After researching maximum dimensions and weights permitted for carry on items of 175 airlines (only 155 of which provided specific dimensional information rather than total linear restrictions, and 13 didn’t provide weight information), I’ve concluded that a bag no bigger than 21x13x8-inches (53x33x20-cm) would only be too large for 20 of those airlines. Some of them may not care if your bag is 2 or 3-cm too big, and the likelihood of using one of those airlines is slim. In those cases, check your bag and carry what you need on the flight. I also suggest it weigh no more than 15-lbs (7-kg) when packed. That is too heavy for an additional 16 airlines that have 5 to 6-kg limits.

DUN TravelPackI’ve been searching for several years for the perfect carry on bag, and have only ever come close. Thanks to yet another project on Kickstarter, I may have found the closest option yet.

I’ve backed the project to the tune of two bags, and will provide an update once I’ve received and had time to test them extensively.

Here is a comparison between the DUN TravelPack and the features I’ve been looking for. Keep in mind, this is based on information provided on the manufacturers Kickstarter project page since I don’t have the bags yet. Also, I’m not associated with the manufacturer in any way and have not been compensated for this article. I’m just a FlashPacker looking for the perfect bag, and what you find to be perfect may be very different.

The dimensions are correct at 21x13x8-inches (53x33x20-cm). Also, the bag itself only weighs 3.3-lbs (1.5-kg) so there is still 11.7-lbs (5.5-kg) left for what I carry inside of it.

DUN TravelPack openI’d like it to be submersible with an inflation/deflation valve, and not just waterproof/resistant. In truth, I don’t actually need this feature. But after seeing the benefits of other bags with this option, it would be nice to be able to bring everything with me on a small tour/dive boat, or while riding in those unexpected torrential downpours, and not have to worry about my clothing or electronics getting wet. The inflation/deflation option is just an added bonus for providing extra cushion/shock absorption when things get rough (and flotation on said boat in case it gets knocked overboard). The TravelPack is advertised as being Weatherproof, with “mostly uninterrupted coated nylon canvas in combination with ZOOM waterproof zippers”. It also is advertised as having a “waterproof tech-compartment” and “waterproof & lockable laptop compartment”, shown with a picture of a person holding the edge of what appears to be a laptop partially inserted into the bag. It would be much better if the entire bag was described as waterproof rather than just “weatherproof”, because it doesn’t instill much confidence that my clothes won’t get wet. For most people this should be adequate. But I’m the idiot that takes his bag into situations that it shouldn’t be in, and I don’t learn my lessons very well. Hence, the reason that a submersible bag is on my list. But now that I’ve ordered these bags, maybe I’ll need to start learning.

DUN TravelPack laptop accessI also prefer the clam shell style opening of traditional luggage rather than the top-access or “stuff sack” design of most backpacks. This feature is what tends to eliminate most other waterproof bags, due to so many of them being a roll-top design. Thankfully the TravelPack has what I’m looking for here. With the bag laid backpack straps side down, it unzips allowing full access to the main compartment. There is a zippered side pocket which is accessed from the outside of the bag (good for shoes, dirty laundry, or anything I want to keep separate). If it’s used it takes up space in the main compartment, as expected. The front panel isn’t just wasted space as it has a mess pocket and smaller closed pocket.

DUN TravelPack side zippersThe laptop compartment is not inside of the main compartment. Rather, it is directly accessible from the outside of the bag. This is convenient when going through airport security, and you can maintain a more professional presence by not having to reveal that you’re carrying your suitcase while in a meeting.

I also don’t like the bright colors and/or large logos that so many waterproof bags and travel backpacks have. They are also not professional in a business setting. The TravelPack is very subdued in appearance, which is nice. However, I do wish that there was a bit more style to it than just all black with a little red zipper pull. It could be something as simple and equally subtle as the material used around the edges of the main compartment being offered in a dark brown. Adding just a little bit of “style” would have been good, but not necessary for function or to be included as perfect.

I also like that the backpack straps are quickly stowable, protecting them and giving the bag more of a traditional luggage look.

What I don’t see advertised on the TravelPack is an external place to carry a water bottle. That’s not a complaint, it’s a complement. I rarely need a water bottle strapped to the outside of my pack and if I do, there are other options. For me, it’s better for the bag to maintain the clean lines and professional look rather than having a rarely used feature that will just get damaged and look bad.

I do still wish that the TravelPack was waterproof rather than weatherproof, and was even submersible. However, aside from this one minor issue, I have hope that I’ve found the best carry on bag yet. My fiance and I will both be testing them extensively, and we will report back on what we find.

Regarding the few airlines that a 21x13x8-inch (53x33x20-cm) bag exceeds the carry on limit, you can refer to this list for making your own decision on what size bag you prefer:

If they also limit weight to less than 15 pounds (7 kg), I've indicated so.

Air Moldova (height is restricted to 19.6-inches/50-cm)
Air Tahiti (height is restricted to 17-inches/45-cm, and weight is 11-lbs/5-kg)
Air Transat (height: 20-in/51-cm)
Air Vanuatu (height: 19-in/48-cm, weight: 11-lbs/5-kg)
Atlantic Airways (height: 19.5-in/50cm)
Etihad Airways (height: 19.6-in/50-cm)
Gulf Air (height: 17-in/45-cm, weight: 13.2-lbs/6-kg)
Lao Airlines (width: 12-in/30-cm, depth: 7-in/18-cm)
Loganair (height: 15.7-in/40-cm, depth: 7-in/18-cm, weight: 13-lbs/6-kg)
Peach (height: 19.6-in/50-cm)
Qatar Airways (height: 20-in/50-cm)
Ravn Alaska (height: 18-in/45.7-cm)
REX Regional Express Airlines (height: 19-in/48-cm)
Royal Jordanian Airlines (height: 20-in/51-cm)
Ryanair (height: 15.7-in/40-cm, width: 9.8-in/25-cm)
Spring Airlines (height: 15.7-in/40-cm, width: 11.8-in/30-cm, weight: 11-lbs/5-kg)
Sunwing Airlines (height: 20-in/51-cm, weight: 11-lbs/5-kg)
Thai Lion Air (height: 15.7-in/40-cm, width: 11.8-in/30-cm)
Transavia (height: 17.7-in/45-cm)
Virgin Australia (height: 19-in/48-cm)

Here is a list of those that neither dimensions will exceed the size limits, but limit carry on bags to less than 15-lbs/7-kg:

Air China (weight is restricted to 11-lbs/5-kg)
Bangkok Airways (weight: 11-lbs/5-kg)
Carpatair (weight: 11-lbs/5-kg)
China Southern (weight: 11-lbs/5-kg)
Condor (weight: 13.2-lbs/6-kg)
Cubana (weight: 11-lbs/5-kg)
Hainan Airlines (weight: 11-lbs/5-kg)
Helvetic Airways (weight: 11-lbs/5-kg)
Jet Time (weight: 11-lbs/5-kg)
MIAT Mongolian Airlines (weight: 11-lbs/5-kg)
Thomas Cook (weight: 13.2-lbs/6-kg)
TUIfly (weight: 13-lbs/6-kg)
Xiamen Airlines (weight: 11-lbs/5-kg)
XL Airways France (weight: 11-lbs/5-kg)

This information is accurate to the best of my knowledge, but my knowledge may be flawed. Don’t rely on it for making any decisions. You need to verify this information yourself.