5 Best personal item bags from CabinZero for every occasion

As convenient as it is, there is not much transportation that has the same level of regulations as planes. Usually, carry-on and checked baggage are more common terms that we are familiar with.

"Personal item" is another story. It is difficult enough to understand the differences between airlines, let alone pick a suitable bag. 

We are here to help! The first of the article will be about regulations on the flight, and then the 5 best personal item bags from CabinZero would be listed with thorough reviews.

Of course, we hope you will like them. However, in case you don’t, we believe they are still good sources of reference.

What Is Considered A Personal Item Bag? Plus Regulations You Need To Know

With the right preparation, you can travel light and far with a positive mindset. Credit: @mbusyliving_esibitzky_

Anything that fit beneath the seat in front of you are considered personal items. They can be a bag that stores valuables such as your passport, wallet, phone, and laptop.

Most of the time, you are allowed one free personal item in addition to your carry-on. But flying low-cost carriers and coach seats means sometimes you have to make do with a personal item pack only. Generally, if your bags are within 18 x 14 x 8 inches, you are good to go. That translates to about 25-28L.

Since the regulations might be confusing, we would try to include as many airlines as possible without making the article too boring. So, here is a little personal item size cheatsheet for your convenience:


Imperial (In)

Metric (cm)

Most suitable luggage

Aer Lingus

10 x 13 x 8

25 x 33 x 20

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Air France

15.7 x 11.8 x 5.8

40 x 30 x 15

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15.8 x 11.8 x 3.9

40 x 30 x 10

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American Airlines 

18 x 14 x 8

45 x 35 x 20

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British Airways

16 x 12 x 6

40 x 30 x 15

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17.7 x 13.8 x 7.9

45 x 36 x 20

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*Only on Business & First Class

17.7 x 13.8 x 7.9

*Must be a briefcase or garment bag

45 x 35 x 20

*Must be a briefcase or garment bag

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Japan Airlines (JAL)

16 x 12 x 6

40 x 30 x 15

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15.7 x 7.8 x  9.8

40 x 20 x 25

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Singapore Airlines

15.8 x 11.8 x 3.9

40 x 30 x 10

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Turkish Airlines

15.8 x 11.8 x 5.9

40 x 30 x 15

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Vueling Airlines

15.8 x 7.9 x 11.8

40 x 20 x 30

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However, not all airlines give us a clear number. Instead, they will tell us that we can bring “a laptop, briefcase, handbag or purse” or items of similar sizes.


What are considered personal items

Most suitable luggage


  • Handbag, briefcase, laptop bag, camera bag or other items of similar sizes or smaller

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Alaska Airlines

  • A purse, briefcase, or laptop bag, and medically necessary items

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All Nippon Airways (ANA)

  • A handbag, camera or umbrella

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China Airlines

  • Handbag or wallet
  • Duty-free items
  • Umbrella
  • Infant's napkins, feeding bottle and food 
  • Reading material
  • Food for in-flight consumption

*Please access the website for an extensive list.

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Delta Air Lines

  • A purse, briefcase, small backpack, laptop bag, camera bag or diaper bag

*Please access the website for a list of free items in additional to carry on.

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Korean Air

  • Laptop, briefcase, and handbag is permitted for Economy Class.

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  • Laptop bags, shopping bags or handbags

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  • A lady’s handbag or one small briefcase
  • A coat, cape or blanket
  • An umbrella
  • A pair of crutches or a walking stick
  • An infant’s carrying basket
  • Duty-free items purchased on the day of your flight

*Please access the website for an extensive list.

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Virgin Atlantic

  • A handbag, small backpack/rucksack, pocketbook or purse
  • Standard 3.5mm headphones for onboard use
  • Laptops
  • Mobility aids and wheelchairs
  • Cigarettes and lighters.

*Please access the website for an extensive list.

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Is Yours Too Big?

A personal item bag must fit the space underneath the seat in front.

How strict are airlines about personal item size? If you are carrying something that is not specifically designed to be a personal item, the risk is there.

Stick to a small purse, briefcase and laptop bag if you want to be safe. But what if you want to bring a pack or a duffle bag for more storage? As long as the bags can easily fit under the seat and are not unreasonably large (even to the naked eyes), the TSA will likely let you pass.

It would be a great idea to bring the smallest one that you have if you don’t need to carry too many things. In addition, doing so helps you avoid overpacking.

The best advice is to measure and compare your intended personal item bag with the airline’s restrictions. Normally, you can find this information in the “carry-on” section on their website. Contracting the customer support or an airport help desk is another strategy.

What Features Make The Best Personal Items Bags?

Obviously, size is an important factor when selecting a personal item bag. When the bag fits beneath the seat, it will stay with you and within reach throughout the journey.  For example, if you are carrying a 13” laptop, a 15 x 10 x 7 inches (38.1 x 25.4 x 17.78 cm) would probably be enough. 

