Beat the Ryanair easyJet cabin hand luggage restrictions: My top 5 carry-on backpacks ( Updated Aug 2019)

It started as a personal endeavour 7 years ago but now searching Google, seems after so many years of flying low-cost airlines, many of us are still on that nightmare quest to find the best Ryanair easyJet carry on backpacks. Trying to fit in with Ryanair-Vueling-easyJet cabin hand luggage restrictions is a real labour of love so this is where I hope this article helps. Travelling hang luggage only can not only save you money but also save you time on a weekend short break. You can check in online and save the hassle of queuing at a check-in desk. Plus once you arrived at the destination, you don’t have to piss around at the luggage carousel. You can jump on the bus or a cab and start your holiday. So driven by personal need and to help you,  I researched and pulled together a guide to the best carry on cabin luggage, travel backpacks and hand luggage that fit within Ryanair easyJet’s restrictions.

First of all, lets check out what these hand luggage restrictions are and what key factors to look out for.

 

1.Size

Size matters. To Mr O’ Leary. He’s very strict.

With Ryanair, if your carry on travel backpack and hand luggage exceeds the restricted size of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm even by 1cm in any aspect you’re in trouble. They will make you check in your carry on which at the airport costs £50 ( £13- £24 online) so beware. Also, if you are using a soft case, don’t overpack as that pushes travellers over the size limit.

Ryanair has become much more relaxed in recent years and now allows a small cabin bag as well as your standard carry on luggage. 35 x 20 x 20cm is the maximum size for additional small bag. This means you don’t have to stuff everything into your hand luggage and can have a small bag/man bag/weekend bag to keep your iPad, magazines, passport and other key travel essentials.

Update: January 2018

The lovely people at Ryanair have now introduced new rules which will not allow passengers to take carry on luggage onboard unless they have paid for priority boarding which will cost you £5. You can still travel carry on luggage only but Ryanair will check the luggage into the hold for free. Your best tactic is to let them check it in and have a smaller bag : 35cm x 20cm x 20cm in which you can keep books etc. Make sure your smaller bag does not exceed this size as Ryanair will impose a fine of £50 at your boarding gate. The rule does impose a problem on people like me who travel with Macbooks : My 13 inch Macbook is 32.5 by 22.7cm which does not fit within their restrictions.

Update: August 2018

The lovely people at Ryanair have for the 2nd time in the year decided to change their rules- from 1st November 2018 , you only have the luxury of carrying one small bag.

Ryanair say the size of the free small carry-on bag is 40 x 20 x 25cm and  can be a maximum of just 20 litres and I quote from their website ‘must be able to fit under the seat in front of you.’ If the small bag doesn’t fit then customer will have to pay a fee of €/£25 at the gate and their bag will be tagged and placed in the hold.

If you still want to bring a larger suitcase or backpack with you ( 10 kgs allowance) and happy to have it checked in, then you have to pay €8 online ( €10 at the airport)

If you want to take the backpack into the aircraft with you, you have to also purchase their Priority Boarding which is €6 online and €8 at the airport.

Also worth remembering, under this ridiculous new policy only 95 passengers per flight will be sllowed to take the extra bag on board.

Confused? Hell, Ryanair, thanks for making travel life simple.

Do remember that good old easyJet still allows travellers carry on luggage with the dimensions of 56cms by 45cms by 25cms

Vueling still offer the luxury of carry-on luggage but note that they must not exceed the external dimensions of 55cm X 40cm X 20cm. If you do purchase an Excellence Fare you can bring a whopping 14kg of hand luggage.

2. Weight

Weight is also an issue with Mr O Leary and Mr Prieto ( CEO Vueling) but not with Mrs McCall ( easyJet CEO) It’s such an issue with O Leary that at some point he was considering a fat tax and charging overweight passengers. Those days are long gone. Thankfully, he’s now just concerned with the weight of your hand luggage.

10 kgs is the ‘generous allowance’ offered at the moment by Ryanair and Vueling. Vueling are not OT but Ryanair in the past have charged passengers at the rate of £20 per kilo for every excess kilo so stay within that 10 kgs limit ( . ( Check the August 2018 above ) So again, pack well: checkout the One Bag website which shares with you tips on how to pack light.

easyJet on the other hand do not have any weight restrictions for carry on travel backpacks.

