Airlines these days are finding more ways than ever before to nickel and dime us. It’s our job to fight back with clever choices so we can keep our hard-earned money and still fly comfortably.
One airline that loves to squeeze every cent out of its customers is Spirit. In order to fly at their budget price, you’ll want to have an under-seat backpack and a full stomach upon arrival at the airport. Luckily for us, there are backpacks specially designed for under seat use with anti-theft features.
In this article, I’ll share with you my picks for the best under-seat backpack. These bags can be used for international travel as well. You can save money when flying on budget airlines in Europe such as Ryanair, which requires “Non-priority” customers to place their bags under the seat in front of them.
Please enjoy and let me know which one you like the most in the comments!
#1) Hynes Eagle 28L Aurora Convertible Backpack
- Holds up to a 15.6″ laptop in a hidden padded sleeve pocket against your back
- Front zipper compartment for easy access to items during travel
- Opens at a 180-degree angle for easy packing and unpacking
- Inner mesh zipper compartment to keep your clean clothes secure and separated from your other belongings
- Additional inner zip pocket for dirty laundry or other items you’d like to keep separate
- Hide-away shoulder straps make under-seat storage easier and also allow you to carry the bag like a briefcase
- Two side handles and one top handle
- Adjustable sternum strap for extra support can be slid up and down for people of all heights (I love this feature)
- The clasps on the shoulder straps allow you to hook the bag to a fixed object to stop grab-and-go robberies
- Capacity: 28 liters
- Dimensions: 18.9″ Height x 11.8″ Width x 7.5″ Depth
- Weight: 2.6 lbs
What’s the verdict?
- There’s enough room in the Aurora to pack everything needed for a 5-day trip cross country.
- Approved for use during a multi-week trip through Europe
- It can be condensed from a carry-on and checked bag into one under-seat carry-on bag.
- Great for air and bus travel without any issues
- This bag has worked as a Spirit personal item.
#2) Lewis N. Clark ONboard Underseat Carry-On Backpack
- Laptop sleeve fits up to a 15″ notebook computer
- Zippered internal RFID-blocking compartment to keep your identity and credit card information secure while in transit
- Hidden easy-access pocket in the back panel with magnetic closure
- Bag design allows you to easily access your items of choice while the bag is stowed beneath the plane seat in front of you
- Removable accessory pocket
- Large side pockets to hold your water bottle, umbrella, or other items
- Includes luggage strap to hook atop a rolling suitcase
- Adjustable sternum strap for added back support
- Built with lightweight durable 840D ballistic nylon
- Dimensions: 13″ Width x 7″ Depth x 19″ Height
- Weight: 1 lb
What’s the verdict?
- It may look somewhat small on taller users, yet still function well. There’s a surprising amount of storage space, and the removable compartment comes in handy.
- It’s just the perfect size for travel.
Overall, this is a great pack offered by a reputable travel company, Lewis N. Clark. The company is also one of the leaders in anti-theft travel gear and other accessories.
Another important thing to remember is that a lot of airlines weigh your carry-on bag or personal item. In my experience, they’ve let me slide if my bag is a bit overweight. Since this bag weighs just 1 lb, you can be sure to maximize the carry-on weight allowance offered by each airline.
#3) KOPACK Travel Backpack
#3 on the list is made by one of my favorites companies, Kopack. With this pack, you get a ton of useful features and a sleek appearance. Let’s explore the features.
- Padded laptop sleeve holds up to a 17″ laptop with an additional sleeve for tablets
- 180-degree lay-flat feature to avoid taking your laptop out at TSA checkpoints
- An external USB port with a detachable cable allows you to charge your cell phone without having to open your bag (requires power bank)
- Hidden pocket in back panel and hidden card pocket in the shoulder strap
- Luggage strap to hook bag atop a rolling suitcase
- Lockable zippers (requires luggage locks)
- Top box pocket for sunglasses
- Detachable key hook
- Built with water-repellent and anti-scratch materials
- Dimensions: 19.7″ Height x 7″ Depth x 13.4″ Width
- Weight: 2.2 lbs
What’s the verdict?
- It looks surprisingly awesome in person and may outshine pricier brands.
- Perfect as a personal item on most airlines. The 180º opening allows for a much more efficient and time-saving packing experience.
- Great as a carry-on bag for international travel
- Good for daily commuting while traveling
- The padded shoulder straps are quite comfortable.
All three of the backpacks above are great choices for under-seat carry-on backpacks. It’s up to you to decide which features you like the most.
Personally, I like the Kopack bag the most since I use a rolling suitcase to carry my clothing and other large items. I love the lay-flat feature that makes going through airport security checkpoints less stressful, plus the external USB port for charging my phone.
The Lewis N. Clark bag is great for domestic travel and short trips while the Hynes Aurora is a great overall bag for longer journeys.