandable Spinner, Black
  • 360-degree spinners roll effortlessly in any direction you want to move. Low-profile top and side carry handles along with bottom handle cup
  • Telescoping handle adds length and strength, stops at 38 inch and extra-tall 42.5 inch, Case Dimensions: 25x18x11Inch
  • Patented contour grip for more comfort and Honeycomb frame system for lightweight durability
  • Limited lifetime warranty and Ergonomic top-strength durable zipper pulls. Volume -92 Liter
  • Weight : 7.8lbs; Exterior dimension: 27 inches x 18.5 inches x 11.5inches

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Travelpro Maxlite 4 25:

Reviewers like these things about the Travelpro Maxlite 4 25

  • According to constant users, the Travelpro Maxlite is fully functional.
  • They indicated that its telescoping handle adds length and strength.
  • Other users found that it has a zippered closure to keep gears and other things secured.
  • Reviewers found that its ball-bearing in-line wheels offer high performance.
  • They further explained that the bag has fully line interior.
  • Testers mentioned the presence of low-profile top and side carry handles along with bottom handle cup.
  • Reviewers said that it has protective crash-guard wheel housing to protect the wheels from being damaged.
  • Other reviewers pointed out that its polyester fabric has water and stain resistant coating.
  • Users stated that its frame system offers lightweight durability.
  • Testers explained that its ergonomic zipper pulls ensure a smooth and consistent opening or closing.
  • Reviewers said that the bag would work best when traveling.
  • They further mentioned that the main compartment is large enough for a week-long vacation, or more.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer indicated that the wheels do not rotate 360 degrees.
  • Another reviewer said that it does not have any organizing pockets.

5 – Samsonite Omni PC 24

Samsonite Omni Pc Hardside Spinner 24, Black
  • Micro-diamond texture is extremely scratch-resistant, keeping cases beautiful after a trip
  • Re-engineered lightweight spinner wheels for effortless mobility
  • Consumer preferred expansion on all sides
  • Full-zip interior, divider and cross-straps for increased packing organization. Side-mounted tsa lock ensures security while traveling
  • Body Dimensions: 24.0 x 17.5 x 11.5 inches, Overall Dimensions: 26.5 x 18.5 x 11.5 inches. Weight: 8.3 Pounds

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Samsonite Omni PC 24:

Reviewers like these things about the Samsonite Omni PC 24

  • Reviewers thought that the Samsonite Omni spinner suitcase is durable due to its polycarbonate material.
  • They also thought that its zipper closure is effective.
  • Several users pointed out that the bag has an attractive and stylish design.
  • Other users noted that its micro-diamond texture is extremely scratch-resistant, keeping the case beautiful after a trip.
  • Other reviewers pointed out that the bag is functional and easy to use.
  • Some users are pleased with the lightweight spinner wheels for effortless mobility.
  • According to some users, it has available expansion on all sides.
  • Other reviewers thought that it has a full-zip interior.
  • Some users felt that its divider and cross-straps are essential for increased packing organization.
  • Users were delighted that the bag has a side-mounted TSA lock that ensures security while traveling.
  • They also indicated that it comes in a variety of colors.
  • Reviewers mentioned that it has a lightweight design.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A user said that its wheels tend to break easily.
  • Another reviewer noted that it is smaller than expected.

6 – Samsonite Fiero 20

Samsonite Fiero 20" Spinner Ocean Blue
  • Hardside (Polycar) - Shell material is made of injection molded polycarbonate, a highly impact-resistant plastic that is strong and lightweight.
  • Carry On Sized - Luggage designed to fit in most airlines overhead compartments; may not conform to some airlines carry-on standards.
  • Spinner Wheels - Four effort, four multidirectional spinner wheels allow 360 degree upright rolling in multiple directions so there is no weight on your arm.
  • Retractable handle - Provides easy maneuverability when extended out from the suitcase, and stores neatly inside when not in use. Locks in place in both the fully extended and stored positions for secure traveling.
  • Free Shipping on All Orders from Samsonite.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Samsonite Fiero 20:

Reviewers like these things about the Samsonite Fiero 20

  • Many reviewers commend its micro diamond texture that is extremely scratch resistant, keeping cases Samsonite Fiero beautiful trip after trip.
  • Other reviewers said that the has a re-engineered lighter weight wheels for effortless suitcase mobility.
  • Testers noted that the Samsonite Fiero has a side mounted TSA approved lock ensures security while traveling.
  • Other testers pointed out that it has a full-zip interior luggage divider and cross straps for increased packing organization.
  • Many reviewers indicated that it made of 100% Polycarbonate.
  • They also noted that the design includes expansion for added packing capacity when needed.
  • Several of those who have tried the pack mentioned that it is extremely light and visually impactful.
  • Other reviewers indicated that the handle is long, and slides out easily.
  • Users stated that the zippers and body are seemingly good quality.
  • Many of those who have tried the pack said that the cross straps help prevent shifting that can cause damage.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer had issues with the lack of organizers that you can fold suits and jackets over to prevent them from being wrinkled.
  • Another reviewer noticed that the wheels do not work well.