Travelling carry-on only: Invest in packing cubes

Travelling Carry On Packing Cubes

Biggest tip for travelling carry-on only: Invest in packing cubes

Before you start looking at all the carry-on luggage options, I strongly urge you to invest in packing cubes. I recently was introduced to packing cubes from Amazon and these cubes have changed my life. Best thing is that they help keep your belongings neatly stored and conveniently organized. You can pack in so much more with these cubes. Plus the cubes protect your garments against wrinkles, reducing the need to iron once you arrive at your final destination.

The AmazonBasics four-piece ( Retails at £18.99 ) set of two large and two medium packing cubes will hold all the clothes you will need for a long weekend or a week trip. Use the medium packing cubes for anything from skirts, shorts to tops, and t-shirts. The large packing cubes are great for jeans, jackets and sweaters.

PS

Arcido, company I recommend below and is my favoured carry on luggage option, have a stylish set of packing cubes that retail at €35.08 ( Set of 3: 1 large packing cube (32 x 24 x 8cm ) and 2 smaller packing cubes ( 25 x 16 x 8cm )

 

 

The best Ryanair easyJet carry on backpacks

So what are the best options for hand luggage out there that are within Ryanair easyJet and Vueling’s restrictions.

Here’s are my top choices (by no means a definitive list but a good idea of what’s out there, be great to hear of what you have, comments please below!)

 

 

1.) Arcido Faroe Backpack

Arcido Faroe Backpack

The Arcido Faroe backpack has been my trusted companion for the last 1 month. Dimensions are 55cm X 35cm X 20cm so well within Ryanair and easyJet restrictions. What I love about the Arcido Faroe is that it has dedicated pockets for laptops, chargers, your clothes and passports: perfect carry on backpack for a weekend break or short business trip.

Acrid Faroe Laptop pocket

Cool features of the Arcido Faroe include a special media compartment at the back of the bag which features a pull-tab laptop section, a mesh pocket for keeping all the cables and a further internal pocket for storing all your important travel documents. I don’t have an extra laptop case ( lost mine a few months back ) so besides giving extra protection, the pull tab makes it dead easy for me to pick out my laptop from my bag at airport security.

Arcido Faroe Backpack clothes compartment

The Arcido Faroe also has a main compartment that includes compression straps to secure clothing packed in that area while allowing direct access on the go. I love how it opens up like a suitcase which allows you easy access to everything in the bag. No rummaging through the back of your rucksack for your socks!

There is a neat top outer pocket on the Faroe where you can keep your keys, loose change and valuables close at hand.  A passport pocket is on the back of the bag, keeping your most important possessions safe.

You have 35 litres of space here but it feels far more generous. Plus it weighs only 885 grams. The other thing I was looking for in my perfect carry-on luggage was the style factor and is this where the Arcido Faroe makes a backpack look cool. It is made with a rugged, heather grey Blendex Kodra that gives it a smart yet understated look. The bag has a water resistant backing which makes it difficult for water to seep through into the bag. The bag also comes with a 5 year warranty which is great and a testament to the quality.

The Arcido Faroe backpack retails at £120 via the Arcido website.

 

Discount code for BudgetTraveller readers

Here’s a 10% off discount code for readers of the blog: budget10 

Hope this works for you. Any problems, give me a shout!

 

2. Arcido Akra

I am also a big fan of the the Arcido’s new carry on bag- the Akra. Akra is 35L backpack that is big enough to hold everything you want to take with you on your trip. Perfect carry on hand luggage that’s also is within the size limits for budget airlines. Similar to the Faroe, the Akra has features designed to help you stay organised on the road. A special laptop harness adjusts to fit whatever size device you’re carrying. Light, durable and water-resistant it is pretty easy to carry around. Contoured backstraps, magnetic sternum-and-hip clasps and a ventilated backplate make carrying a full load comfortable and easy.

