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Family Gap Year,  Resources

Why Cabin Max is the best cabin luggage

Cabin Max is one of the best cabin luggage brands.

This statement derives from my personal travel experience of carrying, throwing, squashing and packing Cabin Max bags onto trains, buses, cars and aeroplanes all over the world!


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Why travel with a carry on bag only?

There are many benefits to travelling with hand luggage bags only.


packed bags for a trip
Leaving day for our round the world trip – hand luggage only for the next year!


You travel ‘light’ so can move quickly and easily to and from your accommodation or sightseeing using any form of transport.

Due to airlines strict carry on size and weight limits, your packing is focused so you only pack items you need and will actually use multiple times. Packing and unpacking is quick and easy.

Travelling with carry on bags avoids checked bag charges which can really add up if you are a travelling family or on an extended trip.

Carry on bags are surprisingly spacious and using tried and tested packing tips, you may be surprised how much you can fit into the best carry on luggage.

Finally, using cabin luggage does not limit what sort of bag you are able to bring on your trip. For example, Cabin Max make soft-sided hand luggage backpacks, hard-sided 4 wheel cabin luggage as well as hybrid bags (backpacks with wheels).


Click on the images to find out more about the Cabin Max range and current prices. 



My Cabin Max bag story

I bought my first Cabin Max bag – a hybrid carry on with wheels – when I first started travelling solo with my children.

I wanted a soft-sided, durable rucksack so I could travel hands-free – an essential aspect of travelling with babies and toddlers! (Have you ever tried to push a pram and pull a suitcase at the same time)? But having back problems I wanted a carry on bag that I could also pull, rather than carry when I was able to do so.

However, my hybrid needed to be cabin bag size as I often fly to Ireland with a budget airline notorious for their strict bag restrictions and penalty charges.

Finally, I needed a bag that could withstand travelling with babies and toddlers (being vomited on!) and I felt that an expensive bag just wasn’t worth the outlay.

I found Cabin Max bags by chance and was impressed by their excellent reviews and affordability; I felt it was worth buying a carry on Cabin Max bag even if it didn’t last very long.

My bag lasted.

Now, nearly 14 years later, I have three Cabin Max bags – two hybrid cabin bags with wheels plus one Cabin Max backpack,  one Cabin Max day pack and have outgrown two Cabin Max children’s bags.

So you could say I am a Cabin Max fan!



Why I like Cabin Max bags



When you look at other brands of cabin bags, Cabin Max luggage is one of the most affordable brands on the market. An excellent quality, 44 litres carry on cabin bag starts from just £30 (around $40).

Click on the image to see images of the inside of this fantastic bag.

Travelling has its risks including theft and damage to belongings. I cannot understand why someone pays hundreds of pounds or dollars for a bag that could be stolen or damaged in transit. With insurance policies quoting strict single item limits, you will not get your money back.

Plus, wearing a recognised brand name on your back doesn’t make you a better or more serious traveller; it just marks you out to thieves as someone with expensive items.



Having had a Cabin Max bag for short-haul trips for several years, I decided to treat myself to a new Cabin Max cabin bag with wheels for our family around the world trip. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if the bag would withstand the rigours of constant, daily use for its’ budget price.

I used it every day, zipping and unzipping it multiple times each day. It travelled 24 hours squashed like a pancake under a bus in Argentina. It travelled for six weeks squeezed onto a luggage rack on the Trans Siberian Railway. It bounced around a motorhome for three months in New Zealand and Australia. I bumped the little wheels up and down kerbs and across cobblestones all over Europe. I dragged it across sandy beaches in Samoa and Costa Rica. Plus, the kids regularly sat on it when they were exhausted.

And despite all that, my Cabin Max hybrid bag survived.

The small wheels were strong and durable; no chips, cracks or breaks after one year of daily use.

The zip is seemingly unbreakable with no snags or buckling.

The stitching on the straps is as good as the day I bought it. They have never been repaired.

And all for the then price of £35! ($42)

Relatives splashed out on a carry on bag from a well known brand as a leaving present for our eldest daughter hoping it would last her into adulthood. Both rucksack straps broke within a few months.



Go into any outdoor or hiking shop and the wall of rucksacks will be a bland sea of navy blue and black.

Dark colours are great for hiding the dirt but not so great for easily identifying your rucksack from all the others on a conveyor belt or luggage rack. On my first round the world trip I got off a bus in Indonesia and was chased down the road by another backpacker who had seen me take his bag off the bus by mistake!

Ribbons, tags and all those other identifying bits we stick on our bags never stay on and I will never ever buy one of those freaky personalised face covers for my bag!

Cabin Max has a range of bags in all colours and patterns. Even the one colour block bags have a coloured trim which makes them stand out against other bags.

Furthermore, Cabin Max makes soft-sided bags which are the most adaptable for travelling hand luggage only. Soft-sided bags are much easier to squash into an overhead locker, under your seat or even to use as a pillow.



I like wearing a backpack when I need to. It makes climbing stairs, cobbled streets, busy stations and travelling alone with children less daunting and much easier to manage.

But on hot, sticky, humid days in tropical climates who wants to wear a large bag on their back? There have been so many times I have been glad I could pull my bag!

One of my latest Cabin Max purchases, a Metz backpack, has an extendable zip so my bag can be larger (55 L) or smaller (44 L) as needed. As I try to travel more by train and boat, I am able to pack more items than when I fly so I am getting great value for money from my latest buy!



