How To Measure A Duffel Bag For Using As A Carry On

Duffel bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Therefore, some duffel bags are allowed as carry-on baggage and some are not.

To make sure this is allowed, you need to measure the duffel bag and compare it to the baggage size limit of the  flying airline.

Some airlines have different size limits and do not allow “baggage” at all. Only personal belongings under the seat. By the way, the duffel bag is also ideal as a bag under the seat.

Read on to learn how to adapt your duffel bag to your airline’s carry-on baggage.

How to measure a duffel bag

Duffel bags that are not perfectly square are inefficient as carry-on baggage.

Theoretically, you need to measure these widest parts of the bag. However, if the bag is not full, it will be crushed. Here’s how to measure the compression size of a duffel bag … within a reason.

The squish factor is one of the reasons why soft side bags are great for carry-on baggage. If the bag is too big, take off your sweater and crush it. This is not possible with a rigid hard case.

To measure a duffel bag, you need to find out its length, width and height.

Take this bag as an example …


The upper part near the handle is not as wide as the lower part.


If the bag is packed  and cannot be squeezed small, you need to measure the length of the bottom. If it is not full, squeeze it and  measure the length.

Remember that the goal is to fit the bag to the rectangular airline sizing frame.

Imagine putting a duffel bag in a  box. Then measure this cardboard. From an airline’s point of view, these are  the dimensions of your duffel bag.

They don’t mind that  your bag is actually a bit small due to its awkward shape. You always measure the longest part of the bag.

For this reason, a duffel bag with a shape close to a rectangle provides maximum storage capacity.

The design of this Weekender bag may look nice, but the space in those corners is wasted for use as  carry-on baggage.


Therefore, if you have purchased carry-on baggage and  want to maximize your packing capacity, choose a rectangle that is close to the  size limit for your carry-on baggage.

Two types of baggage

Now that you know the dimensions of the holdall, you need to know the maximum size of the holdall to use  as carry-on baggage.

Most airlines allow you to receive two bags on board and  use duffel bags as carry-on baggage. ..

As you can see, personal belongings are not much smaller than full-scale carry-on baggage.

The first thing to understand is whether you carry the holdall as personal belongings or carry-on baggage on board.

Many people  imagine that only airlines can carry handbags, so they are mentally devaluing their personal belongings.

In fact, the tax exemption limit for personal belongings is quite important. If you’re struggling to pack everything you need in your carry-on baggage, it’s often best to make the most of your personal belongings to avoid size restrictions on your carry-on baggage.

Here, two bags are shown in full size. The personal belongings in this example are 18x14x8 and the carry-on baggage is 22x14x9.


As you can see, personal belongings are not much smaller than full-scale carry-on baggage.

In this example, the personal  bag is 33 liters and the baggage is 45 liters. 33 liters is much more than a regular wallet. Check with your airline for slot limits on personal belongings.

In this photo, the pilot brings two bags, a holdall and rolling luggage as  personal belongings.

Bring holdalls to low-cost airlines

Low-cost carriers such as Frontier, Spirit and Allegiant cannot bring two bags without paying an additional fee.

With these low fares, you can only carry one bag of personal belongings.

United Airlines participated in this game with a basic economy fare and JetBlue currently has a blue basic fare.

To carry a duffel bag on a low-cost carrier, it should be the size of your personal belongings, not the size of the overhead compartment. That is, it should fit under the  front seat.

The size of personal belongings varies by airline. Spirit allows 18 “x 14” x 8 “personal items, while United’s personal items are only 17” x 10 “x 9”. This page has all  size limits for personal belongings.

If  carry-on baggage is included in the fare, the maximum size  in the United States is typically 22 x 14 x 9 inches. If you want to fly abroad, please visit his page.

If the duffel bag is smaller than 22 x 14 x 9 inches, it can be used as carry-on baggage. Make sure  you can lift it into the overhead compartment.

 Use of holdalls as checked baggage

Duffel bags can also be used as checked baggage. No one says  your bag needs wheels.

You can also use  the 62-inch duffel bag as checked baggage. However, holdalls of this size can be difficult to carry due to their weight.

If you’re still using your duffel bag as checked baggage, but don’t want to carry it, consider  a baggage cart like this.


Separating the luggage wheels from the bag is an interesting way to move your luggage together. When the luggage breaks, the wheels often go first. With the integrated wheels and backpack, you’ll have to replace the entire bag.

Use a foldable luggage trolley and holdall or backpack for flexibility. If the bag isn’t too heavy, or if you don’t carry it for a long time, you can leave your bike at home.

Or, if you don’t want to carry a duffel bag with you, you can strap it to the trolley. If the trolley breaks, store the bag and  get a new trolley.


Duffel bags can be used as  carry-on baggage if they are below the size limit of your airline.


The duffel bag is also  ideal as a pocket for personal belongings. If you fly regularly with a low-cost carrier, duffel bags are the best way to maximize your baggage allowance.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *