Slobodanka Graham


Want to know how to fly and travel with carry on only?

Planepack provides advice, tips, interviews and podcasts to fly and travel light.

Hello new travel bag

Hello new travel bag

Lightest is best

Since 2010 I've been travelling with carry on hand luggage only. I've retired my first bag - a clam-shell opening, which I loved, but it's a little too heavy. Also, because of its hard exterior, I find the bag inflexible if I need to squeeze it into a small overhead locker.

I've been looking and researching the lightest bag I can find. There's been a flurry recently of good looking cabin bags on the market so I've had a few to consider. The trouble is, most of them weigh more than two, or sometimes three kilograms. As most airlines only permit you to carry on seven kilograms in your hand luggage, I'm afraid those gorgeous bags get a thumbs-down. 

What else?

So what are the properties I'm looking for in a cabin bag? I've blogged previously about cabin bags where I've stated that I'm not a backpacker - and never have been - so that cuts out a large section of the market. If you're a backpacker and have found a useful, practical and light backpack - please let me know.

What I'm looking for is light weight. If you travel in the United States, you have more choices as the carry on weight restrictions there are not as stringent as in Australia and Europe. Travelling from Australia, I want a carry on bag that's under two kilograms. I want to maximise my carry on weight of seven kilograms only.

I like a plain bag, which is good as the fewer pockets, extensions and embellishments a bag has, the lighter it will be. Rectangular is the best shape.

The colour is not too important; I don't need to recognise the bag easily on a baggage carousel because I don't check it in as hold luggage. As my bag never goes into the hold, I'm not concerned that the fabric might tear due to mishandling. Nor am I concerned that the contents will be damaged if I use a soft bag as my carry on is always within easy reach. But I do like a firm bag that I can use as a footrest on long overlays at distant airports.

And the winner is?

So what have I chosen? Funnily enough my research revealed exactly the same suitcase that I bought about two years ago for Mr PetMan. It's a Samsonite Spinner, very plain, conservatively grey in colour, and extremely light, weighing in at only 1.5 kilograms.

My new Samsonite 72 Hours 55 cm Spinner

My new Samsonite 72 Hours 55 cm Spinner

While the external colour is plain, the interior is a glowing orange colour - bound to cheer me up on my travels.

I ordered my bag online and it was delivered to my door. Inside the bag I found a combination lock and an extra 'emergency' bag, in its own little bag to maximise packing space. Two great bonuses for a bag at an excellent sale price of $195 (the regular price is over $300).

This bag has four wheels, which is a must for speedy shifts and rolls through airports, across cobble stones and along sweltering pavements - especially as I chase after Mr PetMan.

I'm looking forward to testing out the new bag when I visit Melbourne in a couple of weeks' time. And in July it's the big Japanese adventure - when I'll really put the bag through its paces.

I'm Bobby Graham, publisher and Planepacker

PS: This is an unsolicited post; I've not had any instruction nor received any reward from the manufacturer. But if you like my case, have a look at other Samsonite products.


Travel light? How about flying in a microlight?

Travel light? How about flying in a microlight?

Belgrade 1977 - lost luggage #3

Belgrade 1977 - lost luggage #3