If we had a nickel for every time we’ve seen a sweaty traveler lugging a suitcase up subway steps, or struggling to lift a crammed carry-on into the overhead bin…well, we’d have enough for a nice cocktail at least. We can’t help you with the impulse to over-pack, but there’s no reason to drag a heavy suitcase across the world when lighter options abound.
Here’s our picks for the best lightweight luggage in 2018. We’ve included many luggage lines that offer both lightweight carry-ons and lightweight checked bags in our list, but the weights listed below are the carry-on bag weights.
Click on any of the images below to see details and shop, or scroll down to see detailed reviews.
Rimowa’s Salsa Air line is pricey–but some of the best lightweight luggage on this list, practically feather light at under 5 pounds.
We’ve got nothing but good things to say about the sleek style, durability and features. The bag features butter-smooth spinner wheels, nice organization, and integrated TSA locks.
The entire Salsa Air line is worth a look; they’re gorgeous, lightweight cases available in some of-the-moment hues.
Rockland’s Melbourne luggage line is value priced, but still comes in at a breezy 7 pounds for the carry-on. We’re loving the wide range of available colors, interior organization and spinner wheels, at less than $50 for a lightweight carry-on!
If you’re working with small budget, this is the best lightweight luggage for you. Be sure to take a look at the luggage sets available as well, as you can save quite a bit by purchasing a lightweight suitcase and carry-on together.
We’ve tested out and recommended Away’s luggage in the past, for our favorite Smart Luggage picks feature. In addition to having a handy power bank in their carry-on size suitcases, Away’s bags are surprisingly lightweight!
At just 7 pounds, the carry-on is a breeze to pick up. The bags offer modern, understated design (we’re seeing them all over Instagram lately), and great features like TSA locks. They’re also reasonably priced, with all bags–even the large cases!– under $300.
A sleek case from a trusted name in luggage, Tumi’s V3 carry-on is just 7 pounds and boasts all the high quality features you’d expect, including integrated TSA locks and super smooth-rolling spinner wheels. Tumi can be pricey, but in this case, you get what you pay for, including excellent repair service if the bag is ever damaged.
Tumi’s V3 line includes 7 different lightweight suitcases, so even the pickiest traveler can find the right size bag. It’s some of the best lightweight luggage of 2018.
Another established luggage brand, Victorinox’s Etherius carry-on is made of the same lightweight polycarbonate as Tumi’s bag, but clocks in even lighter, at 6 pounds. In addition to the spinner wheels and integrated TSA locks you’d expect to find in a bag at this price point, it features an expansion zipper. This is a nice feature if you need to cram in some souvenirs, but beware that the bag may exceed allowable carry-on size when expanded.
In addition to the carry-on, the Etherius line includes medium and large size lightweight suitcases that are worth checking out.
Hartmann has been making unique, high quality luggage since the late 1800s (“Vintage Hartmann Luggage” is always a pleasant trip down the rabbit hole on Etsy), and even today their cases include touches like real leather handles.
The Innovaire line is constructed of woven polypropylene for a strong, lightweight case with textural appeal. The carry-on is an airy 5 pounds and includes integrated TSA locks, spinner wheels, leather handles, and some nice color choices.
At just under 4 pounds, IT Luggage touts the Los Angeles line as the world’s lightest. While there are some other contenders out there, this is a super lightweight bag at a surprisingly low price.
It’s durable for a non-checked bag and offers nice organization, but is a little short on features otherwise, with no locks or spinner wheels. Still, we can hardly complain for the price!
IT Luggage does offer a range of larger lightweight suitcases, but we’d be cautious with the larger bags, as they’d need to be checked and may not hold up to abuse from baggage handlers.
A nice mid-range option, Travelpro’s Maxlite 4 lightweight carry-on is reasonably priced and just 6 pounds. It features spinner wheels, an expansion zipper, and great organization– all in all a good, dependable bag that won’t break the bank.
Travelpro offers a large range of Maxlite 4 lightweight bags, most with expandable zippers for us overpackers.
Samsonite’s Solyte is another great mid range bag. A lightweight 7 pounds with spinner wheels, spacious main compartment, and expandable zipper, it’s a contender to consider among softside luggage.
There’s a nice selection of other suitcases in the Solyte line, see them all here.
Eagle Creek is known for their quality, durable luggage. They can be a bit short on style, with a backpacker aesthetic, but the EC Adventure carry-on does deliver in the lightweight category, coming in at 7 pounds.
Their lightweight carry-on features spinner wheels, lockable zippers, durable ripstop and ballistic fabric, and expandable zipper.
Eagle Creek’s EC Adventure line includes a couple larger bags that are worth checking out as well.
Heys America Xero line is another brand claiming to be the worlds lightest. Whether or not they’re truly the lightest, the Xero carry on is impressive at just under 4 pounds. The balance of features, style, and super light weight make it one of the best lightweight softside bags on this list.
The Xero features spinner wheels and a sleek look that sets it apart. See the whole Xero line here.
For the final pick, we’re digging Lipault’s unique Plume luggage in sleek nylon. At an airy 5 pounds, it’s incredibly lightweight– and pretty stylish as well.
The Plume features spinner wheels, a roomy main compartment and nice organization. See all the lightweight Plume suitcases and travel bags here.
Are hardshell or softside suitcases better? Which is more lightweight?
We prefer hardshell suitcases, but it’s mainly a matter of preference and budget. Hardshell suitcases can be more protective of the contents, and we prefer the look. However, you’ll pay more for a quality hardshell suitcase, and there’s less room to expand if you just need to fit in a couple extra things.
Both types of suitcase have the potential to be incredibly lightweight –and keep in mind that even the heaviest bags we featured, at 7 pounds, feel very light. We’re willing to bet you’ll be happy with a 6 or 7 pound bag, even if it’s not “the world’s lightest.”