 

 

Dimensions are 55 x 35 x 20cm so perfect for easyJet and most low cost airlines. Capacity is 35 litres.

It is made of 100% waterproof materials, which includes a traditional cotton canvas that’s lined with PVC and waterproof zippers. Similar to the Faroe, the Arcido Akra bag looks really cool as these pictures will testify.  Arcido retails at a much more pricey €175 via the Arcido website

Here’s a 10% off discount code for readers of the blog: budget10 

 

 

3.) Flylite. £20

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If you are looking for an ultra budget carry on option then look no further than the medium sized foldaway option of Flylite.

Their wheeled cabin holdhall bag has a Linear Length of 115cms (40 x 50 x 20) and weighs less than 625 gms: .Plus it also has a sizeable capacity of 40 litres. The bag also folds away into a much smaller manageable size for storage when not in use being secured by an integral strap with Velcro fastener. Cost is just £20 via Amazon UK

Flylite Small Foldaway Cabin Bag Price: Flylite Small Foldaway Cabin Bag Full Disclosure: I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Really makes a difference. Thank you supporting the blog.

 

4. The North Face Jester Backpack

  easyJet cabin hand luggage

This travel backpack was my go to backpack for the last 5 years. Retailing from $99 on Amazon US and from £39 on Amazon UK  it is a pretty solid value for money option. North Face rucksacks are excellent quality plus with a weight of just 600 grams this offers you the lightest carry on option. Plus you also have a generous 30 litres space. The Jester features a large main compartment with front accessory pocket with organiser and key clip, a bungee system on upper pack face, mesh water-bottle pockets, a removable hipbelt, a large reflective patch for nighttime visibility and a carry handle. Dimensions are H48 x W33 x D18cm.

The North Face Jester Backpack, TNF Black, One Size Price: The North Face Jester Backpack, TNF Black, One Size Full Disclosure: I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Really makes a difference. Thank you supporting the blog.

 

5. Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 Backpack

Recently got the chance to test out the Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 Backpack. As someone who has been robbed a few times on the road, having an anti-theft backpack really gives you peace of mind, especially when you’re travelling solo on the road and don’t have an extra pair of eyes to look out for your stuff. How does it work? Well basically the zippers of the bag basically interlock with each other which is then firmly placed into a security clip on the side of the backpack. There’s also a ‘Roobar sport locking system’ that allows you to unlock one of the straps and place it around any object. So if you are in a cafe by yourself, you can lock the strap onto a table leg and leave your bag by itself for a minute while I get up to buy a coffee or go to the toilet. Other cool features include Pacsafe’s patented Xomesh slashguard and Carrysafe slashguard strap which means anyone with a knife of scissors cannot slash your backpack-I haven’t had the guts to try out the theory but they are a few videos online where you can see the theory in practise. The bag is also made of RFID blocking materials which protects you against thieves who can steal your credit card information just by standing next to you in a queue at the airport or while boarding a plane. ( Yet to meet someone who has experienced this but still, peace of mind is what matters )

 

As a backpack itself, with almost 45 litres of space, you have a lot of space for storing stuff. There’s a small side pocket for keeping essentials like your passport and an internal pocket that allowed me to store my Macbook Pro. Lack of internal compartments in the main body means organising your clothes and stuff can be difficult-I recommend getting yourself some packing cubes in that case. Also when the bag is full and heavy ( I carry often a lot of camera gear)  I found the shoulder straps were not adequate in supporting the weight pushing against my back.

The dimensions are 55 x 35 x 22 so its perfect for carrying on for most budget airlines- I haven’t had any problems till date and flown with easyJet and Ryanair.

Overall in terms of the anti-theft features, durability of the material and also space -it is a pretty good deal. I’d love to see them improve the shoulder straps and also include internal compartments but other than those cons, its a pretty decent backpack.

Available on Amazon.co.uk for £125.47 or $179.95 via Amazon.com 

6. Lefrik Weekend Backpack

 

If you are looking for something lightweight, stylish and perfect for weekend trips-my 5th and final recommendation is Lefrik’s Weekend Backpack. Product of a Madrid based startup, this is a perfect weekend carry on luggage option.

