The best luggage, from suitcases to cabin bags | a pink suitcase against a graphic background

The ultimate luggage guide, from stellar suitcases to carry-on classics

Words by Mhairi Mann
Last updated: June 13, 2024

From cabin bags to superlative suitcases, discover the ROADBOOK guide to good luggage

Travel can be precarious at the best of times, but the one thing you should be able to rely on is your luggage. And a good piece of baggage will last a lifetime, from a trusty holdall that gets better with age, to a slick cabin bag, which makes rolling through airports a breeze.

From durable suitcases to brilliant backpacks and standout belt bags, ROADBOOK’s edit considers consciously-made, enduring hero pieces from a global line-up of brands, which are the embodiment of travelling well. Here is the best luggage to accompany your next sojourn, whether you’re a frequent flier, adventure traveller or long-haul holidaymaker.

Check-in case from the Essential collection by Rimowa, from £680 for a cabin bag, rimowa.com

Rimowa

Akin to the Rolls Royce of luggage, Rimowa is synonymous with functional luxury. The historic German company, which began as a small saddlery firm in 1898, is renowned for its robust, ribbed suitcases with patented multi-wheel steering, endorsed by a legion of high-profile fans. Its metal attaché briefcases were made famous by spy and action films in the nineties, while more recently Rimowa has extended its collections to include more casual backpacks, totes and weekenders. Luggage tags and iPhone cases also allow consumers to buy into the esteemed brand at a lower price point.

The hard shell Essentials collection is crafted from lightweight, durable polycarbonate and available in four sizes, ranging from cabin to supersized Trunk Plus. Each one comes with a built-in combination lock and clever internal storage departments. Select from colourways including matte black, pastel pink, and a suitably festive green gloss.

City-hopper Backpack by Carl Friedrik

City-hopper Backpack by Carl Friedrik, £445, carlfriedrik.com

Carl Friedrik

Launched by two Swedish brothers in 2012, Carl Friedrik has built a reputation for reliable, resilient luggage with a minimalist aesthetic. You may recognise its hardshell Carry-on X case from Succession and The White Lotus, alongside various briefcases and bags. While undoubtedly premium, luggage costs less than its luxury competitors, and so confident is the brand in its own design that it offers a 100-day free trial on each product, and a lifetime warranty on every purchase.

The brand has collaborated with like minded British retailer Hackett on a gift-worthy luggage collection, including a carry-on and check-in suitcase, a smart nubuck leather weekender and a luggage tag. Designs come in a rich navy and chocolate brown colour palette and are priced from 49 GBP to 495 GBP.

Pictured above, the City Hopper backpack with a folding top is available in either waterproof nylon and premium nubuck leather, replete with a cushioned laptop sleeve and multiple organisational compartments to stash water bottles, books and valuables. It also slides effortlessly over your suitcase when travelling further afield.

The best luggage to buy now | Main Line vegan leather-trimmed canvas duffel bag by Paravel

Main Line vegan leather-trimmed canvas duffel bag by Paravel, £280, net-a-porter.com

Paravel

Hailing from NYC, Paravel marries sustainability and sophistication, founded in 2016 by Indré Rockefeller and Andy Krantz. Products are impeccably made from responsibly sourced materials: recycled polycarbonate cases are lined with a water-resistant fabric, made from discarded plastic water bottles, while weekender bags are crafted from stain-resistant recycled canvas. Alongside its eco credentials, it’s the little details that set each piece of Paravel luggage apart: vegan leather trims, monogramming options and gleaming hardware. Its packing cubes, available in a set of four, are also some of the best in the game.

The best luggage to buy now | City recycled-polyester backpack by Herschel Supply Co

City recycled-polyester backpack by Herschel Supply Co, £75, selfridges.com

Herschel Supply Co.

Hand luggage allowance has shrunk in recent years, with many low-cost airlines insisting that bags must fit under the seat in front. Good job then for Herschel’s squishy duffle bags and backpacks, many of which also include laptop sleeves, organisational pockets and padded shoulder straps for comfort. Unveiled in July 2023, the Canadian brand spent two years completely redesigning its collections to be fully compatible with the modern traveller, and also more sustainable. Well-priced products are crafted from recycled EcoSystem™ materials made from repurposed plastic water bottles, and all purchases come with a lifetime warranty.

The best belt bags | Link Leather-Trimmed Colour-Block Nylon-Twill Belt Bag by Master-Piece

Link Leather-Trimmed Colour-Block Nylon-Twill Belt Bag by Master-Piece, £120, mrporter.com

Master-Piece

Taichi Fujimatsu launched Master-Piece in 1994 with a desire to create high-end, versatile bags and accessories that marry form and function. Spanning backpacks, totes and messenger bags, each piece is made in its Osaka factory from high-performance, waterproof fabrics that withstand the elements. Look out for bold colour combinations and hybrid designs, with sturdy zips and closures. Its durable belt bags are big enough to hold all of your travel essentials, with plenty of nifty zip pockets on the inside and outside to ensure you’re not fumbling around at the boarding gate.

The best luggage and backpacks | Dante rolltop backpack by Sandqvist,

Dante rolltop backpack by Sandqvist, £125, sandqvist.co.uk

Sandqvist

Founded in 2004 in Stockholm by three childhood friends, Sandqvist has built a loyal following for its practical, minimalist designs, sustainably made from water-resistant, recycled fabrics. Sandqvist’s impressive eco credentials extend to its transparent and ethical supply chain, and the brand has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 50 per cent before 2030, compared to 2020 levels.

As suited to urban life as the great outdoors, styles range from weekenders to belt bags and backpacks. Bestselling roll-top designs are crafted from hardwearing organic cotton, recycled polyester and responsibly sourced leather. The versatile Dante iteration features a 15-inch laptop sleeve, while allowing for up to 23 litres of storage, making it a practical option as a day bag or a fully stuffed travel companion.

 

The Endeavour briefcase in King's green and black by Mismo Copenhagen

The Endeavour briefcase in King’s green and black by Mismo Copenhagen, £580, mismo.dk

MISMO

For timeless, all-occasion Danish design that will last a lifetime, look no further than Mismo. The Copenhagen-based brand bills its versatile, unisex bags as personal companions, crafted from premium leather, cotton canvas and nylon, with solid brass hardware. The range includes city break-friendly weekenders, backpacks and briefcases, as well as suit carriers and tennis bags. Mismo advocates a ‘buy less, buy better’ mantra and applies recycled and organic materials wherever possible, from the product to the packaging.

For cosmopolitan commuters, the Endeavour briefcase is designed with double-zipped twin compartments for considered organisation, and a bridle leather strap to attach to your pull along trolley suitcase.

The Clifton cabin bag suitcase in coral by Antler

The Clifton suitcase in coral,  from £119 for a cabin bag, antler.com

Antler

This British brand has everything one might need for traveling: smart shell cases; ultra-lightweight cabin bags, soft holdalls, backpacks and packing cubes. Each design is available in a bold spectrum of colourways, from navy and black to won’t-miss-it-on-the-conveyor belt neon shades. The heritage luggage brand, founded in 1914, has undergone a rebrand in recent years, elevating traditional silhouettes with innovative materials and modern durability, and all products come with a lifetime warranty.

The ultra-light, soft-shell Brixham is available in three sizes: the medium and large cases allow you to maximise your checked-in luggage allowance, while the cabin bag weighs just 1.9kg. Meanwhile, the dependable Clifton case is made from polycarbonate (noted for being both light and strong), with an inbuilt combination lock and cushioned handles. We particularly like the punchy coral hue.

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