Using a duffle bag as carry-on luggage

Carrying on luggage has become a necessary evil in today’s world of flying. The airlines are always tightening their belts and limiting the size of carry-on luggage to force people into buying baggage for checking at the airport or even purchasing an entire ticket for checked luggage. Airports are becoming more crowded, with tight security making it difficult to get through quickly.

When you are traveling, it is obvious that you will not keep everything inside your checked bag. In fact, you would like to carry some of your stuff with yourself that you used frequently like boarding passes, your passport, medicine, money, keys, accessories, facewash, shampoo, ID card, camera etc. Using a duffle bag as carry-on luggage allows you to have these things easily accessible and is an ideal, yet often overlooked, solution for passengers.

Why bring carry-on luggage?

Carry-on luggage refers to the luggage which is personally carried by passengers inside the airplane or train in the passenger compartment rather than moving them to the cargo section. These are also known as hand luggage or cabin baggage.

There are varieties of items which you carry during traveling and don’t like to keep in your checked bag as you have to use them often or from a safety point of view. For example, you need your passport at the ready in case you need to present it. As such, you will keep it in you carry-on bag instead of your checked bag. Similarly, other items such as credit cards, jewelry or any other thing of monetary value are the most important things for which we cannot simply rely upon airlines to keep them safe. As such, it is preferred to have these with you at all times.

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You can also bring medicine in your carry bag. If your medicine is in liquid form or has any needles, you will need a prescription letter rom the doctor in order to comply with the check-in restrictions when traveling.

Apart from that, you can also keep some electronic and fragile items in your carry bag like iPods, tablets, laptops, or cameras to reduce the risk of theft. It is worth noting that it is a good idea to be aware of how easily accessible your precious items are. Most luggage merely use zippers to open and close, and, especially when not properly closed, which can be vulnerable to theft. It is a good idea to keep valuable items in a separate pocket, most preferably behind a padlock.

Also, it is a good idea to pack toiletries and your changeable clothes in your carry bag. While you cannot have items in your carry-on bag with over 100 ml of liquid, there are many travel-safe versions available and as checked luggage can sometimes be misplaced, it is a good idea to have you toiletries and some clothes at hand.

Be aware that different airlines may have different requirements for what you can and can not bring on the airplane. Both in types of goods, quantities and the dimensions of your carry-on luggage. For example, Allegiant Airlines has different restrictions for carry-on luggage then American Airlines.

What are the differences between different types of bags?

Of course, there is not one perfect bag for all types of travel. Which bag is best depends whether you are going on a trekking trip, honeymoon, business trip holiday, etc. Each trip requires a different type of bag. There are many to choose from, think of a briefcase, backpack, rolling backpack, duffle bag, travel tote, messenger bag, suitcases, shoulder bags, and the list goes on.

Whenever you choose the bag, it is important to think of what you would like. How heavy/bulky it is, how many storage compartments it has, can it be locked properly and many other things. As such, it is important to read reviews before purchasing a product.

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There are many features a bag can have, and not all bags are created equal. For example, the briefcase. While hardy and safe, they offer limited carrying capacity and are not very flexible. Suitcases do offer increased carrying capacity, but only the smallest models can be used as carry-on luggage.

Why are duffle bags preferred?

The duffle bag is the only one where you can keep your belongings un-arranged. Basically, is similar to a gym bag where you can just throw the things into. Whether you are traveling by train or plane, having a duffle bag as carry-on luggage is an easy solution for the traveler on the go. Duffle bags allow both versatility and flexibility a duffle bag but there are some definitive drawbacks. For example, while you can chuck your luggage in the bag easily, cheaper models usually don’t have compartments to have at least some sort of organization. As such, you often have to search for your items as everything is messed up.

Advantages & Disadvantages of using a duffle bag as carry-on luggage

Duffle bags have their own usage with its various advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see them one by one as mentioned below:

  • The best thing about a duffle bag is that it provides a large room to the user with many spaces to put things, both in the interior and exterior. This applies mainly to the slightly more expensive models, but the large carrying capacity is definitely one of the strongest points.
  • Unlike hardy luggage or briefcase, these bags are very flexible and leathery and items can easily be squeezed in a small area.
  • They are available in different sizes. While not all are suitable as carry-on, most of them are. However, you can even get them in the size where you can fit a tent in them, or so small that is comparable to a purse
  • Duffle bag as carry-on luggage is very comfortable but most cheaper models that are not made for traveling, are without wheels.
  • Duffle bags are available in the market with various shapes and sizes, from carry-on to 200 liters and much more. So, you can buy them according to your type of equipment.
  • The duffle bag is very durable, especially when it is provided with a quality zipper, waterproof materials and heavily stitched grips and belts that can easily tackle the weight of the bag. Invest in quality!
  • Many duffle bags are not super secure, similar to most other bags. The reason for this is the lack of a proper locking system. It is advisable to use pad-locks if the content is particularly valuable.
  • Since these bags are very soft and without a structure and as such, your clothes will not stay winkle free. However for most other items is is simply a very convenient and carryable bag!
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Wheeled duffle bags

Using duffle bag as carry-on luggage is really comfortable and convenient for most people. When purchasing a duffle bag, it might be a good idea to look around for a wheeled duffle bag. These duffle bags on wheels allow you to quickly move around, while still having all the conveniences of a duffle bag. The limiting factor on these type of bags is that while having a wheeled duffle bag sounds great, the wheels can break after long-use. As such, it is best to invest in a high-quality bag with premium wheels. As with most products, we believe it is best to invest in premium quality. You get the best experience and usually these products last significantly longer then their inferior counterparts.


In conclusion, bringing a duffle bag as your only carry-on is a good idea because you will free up space in your main suitcase and you can stuff it with items that need to be taken with you on the plane.

So, invest in a good duffle bag and pack it with clothes and necessities such as toiletries and electronics. You will be surprised how much more room there will be in your checked luggage!

Duffle bag as carry-on luggage

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