Typically, airlines will have regulations regarding to the weight of your personal item: from 10 to 25 pounds (4.5 to 11 kilograms). When choosing a bag as a personal item, consider prioritising light material to save the weight of actual items. 

Furthermore, another factor we think is equally important is durability. Generally, nylon is a more durable and resistant material than polyester (nylon ripstop is even better). 

How many boxes does a pack need to tick to be the one? Credit: @mbusyliving_esibitzky_

In the process of achieving comfort, we don’t think design should be something anyone looks over. Forget compromising; what you pick should be elegant and professional, complementing your travel style. Also, it should be flexible to be used in a variety of circumstances, from business trips to casual holidays.

Sometimes, your destination is unfamiliar and/or not a safe one. That is why security is put into the equation. While travelling is an exciting and adventurous experience, it can go south quickly if your stuff is lost or stolen. 

For instance, secret pockets with RFID-blocking technology can prevent both digital and physical theft. Investing in a bag with lockable zippers and TSA luggage locks will offer you a piece of mind when travelling.

In summary, a functional personal bag should have the following features:

  • Water-proof and durable fabric
  • Spacious interiors and good organisations
  • Padded shoulder straps and back panel
  • RFID-blocking pockets
  • Padded laptop sleeve(s)
  • High-quality zippers such as YKK
  • A water bottle holder
  • A design that resonates with your atheistic.

Top 5 Personal Item Bags from CabinZero

We hope that after reading those criteria, you have some faith in our judgement. Now, let’s come to the list.

1. CabinZero Classic Backpack 28L 

Orange is our favourite colour. Not too bright, but zest. 

MSRP: $69

Material: Polyester 600D

Dimensions: 15.4 x 11.6 x 7.9 inches/ 39 x 29,5 x 20 cm 

Weight: 600 g / 1 lb 5 ounces

It has always been one of our most steady recommendations as either a backpack for everyday use or a personal item. For travellers looking for a reliable and fashionable companion, the CabinZero Classic lineup performs magnificently well in several critical areas.

Even though there are different size options, a 28L one strikes a perfect balance between spaciousness and compactness. From short trips to long holidays, the Classic Backpack ensure that you have space for crucial items without you being held back by any obstacle.

Durability is another area where this beauty shines. The “600 Denier Polyester” material with water-resistant ability will be a great protection for your items. From the sun on the city streets to unexpected rain showers in the forest, your items will be away from harm’s way.

If you look closely, greeting you will see lockable sliders on the main compartment. That’s why we recommend putting to most important ones here.

However, in case your bag itself is lost or stolen, the lockable sliders might not do the job. That’s why the Classic Backpack also has a tracking tag. Out of sight, but not out of reach.

2. CabinZero Military Backpack 28L

Just to show you military and black don’t mean boring.

MSRP: $93

Material: Nylon 1,000D PU 800 mm

Dimensions: 16.9" x 11.8" x 5.9" / 43 x 30 x 15 cm

Weight: 825 g / 1 lb 13 ounces

Same size, but with better craftsmanship and extra features.If you want a military-style backpack that won’t make you look like a tourist, the CabinZero Military 28L is your best bet.

Because of its polyurethane coating, the 1,000D nylon material is incredibly robust. Other aspects that contribute to its strength include the density of its weave and the thickness and width of each fibre. Think of outdoor, think of 1,000 Denier nylon (after thinking about all the fun, of course).

Aside from the extra durability, comfort is taken to the next level thanks to the padded back panel and straps. Plus, it is even equipped with a sternum strap and top tension strap for a more secure fit.

Another highlight is the molle webbing to apply gear on the front. Now you can carry extra necessities, neck pillow, and gear hands-free. When you want to shrink the bag, you can use the compression straps on the four sides. (remember to pack reasonably, no pack can help you if you fit too much).

Did you know about CabinZero’s warranty? We build our products to last, just as you are. However, even the most durable bag in the world will wear out over time. For that, we offer a warranty period of up to 25 years. When you’ve gotten the most out of your CabinZero backpacks, just tell us, and we will get you covered.

3. CabinZero Classic Cross Body Bag 11L

Pink is not only for women.

MSRP: $54

Material: Polyester 600D

Dimensions: 13.0" x 7.5" x 3.9" / 33 x 19 x 10 cm

Weight: 360 g / 0 lb 13 ounces

Backpacks are too bulky, and totes are too handful to your liking? Let’s switch styles! A crossbody is a sweet spot between portability and volume. 

The CabinZero Classic Cross Body spots an 11L capacity, generous enough to house all your necessities without being in the way of your travel. Your passport? Checked. Your wallet? Checked. Want to carry a big book, sandals and a camera? Put them all in there. 

The Classic Cross Body bag makes organisation a breeze. Despite its size, it has several sections for keeping your items neat. The main compartment has plenty of room for your things, and the front zip pocket and back slip pocket provide additional storage. 

