Can I Bring A Duffel Bag And A Backpack As Carry-On?

One of the best things about traveling with a carry-on is skipping the long lines waiting to check bags. However, some might need more space and wonder if they can bring two bags as carry-ons. Fortunately, we've looked into this and we have the answers to your questions.

If you are going to travel with a duffel bag and a backpack, it is important to know that only one of the bags will be considered a carry-on.

The other bag will become your personal item, and with most airlines, this bag should properly fit in the space underneath the seat in front of you.

Knowing about carry-on bag specifics is important to avoid the hassle of being flagged by airport staff. Keep reading because we will talk about whether you can use duffle bags and backpacks as carry-ons, and how many bags you can actually bring onboard.

Woman with a backpack boards an airplane, Can I Bring A Duffel Bag And A Backpack As Carry-On?

Can I Bring A Duffel Bag And A Backpack As Carry-On?

Traveling entails a lot of packing and sometimes it's very tempting to cram more inside the bags we can bring onboard the plane. All passengers who are boarding flights can bring one carry-on bag with them, as long as they fit within the allowable restrictions.

If you have more than one carry-on, the airline staff would most likely ask you to have at least one bag checked before you can board the flight. It is important to pack only the essentials in your carry-on if you plan to travel with only one bag that you can carry aboard.

Airlines will typically list bags with dimensions of 22" x 14" x 9" as carry-on bags. Usually, travelers prefer bringing a carry-on suitcase with them to bring items onboard. However, you can also use other bags as carry-ons, as long as they are within these dimensions.

Grab this carry-on duffel bag on Amazon.

Duffel bags are another popular choice for carry-on bags. The downside with a duffel is that it packs fewer items in it versus a cabin-size carry-on suitcase.

A standard-sized duffel can typically pack about a weekend's worth of clothes and shoes, typically a little less than what you would put in a suitcase.

See this travel backpack on Amazon.

Other, more adventurous travelers might prefer a different bag to use. A backpack is another great option as a carry-on because it can pack quite a lot of things in an easy-to-carry, small space. To become a carry-on, it must still follow the size restrictions of the airline.

Whether you choose a duffel bag or a backpack to bring with you onboard the flight, never forget the importance of the airlines' size restrictions for carry-ons. This is to prevent you from having to pay extra fees for checking baggage.

Aside from this carry-on, you're also probably wondering how you can bring more things with you on the flight. Depending on the airline or the class of your flight, a passenger can bring one personal item with them.

What Is Considered A Personal Item?

Man wearing a mask and boarding an airplane

Oftentimes, airlines allow their passengers to carry one personal item with them onboard. By definition, airlines consider a personal item as a small possession that you can stow underneath the seat in front of you. This can be:

  • a purse,
  • a camera case,
  • a laptop bag,
  • a diaper bag,
  • even a small backpack or duffel.

If you are planning to bring a backpack or a duffel and declare it as a personal item, you should be aware that it should securely fit underneath the seat in front of you.

If it is too big (or if the airline crew deems it too big) they may ask you to check this bag if you already have a carry-on with you.

Most airlines will limit personal items to the dimensions of 18" x 14" x 8". This size is enough to comfortably fit underneath the seats without the bags rolling all over the airplane floor. Your bags can be a little bit bigger than these sizes, as long as they fit in the space provided.

Get this small-sized backpack on Amazon.

To be on the safe side, make sure that your backpacks are smaller than 18 inches in height. Generally, bags of this size can carry about 15L. But don't pack them so full that you'll have a hard time fitting them under the seat.

Backpacks of this size are also great to use as day bags for travel.

Check out this small duffel bag on Amazon.

As for duffel bags, a full-sized bag is definitely out of the question because these will not fit under the seat. However, small duffel bags can be personal items because you can stow these in the intended space.

These duffels are small and popular for gym use, but you can definitely use them for travel as well.

What Other Bags Can I Use As Personal Item?

Aside from small duffel bags and backpacks as personal items, there are other bags that you can take with you on the flight. Most people simply use their personal items as a way to bring essentials that should be within immediate reach.

Laptop Bags

Photo of a laptop shoulder bag

Get this laptop bag on Amazon.

For the business traveler, this bag ranks high in the must-bring bags for traveling. Laptop bags are quite small because their sole purpose is to simply have a place for your laptop and its peripherals, but you can typically sneak in your travel documents and a wallet in them.

Diaper Bags

Check out this diaper bag on Amazon.

Parents who travel with their little ones know the importance of these bags. Diaper bags are treasure troves and lifesavers because they carry everything from baby diapers to toddler snacks.

When traveling, make sure that the diaper bag you choose is easy to stow under the seat for easy access.

Messenger Bags

Side-view of unrecognizable businessman sitting on the floor

Grab this messenger bag on Amazon.

These bags are quite the multi-taskers, because they are usually big enough to double as a laptop bag or just as a general day bag. Messenger bags and satchels are pretty spacious to carry small items that you want to always have with you during travels.

Camera Bags

Camera bag on wooden table

See this camera bag on Amazon.

There is nothing better than knowing that you've captured the beauty of the places you've visited as well as the memories you've had through photographs.

Budding hobbyists or professional photographers can bring their camera bags along with them as their personal item onboard.

Tote Bags and Purses

Get this leather tote on Amazon.

Women always need a bag or a purse to keep everything that they need within reach. Whether it is make-up or their travel documents, a tote bag or a nice big purse can surely carry all of these while traveling.

Choose a tote or purse to bring with you during travels, and make sure you can stow it underneath the seat.

Final Thoughts

Beautiful woman at the airport waiting for his flight

Traveling with just a carry-on shouldn't be a hassle if you know how to pack and what to pack properly in these bags. Of course, the one personal item rule of airlines will give you more options to bring more things with you.

Keep in mind that an overstuffed personal item can lead you to a forced check-in bag.

Are you looking for more information about taking carry-on bags while traveling? We have some articles that might help you:

Does My Carry On Have To Zip Closed?

Do Carry-On Bags Need Tags