In last week’s 2013 Travel Series post, I shared My Favorite Luggage & Packing Accessories. This week I wanted to give an in-depth look at my current favorite carry-on bags. I have posted several “What’s In My Carry-On” videos on OLJ over the past three years, sharing how I pack different bags. I thought it would be fun to discuss my three go-to carry-on options with a closer look at why each bag suits my specific travel needs. Let’s take a closer look…
My most used carry-on is the Vera Bradley 17″ Roll-Along Tote. I received this beautiful bag for my birthday last year and have used it many times with great success in the year and a half since. I find that it’s really nice to have a wheeled carry-on bag that fits under your seat. I fly on a lot of smaller sized regional jets, most of which make you gate check your standard size rolling bags due to small overhead bins. In all of my travels with this bag, there has only been one instance when it did not fit under the seat due to a metal box that just happened to be affixed to the underside of the seat in front of me.
The bag is small at 17″tall x 14″ wide x 7½” deep yet surprisingly spacious considering how many built-in organizational components it features. The deep slip pocket in the front is a perfect place to store my lumbar support pillow. The back of the bag has a convertible slip pocket that turns into a “trolley sleeve,”allowing you to slip the bag over the handles of a larger suitcase. There is also a convenient pull-out identification tag area that is concealed for privacy.
The inside of the bag is split into two zippered compartments. The more shallow one on top is where the checkpoint friendly quilted laptop sleeve is located (#1). This option makes it a breeze to pass through security at the airport without having to remove your laptop from the bag. I simply open up this top compartment and lay the bag flat to pass it through the x-ray machine. The other side of the top compartment has several narrow slip pockets for pens and small accessories. There is also a larger slip pocket with a snap closure that’s great for magazines (#2) and a zippered slip pocket perfect for stowing important documents. The main compartment of the bag is the deepest and can easily accommodate a small amount of clothes or, in my case, a large amount of equipment and in-flight essentials (#3). The top of the main compartment has two zippered pockets, including a shallow mesh one, which is great for snacks, and a more pouchy one below (#4). There’s also another built-in identification tag area.
Another thing I love about this bag is the telescoping handle. It is the perfect length! It’s adjustable to choose the comfortable length for you. The bag also comes with a slip cover (not shown) for dust-free storage, a luggage lock, and a TSA approved quart-size clear pouch, perfect for storing your liquids and gels without the need for a quart-size ziplock bag. I always carry one in my luggage, just in case, but I’ve never had an issue going through security with this pouch.
The Vera Bradley Roll-Along Tote is the bag I reach for on most trips, because I can fit all of my in-flight essentials and valuables in it. I can store it easily at my feet and it rolls which makes it easy to travel with.
The next bag I am going to share is the Longchamp Le Pliage Large Tote. This bag is quite the opposite from my Vera Bradley Roll-Along Tote! I love the versatility of Le Pliage’s simple yet elegant design. The bag is constructed of high quality nylon for the body with leather straps. Not only is it roomy at 12 1/4″ wide x 11 3/4″ high x 7 1/2″deep, but it is light and folds up flat, which is great for packing. I always bring my Le Pliage with me as a pool or beach bag when we’re traveling to warmer climates. It’s great to pack into your checked luggage as it takes up neither precious room nor weight. It also functions as a wonderful carry-on option when I am traveling light. For me, “traveling light” means no computer and less cameras than usual. I find that the 9″ drop shoulder handle is the perfect length for comfort. There are no bells and whistles with this bag other than a simple slip pocked on the top interior, so packing with my own pouches and cases is a must for organized travel.
The last bag I am going to share is also my newest and one I have very little experience with so far. I recently purchased the Case Logic SLR Camera/Laptop Backpack specifically for traveling with my expanding camera equipment. I made the switch earlier this year to filming the majority of my videos (aside from vlogs) on my DSLR camera, a Canon Rebel T4i. Since then I have slowly acquired more lenses and related equipment. These expensive and delicate items require specific packing facilitators. I like the idea of a backpack that can not only hold all of my camera equipment I might travel with when I know I will be filming special videos or taking a lot of pictures for my blog, but it can also accommodate my laptop and in-flight essentials.
The bag measure 17″ tall x 8″ deep x 12.5″ wide, weighs 2.7 lb, and is made out of a tough nylon material. The back of the bag features an airflow design with lots of padding for comfort (#1). The bottom of the bag is constructed out of a water-resistant EVA base that protects the bag when you set it down (#2). It also functions to stand the bag upright on its own. I love how every available area on the exterior of this bag is dedicated to stream-lined storage. There is a nicely padded and roomy zipped laptop compartment (not shown) that easily fits my 15″ Macbook Pro as well as a few magazines and my travel folder. One side of the bag includes heavy duty velcro straps to secure a travel size tripod (#5). On the other side there is an easy to access zippered compartment (#4) that covers two mesh pockets, which I use to keep my phone and vlogging camera at the ready for easy access and safe storage (#3). There is also a surprisingly roomy front pocket on the exterior of the bag with slip pockets for small accessories (#1 below).
The inside of the bag is where the design is more specifically dedicated to camera equipment storage. There is a cool hammock suspension feature when you zip open the top of the main compartment that houses your DSLR (or SLR) with the lens pointing down for easy and quick access (#2). This is a great feature if you plan to use this bag for shoots, rather than specifically for travel (although it works great just for storage during travel as well!). Memory foam padding helps to protect the back of your camera when stowed. The inside of the main compartment’s zip flap also has two zip pockets, including a water resistant mesh pouch (perfect for memory cards and extra batteries) and a nicely padded option that I tucked my external hard drives into (#3).
I love how every part of the main compartment is adjustable and removable thanks to velcro components and plush padding (#4). You can use the included “shelves” in whichever arrangement suits your needs best. I was easily able to store my camera, two additional lenses and all of my electronic cables and chargers, as well as my Travel Walking Pharmacy, Kindle, Bose headphones, scarf, and slipper socks into the main compartment on my most recent flight using this bag. That’s not too shabby for a bag designed specifically for equipment! I plan on using this backpack when traveling with more than one camera lens for safe and organized travel. I’ve used it once since I filmed the video and it worked beautifully!
I share My Favorite Carry-On Bags in detail in this video shown below if you’re interested in a closer look:
Check back next week for an in-depth look at my current in-flight essentials! Happy Travels!
*I am not affiliated with any of the brands or stores mentioned in this blog post or video. All opinions are my own.*