Style-wise, who dares to say this is not an elegant one? There are seven colours for you to choose from. An Absolute black one for EDC, an Aruba Blue for a sea trip, or a Jaipur Pink for a fancy holiday. Whether you want to apply the blend-in strategy, as we suggest in the section below, or make a statement, The Classic Cross Body can and will help. 

4. CabinZero Hustle 8L

A lovely companion for even the most basic outfit

MSRP: $50

Material: Polyester 600D

Dimensions: 16.1" x 7.5" x 4.7"/ 41 x 19 x 12 cm

Weight: 300 g / 0 lb 11 ounces

Lives up to its name, this bag is the perfect grab-and-go option. But let’s not digress, and come back to why this one is a possible companion on your next trip. 

How many personal item packing tips to sneak past security check do you know? Well, forget them all. This CabinZero Hustle 8L is the ultimate strategy. It would be impossible for you to be held back because of the size.

With an 8-litre capacity, it's ideal for transporting your essentials while remaining small enough to slide beneath the seat in front of you. Its tiny size makes it easier to manoeuvre through packed airports, busy streets, and bustling tourist destinations. Especially, you don’t want a big backpack standing on a bus.

Did we mention that all of our products come with YKK zippers? Unlike those average zippers that wear out over time, they self-lubricate and become smoother the longer you use them. Once you have used a pack with these troopers, you’ll never want to go back.

The main compartment has plenty of room, and the front zip pocket and side mesh pocket bring additional storage. You can easily organise your passport, wallet, phone, keys, and other crucial items so that they are always within reach. Plus, it has a sunglasses pocket too.

5. CabinZero BumBag 2L

For ones who want to stand out

MSRP: $33

Material: Polyester 600D

Dimensions: 16.1" x 5.9" x 2.4"/ 41 x 15 x 6 cm 

Weight: 170 g / 0 lb 6 ounces

Next’s the little brother (or sister) of our family – the CabinZero Hip Pack 2L. Not too much space, but the accessibility has been surely brought to a whole different level. It would be the best fit for minimalist travellers.

Interestingly enough, we think it is also suitable for the opposite of the spectrum. It is so compact that wearing it with a backpack on your back still provides great comfort. You won’t feel like it’s even there.

Here is some exciting information. Aside from the awesome organisation, it also comes with a hidden RFID-blocking pocket. Now you can safely keep your credit cards without worrying about thieves of any kinds.

For the fashion-forward crowds, you won’t be disappointed with our 17 colourways, including 4 V&A patterns. Make your pick and rock that chic look you’ve always wanted while strolling down the street.

Ways To Prevent Your Bag From Being Gate-Checked

As convenient as it is, personal items have to overcome several obstacles. The first one is the check-in agent. Though this might not be a huge bump, you are not entirely safe here.

One strategy you might use is to redirect their attention to either your carry-on or your checked luggage. Both at the same time would be the best.

This is, of course, in case you are 100% sure your luggage has followed the policies. It would be sad and funny at the same time if what you shift their focus to turns out to be the one that causes problems. If this is too mischievous for you, checking in online or at an automated kiosk would be better.

The second obstacle is the gate agent. This is arguably the easier one of the two. The reason is they might be more credulous in your conformity to the rules. Somebody else, the check-in agent, in this case, has checked your items anyway.

However, if you are still worried about your bags, there are two possible strategies you can apply. The first one is getting assistance. If you have a company whose body looks bigger than you, give them your bag. We know that it sounds too simple to the point of silliness, but it works.

The second strategy is coalescence. Find a group of people, the bigger the better. If you are travelling with a bunch of friends, and see another potential group that is bigger, consider leaving your friends for a bit. All for the safety of the personal bag.

Okay, down to the last one - the flight attendants. This is probably the hardest guard to get past. Nothing to misdirect and no one to blend it. Especially, your bag will be looked at from a very close distance. It might look even bigger than it is. 

However, boarding sooner when the plane is empty will help. With all the unoccupied space in the plane, it would be easier for them to be flexible. And smile, yes, smiling, we think, is a very powerful tool.

Please don’t hate them if you caught your bag. Photo by Phạm Duy Quang on Unsplash

You Are An Expert In Personal Items Now!  

Even though the regulations are complicated, we hope our top 5 best personal item bags from CabinZero make your travelling process easier in general.

To neglect personal item bags just because of the ambiguity of the regulations is such a shame. Not just convenience, these bags can also provide peace of mind knowing what you need is right there next to you.

Whether you're going on a short business trip or a long-awaited holiday, investing in a personal item bag that meets your demands and enhances your travel adventures is a wise decision.

If you have any questions, let us know below. We, just like these bags, will accompany you in your travelling, regardless of your destination. Safe travel! See you in future articles!

Bui Hoang Hai

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