7 – Brookstone Dash

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Brookstone Dash:

Reviewers like these things about the Brookstone Dash

  • Reviewers agree that the Brookstone Dash bag’s polished hard-shell case is a great choice for frequent flyers because of its durability.
  • Other users noted that the bag is extremely lightweight.
  • Testers found that its tough exterior protects the fragile contents of the bag against damage from being tossed around carelessly by baggage handlers.
  • Reviewers found that the pack’s interior features a zippered pocket that keeps the dress shirts or loose items apart from the rest of the stuff with strap closures to keep everything in place.
  • Other reviewers noted that it has an exterior zipper that helps the bag to expand by another three inches, which is always a lifesaver on long trips.
  • They have also mentioned that the bag has four wheels allowing the bag to swivel 360 degrees and roll with ease on most any surface.
  • Some reviewers recommended the bag for light travelers with a stylish demeanor in their step.
  • Reviewers mentioned that it looks small but has lots of room.
  • Many users were able to note that the pack has a sleek look.
  • Users thought that its handle slides up and down with ease.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A user thought that this does not fit into the carry-on units at the gate when packed full.
  • Another user felt that when the wheels begin to heat up with friction after frequent use, the back wheels too often fuse to the side of the casing system eventually rendering the wheel useless as they no longer roll.

8 – Hartmann Innovaire

Hartmann Innovaire Global Carry On Spinner, Earth, One Size
  • Lightweight, superior durability from Curve material; layers of woven polypropylene form a self-reinforced composite
  • Sleek styling
  • Leather wrapped handle
  • Appointed interior

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Hartmann Innovaire:

Reviewers like these things about the Hartmann Innovaire

  • Users said that the pack is extremely lightweight.
  • Many users said that it has excellent wheel mechanism.
  • Reviewers have mentioned that they love the built-in locks.
  • Most users said that the weight saving design of the bag is what they like.
  • Several users said that it is easy to pick up and place in overhead bin.
  • Some other reviewers said that Hartmann Innovaire has well-apportioned storage capacity.
  • Most reviewers said that it has got durable material.
  • Reviewers have also mentioned that its construction is sturdy and functional.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • One user complained that it’s small and very flimsy.
  • Another user said that the bag got a dent on its first use.
  • Some users complained that they are disappointed with the lock.

9 – Samsonite Solyte 20

Samsonite Solyte Softside Spinner 20 Exp, Black
  • Extremely lightweight; Smooth-rolling, "airflow" multi-directional Spinner wheels for easy movement. Rolls upright so there is no weight on your arm
  • Integrated top and side carry handles; Ultra lightweight beveled alloy pull handle, Large front panel interior pocket for added packing organization
  • Deep main compartment with mesh modesty pocket for personal items, Compression straps keep clothing neatly packed while traveling
  • Cases expand for added packing capacity
  • 20x15x8

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Samsonite Solyte 20:

Reviewers like these things about the Samsonite Solyte 20

  • Light, easy to maneuver, large capacity and perfect size are cited as the main reasons for choosing this bag.
  • After a couple of travels, users love how the zippers, wheels and seams are still intact and working beautifully.
  • Users noted how the cloth handles make getting it in and out of the overhead a snap.
  • Many users agree that this carry on has met all their travel expectations.
  • Other reviewers particularly liked the rubber bumpers at the corners.
  • Many travelers describe it as a well made bag,complete with top notch zippers,heavy duty nylon shell and smooth wheels.
  • Some users thought its a clean-looking bag with nice stitching.
  • Other users love how the exterior pockets are roomy enough to get a few things stuffed inside, but not so roomy that they will be baggy and saggy.
  • Some users find the outer casing easy to clean off.
  • A few reviewers thought the zippers are nice and large enough to grasp without difficulty.
  • One user described it as simple in design and streamlined, yet holds a lot for it’s size.
  • Some users noted how the extensible handlebar for pulling the suitcase moves in and out with ease.
  • Many owners thought it has well designed interior.
  • One user dubbed it as an elegantly simple and extremely lightweight professional carry-on suitcase.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • One user thought, while this is a nice suitcase,the price is rather steep.
  • Some users complain that the zippers break easily.

10 – Osprey Ozone 75

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Osprey Ozone 75:

Reviewers like these things about the Osprey Ozone 75

  • A lot of users have mentioned that the Osprey Ozone luggage has several attractive colors.
  • Other users thought that essential could be accessed quickly due to its zippered top liquids pocket.
  • Users found that its low profile handles are comfortable to grab and carry in any situation.
  • According to some users, their things are secured and protected from theft due to its lockable zippers.
    -Reviewers thought that the presence of a hidden zippered pocket allows them to store travel documents, wallets and passports safely.
  • Testers found that it is durable due to its 210D Nylon material.
  • Many wrote that it features a lightweight aluminum frame and large wheels with sealed bearings for optimal use.
  • Several of those who have tried the bag also took notice of its high-clearance arched molded base.
  • Testers thought that it is designed to provide travelers with an efficient bag for excursions.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Reviewers observed that the bag is not sturdy enough.
  • Another user thought that the bag is not large enough to hold a lot of belongings.

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Last update on 2018-11-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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