Condé Nast Traveler’s Luggage Week 2023: The Essential Guide to Suitcases and Bags

Editors and contributors traveled near and far to test popular checked suitcases, carry-ons, weekenders, and backpacks—here, we bring you the very best in our first-ever Luggage Week.
The Best Luggage of 2023 Traveler's Essential Guide to Suitcases  Bags

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Wherever you're headed—be it a bucket list trip across the globe or a lowkey staycation in your own city—you're going to need luggage. Minimalists and overpackers alike need durable and easy-to-carry suitcases and bags to safely transport clothes, travel accessories, and any souvenirs picked up along the way. As travel editors, we have high expectations for our gear—requiring that reliable, long-lasting bags accompany us on every journey.

This often sparks debate among our team: What is the best luggage for travelers? Who are the top brands in the industry? Checked bags or carry-ons? Soft-sided or hard-shell? To help us hone in on the absolute best luggage to recommend to our readers, we decided to put the most talked-about checked suitcases, carry-ons, weekenders, and backpacks from best-selling travel brands to the test. More than a dozen Condé Nast Traveler editors and contributors spent months testing out luggage to determine the best of the best. We packed these bags to the brim, lifted them into overhead bins, rolled them down cobblestone streets, and inspected every bump and scuff they endured. With this, we bring you our first-ever Luggage Week: An honest review of the best checked suitcases, carry-ons, weekenders, and backpacks in the biz.

The testing process:

Over a dozen editors and contributors tested a variety of suitcases, backpacks, and duffels over a period of several months (and in some cases, several years), taking them for a spin as much as possible. These bags have gone on planes, trains, and buses, taking weekend trips to upstate New York and coming onboard for 10-day European cruises. We considered how heavy each bag is when empty, how much it can hold, how well it holds up or shows wear and tear, and how well-designed it is (looks matter, sometimes). And while some travelers are willing to splurge on a luxe piece of luggage, we know that's not always necessary to find great-quality bags that are built to last. Our favorite pieces vary in price, from budget-friendly Amazon finds to designer luggage you'll travel with for a lifetime.

After traveling with each bag, we carefully reviewed each one, keeping this criteria in mind while also identifying standout features to whittle down which ones are worthy of a spot in our Luggage Week lineup.

Below, the tried-and-true bags we highly recommend—well-made and absolutely-worth-it pieces we're taking on our next big adventure (and you should, too). —Meaghan Kenny

Emma Fishman
Emma Fishman

Luggage Week table of contents

The essentials

Checked luggage

Checked bags are a staple for longer trips (anywhere from 10 to 14 days) and for anyone who wants or needs more room in their suitcase.

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Paravel Aviator Grand Checked Luggage

Shown in safari green

July Checked

Shown in shadow lavender

Béis The Check-In Roller

Shown in beige

Carry-on suitcases

Carry-ons are arguably the piece of luggage travelers pull out most often—these are the ones we turn to time and time again.

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Away The Bigger Carry-On

Shown in coast

Paravel Aviator Carry-On

Shown in scout tan

Thule Aion Carry-On Spinner Wheeled Luggage

Shown in nutria


Our favorite duffels, expandable totes, and garment bags to take on overnighters or use as a personal item.

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Calpak Luka Large Duffel

Shown in oatmeal

Béis The Weekender Bag

Shown in beige

July Carry All Weekender Plus

Shown in black


Whether you're hopping on a bike, trekking across rugged terrain, sightseeing, shopping, or jetting off to a business meeting, the best travel backpacks give you the freedom to explore hands-free.

Roam The Continental backpack
Dagne Dover Dakota Backpack
Lo & Sons The Rowledge backpack

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The great debate: hard-shell or soft-sided?

Hard-shell suitcases

Hard-shell cases that will last for years to come, from trunks to lightweight spinners.

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Away The Medium
Carl Friedrik The Carry-on
Monos Check-In Medium

Soft-sided bags

They may not be as popular these days, but they sure can fit a lot.

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Tumi Continental Dual Access 4 Wheeled Carry-On
Delsey Paris Chatelet Air 2.0 Underseater
Travelpro Crew VersaPack Max Carry-On Expandable Spinner

Emma Fishman
Emma Fishman

More luggage to consider

Kids luggage

The bags frequent travelers trust for their little ones.

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Travel experts' favorite brands

We've found our favorites, but we also wanted to know which luggage brands industry experts swear by.

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Our favorites from Béis

This relative newcomer has turned out tons of stellar pieces, from its weekender bag to water bottle slings and suitcases.

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Our favorites from Calpak

Calpak designs durable and practical luggage for frequent travelers—here are our editors' most-used pieces.

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Our favorites from Away

Mixing durability, dependability, and style, Away changed the way we look at packing.

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Still not sure?

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We've gathered all our top luggage recommendations into one shoppable chart.
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We asked, you answered: These are the best luggage brands to bring on your travels.