It comes with a handy computer compartment for keeping you laptop/iPad. The bag also comes with a removable plastic pouch which is very convenient during security. There are lots of mesh pockets to store your documents and other travel accessories.

The other cool feature is that it is made from ECO friendly fabric which has been made out of recycled plastic bottles. The Lefrik Weekend Backpack retails at £80 and comes in two colors: black and gray and mint. It has 30 litres of capacity and dimensions wise is 50x35x17cm

 

7. Qwstion Daypack

Specification 42×29×12 cm, 14 litres 

If you want to travel carry on carry-on with Ryanair or looking for a stylish daypack, the Qwstiom is a beautiful daypack, albert the most expensive on this list.

Even as the BudgetTraveller, I have a tendency to spend lots of money on backpacks and luggage ( other vices are wine, concert tickets and Skyscanner )  and this beautifully designed daypack from Qwstion has been my pride and joy to use on trips and also for day use when I’m home.Ok -some key features to go through with you. This sleek designed compact day pack measures 42x29x12 cm in its dimensions – Ryanair allows 40 by 20 by 25 so its perfect. I’ve travelled with this a few times and had no issues.It has a volume of 14 litres and weighs nearly 1 kilogram. There’s a single large main compartment with two zippers and handles on the backpack that allow for horizontal or vertical carrying. A 15-inch laptop compartment makes this daypack a tech friendly addition to your luggage retinue. There’s a quick access inside pocket to stash necessary items as well as well as a hidden inside pocket for essentials.

The Qwstion daypack retails at €190.

 

 

17 Comments

  • Marcela Faé says:

    coool. hope i win =D

  • It’s amazing how much can go into one of the carry-on bags. We traveled to France a few weeks ago with EasyJet. Four carry-ons for four people were more than enough.

  • Lynsey Buchanan says:

    I love the The North Face Jester Backpack

  • Romy says:

    Hi Kash,

    don’t really like to fly RyanAir or EasyJet – I try to avoid booking them as much as I can, to be honest. But your choices of bags are really cool and an inspiration to pack light. Thanks.

  • Mary Lou Van De Bon says:

    We have worn out our current carry-on bags and are on the quest for replacements. As my husband and I are older (63 & 54) we want light weight bags that are easy to carry and lift over our heads. Thanks for a thorough review of some great option for us to consider.

  • Heather Desjardins says:

    We are looking for carry-on options and this was a helpful article. Before having our toddler I would get away with carry-on bags only as much as possible. Now there is so much gear for her that’s less possible, but a good carry-on that is well packed can get you through if your luggage is lost.

  • Kathryn says:

    10kg is okay. Most budget airlines flying out of Australia now give you 7kg total! That’s doable for a short term trip but not longer term.

  • Tammy Doty says:

    I just got back from going to Rwanda and Amsterdam. I checked bags for every flight and it was a hassle. Next time I travel, I plan on doing it with just a carry on, and this bag seems just the right package for what I need! What a great design. Thanks!

  • João Soeiro says:

    The performance of the Arcido bag is superb ! I surely recommend it !

  • Emnk says:

    I usually travel with just carry-on sized Rimowa and if needed, a day/work bag (purse or computer bag). But some of the hopper flights I have been taking are tempting me to go smaller.

  • Natalie Crossan says:

    I love carry on bags, means I don’t have to rely on my suitcase so much should the airport lose it! I’m always worried about that x

  • Gee says:

    Great!

    Thank you for the share. I may be using one of these airlines in the winter for two destinations. Im terrible for overpacking. Ugh.

  • Germaine says:

    This is really handy to know. Even though I have never used those airlines, I need convenient carry-on luggage that is neat and easy!

  • zaid says:

    If i am using a soft case like rucksack travel exceed the dimension of cabin allowance and don’t overpack and if it can fit in tester cage. will it be fine for easyjet?

    looking forward to hear from your answer comment

    thanks
    Zaid

    • Hi Zaid

      Sorry am late to you on this one. It should be fine but you’re always running a risk if you overexceed the stated dimensions. Best to buy a backpack that fits within the restrictions for peace of mind

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