With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about travel—and nothing kills a vacay vibe like lost luggage. The best way to avoid that scenario is to use a carry-on, so we asked our in-house gear experts to round up the season’s hottest pieces. From spinner luggage to backpacks to briefcases and beyond, we’re counting down the top 10 ways to keep your travel essentials close.
10. For the Person About Town
If you’ve made it this far in life without a truly smart, lightweight carry-on…well, frankly, we’re kind of surprised! So let’s fix that situation quickly. This compact, fully lined spinner suitcase gets bonus points for its durable, scratch-resistant finish and crush-busting corner caps.
At just 20 inches, the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds Spinner is on the smaller end of the carry-on spinner spectrum—with just enough room for a weekend getaway or a quick business trip. And with nine fresh colors to choose from, it’s the perfect addition to any traveler’s arsenal.
Hot tip: the gorgeous new rose gold shade is exclusive to eBags and will likely sell out, so snap it up NOW.
9. For the Multi-Mode Traveler
Traveling to a city where public transport is king? Whether you’re headed to a business trip in Chicago or on a whirlwind tour of Paris, you need a bag that can handle planes, trains, and automobiles with equal aplomb. The Timbuk2 Command Messenger is that bag—and then some.
Seamlessly blending retro design with modern features, this sleek messenger bag has a roomy interior and a TSA-friendly laptop sleeve, so you don’t have to plop your tech in the bin. A top handle helps you convert to briefcase mode, but that handy messenger strap ensures you can be hands-free at any time.
8. For the Power Player
Here’s another game-changer in the carry-on space: the underseat tote. Specifically designed to tuck neatly under the seat in front of you, Samsonite Spinner Underseater ensures that your in-flight essentials are within reach throughout your flight—perfect for flyers who want to read a book for a bit…then have a snack…then give the new National album a spin…then fire up a movie on their tablet.
In fact, the designers of this bag must have had EXACTLY that traveler in mind…because it’s also got a USB charger to keep all those wonderful gadgets powered up. And that’s in addition to keeping a night or two’s worth of stuff perfectly organized in a cute, compact bag. #winning
7. For Your Biz Casual Buddy
We all know that guy: he’s got a good job, and he’s good at that job…but he lives for the weekend. He’s more of a flannel guy than a tie guy, and there’s nothing wrong with that—as long as he’s not carrying his work stuff around in the same duffel he takes camping every weekend. (Note: he probably is.)
So now’s the time to tell him about the Kenneth Cole Reaction Come Bag Soon Messenger. With dedicated pockets for his laptop and tablet and a slim profile crafted from soft Columbian leather, it’s the perfect bag to take his Monday–Friday game up a notch or two.
6. For the Lady Boss
Nothing says “corner office” like an elegant laptop tote, and this is one of our absolute faves this season. The Knomo Mayfair Grosvenor Place Tote makes black not so basic, with the London brand’s signature pair of zippered exterior pockets—one of which is constructed of RFID-blocking material.
On the inside, you’ll find dedicated pockets for laptop and tablet, along with a small zippered pocket for keys and other essentials. A bright-red lining makes hunting for specific items a breeze, and a full-length zipper closure means you can tuck the whole thing under your seat without everything tumbling out.
5. For All the Cool Kids
In our nearly two decades of travel gear obsession, we’ve seen a lot of bags come across our desks—and while we’re ALL bag ladies and duffel dudes around here, very few brands have caused more across-the-board excitement at eBags than the launch of Denver’s own Topo Designs.
You guys, these bags are Just. Plain. Cool. The Travel Bag Laptop Backpack is already a staff favorite, with its color-contrast styling and 3-in-1 functionality—convertible straps mean you can carry it as a backpack, a messenger or a brief. Pack it like a suitcase and carry it however…it’s one great travel bag.
4. For the Globetrotting Girl
Not all girls are girly girls—in fact, some of our favorite ladyfriends would rather spend five nights in a far-flung hostel than one night in a 5-star hotel. For these game gals, we recommend the Osprey Women’s Fairview Travel Backpack…the perfect wingman for the one-bag traveler.
Weighing in at just over 3 lbs., the Fairview offers 40L of cargo space, with ergonomic straps and a supportive waist belt. But what we love most about this bag is the fact that it wears like an outdoor pack, but has the clean lines of an urban bag—right down to the zip-in straps for those Eurail overhead bins.
3. For the Frequent Flyer
If you travel often, especially for work, you know how important it is to minimize your time in the security lines…and the SwissGear ScanSmart 1900 laptop backpack can help you do just that. This eBags exclusive consistently ranks among our top-selling and highest-rated products—and here’s why.
Thanks to the 1900’s unique butterfly construction, you can leave your laptop and other tech items in their designated sleeves—just unzip and lay the bag flat on the TSA belt! There’s even a handy little stash pocket in the front for your 3-1-1s…plus TONS of cargo space and other smart pockets.
2. For the Corporate Climber
The road to the top isn’t paved with gold—it’s paved with long hours, red-eye flights and LOTS of nailed first impressions. Get all your business trips off on the right foot with the Victorinox Werks Traveler Carry-On. This hard-working, grown-up case is built to last a lifetime and look good doing it.
At 22 inches, it’s at the upward limit of carry-on sizing, so there’s room for everything you need. We especially love the built-in suiter to keep your pants and coats pressed, plus the handy accordion-style front pocket—it’s even got a laptop sleeve if you don’t want to bother with a personal item.
1. For Literally Everyone
Don’t take our word for it—listen to 3,822 reviewers who have given the eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack (and its smaller sibling) a five-star rating! So when we say that “literally everyone” needs this bag, we’re totally serious; it’s hands-down the most organized laptop backpack we’ve ever seen.
With a spacious main compartment and a theft-discouraging hidden laptop sleeve, the Professional Slim totes all your essentials with ease. There’s a pocket for everything you can think of, including a special “AC garage” to corral all your cords and a next-level organizer area for small stuff.
While pursuing her graduate degree in Creative Writing at CU Boulder, Staci took a part-time job crafting trip itineraries for an extreme travel company—and so embarked upon an adventure that continues to this day. In the ensuing two decades, her passion for journey and destination alike took her everywhere from the Far East (backpacking in Cambodia) to the Wild West (wrangling horses in Colorado). Work and family permitting, Staci is devoted to her ongoing quest to find the perfect taco and the perfect point break. Fair warning: if she finds them in the same place, she’s probably not coming back.