The Ultimate Guide: Can You Use a Backpack as a Carry-On?

Travelling with a backpack as a carry-on item can save you time and money. But, navigating airline regulations and packing restrictions can be tricky. In this comprehensive guide, we'll answer all your questions about whether you can use a backpack as a carry-on.

Learn about size restrictions, which airlines allow backpacks, how to pack them efficiently, and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rules. Get ready to travel light and stress-free with your bag as your trusty carry-on companion.

Can You Use a Backpack as a Carry-On?

If you're wondering whether you can use a backpack as a carry-on for air travel, the answer is a resounding yes! 

In addition to being a practical option for air travel, backpacks can be an excellent choice for those seeking convenience and ease during their journey. 

However, ensuring your backpack meets the airline's size and weight restrictions is vital before you go. Check with your airline to confirm your bag complies with their carry-on regulations.

Airline Rules for Backpacks as Carry-Ons: What You Need to Know

 Airline Rules for Backpacks as Carry-Ons What You Need to Know

Check airline rules for backpack carry-on before your flight for a hassle-free airport experience.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has established rules and regulations to ensure safety and security during air travel. These rules apply to all passengers. They are there to avoid possible risks from items brought in carry-on bags, including backpacks.

It's also important to check with your airline regarding specific rules on packing items such as liquids, gels, and sharp objects.

Size and Weight Restrictions

Most airlines allow backpacks as carry-ons, but size and weight restrictions vary depending on the carrier. Typically, the bag must be within the cabin baggage dimensions of around 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 22 cm), commonly considered the standard size for carry-on.

Any bag within this dimension can fit most aeroplanes' overhead compartments.

In addition to size restrictions, airlines may also have weight restrictions for carry-on backpacks. This can vary depending on the airline, with some carriers allowing up to 10 kg (22 lb) and others only allowing 7 kg (15 lb) or less.

In addition to selecting the appropriate size backpack for your travels, it's crucial to review your airline's size and weight restrictions before packing your bag. Non-compliance may result in extra fees or checking your backpack as hold luggage, which can prove costly and inconvenient.

Your Go-To Resource for TSA: Dos and Don'ts

Our latest blog post covers the dos and don'ts of CAA guidelines. Here are the general lists of important information on carry-on luggage, prohibited items, and security screening procedures. 

  • Liquids: All liquids carried in your backpack must be placed in containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 millilitres) or less per item. These containers must be placed in a clear, plastic, quart-sized bag and presented for inspection at the security checkpoint.
  • Electronics: It's important to note that any electronic device larger than a cell phone, such as laptops and tablets, cannot be brought in your backpack. To comply with CAA guidelines, make sure to remove them and place them in a separate bin for X-ray screening.
  • Others: Other items that may be restricted or prohibited from carry-on backpacks include sharp objects, firearms, and explosives. 

Note: Before packing for your next flight, please visit the CCA website for the most up-to-date information regarding prohibited items and carry-on restrictions.

What Not to Pack: Banned Items for Carry-On Luggage

Pack strategically, and you will have a wonderful trip. Photo by Pormezz -

Certain items, such as liquids over 100ml, sharp objects, and explosives, are among the banned items on carry-on luggage. Specifically as follows: 

  • Some types of food and drink

Generally, you can bring food on a plane. But certain canned or jarred foods that contain more than 100ml of liquid and alcoholic beverages over 70% ABV are not allowed. 

  • Explosive materials

Explosive materials, such as fireworks, flares, and blasting caps, are banned on flights due to the potential risk they pose to the safety of passengers and crew. These items could cause significant damage to the aircraft if they accidentally detonated in the cargo hold or cabin.

  • Chemical and toxic substances

Certain chemical and toxic substances, including bleach, spray paint, and tear gas, are prohibited on flights. These substances could cause irritation or injury if they leak or spill during the flight.

  • Sporting equipment that could be used as a weapon

While these items are not typically used as weapons, they could be dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands. Some sporting equipment, such as golf clubs or tennis rackets, are typically allowed on flights as long as they are properly packaged and checked in with the airline.

Backpacks as Carry-Ons: A Comprehensive Look at the Pros and Cons

Travelling is an adventure that can be made even better with the right gear. Choosing a backpack as your carry-on luggage has pros and cons. But with careful consideration and proper packing techniques, you can embark on your journey easily and in style.

A backpack as your carry-on enhances your journey's enjoyment and ease.

Why settle for a bulky suitcase when you can have a compact and versatile backpack as your carry-on luggage? Packed smartly, it can be your ultimate travel ally. Its adaptability, convenience, and comfort are miles ahead of a roller suitcase. You can unlock the full potential of your journey.

From Comfort to Convenience: Why Backpacks Make the Perfect Carry-On

  • Lightweight and easy to manoeuvre:

Backpacks are much lighter than traditional luggage and can be easily carried around without feeling weighed down, making them perfect for travel. If you climb stairs or hike often, you know what we are talking about.

  • Can hold more items than a traditional carry-on:

You can only bring as much as the suitcase can fit. A backpack, on the other hand, lets you get more items and gear by strapping them on the outside.

