The Best Lightweight Luggage of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Keep your luggage under the weight limit with these lightweight options.

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The Best Lightweight Luggage of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

It's easier said than done to "pack light," but it is a wise sentiment. When you want to bring plenty of outfit options (plus shoes and accessories to match), your full skincare routine, workout gear, and must-haves for working remotely, lightweight luggage can help balance out your load.

But the best suitcases, weekenders, backpacks, underseat bags, and duffels aren't just lightweight. They're also durable, easy to maneuver, and spacious, with lots of compartments and standout features like expanders, compression panels, laptop sleeves, TSA-approved locks, and USB charging ports.

To help you narrow down your options, we've tested over 250 pieces of luggage and sorted through our insights to choose the best lightweight options. Our Travel + Leisure editors packed the bags full, rolled them over different flooring materials, wore them for extended periods of time, threw them off tables, and even built an airplane set where we could lift the bags into overhead bins. We then put together this list of notably lightweight carry-ons, checked bags, personal items, and other types of bags that scored highly and checked all the boxes.

At 5.3 pounds, this hardside suitcase is perfectly lightweight and compact while fitting a surprising amount of clothes — no expander needed.

The handle is somewhat short, and it sustained a minor dent from our bat swings.

Weighing 5.3 pounds, the Delsey Paris Clavel was one of the lightest suitcases we tried. At 22 by 14 by 10 inches, it's nice and compact, too. But while this carry-on looks small, we were pleasantly surprised by how many clothes we could fit inside. We didn't even need to use the expander, which adds another three-quarters of an inch to the depth. We also like that there are two main compartments separated by a zippered divider, plus tie-down straps and shoe pockets. Lifting it overhead was a piece of cake compared to heavier models, and it should easily fit into any overhead bin.

This hardside suitcase has a polypropylene (thermoplastic) exterior that stood up well to our baseball bat tests, although it sustained a minor dent from one particularly enthusiastic swing. The rigid shell gives it a modern, high-end appearance. Beyond the basic luggage colors, the brand offers the option for a statement hue or something a little easier to spot at baggage claim, like blush, teal, or stark white.

Thanks to the four-wheel spinner design, the Clavel has good maneuverability and rolls smoothly over bumps, cracks, and carpet. One drawback is that we felt the handle was a little short and slightly loose. Still, we were thoroughly impressed with this suitcase and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to pretty much anyone looking for a piece of lightweight carry-on luggage. The price is right on point, too, and Delsey backs it with a five-year warranty.

The Details: 5.3 pounds | 22 x 14 x 10 inches | 43-liter capacity | Carry-on | Expandable

Boasting a spacious capacity, smooth-rolling wheels, and an exceptionally durable shell, this 6.5-pound spinner earned perfect scores in all our tests.

It doesn't come with a laundry bag or have a zippered section for dirty clothes.

Samsonite's Freeform Carry-on clocked perfect scores in all testing categories. While this 6.5-pounder is conveniently compact, we could fit enough clothes to get through a four-day trip without having to expand it. There's no removable satchel for dirty clothes, but it does have a zippered separator for shoes, plus a few pockets and cross straps.

We found the Freeform easy to maneuver on both hard flooring and carpet. We were also fans of the adjustable aluminum handle, which locks in place with the press of a button. After whacking it with a bat, the exterior sustained zero dents, scuffs, or scratches. Considering the durable construction, minimalist-modern design, spacious capacity, and reasonable price tag, we think this carry-on is a prime choice for frequent fliers and short getaways.

The Details: 6.5 pounds | 21 x 15 x 10 inches | 34-liter capacity | Carry-on | Expandable

This 105-liter hardside bag is incredibly spacious while still weighing under 10 pounds.

Although it does have some pockets inside, we’d add more organizational features.

Checked bags can get heavy quickly, especially hardside ones, but this 105-liter suitcase from July is noticeably lightweight for its large size, weighing in at around nine pounds. The first thing we noticed during our tests was how spacious it was, with two large compartments inside (one on each side) and several zippered pockets for stashing smaller items. We also found its curved eggshell design to be slimmer and less bulky than similar checked bags from other brands, making it super easy to maneuver through our obstacle course — which should translate well when you’re trying to navigate through crowded airports or hotel lobbies. Even though it’s lightweight, the outer shell still feels extremely durable, surviving our baseball bat and drop tests with no dents or scratches. We think this is your best bet if you’re looking for a large-capacity checked bag that won’t weigh you down.

