The Best Carry-On Luggage For Men (Buying Guide)

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Gentlemen, Your Perfect Carry-On Luggage Awaits.

It’s time to get excited about shopping for bags. Yes, I mean guys should get excited about bag shopping.

Let’s face the undeniable fact about the travel space on the internet: there’s an overwhelming amount of posts about carry-on luggage for women travellers.

Now, this is fine – but we bet that there are plenty of guys out there who probably wouldn’t mind a helpful guide for figuring out which carry-on bag to buy!

You can check out Eric’s favourite item here. That said, we’ve developed a great guide just for guys to help you with buying the best carry-on luggage for men.

How to Choose Your Carry-On Baggage

Before you choose which kind of luggage you’re going to buy, there are lots of factors to consider. We outline them below and discuss them one by one!

Trip Purpose

Above everything else, your trip purpose is going to determine which carry-on bag you should choose.

For example, if you’re backpacking around Europe, South East Asia, or another region that’s prone to tossing your bag around on buses, trains, or taxis, perhaps a soft-sided rucksack (duffel) or backpack is for you.

If you’re heading away for a few days on a business trip, perhaps a more formal piece of luggage that caters to a laptop and documentation is necessary for you?

In any case, think about what you’ll be doing on your trip, think about how long you’ll be going, and purchase carry-on luggage that seems to fit those specification.

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Functionality of Men’s Carry-On Baggage

The function of your luggage is a huge determining factor when choosing what bag to buy. It’s very likely that the function of your bag is going to be a reflection of your trip purpose.

Let’s think about our “business traveller” again. If you’re wheeling through airports, hopping in cabs, and crossing through hotel lobbies, then a clean cut wheeled case or nice looking duffel is likely of you.

Durable and efficient. If you are physically moving your bag across great distances by walking or hiking, then a backpack with various pockets and sections may cater to your needs.

When thinking about functionality – there are also many details to consider. Some bags have lots of exterior pockets for smaller items, while others have separate shoe compartments to keep shoes and clothing separate and clean.

Another detail to think about is the straps and handles on your carry-on luggage. While two strong grab handles are great for carrying around a duffel bag, a shoulder strap can also be a great way to carry your bag from A to B.

Backpacks will obviously offer balanced support, while wheeled luggage will have that classic extendable handle. Think about your trip, think about the bag’s function, and buy accordingly. We’ll show you lots of examples down below.

Read Next – Choose Your Perfect Travel Backpack

Style of Carry-On Luggage

Let’s face it – every guy, whether they like to admit it or not, has their own style. From the burly and more rugged to the cleaned up and clean cut – we accept all kinds (read: style) of men here at Penguin and Pia!

Because there are so many kinds of “guy”, your luggage is probably going to be a reflection of your taste, your likes, and your style.

Believe it or not, there’s tons of styles of bags to choose from – each coming in different colours, designs, and materials. We chose lots of different styles down below so you get a chance to browse and see what works for you!

Size of Carry-On Luggage

While this may seem obvious to the seasoned travellers, it’s worth mentioning for everyone: airlines have restrictions on the size of carry-on luggage you can bring on the plane, and these dimensions can change without notice.

Actual True Story: We have a flight booked for two weeks from when we’re writing this post, and the dimensions on carry-on luggage for Wizz Air (budget airline servicing Eastern Europe that we have written about here) have changed from a few weeks ago when we booked the flight. The size dimensions got bigger – which is great – but you can see how volatile the restrictions can be.

In short, the size of your carry-on luggage matters! Lots of airlines have similar sizes and weight restrictions on carry-on luggage, but there are exceptions to the common rules so be sure to check beforehand.

Read Next – Choosing the Perfect Daypack (Buying Guide)

Carry-On Luggage for Men by Type

Now that we’ve explained a bit about the things you should consider when buying carry-on luggage, we’ll dive into actual pieces of luggage that you could  be suitable for you depending on your trip purpose and style.

Weekender Carry-Ons for Men

Ah, yes – “the weekender”. The guy who becomes the weekend warrior by hopping on an airplane and travelling to who knows where for a weekend of adventure.

Whatever you do when you get to your spot, you’ll need a carry-on bag that’s adaptable like you. Typical weekend bags include duffel bags. These bags are usually very durable with soft sides.

This makes the classic duffel bag easy to pack, easy to toss around into a cab or into the overhead bin of the airplane! Eric has a Herschel Duffel bag and it’s been a great carry-on bag. Here are two bags that are very similar:

Polare Leather Duffel

Hit the weekend in style. While Polare is known for good looking bags, this one is a top seller. It’s made from super durable Italian leather and is hand stitched – meaning it’s built to last.

The zipper unzips quite low on the sides, making the inside easy to access and repack. There are exterior slip pockets for small items, and a convenient shoulder strap if you don’t want to carry it using the regular handles.

Overall, this bag is durable and stylish. Also good to note: this version is 18.3 in long which should fit most airlines’ carry-on restrictions. Check out the Polare Leather here.

Kemy’s Duffel

This weekender bag from Kemy is great. It’s made from a thick canvas material but has leather trim all-around.

There’s a separate shoe compartment to keep clothes clean and shoes in good shape. The duffel comes with a detachable shoulder strap with metal clips to protect against accidental openings.

There are also large exterior pockets that have snaps for closing – meaning you can trust them to be closed.

The length dimension is 55 cm long which is the usual maximum length for most airlines carry-on luggage. As always, be sure to check with the airline you’re travelling with! Buy the Kemy Duffle on Amazon.

Wheeled Carry-Ons for Men

If you’re not planning on packing a whole bunch of stuff, or you want your items more neatly organized in a durable bag, then a wheeled carry-on might be for you.

