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Why Backpacks Make The Best Carry-On Bags For Travel

Why backpacks make the best carry-on bags for travel.

In today's world, backpacks are no longer considered to be simply school bags or sportsbags. Adults traveling by air for work or leisure frequently use them, and it's easy to understand why. Thanks to their easy-to-reach compartments, durable construction and highly mobile nature backpacks are an ever-more common sight in overhead cabins. The increase in laptop sleeves as a travel backpack utility has helped them to function as tech bags for those looking to crank out work mid-flight.

But do you know everything you need to know about bringing backpacks onboard? If not, this quick Q&A should help bring you up to speed.

1. How big can my backpack be to carry on the plane?

Exact specifications can vary from airline to airline, but so long as your backpack takes up the space of 45 linear inches or below – meaning that it's no more than 22" long, 14" wide and 9" deep – you will be good to go.

2. Can I stow my backpack under the seat or will it need to be in the overhead cabin?

It all depends on whether your backpack counts as a carry on bag or a personal item. Only personal items are allowed to be stored under your seat, so your backpack will need to fit within the size guidelines for a personal item. These guidelines vary among airlines, but you generally want it to stay within the measurements of 17” long, 10” wide and 9” deep.

3. Can you take a backpack and a carry-on?

You can take a backpack and a carry on – so long as your backpack is small enough to meet the personal item size guidelines. Otherwise you'll be counted as bringing two carry-ons, which is a definite no-no.

4. Is a backpack considered a personal item on a plane?

Yes, so long as it fits into the size restrictions for a personal item. These guidelines vary, but try to stay within the measurements of 17" long, 10" wide and 9" deep.

5. Do you have to empty all the pockets of your backpack in security?

No, you will only have to empty pockets that contain electronics, such as your laptop sleeve, or pockets containing liquids. Electronics and liquids will always have to pass through the X-ray machine in a bin.

6. Why is a backpack better for air travel?

In comparison to hard shell luggage, the softer construction of a backpack allows it to more easily fit into overhead cabins, or even under your seat if it fits the size guidelines for a personal item. Easily accessed pockets and special compartments such as laptop sleeves also allow you to withdraw electronics, chargers, headphones, reading materials and even snacks mid-flight.

7. Would you take a backpack on a road trip?

Absolutely. The top-loaded nature of a packable backpack makes it easy to unpack and repack, so you can readily adapt it to different situations you may encounter during a road trip. For instance, leaving some of a backpack's contents in the car to lighten its load before filling it with water bottles, snacks, insect repellant and other supplies you may need if you plan to go on a hike or nature walk after reaching a certain destination.

8. How many things can you pack into an extra large Lands' End® backpack?

We don't have a scientific reply for this question, but the answer is: a lot. Because our extra large backpack is made from a 600-denier count polyester fabric and reinforced with a 1200-denier count cloth bottom, its sizable dimensions – 19" long, 11.5" wide and 10" deep – can be filled to the max without fear of rips or tears. 4 zippered pockets offer plenty of specialized storage space, and a loop that lunch boxes can be clipped on to boosts its packability even further.