There are multiple styles, patterns and colours to choose from. There is a Cabin Max bag to suit all tastes, styles and budgets.

Newer ranges include an imaginative ‘2 in 1 cabin backpack‘ which can unzip into two separate bags to fit under your seat and in the overhead locker. Other innovations include recycled bags made from plastic bottles.

The Cabin Max web site also has a useful ‘ shop by airline section showing the current cabin baggage restrictions for most of the major airlines so you can easily see which bag is suitable for your trips.

So what choice of Cabin Max bags do you have?



Best Cabin Max bags


Cabin Max Backpack

Cabin Max backpacks are well made, durable, comfortable and easy to wear and use. The fabric is tough and hard-wearing. I have not needed to repair or replace zips, straps or clips.

Cabin Max backpacks are available in a range of colours and designs making them stand out in a crowded environment. The expandable version allows you to pack an extra 10 litres for airlines with larger cabin bag restrictions or for no fly travel use.

A huge plus point for me is that Cabin Max backpacks are NOT top loading. Cabin Max backpacks lie flat and have a three-quarter zip so they can open fully like a suitcase.

Trust me, this makes life so much easier when you are constantly on the move, especially if you are travelling with kids. Packing and unpacking is quick, easy and stress-free ( and even better if you use Cabin Max packing cubes).

I still have my backpack from my first round the world trip 25 years ago but I keep it for sentimental value, not for use, as the top loading style drives me crazy!
You can never find what you want and you are forever displacing your carefully weight placed items.


Cabin bags for children

We bought two Cabin Max hybrid children’s bags for our youngest children for our family around the world trip.

The ‘bear trolley bags’ are adorable with little harnesses on the front of the bag for travelling teddy bears.

We were constantly stopped by other parents asking where we had purchased the bags. Our kids loved them and were excited to use them so it made leaving home that little bit easier.

The bags had fully opening zips which are easy for young children to use and as the bags open fully like a suitcase, children can pack and unpack independently. A huge time-saving bonus!

Our children didn’t find the bags comfortable to wear for a long period of time due to the rigid square shape of the bag, but at times it was a great option for them to be able to carry their bags rather than pull them. It would have been impossible for them to have pulled their bags on our unfortunately timed trip during rush hour on the New York City subway system!

The bags are light and easy to pull and I particularly like the ‘sleeve’ option on the back of the children’s bags. When the children were tired of pulling or wearing their bags, I was able to slip their bags over the extended handle of my bag using this sleeve. This proved to be very useful in avoiding meltdowns after some long, tiring journeys.

These Cabin Max bags are ideal for very young children.


Cabin bag with wheels

Cabin Max makes a great range of cabin bags with wheels (hybrid bags).

I never expected to be a convert to hybrid bags but as my travel style has changed so has my need for adaptable luggage!

As with all Cabin Max bags, these cabin bags with wheels (or converted trolley backpack to give it its proper Cabin Max name) are strong and durable. I love my Malmo Cabin Max carry on bag with wheels. It is very comfortable to wear as a backpack and the wheels and handles are tough and hard-wearing.

When you are wearing the hybrid as a backpack, the lightweight metal handle compacts into the bag with a handy zip cover covering the plastic topped handle.

When you are pulling the bag on wheels, the backpack straps are tucked away into their owned zipped compartment.

Some travellers do not like the fact that you are sacrificing packing space and size to accommodate the wheels and handle. However, the difference in size and weight is minimal and the choice of being able to pull your bag when you are footsore with an aching back far outweighs the minimal sacrifice on packing space.

Hybrid bags have the same useful outer pockets as the Cabin Max backpacks. This means you do not have to unclip and unzip your bag to retrieve items such as medicines or travel documents.

Hybrid bags have their lovers and haters (I love them!) but you can read more about the pros and cons of travelling with a hybrid bag here.



Cabin Max Daypacks

I recently bought two daypack bags from Cabin Max to use as school bags. I was frustrated with school bags lasting for a few months or, at best, one year!

The bags are tough, comfortable and very affordable compared to other school bags.

My kids love the variety of pockets, compartments and the well-padded shoulder straps.

Practical, purse holding mum likes the durable zips and the padded iPad compartment.



Choosing a bag for extended travel is never easy as there is so much choice on the market and many travellers have their favoured, preferred brands so you will no doubt be inundated with recommendations.

Think carefully about your budget and what you will actually get for your money. I would always recommend purchasing a mid-range bag such as Cabin Max. Too cheap and it will break, too expensive and you will not reclaim your money if it gets lost or damaged.

Think about your style of travel – do you need a rucksack if you are not backpacking? Do you need wheels if you suffer from back problems or should you avoid wheels if you want to be hands-free? Whether you choose a hybrid or not, I would always choose a soft-sided bag over a hard-sided bag as soft-sided bags are more adaptable for carry-on travel.

And for the sake of your sanity, and enjoyment of constant travel, avoid a top loading bag!


I think Cabin Max are one of the best cabin luggage brands on the market.

Cabin Max bags are well made, hard-wearing, attractive, versatile, durable, practical and budget-friendly. They are adaptable for different travel styles and different forms of transport.

And they are stylish and individual!


With the affordability of Cabin Max bags, you have nothing to lose by buying one and giving it a go.

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