Specific trips and travelers will benefit from duffle bags as carry-on luggage. You can use duffle bags as carry-on luggage at times when it makes the most sense. If last-minute, forced gate checks are needed, duffle bags are great for unpacking a backpack that’s the right size or for carrying personal items.
The advantages of these bags outweigh the disadvantages of a travel backpack. With duffles, there are no wheels that can break like with suitcases.
As well as taking up less space at home and in airplane baggage bins, they also take up less space than suitcases. You can pair an existing backpack with a duffle bag rather than wearing a second backpack on your front if you have a backpack that you use for your laptop or personal items.
You can learn what to pack in your duffle and how to pack your duffle bag for travel if you’re bringing one on your next adventure.
Can a duffel bag be used as a carry-on?
There is no problem using a duffel bag as a carry-on as long as it meets the requirements. Furthermore, duffel bags can be used as everyday carry-on luggage whenever you travel with any airline. Bags of any type, whether duffels, backpacks, suitcases or even shopping bags, do not matter to airlines.
There is only one thing they are concerned about: whether the size and weight of your carry-on bag are within the proper parameters. This is a concern because carry-on bags must fit into the overhead compartments of airplanes, where space is limited. As well as being used as checked luggage, duffel bags may also be used as under-seat bags.
Carry-on duffel sizes and weights
As with any carry-on bag, duffel carry-ons must adhere to the same size and weight restrictions. Most carry-on suitcases must be under 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm) regardless of the size restrictions of each airline.
Carry-ons on some airlines are not restricted in weight while others are restricted between 15-25 lbs (7-11 kg), most commonly 22 lbs (10 kg). Carry-ons on some airlines are not restricted in weight while others are restricted between 15-25 lbs (7-11 kg), most commonly 22 lbs (10 kg).
The following airlines have the size and weight restrictions for carry-on luggage:
- United Airlines: Under 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm) / no weight restrictions
- Delta Airlines: Under 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm) / No weight restriction
- Southwest Airlines: Under 24 x 16 x 10 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm) / No weight restriction
- Spirit Airlines: Under 22 x 18 x 10 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm) / No limits on weight
- American Airlines: Under 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm) / no weight restriction
- JetBlue: Under 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm) / No weight restriction
Is there a minimum size for a carry-on duffel?
We should first calculate the largest possible volume of everyday carry-on bag in liters in order to calculate the size of a carry-on bag. This would result in 2772 cubic inches or 45.42 liters of space in the carry-on if it were perfectly rectangular and sized exactly at 22 x 14 x 9 inches.
Therefore, carry-on luggage should have a capacity of 40-45 liters. A duffel bag should be no bigger or smaller than a suitcase because the width and depth must be similar. You’ll usually find carry-on duffels between 35-45 liters in volume and measuring approximately 22 x 12 x 10 inches.
Packing List for Duffle Bag Personal Items
Choosing to bring a carry-on and a duffle as your personal items, you decided to take a carry-on and a duffle. Besides carrying your in-flight necessities, your personal item can be used for entertainment and as an extra layer of clothing.
- Essential medical supplies
- For chilly flights, wear a sweater or jacket
- Food snacks
- Toiletry bag 3-1-1
- In-flight entertainment: books, headphones, and more
Providing your duffle fits under the seat in front of you comfortably, you may bring it onboard as a personal item. If you are traveling on a Basic Economy ticket, use your duffle as overflow from your carry-on.
The short answer to this question is yes. There is no restriction on the number of personal items that can be carried in a duffle bag.
Personal items include purses, briefcases, laptop bags, backpacks, and small duffel bags. Generally, a unique item cannot exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches in size, but each airline has slightly different guidelines.
Lastly, a few words. As a carry-on, duffel bags must fit within 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm).
Using a duffel bag instead of a suitcase as checked luggage is possible as long as it fits the 62 linear inches required. Airlines do not specifically require your checked luggage to have wheels, even though suitcases are more popular.
You can use duffel bags as carry-ons but they have to be within 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm). Sometimes, using duffels is even better than using suitcases because they’re more spacious (usually 40-45 liters in volume).
They’re flexible, so it doesn’t matter if they’re an inch or two above the limits, and they’re incredibly lightweight, usually weighing half of a similarly-sized suitcase. Duffel bags make up for great carry-ons, which is why many people use them instead of suitcases.