  • Allows for hands-free travel and more effortless mobility:

Using a backpack, you can have your hands free to carry other items, like a cup of coffee or your passport. This can make it simpler to move around airports and cities.

  • Fits easily under airline seats or in overhead compartments:

Most backpacks are designed to fit comfortably under the airline seats or in overhead compartments, making them a convenient choice for air travel.

  • Versatile and can be used for other travel activities:

Unlike traditional luggage, backpacks are versatile and can be used for hiking, camping, or other outdoor activities. This makes them an excellent investment for travellers who engage in various activities.

Potential Drawbacks of Choosing a Backpack as a Carry-On

  • Limited protection for fragile items:

Backpacks may not offer less protection than traditional luggage for fragile items like electronics or glass bottles.

  • The strain on shoulders and back:

Depending on the weight of your backpack and how it is packed, it can strain your shoulders and back, leading to discomfort or even injury.

  • Susceptibility to theft:

Backpacks are easy targets for pickpockets and thieves, especially in crowded areas like airports and train stations.

  • Not suitable for business travel:

Backpacks may not be considered professional-looking for business travel and may not fit in with a professional dress code.

Tip: Consider the purpose and duration of your trip to determine the type of equipment that best suits your needs. And decide whether a backpack is right for you accordingly.

Take it On-the-Go: Top Tips to Pick the Right Backpack

See the world worry-free with the right carry-on companion.

Choosing the right backpack as your carry-on can be the key to unlocking a seamless and enjoyable travel experience. These tips will help you choose the perfect backpack for your next adventure, from size and features to material and style.

Look for backpacks with multiple compartments.

A backpack is the ultimate travel companion, but choosing the right one for your carry-on can make all the difference. Choose a bag with many pockets to keep your belongings tidy and easily accessible throughout travel.

A designated compartment for your passport, electronics, and snacks will make your journey much more seamless. Plus, with everything in its place, you'll avoid the hassle of rummaging through your backpack mid-flight. 

Opt for those with a hip belt or chest strap

Travelling with a backpack as your carry-on can be like carrying the world's weight on your shoulders, but it doesn't have to be painful. Look for bags with hip belts or chest straps to help distribute the weight evenly, provide support, and reduce the risk of injury. 

A backpack with these features can make your journey more comfortable and enjoyable, allowing you to focus on exploring new horizons. Don't let a heavy pack hold you back; choose one with the right features and confidently hit the road.

Consider the material and durability

When embarking on a journey, the last thing you want is a flimsy backpack that can't withstand the rigours of travel. Consider packs made of sturdy materials like nylon or polyester to ensure your carry-on can endure the bumps and scrapes.

A sturdy and long-lasting backpack offers better support, protects your possessions, and gives you a sense of security. With a backpack built to last, you can focus on enjoying the adventure ahead without worrying about the condition of your luggage.

Note: As you embark on your outdoor adventure, equip yourself with a trusty waterproof or water-resistant backpack to protect your gear from unpredictable weather.

For travellers seeking a reliable and spacious flight carry-on option, the CabinZero Classic Backpack 28L is an excellent choice. This lightweight backpack is designed to fit most airlines' carry-on size restrictions, making it an ideal choice for those who want to avoid checking luggage.

Q&A: Expert Answers to Your Questions

1. What Should I Pack In My Backpack Carry-On?

Your carry-on backpack should hold must-have items for your flight. For instance, take with your passports, travel papers, medication, snacks, and entertainment. If there’s anything you need to use during the flight frequently, pack it in your personal item.

Packing valuables or fragile items in your backpack can also avoid potential damage during baggage handling. By packing smartly, you can ensure a comfortable and stress-free travel experience.

2. Should I Lock My Backpack When I Travel?

Locking your backpack when travelling is a personal choice. But it's important to remember that CAA agents may need to inspect your bag during security checks.

If you lock your backpack, consider using a CAA or TSA-approved lock that agents can open without damaging the content. This will help protect your belongings while also allowing for necessary security checks.

3. What If My Backpack Doesn't Fit In The Overhead Bin?

If your backpack doesn't fit, you may be asked to check it at the gate. While this can be frustrating, staying calm and prepared is essential. Be sure to remove any valuable or fragile items from your backpack before checking it, as it may get tossed around during loading and unloading.

To avoid this situation, consider purchasing a backpack that meets the airline's size requirements for carry-on luggage. Many backpacks come with adjustable straps or compression systems that compress the bag to a smaller size, making it easier to fit in overhead bins.

The Key Takeaway

You can fit all the essentials into your trusty backpack.

As you embark on your next adventure, consider bringing along your trusty backpack as your carry-on companion. Think of it as a faithful steed, ready to carry all your essential belongings on your journey.

Can you use a backpack as a carry-on? Yes, and you should. The sense of freedom it brings is unbelievable. With your backpack securely fastened to your back, you can easily navigate crowds and even take on some spontaneous sightseeing along the way.

So go ahead, and embrace the backpack as your carry-on companion on your next adventure. Let it symbolise your adventurous spirit and willingness to seek out new realms.

Phi Nguyen

1 comment

  • Patrick

    Is a backpack considered a carry-on or can you have a backpack and a little bag on wheels on united

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