Weighing Your Options – How to Choose the Best Lightweight Luggage

Showcasing how lightweight maxlite luggage is

The secret to having what you need while away from home without feeling like a pack mule lugging rocks up the side of a cliff: LIGHTWEIGHT LUGGAGE that can handle what you put it through. From larger spinners, duffels and Rollaboard® bags designed to be checked in, to lightweight carry on bags and luggage sets that include both, the best lightweight luggage is also highly durable and makes your travels easier.

Packing everything you need for a night–or a week–away can feel downright intimidating. How do you get all your worldly needs where you want them without breaking your back? With lightweight luggage that fits your life, transports easily and holds up through the abuse travel renders. After all, no one wants to feel weighed down, especially while traveling.

From Lugging Luggage to Flying Through Airports

When Pilot and Travelpro® founder Bob Plath invented the first ever Rollaboard® by putting wheels and a handle on a standard suitcase, the travel industry was changed forever. Travelers were set free to lighten their loads and save their backs with luggage on wheels.

Since Bob’s invention, luggage has come a long way. Wheels aren’t just standard; they’re expected, and travelers want a lot more from their travel gear–more features, more durability, more options–with less weight. But not all lightweight luggage is quality luggage.

How We Make the Best Lightweight Luggage Today

While our luggage collections expand to include loads of practical features and styles aimed at enhancing your travel experience, two priorities remain consistent in every design we create:

• Make it extremely durable to handle the rigors of frequent travel
• Keep it as lightweight as possible without sacrificing quality.

Travelpro® luggage is known worldwide for being ultra-durable and warrantied for assurance. Our bags are engineered to combine lightweight + durability, from concept through construction. Our Travelpro® engineers and designers know luggage inside out. We use the most innovative, technologically advanced, lightweight materials available, including stain-resistant, moisture-resistant polyester and ballistic nylon for our softside luggage and scratch-resistant polycarbonate that flexes on impact to prevent our hard shell suitcases from splitting or cracking.

Ballistic nylon fabric, scratch resistant polycarbonate, spinner and rollaboard wheels

Our wheels and extension handles are lightweight but ultra-sturdy, and our carry handles are extremely light, yet super strong to support hundreds of times their weight. To ensure that you can depend on our lightweight luggage to be incredibly tough, we rigorously test it against extreme conditions and we warranty it.

“Your luggage should never hold you up nor weigh you down. At Travelpro®, we design lightweight luggage with a focus on built-in durability that can handle heavy-duty use. And then we warranty it.”

Priorities

With durability assured, you can move on to finding the best lightweight luggage for your personal needs. Start by knowing your priorities. Whether you are shopping for one lightweight bag or looking to buy a luggage set, the main aspects to consider are: intended use, actual weight, features and durability.

Intended Use of Your Lightweight Luggage

You may think you want a lightweight carry-on, but you’re going away for a week to a frigid climate where you will need snow boots, sweaters and outerwear, plus outfits and a pair of dress shoes for planned evening events.

Even the most efficient packer will find it challenging to fit all of this into a small carry-on bag. Maybe you can do it, or maybe you can add a companion bag to increase packing space. A better choice, however, may be checking a lightweight suitcase. Start by narrowing your focus on what type of bags you want to carry before moving on to find its best lightweight version.

How you intend to use your bag also includes where you intend to use your bag. If you’ll be hauling your bag long distances, shop for wheeled luggage. But what kind?

360-degree spinner wheels are great for maneuverability, but if your journey includes a lot of uneven terrain or steep hills, you may be better off with a 2-wheeled Rollaboard® than 4-wheel or even 8-wheel spinner luggage. Travelpro® makes plenty of lightweight versions of each. Decide how you want to roll before moving on to our next tip.

spinner vs rollaboard wheels

For help knowing how to decide between 2-wheeled vs. 4-wheeled luggage, check out our comprehensive comparison HERE.

If you’re heading out on a short jaunt that requires minimal packing or you’re sharing trunk space with a group, compact bags are your best bet. Choose your perfect lightweight tote, backpack, weekender or duffel bag by comparing features, which we cover below in more depth.

Light, Lighter, Lightest

Of course, you want luggage that is light, but Travelpro® makes loads of lightweight options so, again, let’s prioritize.

