Looking for the best lightweight luggage pieces can be overwhelming. These pieces are a great way to lighten your load when you’re traveling, especially when it’s international travel. I’ve scoured the internet for the best lightweight luggage pieces so you can find the best option for your different needs. Keep reading to find out my top picks for lightweight luggage so you can make the perfect choice for your next vacation.
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Features to Consider: Best Lightweight Luggage Pieces
To find the best lightweight luggage pieces, it is important to understand the features that differentiate them.
Suitcases of all sizes can range from under $100 to many hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Regardless of your budget, I have identified some of the best lightweight luggage pieces in a variety of ranges. You will be able to find a suitcase that fits your needs.
Whether you’re traveling with a carry on or checked luggage, the first option is whether to use wheels or not. If you opt for no wheels, you’ll be carrying your belongings in a backpack or a weekender bag. If you choose a wheeled bag, you must pick between two wheels or multi-directional spinner wheels (also known as four wheels).
Two wheeled bags are pulled behind you, like a rolling suitcase. These are great if you’re traveling on smooth surfaces, like an airport or hotel lobby floor. However, they can be difficult to maneuver over rougher terrain, like cobblestones or grass. Multi-directional spinner wheels rotate 360 degrees, making them much easier to steer, no matter what the surface. These are ideal if you’ll be doing a lot of walking or will be bringing your bag on public transportation. However, they can be more expensive than two-wheeled bags.
The handle of the carry-on bag is one of the most important aspects to consider before purchasing. The handle should be ergonomic and simple to grip, because it will undoubtedly be carrying weight on your journey. Many distinct types are available, such as telescoping handles, swivel handles, and even side handles, for people who want an easier time maneuvering their bag through airports or onto luggage racks.
Hardside vs soft side
When it comes to choosing between hardshell and soft-sided suitcases, several variables come into play. Both types are offered in a variety of price ranges and budgets.
Hardsided luggage is a popular choice when transporting delicate goods or when the bag will be subjected to inspection. They’re also considerably more appealing than standard suitcases since they come in a variety of colors and designs. On the other hand, because of their clamshell design they can be difficult to use with a hotel luggage rack.
Because soft-sided luggage has more give when packed, it is preferable. They also typically have extra organizational features, such as external pockets. This makes a short business trip possible by carrying only one bag. Work things can be stored in the external pockets while your clothes may be stored in the main compartment.
If you’re only traveling with carry-on luggage, the bag’s size is crucial. Each airline has its own size restrictions. The majority of US domestic flights on major airlines can transport a bag up to 22 inches in length. International flights generally have tighter limits and can handle bags up to 21 inches in length. Keep in mind that these dimensions include
PRO TIP: Travel + Leisure did a great post with the carry-on sizes of many airlines.
Use that post as guidance only – MAKE SURE TO CHECK THE AIRLINES YOU ARE FLYING ON BEFORE YOUR TRIP.
The weight of an empty bag has a couple of implications. First and foremost, keep in mind that you’ll frequently need to place your case in the overhead compartment on a plane. The weight of the luggage you’re packing should be something that you can manage on your own. If budget airlines are your thing, they also may be sticklers for luggage weight.
The internal structure of the luggage varies by kind. Some suitcases have a pull-out handle on the outside, while others do not. That handle does take up space inside the bag. Bags will also feature numerous internal and external pockets that take up a lot of room in the suitcase when packed full. I’ve included internal capacity figures when I found them in my research.
Smart Luggage Features
Smart Bags tend to exist at a higher price point. Check out this ShePacksLite post to learn more about Smart Bags. Some of this list of the best lightweight luggage pieces do have smart features.
Top Picks for Best Lightweight Luggage Pieces
If you’re someone who needs a little extra space when you’re packing, this TravelPro suitcase is perfect for you. It’s one of the larger ones on this list of best lightweight luggage pieces, so it’s a great option for long trips when you need to pack a few more things.
If you’ve done research on the best luggage brands in the past, you’ve probably come across TravelPro suitcases. As far as quality luggage goes, TravelPro usually does a really good job creating durable luggage that still has plenty of space for everything you’ll need for your trip.
Other notable features that this TravelPro Maxlite 5 bag has are adjustable straps, 4 360-degree spinner wheels, and the option to expand the bag if you need it. The sides of the bag are soft, so if your personal preference is hard-sided suitcases, I have a couple of options for those as well.