The Details: 9.2 pounds | 30.32 x 20.87 x 11.22 inches | 105-liter capacity | Checked

This expandable carry-on makes it easy to pack and organize your stuff, and its rigid shell seems almost impossible to damage.

The small wheels sometimes get caught, and it seems to work a little better on two wheels than on four.

The 6.8-pound Samsonite Omni PC was our favorite hardside suitcase. It's not only lightweight but also compact, fitting snugly into an overhead bin, with an expander if you need some wiggle room. With zippered compartments, pockets, and cross straps, we found it easy to fit and organize everything on our packing list. Stuffing it to the brim doesn't affect maneuverability — it rolls well on carpeted floors and turns easily.

However, the small-ish wheels sometimes get caught in ruts, and the suitcase is not quite up to par with how a spinner should move. This carry-on held up well to our bat swings, with no scratches or dents in sight. The price is sharp, too. We'd recommend it to anyone looking for affordable luggage, as well as overpackers and those who don't want to worry about damage.

The Details: 6.8 pounds | 22 x 15 x 9.5 inches | Carry-on | Expandable

This duffel-suitcase hybrid weighs only 4.8 pounds, plus it rolls smoothly and resists scratches and scuffs.

It doesn't have an expander, and the handle felt slightly wobbly.

Lipault's Plume Cabin Spinner was also a hit in our lab. This softside duffel-suitcase hybrid weighs just under five pounds, and while it doesn't expand, we could fit everything on our packing list, save for one of the two toiletry bags. Unlike most of its hardside counterparts, there are a couple of flat exterior pockets. But bear in mind it'll be hard to put anything in them when the suitcase is stuffed full.

Though the handle was slightly wobbly, the wheels rolled smoothly. The Plume Spinner also held up well to our bat test, with no visible damage, which is to be expected with a high-quality softside model. We like the stylish design, and the smooth matte exterior seems easy to wipe clean. While the price is a bit steep for a carry-on, we think it's a good option for short trips.

The Details: 4.8 pounds | 21.5 x 14 x 8 inches | Rolling duffel carry-on

This budget-friendly spinner weighs just over seven pounds and has an unexpectedly spacious interior.

There are only a few colors, and it doesn't have a TSA lock.

On a budget? Amazon has you covered. After trying it out first-hand, we can confirm that the Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner has excellent maneuverability, even when we rolled it over bumps and carpeted floors. It also turns and spins like a champ. What's more: the thermoplastic shell lives up to its scratch-resistant claims, with no signs of damage from our drop tests and bat swings.

We were able to fit all items on our packing list, including clothes, coats, shoes, and toiletries. Expanding it wasn't necessary, but it's nice to know there's room to spare. While this wallet-friendly suitcase doesn't have a TSA lock or any smart features, its functionality blew our expectations out of the water. And although there are only a few colors available, we like the sleek, pared-down design.

The Details: 7.3 pounds | 22 x 15 x 10 inches | Carry-on | Expandable

With a shiny textured shell that conceals scratches and resists cracks, this suitcase is the perfect balance of stylish and durable.

The capacity is somewhat small without the expander, and it can be slightly unstable on all four wheels.

The 6.3-pound Travelpro Maxlite Air really stood out in terms of aesthetics. It has a crack-resistant polycarbonate shell and a shiny ribbed exterior with a denim-like texture that's supposed to help conceal scratches and scuffs. Sure enough, we saw no damage whatsoever after shoving it off a table and whacking it with a bat.

We were able to fit everything into the dual interior compartments but had to expand it, which could make it too big to pass as a carry-on. With that said, a compression pad or cross straps would have been nice. This suitcase boasts eight wheels, but it's actually four sets of dual casters. It rolled nicely on two casters, even over bumps and around sharp turns, though it was less stable on all four. All things considered, we think the price is fair and would recommend this to someone looking for stylish, durable luggage.

The Details: 6.3 pounds | 23 x 14.5 x 9.5 inches | 46-liter capacity | Carry-on | Expandable

The exceptionally sturdy yet flexible shell can be knocked around without damage while making it easy to pack all the essentials for a getaway.

This carry-on isn't expandable, and it doesn't take corners as well on two wheels.

At 6.7 pounds, the Coolife Spinner Trolley isn't the lightest of the lightweight luggage we tested, but it's undoubtedly the most durable. The ABS+PC (acrylonitrile butadiene and polycarbonate) shell is an exceptionally sturdy thermoplastic blend. After shoving it off multiple surfaces and giving it a few good hits with a bat, there was no visible damage.