If the weight of your luggage is top priority–meaning you want it as lightweight as possible without sacrificing durability, look no further than the ultra-lightweight Maxlite® 5–our lightest collection of hard and softside carry-on and checked luggage that includes multiple sizes of rolling and non-rolling totes, garment bags and backpacks. Maxlite® 5 is among the lightest luggage available and is top-rated with customers and reviewers.Maxlite 5 collection

TIP: Beware of empty promises! Some manufacturers make luggage lighter by stripping out features, using flimsy materials or eliminating interior linings. Travelpro® doesn’t do this for any of our luggage, including Maxlite® 5. Instead, Maxlite® 5 is the only mid-priced lightweight collection on the market that is backed by a one-year Trusted Companion Promise that covers the cost of repairs–even for damage caused by an airline or other common carrier!

The Maxlite® 5 collection of softside bags uses ultra-durable yet lightweight fabrics treated to be water-resistant and stain-resistant, while the hard shell bags are constructed with super light, super durable polycarbonate exteriors. And all bags in the collection have finished interiors with zippered pockets and other organizational features.

So just how light is Maxlite® 5? The Maxlite® 5 21” Expandable Spinner, for example, weighs only 5.4 pounds empty. That is about the same weight as a 2-liter bottle of soda and lighter than a lot of laptops.

Image of a suitcase on a scale showcasing how lightweight it is

Features

Not all lightweight luggage will be right for you. The same lightweight suitcases your friend carries may not meet your needs and vice versa. The easiest way to distinguish the difference: Features.

Do you need lightweight luggage that keeps gear or other items separated from everything else you pack? What about USB A & C charging ports? TSA-locks? The option for customized interior organization? Is it important to you to have a stylish bag made with ultra-premium materials?

You shouldn’t have to sacrifice function to lighten your load. Just start by prioritizing the features that will enhance your own personal travel experience.

A Place for Everything…

If you are an outdoor adventurer packing sporting gear and the like, a lightweight rolling duffel or a drop bottom weekender bag is ideal for separating hiking boots or athletic gear from the rest of your packed contents.

Maxlite 5 weekender bag

On the other hand, when packing suits, pressed shirts or cocktail dresses, opt for lightweight garment bags and suitcases with fold-out suiters that guard against wrinkles. Not as light as Maxlite® 5–but still lightweight, our stylish Platinum® Elite collection is upgraded with added interior organization, double spinner wheels, fold-out suiters, chrome accents and TSA-approved combination locks–plus it is backed by a Travelpro® lifetime warranty.

If you prefer carrying on, the Platinum® Elite 21” Expandable Carry-On Spinner may be your perfect lightweight, fully-loaded bag with its removable suiter and built-in USB port for charging devices. It packs big style for less weight and is designed to fit in the overhead bins on most domestic airplanes.

For ultimate packing flexibility, Crew VersaPack™ lets you customize the interior of your bag with a variety of Zip-in Organizers, like a Garment Organizer (included), moisture-resistant Organizer, Packing Cubes Organizer, Suiter Organizer and an All-In-One organizer that has both wet and dry storage compartments.

Crew versapack with zip in organizers

The Crew™ VersaPack™ 25” Expandable Spinner Suiter, for example, weighs in just about two pounds heavier than the ultra-light Maxlite® 5 25” Expandable Spinner but also features double spinner wheels and a wrinkle-resistant fold-out suiter for hanging clothes.

Fitting In

Heading overseas? You’ll need a slimmer carry-on to meet international airlines’ size restrictions for luggage stored in the overhead compartment.

Check out the beautifully sleek Platinum® Elite Compact Carry-On and Medium Check-in Hardside Luggage Set. This slim hardshell carry-on paired with its matching checked bag gives you two lightweight spinner suitcases and the freedom to go just about anywhere.Platinum Elite Hardside Spinner Set

Another lightweight international carry on is the 7-pound Crew VersaPack Global Carry-on Expandable Spinner, which is carry-on compliant with 80% of the world’s largest airlines.

For a longer trips or multiple people, save the heft for what you pack and avoid overweight checked baggage fees by using lightweight suitcases. Try the Maxlite® 5 25” or 29” expandable hardside spinner or go even lighter with the softside Maxlite® 5 26” expandable Rollaboard.

A last note on durability: Don’t risk buying a cheap suitcase that will leave you stranded if it splits open or breaks a wheel. Invest in quality lightweight luggage that you can depend on for the long haul, and remember, every piece of Travelpro® luggage is backed with a warranty for peace of mind.

Happy travels!

🧭 Explore Our Guides
Guide to Luggage Size  Hardside vs. Softside  2 Wheel vs. 4 Wheel  Guide to Carry-On Luggage  Guide to Lightweight Luggage  Backpack vs. Briefcase  Why Use a Garment Bag?  Guide to USB Luggage