This spring I discovered I have been doing cabin baggage wrong all my life. Over the years I have tried various combinations of different backpacks with a handbag (for the 2 items rule). Then a couple of years ago bought a small air hostess cabin trolley bag with wheels. One I could pull behind me at airports when transiting through terminals and changing flights. I thought it would be convenient for my travels, but in fact, it hasn’t been. The error of my ways became evident to me as I put a new bag to trial. I have found the best cabin approved bag in CabinZero Classic 44l backpack. Read on for my review!
Whether you’re a digital nomad always on the move or just jetting off to your annual summer holiday (or cruise) a good cabin approved bag is your friend. Especially as airlines these days charge extra for checked in baggage. Travelling light with a carry-on only is both a money and a time saver. While everyone else waits for their luggage at the carousel, you can already be out of the doors catching transport to the city.
For me, especially for cruise purposes, a spacious cabin bag is a must. We usually fly into the port on the day of sailing so a change of clothes and few other essentials in a carry-on is the least I want on me in case our cases are lost or delayed. It hasn’t happened to me on a cruise yet – knock wood. I have on another holiday found myself waiting for 24h to get my case. Can’t imagine the trouble getting a case to the next port if it misses cruise departure.
Also, another cruise tip for you. If you arrive early at the port, you may get to embark your cruise ship around 11 am. Your suitcase, however, won’t be delivered to your cabin until much later in the same afternoon. If you want to enjoy the sun on the lido deck, having your swimwear and related accessories in your carry-on will get you to the pool – and to those frozen cocktails – faster.
This spring I was offered a CabinZero Classic 44l cabin backpack to review and as I was heading to Finland I welcomed the opportunity. I always have a bundle of souvenirs to take with me from Scotland and I always struggle for space. Similarly, coming back to home I find my Samsonite bursting with local delicacies to bring back with me.
(At Amsterdam Schiphol with my brand new bag – see my post on getting a free lounge entry at AMS)
I found even my cabin trolley awkward to travel with. The wheels were only ever really useful at airports. They were too small for street use. Often the weather was too poor to put it down. When it was nice/dry enough, I had to pull both the trolley and my suitcase behind me. Mostly I ended up carrying the trolley by its side handle, like a suitcase. Not ideal and both no free hands. Travel was slow. The CabinZero given to me for review changed that.
CabinZero Classic Review
Why am I so happy with my CabinZero Classic 44l?
Reason 1) Comfort of use
Cabinzero Classic range is made of light waterproof polyester and weighs less than a kilogram. The Classic, like the rest of the CabinZero range of bags, comes with strong padded shoulder straps that distribute the weight comfortably. Not having a trolley bag made changing flights/terminals a breeze as it was easier to weave through crowds. At my destination, it was great to have both hands free to navigate doors and public transport with a large suitcase. And because of the padded straps, carrying the weight on my shoulders wasn’t a chore.
The sturdy main zip of CabinZero classic 44 l opens wide, so I found it easier to pack than my previous ‘general use’ backpacks. It has a both top and side carry handles for when you want, or need to treat it more like a suitcase.
2) So spacious
It has so much space – 44 litres, as the name states. Plenty, enjoyed by my ragdoll Olly too, as seen here.
I am confident the Classic 44l is twice as spacious as my former trolley bag – as you can see, it is nearly half the size of my trusty old Samsonite (of 18 years, I think) while still being cabin approved!
Time to fly home from #Finland! So pleased I have #mycabinzero backbag with me for extra 44L of space for souvenirs 😊. My trusty Samsonite case 19+ years old is full so the extra carry-on space (half the size of the case, if not more) is essential esp for the more fragile stuff 👍So comfy too – as will be my seat as @klm kindly upgraded me to an Economy Comfort seat to Amsterdam ✈️❤#DankJeWel #FlyingBlueSilver #cabinzero
Trolley luggage obviously comes in various sizes but mine was purchased to fit the exact measurements allowed by KLM, the airline I fly with the most. The soft canvas structure of CabinZero Classic allows me to use the full volume of the bag, or less when required. The Classic has condensing straps at each side should I need to fit match the smaller carryon size approved by KLM. I generally find the overhead lockers much more forgiving than the metal-framed luggage sizer at check-in desk so I am now flying with more carry-on baggage than I did before – while still within the allowed weight limit.
3) Security features
The main compartment has sturdy and lockable YKK zips – locks aren’t included, though.
All CabinZero bags come with an Okoban lifetime tracking ID tag (if you register your bag) which will unite you with your bag if it is lost. Okoban is a system linked to the airline WorldTracer system used by over 400 airlines, airport companies, baggage handlers and lost & found offices. Ever so useful if your bag is lost/misplaced as its unique Okoban ID will connect you to it – even if luggage tags were torn off in transit.
The pocket at the front is the full width & height so it will fit large notepads, magazines etc. I like to use it for my various pieces of paperwork but nothing valuable as this one isn’t lockable.
I addition to the one large front pocket there are three more on the inside. The largest is on the base of the bag (against your back). This is an elasticated pocket running diagonally from top right corner to the left. The upper inside of the bag has shallow net pocket/pouch for easy access. Underneath, there is a similarly sized zip pocket for more secure storage.
4) Colour pop!
I was given a bright lime Galactic Green bag to review which I adore, as I like colours that pop. I find it also helpful should I ever check it in, as the colour makes it instantly recognisable. If you find the colour a bit too much, fear not, the Classic 44L is available in 23 different colours to suit all tastes. There are limited edition prints too. Check their site for the full range of colours and sizes, including packing cubes.
5) Extended warranty
Other good things I discovered after using my bag: All CabinZero bags come with a 10-year warranty, upgraded to 25 if you like them on Facebook.
6) Socially responsible business & product
I was pleased to discover that Cabinzero is a small UK-based socially responsible company. Work is not carried out in sweatshops and they inspect the sewing factories used themselves. The importance of product quality and safety, and limiting the environmental impact of their operation are also addressed on their site.
The final verdict?
From the above you can gather I am very pleased with my new favourite carry-on bag. So, you must ask, any negatives now that I have used the bag on a week-long holiday abroad and it has been used for a few domestic overnighter trips?
Mr Vegancruiser felt he would’ve preferred more pockets inside to secure loose contents. This never crossed my mind as I wouldn’t expect to find those in a suitcase either. Normally I use a medium sized Neatpack toiletry bag on my travels which comes with various compartments. I also pack a jewellery-roll type organiser for small tech kit I carry (chargers & cables, power bank).
I found Cabinzero Classic 44l great for space for the both of us, but at times I felt I would have preferred a smaller bag for shorter trips on my own. The problem is easily solved – I am going to buy the smaller Classic 28l for solo weekender use. Meanwhile, our Galactic Green Cabinzero Classic is going to be great for our joint cruise holiday carry-on extras and as a main bag for longer solo carry-on adventures. The old wheely trolley bag? That has gone to a charity shop.
See you at the pool, mine’s a strawberry daiquiri.
CabinZero Classic 44l in numbers
Weight: light – approx 750g
Volume: 44 litres
Dimensions: 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm
I received the Cabinzero 44l Classic as a free PR sample. I have not been paid for my review. All of the above is my own work and my honest opinion of an item gifted.