This carry-on isn't expandable, but thanks to the strong yet slightly flexible exterior, stretchy cross bands, and smooth zippers, we were able to stuff in all the essentials for a four-day trip. It also has a double TSA lock for extra protection. Maneuvering the Spinner Trolley was a breeze, though it doesn't take corners as tightly on two wheels. We'd expect it to last several years and think it's a stellar option for such an affordable price.

The Details: 6.7 pounds | 21 x 14 x 9.5 inches | 38-liter capacity | Carry-on

This 45-liter, barrel-shaped bag is water-resistant and has a slip pocket for an Apple AirTag.

The clips that attach the crossbody strap to the bag are plastic rather than metal.

This spacious duffel bag easily fit our full packing list during testing, including four shirts, a jacket, pants, a toiletry kit, a makeup kit, a laptop, chargers, two pairs of shoes, and more, with plenty of room to spare. The bag has two top handles; a detachable, padded shoulder strap; a luggage pass-through, internal slip pockets for smaller items; an external pocket with a key clip; and an internal Apple AirTag slip pocket. Some large bags can't help but feel bulky when you're wearing them as a crossbody, but this 45-liter bag has a barrel shape that makes it slim and easy to carry, and we noticed that it managed to feel more lightweight and portable than some other bags we tested that had the same exact packing list. You can also feel safe if you have to carry this bag in the rain thanks to the water-resistant polyester material (made from 100 percent recycled PET plastic bottles) and storm flaps that protect the main zipper. 

The Details: 2.2 pounds | 15 x 25.6 x 15.75 inches | 45-liter capacity | Carry-on

This extra-large and incredibly durable wheeled duffel is under five pounds, with a generous capacity and comfortable shoulder straps.

There's no proper handle, and it would be nice if there were a couple more pockets.

The Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler is an excellent checked luggage option, and at 4.7 pounds, it weighs less than most carry-ons. We could easily fit all items on the packing list, though a couple more pockets or separators would have helped keep things organized. This extra-large duffel has two wheels and glides pretty well, but since it doesn't have an extendable handle, rolling it around isn't very comfortable. However, the shoulder straps allow you to carry it like a backpack.

This durable duffel bag showed no signs of damage during our whacking and shoving tests. The bold monochrome colors add a tasteful touch to the rugged design while helping you quickly recognize it at baggage claim. While it's a bit pricey for this type of luggage, the Cargo Hauler seems like it'll last a long time. We think it's a solid choice for camping, hiking, backpacking, and other outdoor excursions.

The Details: 4.7 pounds | 34 x 15 x 14 inches | 130-liter capacity | Checked

This 1.6-pound tote is conveniently compact yet spacious, with comfortable straps and a trolley sleeve.

It may only fit under the seat of larger planes and might not be big enough to replace a suitcase.

If you need luggage you can stow beneath the seat in front of you, the Maxlite 5 Tote is a solid choice. Measuring 18 x 11 x 8 inches, it's conveniently compact — and under two pounds when empty! This softside bag fit all the necessities for a two-day trip, including clothes, toiletries, and a laptop, with room to spare. One thing to note is that it was too big to fit into the underseat compartment we tested it with, but it should work on a larger plane. And you can always stash it overhead if needed.

The wheel-free design has a padded shoulder strap and comfortable handles so it's not awkward to carry around. There's also a trolley sleeve that slides over the handle of a larger suitcase. The price is a little high for the size, but if you can swing it, we think it's a great travel companion. It's also good as supplemental luggage to checked baggage.

The Details: 1.6 pounds | 18 x 11 x 8 inches | 28-liter capacity | Underseat bag

This versatile bag has so many organizational features, including seven exterior pockets, nine interior pockets, and a laptop sleeve.

Although the bag is comfortable to carry, we would add padding to the straps.

The most lightweight option on this list, the MZ Wallace Nik Duffel Bag is so resourceful for travel: it’s compact enough to use as an overnight bag or even a daily commuter bag, but you can also use it for a longer four or five day trip if you maximize packing space with all the pockets and compartments. This weekender shines when it comes to organization since there are tons of pockets and storage space, including seven pockets on the outside, nine pockets on the inside, a 16-inch laptop sleeve, a detachable pouch, and a key ring strap. Even when we packed this bag full, it still felt comfortable to carry because of the quilted material that has a natural padding, although the crossbody strap doesn’t have any padding on it. It has long top handles; a detachable, adjustable crossbody strap; and a trolley sleeve, giving you the option to carry it in so many different ways. All in all, we think the high price tag is well worth it for this versatile weekender.

The Details: 2.1 pounds | 16.93 x 7.09 x 12.2 inches | Underseat bag

This exceptionally durable backpack weighs barely more than three pounds and is large enough to fit everything for a three-day trip.