- Weight: 7.3 lbs
- Wheels: 4
- External Dimensions: 27 x 18.5 x 11
If you like your bags to have some style to them, look no further than Vera Bradley Microfiber Grand Weekender bag. This bag does provide you with a lot of space, however, I would definitely say it’s better suited for road trips or weekends away in-state, just as the name suggests. It does have enough room for a weekend trip, but it doesn’t have any wheels, so it would be more difficult carrying this bag through the airport.
If no wheels aren’t a dealbreaker for you, I would suggest maybe using this bag as carry-on luggage instead of your main suitcase for a long trip. The fabric is durable enough that it won’t get torn up in the overhead bin, but I don’t think I would want this bag being thrown around underneath the plane.
This duffle bag is very lightweight, so I do think it can be a good option for some people depending on what your travel needs are. Another nice feature is that The Weekender comes in five different colors so you have the option to customize it a bit to your personal style.
- Capacity: 52L
- Wheels: None
- External Dimensions: 15 x 21 x 9
If you prefer a suitcase with a hard shell, these Samsonite bags are some of the best suitcases that you can choose. The hard case doesn’t add weight, which makes the bag a great lightweight option as well. Another thing that I like about this bag is that it makes it very easy to keep things organized within the suitcase. The inside has a divider and plenty of zippers to keep everything where you need it to be, which I really appreciate. When you’re packing light, sometimes things are packed so tightly together that it can be hard to pull one single thing out, but an organized bag helps with this.
Other great features that the Samsonite Omni has are a TSA lock on the side of the bag, spinner wheels, and a retractable handle. It also comes at a very affordable price, so you can have a high-quality suitcase for a great value.
Luggage can be really expensive if you don’t do your research ahead of time. I don’t mind spending a little more on suitcases if I’m really in need of a new one and I’m planning on using it for a long time, but I realize that not everyone can drop $200 plus on a good suitcase. This AmazonBasics bag is a great lightweight option that’s soft-sided and also fits easily in the overhead compartment of airplanes.
Packing light means that you can often use your main suitcase as your carry-on bag. I love to do this because whenever I’m traveling somewhere, I don’t like to spend time at baggage claim waiting for my bag to get unloaded. One benefit of choosing a suitcase that has a softshell is that you can often fit it in tight spaces more easily than a hard-shelled suitcase would. Another thing that’s nice about this AmazonBasics bag is that the main compartment of the suitcase allows you to organize all of your belongings fairly effortlessly.
If you’re big on carry-on travel, this suitcase is a great lightweight option that will allow you to be well below most airlines’ weight limits for carry-on bags while still giving you the flexibility to pack whatever you need. As is the case with cheaper suitcases, however, you will likely see some signs of wear the longer you use the bag.
- Weight: 5.51 lbs
- Capacity: 31 Liters
- Wheels: 4
- External Dimensions: 14.7 x 9 x 21
Once again, Travelpro’s reputation for creating high-quality suitcases remains true. This Platinum Elite 25 Expandable Spinner Suitcase combines great quality with all the extra features that make a suitcase stand out. Some people prefer soft-sided suitcases because they allow you to have a little more flexibility when you’re packing light, especially if you like to only travel with a carry-on.
Some notable features that the TravelPro Platinum Elite bag offers are a fold-out bag to keep clothes from wrinkling, double spinner wheels, built-in accessory pockets, a fully adjustable handle, and a durable coating on the external nylon of the bag. This helps keep your suitcase looking new even if it’s handled roughly. TravelPro also offers a lifetime warranty on top of that great quality in the event that you need your bag repaired due to airline damage which can be hard to find in a warranty. All in all, if you’re a frequent flyer, this suitcase is definitely a great choice.
- Weight: 11.5 lbs
- Capacity: 143.5 Liters
- Wheels: 4 double wheeled spinners
- External Dimensions: 32.5 x 21 x 13.25
Away the Carry-On
If you’re looking to splurge on a lightweight suitcase for the new year, take a look at the Away Carry-On. Not only is this bag great for air travel, it also offers a ton of super cool smart features that make it stand out from the crowd. Not to mention, it’s made of the very durable polycarbonate material that I mentioned earlier, so it will stay tough even after being handled by airline employees.
In addition to being super light, this Away bag also includes a TSA lock, a side handle, an ejectable battery that allows you to charge your phone on the go, a laundry bag, and a telescopic handle for taller people who have trouble reaching their suitcase handles. Away’s bags are very popular right now, and it’s easy to see why. This Carry-On bag is a good option for business travelers who are frequently on the go. The interior pockets allow for packing optimization and the mesh compartments make a great built-in toiletry bag. If you’re planning on doing a lot of leisure travel in the next year, or if you have a lot of business trips coming up, you should consider the Away Carry-On. It’s a great price for all of the additional features you get and it’ll make traveling a breeze.