Wheeled bags can come in hard and softer shell versions, but most include 2 or 4 wheels and an extendable handle for easy toting around cities and terminals.

Wheeled bags are usually also outfitted with an extra grab handle or two in the event that you do have to lift the bag (for say, stairs).

Above all, wheeled bags are great because no matter how much you fill it – the outside dimensions do not change.

This way, you can be sure of the size regardless of the airline you’re taking – and that can be a huge stress reliever for some travellers. Here are two of the best ranked wheeled carry-ons we could find:

Delsey Carry-On Spinner

The Delsey Spinner is made from thick durable plastic and has a fabric lining. The zipper access allows the bag to fold flat in half.

The zippers can also be locked using built-on combination lock. Unique to a hard shell bag like this is that there’s a large front zippered pocket that has a padded sleeve to hold up to a 15.6 inch laptop and a variety of accessories in the inner mesh pockets.

The wheels allow for very easy wheeling that keeps very little weight on your arm when towing. There are two inches of additional packing space – just unzip the sides to expand the bag!

Overall length is 21.25 inches making it just right for airline carry-on – but check your airline! See more specs for the Delsey Spinner here.

Kenneth Cole “Reaction 20”

The Kenneth Cole Reaction is also made from thick ABS plastic – meaning your belongings will be very safe. The wheels are plastic and the corners of the bag are also protected. The spinner wheels allow for easy driving across even slightly rough terrains with the extendable handle.

The interior is lined with light material and divided into zippered compartments. What’s nice about the Kenneth is that there’s an exterior side handle in case you need to lift and go in a hurry.

With an overall size of 21.75 inches tall, you’ll have to check with your airline about the size. Get a Kenneth Cole bag for your next trip.

Business/Work Carry-Ons for Men

The business traveller is a special breed of traveller. All laptop, all documents, all efficiency. Well, usually! If you’re looking for a bag to help transport your electronics and important things to get work done, these bags below might be for you.

With plenty of compartments and pockets for separating and organizing, there are lots of options for that small bag you just grab and go!

Vaschy Leather Messenger Bag

Confession: Eric is a sucker for a good messenger bag. This Vaschy is made of a leather canvas siding that is durable but really soft to the touch.

The top flap is secured with strong magnetic snaps. The main compartment is built to hold a 15.6-inch laptop and features two large front pockets.

Inside, there’s another pocket with a zipper for more valuable items like money or a USB stick. It comes with an adjustable strap. The outside length is 40 cm so it will fit on a plane and will likely fit under your seat (airline depending). See more photos of the Vaschy here.

Case Logic Laptop Case

The Case Logic is made for function above all else. Need to get from A to B with your laptop or tablet? Here’s your bag!

Inside, there’s a dedicated compartment for a laptop measuring 15 to 17 inches. This case is designed to be airport security friendly – it unzips to lie open and flat for x-rays so that you (likely) won’t have to remove the laptop from the bag.

There’s a variety of inner pockets, panels, and zippered sections for other essential gadgets, electronics, and files. The Case Logic has both a convenient grab handle and a shoulder strap.

There’s also a luggage strap to secure the case to another piece of wheeled carry-on luggage! The total profile measures 18 inches long so easily fits on an airplane. The Case Logic makes travelling with a laptop a breeze – find out more about this Case Logic.

Travel Backpacks for Men

Admittedly, backpacks is something Eric knows quite a bit about simply because he’s travelled with two backpacks for most of his adult life.

Not one to care a great deal about style points, his backpacks are getting more and more worn down but still maintain their function for tossing on his back and getting through airports in a hurry. Here are two backpacks that might suit your fancy for function and style!

Tumi Alpha Bravo Dover Backpack

We’ve heard from countless travellers that “once you buy a Tumi – you never go back”. Well, consider this our shout out!

The Tumi Alpha Bravo is made from nylon but has a polyester lining and a durable zipper for the main closure. It’s a very versatile bag – since it can be worn as a backpack, comes with an adjustable shoulder strap, and features a top carry handle made of webbing and leather.

Inside, you’ll find two main compartments. The front pocket has some light padding and slots for pens and business cards. The back compartment features two sections with a padded laptop slip and an iPad slip.

There’s one zippered pocket at the bottom of the front. The Tumi is a beautiful companion – check the price and other reviews here.

Witzman Canvas Backpack/Duffel

Measuring in at 18.5 inches tall, this smaller versions of the Witzman is great as a carry-on bag. The bag is made from cotton canvas and can be used in so many ways!

The bag can be grabbed on the side using the handle or via shoulder strap to make it a duffel-style bag. There’s even backpack straps that can be hidden away if you don’t need to toss the Witzman on your back!

It should be noted that the backpack straps are padded and made from breathable material.

There are tons of pockets on the bag: two front zippered pockets, one side pocket, and one large main pocket with a laptop slot for a 12 – 16 inch laptop.

Another version of the backpack is 21 inches tall, but that may be tight based on the airline you’re travelling with so be sure to check the luggage sizes! If Eric could choose a new bag, he’d choose this one because it suits his style! Check out how sexy the Witzman is here.

And here we have it, gents! Just a few of the best carry-on luggage items we could find. Do you own a carry-on bag you can’t live without? What’s the brand? We want to know!

We’d be stoked to have any one of these – but what do you think? Let us know in the comments below! Oh, and final warning: be sure to check the airline you’re flying with for the most up-to-date guidelines for their carry-on luggage sizes!

As always, Happy Carry-On Waddlin’,
– L&E

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2 thoughts on “The Best Carry-On Luggage For Men (Buying Guide)”

    • Thanks, Terry! That’s amazing to hear that some of the gear comes with good reviews. My current set up of duffel and messenger bag works just fine but I really want the Witzman once they break/I need to upgrade 😀

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