Can a duffel bag be a carry-on

It is common for people to be confused about their carry-on and checked baggage. The only thing to consider is whether your luggage is enough to carry all the essentials you need during your trip. If the answer is yes, then you should definitely go with this stuff. In the case of carry-on, some people also want to know, “Can a duffel bag be a carry-on?” The answer is yes, but you still need to know your airline’s carry-on baggage weight and size limits as all airlines have different size and weight limits for both carry-on and checked baggage.

First, whenever you go to decide on luggage, keep in mind the duration and nature of your trip. If you are going on a long trip with your family or friends, you need full-sized checked luggage, but if you are going on a 2-3 day business trip, you only need a carry-on. In a carry-on, you also have the option of carrying a backpack or duffle bag as a hand carry. Read my article thoroughly to get complete knowledge on whether you can keep a duffle bag as a carry-on or not.

Can a duffel bag be a carry-on?

Can a duffel bag be a carry-on

Yes, you can take a duffle bag as a carry-on. A duffle is usually made of thick material. Its flexible body and various compartments make it more beneficial to carry as a hand carry.- Carry-on luggage stays with you at all times on the plane, so you can use the front zippers to store your essentials and most-used items. Along with its features, the duffel bag size and weight limit are also important factors to consider, as every airline has its own rules and if you exceed the weight and size limit of your bag, you will be fined. Let’s discuss the following things

  • Size and weight limits for carry-ons
  • How to find the carry-on size and weight limits?
  • Things to consider while choosing a duffle bag

Size and weight limits for carry-ons

All airlines have a specific size for carry-on luggage. You may take a hand carry, backpack, or duffel bag as carry-on luggage but do not exceed the size limit. According to US Airlines, your carry-on must be 22×14×19 inches in size. These size limits must be followed, or you will be in trouble. Most international airlines have these size limits, but they may vary for some airlines. I recommend that you take the carry-on size limits seriously because if you have a large piece of luggage, it may be difficult to fit it in the overhead bin of the plane.

In terms of carry-on weight, most airlines allow a 22-pound carry-on bag. If your carry-on baggage exceeds the weight limit during check-in, you may have to leave some items at the airport to balance the weight or pay an additional amount. Different airlines have different weight limits. For example, British Airways allows up to 22 kg of baggage. However, some airlines, such as JetBlue, American Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines, have no weight limits for carry-on luggage.

How to find the carry-on size and weight limits?

It is important to check the size and weight limits of the luggage to be carried. If you’re a frequent traveler, you should know the airlines’ rules and regulations regarding baggage size and weight. However, I recommend checking these limits every time you travel so that you can stay updated on any changes related to luggage weight and size.

For all the information, you can visit the official website of your airline. Just go to the website and look for the product information section. Here you will find all the necessary information, including the size and weight of your carry-on and checked baggage. Now, after getting complete information, compare your luggage and check if it is the same size as mentioned in the airline’s rules. Additionally, airlines also have different limits for different travel classes, so check your ticket type information.

Things to consider while choosing a duffel bag:

Take into account the following tips when shopping for a duffle bag for your next trip.

  • Try to choose a duffel bag that is primarily used for travel, and it should be roomy.
  • If your duffle bag has separate compartments for shoes, clothes, and accessories, that’s great.
  • The shape of your bag is also acceptable as some airlines have restrictions on the shape of duffle bags as well.
  • Do not compromise on the quality of the material of your bag and choose a premium quality bag because buying a good quality expensive bag for one time is better than buying a cheap bag for every future trip.
  • Don’t forget about the security of your bag and buy a bag with good quality zippers that can be easily secured with a TSA lock.
Also Read: Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage

Advantages of using a duffel bag as a carry-on

Using a duffel bag as a carry-on has the following advantages:

  • Duffle bags are lighter than carry-on suitcases and are also easier to carry and fit into an airplane’s hold bin.
  • If we look at its design, duffle bags have easy-access compartments compared to hard-sided carry-on suitcases. Duffle bags are flexible and can easily be carried with other handbags.
  • As compared to wheeled suitcase carry-ons. Duffle bags are easy to transport as they can be easily stored in a car or loaded onto a plane.

Disadvantages of using a duffel bag as a carry-on

Along with the mentioned advantages, duffle bags also have the following disadvantages:

  • There is no doubt that the different compartments of a duffel bag keep things organized but at the same time, the space becomes smaller and larger after adding some items.
  • You can’t put anything heavy in your duffle bag because it becomes difficult to carry it. On the other hand, you can put heavy things in your hard suitcase carry-on because you can move them easily with the help of their wheels.
  • Some travelers want to keep their hands free while traveling and prefer backpacks to duffle bags and carry-on suitcases.
  • As you know duffle bags are made up of soft-sided materials, so they don’t give much protection to the items and if you pack any fragile item in your luggage then it can be damaged even in a single fall.
Also Read: Disadvantages Of Hardside Luggage

What can you pack in your duffel bag?

When using your duffel bag as a carry-on, it’s important to pack all your necessary items if you don’t have checked luggage. For a 3-4 day trip, a duffel bag is sufficient.

You can pack various types of clothes in your bag. I suggest checking the weather at your destination and packing clothes suitable for that climate. During summer, extra clothes are not necessary, but in winter, bring hoodies and sweaters. Some duffel bags have separate compartments for shoes, allowing you to easily pack 1-2 pairs of sneakers. If your sneakers are dirty, store them in a separate plastic bag before placing them in the compartment.

For toiletries and makeup, it’s recommended to use a separate bag or packing cube. When packing liquid bottles such as shampoo and conditioner, ensure they are securely placed in a separate plastic bag with a zipper.

Remember to pack essential documents and your wallet. If you have electronic devices like a phone, tablet, or laptop, don’t forget their chargers. You may also want to bring snacks and water bottles, but it’s advisable to pack the water bottles separately in a plastic bag with zippers.


Q1: What are the benefits of using a suitcase as a carry-on?

Ans: If you want to buy a hard-side carry-on suitcase, then it’s great. You can easily pull your suitcase even through crowded areas. As compared to soft side cases, hard side cases have more advanced features, like an inbuilt TSA lock system and adjustable handle. A hard side suitcase also gives protection to the items due to their hard shell, usually made up of polycarbonate or aluminum. However, these suitcases are more expensive than soft side suitcases and are a bit difficult to be placed in the up-head bin of the plane.

Q2: Can I use a backpack as a carry-on?

Ans: Yes, you can use a backpack as carry-on luggage. Backpacks are actually more convenient to carry while traveling compared to other types of luggage. They have multiple compartments to help you organize your accessories properly. They also have side pockets to store water bottles. However, be careful not to overload your backpack as it can cause shoulder and back pain. Backpacks are also reasonably priced and of good quality. Additionally, backpacks look more stylish and modern to carry than suitcases or duffel bags.

Q3: Is it possible to use a duffel bag as checked luggage?

Ans: Yes, airlines do not have any issues using any type of luggage. However, it is important to ensure that the bags comply with the weight and size restrictions set by the airline. Airlines simply require that your luggage is in good condition, easy to carry, and does not get damaged during transit. Personally, I find that using hard-side checked luggage is more advantageous, as baggage handlers tend to handle luggage without much care and often toss them one after another.


In conclusion, if you want to know that “Can a duffel bag be a carry-on?” then yes. You can take a duffel bag as a carry-on, but its size should be according to the limits of your airline. I hope after reading my article you have a piece of complete knowledge about duffle bags from purchasing to packing.