- Weight: 7.1 lbs
- Capacity: 39.8 Liters
- Wheels: 4 wheeled spinner
- External Dimensions: 21.7 x 13.7 x 9
Another great hard case option for those who want a little more protection is the Desley Paris Helium Aero 25 Spinner bag. The main compartment of this suitcase gives you enough room for everything you need, and as a bonus, it’s made with extra durable materials. The polycarbonate outer shell is extra resistant to cracking, which can be a concern for some people considering a hard-sided suitcase.
Another nice feature that this bag has is a TSA lock on the side of the suitcase. This allows TSA easy access to your bag in the event that they need to open your bag without damaging it. The double spinner wheels also make it super easy to maneuver the bag around crowded airports, which I always appreciate.
- Weight: 9.8 pounds
- Wheels: 4 double wheel spinners
- External Dimensions: 25 x 11.5 x 17.5
If you’re still not convinced of which hard-sided suitcase you should choose, let me give you yet another option. The American Tourister Moonlight Hardside Expandable Luggage , 24 inch is great.
These bags are fun because they are lightweight and have bright colorful prints. You will not have a hard time identifying your bag at baggage claim.
- Weight: 9.04 pounds
- Wheels: 4 spinner wheels
- External Dimensions: 11.8 x 17.5 x 27
The Lipault Paris Plume Spinner suitcase is another splurge, but if you’re in the market for a bag that’s going to be an investment for years to come, it’s worth your consideration. Like many other Lipault Paris suitcases, this particular model is as durable as they come while still being some of the lightest luggage on the market.
Another thing that I like about the Plume Spinner bag is that it’s water-resistant. The soft case is made out of PVC-reinforced nylon which makes it very durable and waterproof, even when it’s being handled outside in the elements. One thing that I don’t like as an optimized packer is that the inside pockets of this suitcase don’t allow you to keep things very organized. If you’re like me and appreciate a suitcase having a lot of different organizational pockets within the bag, you may want to look at some other options.
- Weight: 4.8 lbs
- Wheels: 4 wheeled spinner
- External Dimensions: 21.8 x 13.8 x 8.3
Samsonite suitcases are known for their high-quality design, and this particular model is no exception. The Samsonite Freeform Hardside gives you all the essentials you could hope to have in a lightweight suitcase without the unnecessary additions. It’s true that the inside of the bag doesn’t offer as many organizational abilities that other bags do, but if you can do without them, this bag will get the job done.
Some other great features that do come with this bag are a water-resistant coating on the nylon fabric so your belongings will be safe, and very comfortable side and top handles. This Samsonite bag has all the essentials that you’ll need when you’re packing light.
- Weight:8.5 pounds
- Wheels: 4 double wheel spinner
- External Dimensions: 27.95 x 19.57 x 13.39
Skyway isn’t a brand name that you hear often when you’re searching for suitcases online, but this Skyway bag is worth mentioning because it’s a great lightweight option that still give you a lot of storage options. I like this Mirage Superlight suitcase because it’s a simple lightweight bag that also gives you the option to expand it if you need a little extra space.
The wheels of a bag are also very important to me because they make a huge difference when you’re spending extended periods of time in the airport. The spinner wheels on this Skyway bag allow for easy navigating, which comes in handy if you’re running from one gate to another and weaving through crowds of people in the terminal.
- Weight: 6.9 pounds
- Wheels: 4 wheeled spinner
- External Dimensions: 26.5 x 16.5 x 10
If your travels mainly include short weekend trips, this Samsonite under-seat bag is a great carry-on option. At just over 5 pounds, it’s one of the lightest bags on this list, which means it’s the perfect size for that short trip you have coming up. The Samsonite Underseater also probably the best carry-on for business travelers because of the internal laptop sleeve, shoe compartments, tie-down straps, and large exterior pocket.
The wheels of this Samsonite bag also provide easy wheeling through airports or train stations, and the fabric of the bag is made from sustainable materials, which is a bonus for eco-conscious travelers. If your upcoming trips are a little bit longer, I would probably opt for a lightweight bag that offers a little more internal storage, but if you have packing light down or prefer shorter trips, this Wheeled Underseater might be the perfect bag for you.