This popular pack sells out often.

The Osprey Farpoint 40 weighs barely more than three pounds when empty, and it's nearly as spacious as a carry-on suitcase. With a generously sized main compartment and ample pockets, there's plenty of room to pack for a three-day trip — maybe longer. Not only that, but this backpack is extremely durable. The rip-stop nylon held up to our whacks and shoves like it was nothing. Even after packing it full, it zipped closed without a fuss, and the seams showed no signs of stress. Carrying it around was a cakewalk, too. If you're heading on a backpacking trip or just like traveling light with the freedom to speed-walk hands-free through the airport, the Farpoint 40 is for you.

The Details: 3.1 pounds | 19.5 x 14 x 8 inches | 40-liter capacity | Backpack

The T+L team tested 118 pieces of luggage in our New York City lab. After weighing them ourselves, we performed a range of tests to assess the maneuverability, portability, capacity, durability, and design of the lighter-weight models. We packed them with enough clothing and other essentials to get through a four-day trip (or a weekend, for the smaller bags).

To see how they'd perform in a real-life setting, we rolled them around on different types of flooring, hoisted them over our heads, slung them over our shoulders, and stuffed them under seats and into overhead bins. Next, we hit each piece a few times with a baseball bat and shoved it off a table to evaluate durability and potential wear and tear. With size, adjustability, price, and weight in mind, the luggage options with the highest ratings and the lightest weights were selected for this roundup.

Three pieces of lightweight luggage we tested couldn’t quite earn a spot on our list but had standout features that may meet the needs of some travelers. 

Hartmann Luxe II Carry-on Spinner: This 6.8-pound suitcase has a spacious main compartment and a retro yet high-end appearance. It works well on two wheels but not so much on four, and it's a bit too bulky for an overhead bin.

Kipling Darcey Small Carry-on Rolling Luggage: Weighing just over five pounds, this carry-on is lightweight, spacious enough for a four-day trip, and compact enough to fit in an overhead compartment. That said, the maneuverability is clunky compared to others we tried.

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Carry-on Spinner: This 5.4-pound spinner rolls smoothly for the most part and didn't sustain any scuffs from our bat test. However, it has a somewhat outdated appearance, and in the end, we liked the hardside carry-on and tote from the Maxlite line better. 

Prioritizing a lightweight design doesn't mean you have to sacrifice durability. Hardside luggage tends to be better for safeguarding electronics and preventing your stuff from getting crushed. And while they’re usually easy to wipe clean, some rigid suitcases are prone to scuffing. Believe it or not, softside carriers are often just as sturdy. Although textile exteriors can be trickier to keep clean, they also usually don't scuff as easily or show dirt.

Besides staying within any potential weight limits for plane travel, one of the main points of lightweight luggage is to make your trip easier and more efficient. With this in mind, you'll want to look for models with various comfort features. These may include easy-to-push spinner wheels, a telescoping handle, padded grab handles, an adjustable strap, or even a trolley sleeve.

The lightest-weight carry-ons are usually anywhere from 4.5 to 6.5 pounds. For checked suitcases, you're looking at closer to eight to 10 pounds. However, alternative luggage options, such as duffels, weekenders, and carry-on backpacks, can be as light as two or three pounds when empty.

Hardside luggage made from polycarbonate, ABS, and polypropylene tend to be the most durable bags, but softside luggage can be just as protective when it comes to storing your items for takeoff.

Our tests proved that lightweight luggage can be just as durable as other bags. In our lab, we hit the luggage pieces with a baseball bat and pushed them off a table to evaluate potential wear and tear. We found that most of these bags easily stood up to our tests with no visible damage.

It depends on the airline. Some set the weight limit for carry-on luggage at about 35 pounds, though international flights may be more restrictive. But unlike checked baggage that's weighed in at the counter, weight limits are often not enforced very strictly. And some domestic airlines don't have any restrictions.

This also varies among airlines. Many set the weight limit for checked baggage at 50 pounds. But in many cases, you can go up to 70 pounds for an extra fee. At any rate, it's a good idea to check the airline's website before packing, as rules and guidelines are subject to change.

For this story, commerce writer Theresa Holland combed through in-house testing insights, then referenced product descriptions and luggage manuals to create a comprehensive roundup of the best lightweight luggage available today. She has tried a handful of the above brands herself, including July, Amazon Basics, Samsonite, and Osprey. T+L editors will continue to update this article as we test more bags.

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The Best Lightweight Luggage of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

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