cabin max cabin luggage packed for a trip
Family Gap Year,  Resources

Why I love my Cabin Max backpack

Updated February 2021


I love my Cabin Max backpack and never travel without it. I have used Cabin Max backpacks for over 10 years and they have travelled with me all over the world.

My Cabin Max backpack has endured endless carrying, throwing, squashing and squeezing onto trains, buses, cars and aeroplanes all over the world. It has been sat on, slept on and vomited on (not by me)!

I do not have a sponsorship or affiliate partnership with Cabin Max. I promote Cabin Max bags because I think they are the best carry on backpack for budget travellers who are looking for durable, practical, value for money travel accessories.


This post contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, helping to meet the costs of running this web site.


Why travel round the world with a Cabin Max bag?


Cabin Max backpacks are designed to use as carry on cabin luggage. They are for travellers who like to travel light.

I have always travelled light as I refuse to lug heavy bags or pay for checked baggage. We travelled hand luggage only on our family gap year using Cabin Max backpacks – though no one else could believe we were doing it!

Travelling ‘light’ means you can move quickly and easily to and from your accommodation or sightseeing using any form of transport. Your packing is focused so you only pack items you need and will actually use multiple times. Plus, if you are on the move regularly, packing and unpacking is quick and easy.

Cabin Max backpacks are surprisingly spacious and when packed well, you may be surprised how much you can fit into them.

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

Finally, travelling cabin luggage only does not limit what sort of bag you are able to bring on your trip. Cabin Max make soft-sided  backpacks, hard-sided 4 wheel cabin luggage as well as my favourite, Cabin Max backpacks with wheels or hybrid bags.


Why I love my Cabin Max backpack




Cabin Max is one of the most affordable travel bag brands on the market. A Cabin Max backpack (44 litres) starts from just £30 (around $40). In comparison, a 44 litre Osprey bag will set you bag £120. A lesser price does not mean lesser quality – my Cabin Max bag did not fall apart on our family gap year. 

Theft and damage is a considerable travel risk. Why pay hundreds of pounds or dollars for a bag that could be stolen or damaged in transit?

Insurance policies charge extra for baggage cover and have strict single item limits so you will may not recoup your money if you purchase an expensive bag.

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

Check out the latest affordable Cabin Max backpack prices here.




After using a Cabin Max backpack for several years for short-haul trips, I decided to buy a hybrid Cabin Max ‘Lyon’ wheeled backpack for our family gap year. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if the bag would withstand the rigours of constant, daily use for its’ budget price. But I was pleasantly surprised.

My beloved  was Cabin Max Lyon was squashed like a pancake under long distance buses in Argentina, squeezed onto a luggage rack for six weeks on the Trans Siberian Railway  and 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 and dragged it across sandy beaches in Samoa and Costa Rica. I used the zips multiple times and day and regularly flopped exhausted onto my bag.

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

Cabin Max baggage wheels are small but strong and durable – my wheels had no chips, cracks or breaks after one year of daily use.

The zips did not break, snag or buckle. The stitching on the straps is as good as the day I bought the bag.

And all for the price of £35/$42!




If you into any outdoor or hiking shop the wall of rucksacks will be a bland sea of navy blue, khaki or black.

Dark colours on a rucksack are great for hiding inevitable backpacking dirt but are not so great for easily identifying your rucksack from similar bags on a conveyor belt or luggage rack.

Why add ribbons, tags and stickers to your bag for easier identification when you can just purchase a great design in the first place?

A Cabin Max rucksack can come in different colours and patterns. Even the plainer, one colour block bags have a useful coloured trim which helps the bag to stand out. My children said it helped to make me identifiable for them when carrying my bag on my back.


colourful postcard print Cabin Max backpackgreen and black Cabin Max backpack best cabin baggageblue star print Cabin Max backpack best cabin luggage

Plus, these water resistant Cabin Max backpacks are designed for ultimate practicality.

Most Cabin Max bags have a large and small front pocket for ‘easier to get at items’ with additional secure zip pockets inside for passports and money.  My current Cabin Max backpack also has a useful padded sleeve for carrying a laptop.