- Weight: 5.5 pounds
- Wheels: 4 wheeled spinner
- External Dimensions: 9 x 13.5 x 16.5
Another premium lightweight option on our list is the Victorinox Spectra 2.0 bag. The first thing that you’ll notice when looking at this suitcase is the scratch-resistant hard shell. This give you a little more protection for your belongings than a soft-sided bag would. When it comes to hard-shelled bags, I think you either love them or hate them. If you’re on the fence, this Victorinox suitcase does have some other great features I think you’ll appreciate if you like to stay organized like me.
Like many other hard case suitcases, the main compartment of the bag splits in two when you open it up. I like this design because it allows you to pack your clothes in two separate layers. That way when you open it up, you don’t have to dig through all of your meticulously-packed clothes to find something at the bottom. In addition to the organizational design, the Spectra 2.0 also has compression straps, zipper pockets, and a TSA lock if you want to be extra sure your belongings are safe. This bag can be on the pricey side, but with the extra money, you’ll definitely get a great quality suitcase.
- Weight: 10.32 pounds
- Wheels: 4 wheel spinner
- External Dimensions: 11.8 x 17.7 x 27.2
I get it, packing light can be hard, but it’s totally worth it. However, if you buy a few too many souvenirs on your vacation, you may need a little more room in your suitcase on the way home. That’s when expandable suitcases like this Briggs & Riley bag come in handy. The outer shell of the bag is hard-sided, which may seem like it wouldn’t give a lot of extra room, but the CX technology that is used in this bag allows it to expand up to 25 percent depending on how much more room you need.
The Briggs & Riley Travelware Expandable Suitcase is a little heavier than some of the others in this list at about 10 pounds, but I don’t consider that to be a heavy bag in the grand scheme of things. It also comes equipped with a garment folder, compression straps, along with small and large exterior pockets for things that you might need easy access to during your travels. Another thing that I like about this bag is that it is quite durable as well. The tough nylon exterior makes it much more sturdy than some other suitcases I’ve owned in my life so your bag doesn’t go from brand new to shabby in one trip.
When I am thinking about the best lightweight luggage pieces, Briggs & Riley is at the top of my list.
- Weight: 9.3 lbs
- Capacity: 46.4 Liters
- Wheels: 4 wheel spinner
- External Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9
Last but not least, we have the Lucas Printed Expandable suitcase. If you like your bags to make a statement, this is the one for you. The pattern on the outside fabric of this suitcase is eye-catching, but that does mean it sacrifices quality or functionality. The main compartment of the bag comes with compression straps to keep all of your clothes organized and secure even when your bag is getting tossed around. The zipper pockets on the outside also give you even more organization and easy access to things you might need while traveling.
As far as features, this bag is not much different than some of the others that I reviewed, but one unique thing it does offer is the unique pattern. That’s the clear draw for this suitcase. If you’re between a similar bag that’s a solid color and this one, why not choose the Lucas Printed Expandable. You’ll never have to search for your bag in baggage claim again.
- Weight: 10.1 lbs
- Wheels: 4 spinners
- External Dimensions: 29.5 x 18.2 x 12.8
FAQ: Best Lightweight Luggage Pieces
Choosing a new suitcase can be an important decision because you’ll likely be using it for the next 10 years or so, that is, if you pick a quality one. If you have some lingering questions and still need help deciding on the best lightweight luggage pieces, keep reading.
What is the lightest luggage material?
Anyone can say that their suitcase is lightweight, but one thing you want to look for if you want an ultra-lightweight bag is what material it’s made out of. Polycarbonate is one material that is often used in popular suitcase brands that claim to be lightweight options. As an added bonus, polycarbonate is also extremely durable, so you won’t have to worry about your bag falling apart after being handled under the plane. Check out the list of the best lightweight luggage pieces to see some bags made of polycarbonate.
Which are the best lightweight suitcases?
As far as brands go, Samsonite is definitely the one that made it on this list of bags the most. Samsonite is a very well-known brand when it comes to travel, and it’s not hard to see why. Many of their suitcases, lightweight or not, are extremely durable and well made. And as lightweight suitcases become more popular, they have a lot more options than other brands do if you’re not sure what kind of lightweight bag you want. If you’re not sure where to start looking for a bag, you can’t go wrong with a Samsonite model.
Which type of suitcase is better, hard or soft? Best lightweight luggage pieces.
A lot of this comes down to personal preference. Some people are hard-shell people all the way, while others like the flexibility that a soft-sided bag provides. Hardshell suitcases do usually offer an added layer of protection for your belongings, but the downside is that because the outside is so rigid, you can’t squeeze them into a tight spot in the overhead bin. However, some soft-sided bags are made with very durable materials nowadays, and they allow the bag to stretch a bit if you need a tiny bit more room when packing.