Is a Duffle Bag a Carry On - Sunny 16 Bags

Is a Duffle Bag a Carry On?

Carry-on guidelines are different for every airline. It can be very confusing, especially when trying to travel with gear. The most common types of carry-on bags are backpacks and suitcases. But what if you need more space for necessary items? Is a duffle bag a carry on?

As a traveler, I like to travel light. The airline space is not big, instead it is nearly claustrophobic. Yet, you want to have necessary items with you that wouldn’t fit in a backpack or small suitcase. 

In this article, we will discuss the need-to-know about a duffel bag being a carry-on. We’ll talk about the following: 

  • Carry-on guidelines for different airlines
  • Is a duffle bag a carry on?
  • Pros and cons to using duffels
  • Where to purchase duffel bags?
  • How much are duffel bags?
  • Best duffel bags on the market

What is a carry-on bag?

For a bag to be considered a carry-on, it must fit either underneath the seat or the overhead bin. Each airline has requirements for carry-on. Here are the options:

American Airlines: 

  • Shouldn’t exceed the following dimensions: 22in x 12in x 9in (including handles and wheels)
  • Must fit in the airport sizer
  • Must fit underneath the seat or overhead bin

United Airlines: 

  • Shouldn’t exceed the following dimensions: 22in x 14in x 9in (including handles and wheels)
  • Must fit in the overhead bin
  • Basic Economy ticket: can only bring one personal item; therefore, a full-size carry-on bag must be checked in. 

Delta Airlines:

  • Shouldn’t exceed the following dimensions: 22in x 14in x 9in (includes handles and wheels)
  • No maximum weight applies except for the following locations: Singapore, Singapore (max: 15Ibs), Beijing, China (max: 22Ibs), and Shanghai, China (max: 22Ibs)
  • Must fit in overhead bin, unless space is limited

There are more airline options: Spirit Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, etc. Be sure to check with the airline website for specific requirements for luggage.  To learn more about carry-ons, read our article on the best carry-on backpacks for travel.

Is a duffle bag considered a carry-on?

Yes, duffel bags can be used as your carry-on luggage. Airlines don’t have restrictions about what type of luggage you use as a carry-on or checked bag. Instead, airlines are more concerned about the weight and sizing due to the restrictive aircraft space.

However, there are several things to consider if you choose to use a duffel bag. 


  1. Easy to pack
  2. Very light compared to suitcases
  3. Affordable prices 
  4. Flexible weight


  1. Can only be carried by the handle or shoulder strap
  2. Lack of organized packing 
  3. Lack of protection from fragile gear

Duffel bags offer suitable options for travelers who aren’t necessarily concerned with the list of cons. They can fit all your essential items such as extra clothes, medicine, snacks, shoes, and a power bank for your phone. Even items for your camera gear which can be packed in the tech pouch. If the cons are a deal breaker, backpacks are a good alternative. Our Voyager is a popular option for travelers.

If you're still wondering is a duffle bag a carry-on, then you'll want to keep reading.


Where to buy duffel bags?

Here’s a list of options for where to buy duffel bags for your next trip:

  1. DICK’S Sporting Goods
  2. Academy Sports + Outdoors
  3. Herschel Supply Co. 
  4. RTIC Outdoors
  5. North Face
  6. REI 
  7. Walmart
  8. Kohl’s
  9. Eagle Creek

How much are duffle bags?

The cost of duffel bags ranges from $25 to $500, depending on the brand and material. Typically, higher quality duffel bags are going to be more expensive. If you travel a lot, a durable bag will save you money in the long run. 


What are the best overall duffle bags?

This list of the best duffel bags features some of our favorites that is ranked based on popularity. 

1. Eagle Creek Migrate Duffel 90L

Is a Duffle Bag Considered a Carry On - Eagle Creek Migrate Duffel - 90 Liters

Cost: $99

Rate: 4.9/5


2. Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 55L

Is a Duffle Bag Considered a Carry On - Patagonia Black Hole Duffel - 55L

Cost: $139

Rate: 4.8/5 

3. Lo & Sons Catalina Deluxe

Is a Duffle Bag Considered a Carry On - Lo and Sons - Catalina Deluxe Duffel Bag

Cost: $215

Rate: 4.8/5

4. Herschel Novel Duffel

Is a Duffle Bag Considered a Carry On - HERSCHEL Supply - Novel Black & Tan Duffle Bag

Cost: $89.20

Rate: 4.8/5


5. Gonex Travel Duffel Bag 50L

Is a Duffle Bag Considered a Carry On - Gonex Canvas Duffle Bag for Travel, 50L Duffel Overnight Weekend Bag - Sunny 16 Bags

Cost: $56.99

Rate: 4.7/5

Duffel bags are a great, easy option for any adventure! There are a wide-variety of options to choose from. If you’re interested in buying one and want to know what to pack for a trip with a duffel, read our article on how to pack for a trip. Traveling can now be more convenient with the hassle-free of carrying luggage.  

Up Next: The Best Packing Cubes for Travel

The answer to “Is a duffel bag a carry on?” is no longer a question to figure out because now we know they are. Duffel bags can be convenient for that spontaneous traveler who is ready for the next adventure, let us know your go-to bag for travel.

And if you want more options on carry-on bags, we’ve got you covered. Check out our article on the best packing cubes for travel.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.