And I love the fact I can zip away my backpack straps into their own rear pocket to protect them from damage or snagging.

But my favourite feature is the side zip that means my backpack can open like a suitcase. I hate top loading backpacks (and I have had a few)  as you can never find anything quickly, even if you are using packing cubes. Flat opening bags save time and energy. I still pack mine carefully to ensure weight distribution and comfortable carrying. I simply pack my bulkier items to the right of the bag so when I lift it onto my back the heavy stuff is at the bottom of the bag.

Disclaimer – I still have my top loading rucksack from my first round the world trip 26 years ago. But I never use it as top loading bags are such a pain, I just keep it because I can’t bear to say goodbye to it!





Cabin Max make soft sided, hard sided and hybrid bags so you will find one to suit your style of travel.

One of my latest Cabin Max purchases, a Cabin Max Metz XL backpack, has an extendable zip so my 44 litres bag can extend to 55 litres as needed.

This has proved very useful. I can use the 44 litre to fly hand luggage only but as our family now try to travel by train and boat as much as we can, I can pack more items with the 55 litres extension and did not have to purchase a new, bigger bag to do it!


grey and black expandable backpack cabin Max best cabin luggage




There is a Cabin Max backpack or trolley bag to suit all tastes and budgets. There is a bag to match any travel style – soft sided, hard sided or hybrid.

New ranges include a highly practical ‘2 in 1 cabin backpack’ that unzips into two separate bags – one to fit under your seat and one for the overhead locker.

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 most suitable for your trips.

Check out the full range here.



Cabin Max has created a new cabin backpack made from recycled plastic bottles such as this Metz Re.Source backpack. This certainly will add to your green travel credentials!

But sustainability is not only about what a bag is made from. Sustainability means buying a bag that will last more than one use and a bag that can be mended when necessary.



The best Cabin Max backpack I use



Cabin Max Backpack


My Cabin Max Metz backpack is well made, durable, comfortable to wear and easy to wear use.

The fabric is tough and hard-wearing and I have not needed to repair or replace zips, straps or clips. The carry handle is padded for comfort and side clips keep your bag compact for those all important airport measuring gauges. Plus, the Metz backpack is available in different sizes according to your needs.


I use this Cabin Max rucksack if I am travelling alone with our children as I like to keep my hands free to help them. Juggling a pushchair, three children and a pull along bag or trying to climb airplane steps with small children is so much easier if your bag is on your back!

The front pockets are useful for quick and easy access and as the kids can manage the pockets, I rarely have to take the bag off my back to access them.

I suffer from a bad back and my first backpack 26 years ago was a bag specially designed to sit on a women’s hips to minimise backpain. Thankfully, my back is not stressed by carrying this Cabin Max backpack due to its padded ergonomic design though I would find a chest strap useful for a future range please Cabin Max!


Cabin bags for children


We bought two Cabin Max kids bags for our youngest children for our family gap year.

These ‘bear trolley bags’ were hybrid bags with adorable little harnesses on the front of the bag for travelling teddy bears and we were constantly asked by other parents where we had purchased the bags. Our kids loved their bags and were excited to use them so it made leaving home that little bit easier for them.

The bags have useful, fully opening zips so our children were able to pack/unpack independently and the bags are light and easy to pull along.

blue Cabin Max child's bag with fluffy teddy on front

I particularly like the ‘sleeve’ option on the back of the children’s bags. This enables the child’s bag to slide over the handle of a parent bag to sit on top of it. This clever and practical design meant that I was able to carry a child’s bag comfortably without losing my free hand.  This proved to be very useful in avoiding meltdowns after some long, tiring journeys.

However, our children didn’t find the bags comfortable to wear for a long period of time due to their rigid structure. They mostly pulled their bags but at times (think New York subway in rush hour!) it was a great option for the kids to be able to carry their bags.

We also found our middle child quickly outgrew her bag so halfway through the trip we purchased her a larger Cabin Max bag.

These Teddy Bear bags are ideal for young children and for shorter, holiday style trips.



Cabin Max bag with wheels


Cabin Max makes a great range of backpacks with wheels or hybrid bags.

I love traditional backpacks and never expected to convert to a wheeled backpack. But, as my travel style (and age?) has changed, so has my need for adaptable luggage!

Cabin Max backpacks with wheels – or to give it its proper name, ‘trolley backpack’ – are strong and durable. I love my Cabin Max Lyon. It is very comfortable to wear as a backpack and the handle contracts into its own protective zipped pocket.

red cabin max trolley backpack with handle and wheels

The backpack straps can be tucked away into their owned zipped compartment when you want to pull the bag. The wheels and the pull along handle are tough and hard-wearing. The bag is well balanced even when full, so it does not tip when going up or down steps or kerbs.

Some travellers do not hybrid bags as precious space is sacrificed to accommodate the wheels and handle. However, the difference in size and weight is minimal and the choice of being able to pull my bag when I am footsore with an aching back far outweighs the minimal sacrifice on packing space.

Wearing the hybrid as a backpack makes climbing stairs, cobbled streets, busy stations and travelling alone with children 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 Cabin Max hybrid bag.

Hybrid bags have the same useful outer pockets and side clips as Cabin Max backpacks and come in a range of colours and designs.



Cabin Max Daypacks


I recently bought two Cabin Max daypacks to use as school bags as I was frustrated with high street bought school bags falling apart after a few months of tough use.

Cabin Max daypacks are tough, comfortable and very affordable compared to other school bags.


My kids love the variety of pockets, earphone holes and the well-padded shoulder straps plus the wide range of colours and designs.

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


Cabin Max packing cubes


I had never used packing cubes before our family gap year but now I won’t travel without them.

Packing cubes are useful for keeping your belongings organised and compact and they make finding items quick and easy. They are essential if you are travelling with children as even the youngest child can find their own underwear or swim stuff.

Plus, if you are travelling as a family, I would recommend getting a different colour for each family member. This sounds overkill but it really  saves time knowing which bag belongs to which person.


red Cabin Max packing cubes

We also found our Cabin Max packing cubes indispensable on road trips when we were staying in a different hostel or motel each night. We unpacked a packing cube each and repacked it with overnight items so when we arrived a new location for just one night we did not need to unpack all our bags. We just removed our one packing cube containing pyjamas, toothbrush, underwear etc. This saved a lot of time and hassle.

Furthermore, on our road trips in campervans in Australia and New Zealand, we used our packing cubes to store our most frequently used items and then stowed away our large bags in the campervans luggage compartment. This kept bulky items away from the restricted interior of the van and meant we didn’t have to access our difficult to reach large bags everyday.

Check out the sizes and colours of Cabin Max packing cubes available here.


My Cabin Max backpack story


I bought my first Cabin Max backpack 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 children – but a bag I could pull so I could carry our baby in a sling.

As I used to travel to Ireland with a budget airline notorious for their strict bag restrictions and penalty charges (guess who?!) I needed a compact bag that could also withstand travelling with babies and toddlers – aka being vomited on. An expensive bag just wasn’t worth the outlay.

I discovered Cabin Max by chance and was impressed by their excellent reviews and affordability. It was worth buying a carry on Cabin Max backpack even if it didn’t last very long.

My bag lasted and now, 16 years later, I have two hybrid cabin bags with wheels, one Cabin Max backpack, one extendable Cabin Max backpack, two Cabin Max day packs and have outgrown two Cabin Max children’s bags.

So you could say I am a Cabin Max fan!

I believe Cabin Max backpacks are one of the best cabin luggage brands on the market. Cabin Max luggage is well made, hard-wearing, attractive, versatile, durable, practical and budget-friendly. They are adaptable for different travel styles and forms of transport and are also stylish.


So, considering this, plus the excellent affordability of Cabin Max backpacks, you have nothing to lose by buying a Cabin Max backpack and giving it a go for your next adventure!

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