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  1. #1

    Default Which backpacks qualify for carryon.

    I was reading about a guy’s love for his pack —and much of it was that he could use it as a carryon.

    I was curious who had been successful with that and with what pack(s).

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    The pack has to be within dimensional size limits and weight. It's not 100% standardized though. What type plane is used factors into it. Go to the different airline sites and this info is under carry on baggage requirements. My ULA CDT and MLD Burn packs easily qualify as carry ons on every flight I've ever taken with them.

  3. #3

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    In most cases being longer than 22 inches is the big problem. Most packs can fit the 13 or 14 wide and 9 deep without too much problem.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    The pack has to be within dimensional size limits and weight. It's not 100% standardized though. What type plane is used factors into it. Go to the different airline sites and this info is under carry on baggage requirements. My ULA CDT and MLD Burn packs easily qualify as carry ons on every flight I've ever taken with them.
    Most major US domestic carriers specify size but not weight, this is how I take extra stuff with me traveling. I've had carry on in excess of 40 pounds before. International airline usually specify both. Check your airline's policies closely.

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    It's only a problem IF they check the dimensions.

    On full flights, someone might get inclination to be strict since carry on space runs out. On partially filled flights, i doubt anyone would care as long as fits into overhead.

    I fly international occasionally where carryon size is smaller than normal US. Everyone in business class brings whatever size they want, sometimes multiple. room is not issue. Nothing is ever said to folks paying $4000 for their seats.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 02-12-2018 at 06:56.
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    I’ve flown with is a ULA circuit, GG gorilla and a MLD prophet without any size issues but obviously compressed down items as much as possible without anything outside...never tried w trekking poles etc


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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    In most cases being longer than 22 inches is the big problem. Most packs can fit the 13 or 14 wide and 9 deep without too much problem.
    FWIW, Southwest Airlines' dimension limits are 10" x 16" x 24".

    They fly only 737s, so the max dimensions will likely vary for other airlines with other types of planes in their fleet.

  8. #8

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    MuddyWaters says it pretty well. I've traveled with full, full-sized backpacks as carry on without issue (way bigger than the standardish 22x14x9), and I've watched people with partially full backpacks that could have easily fit into the little baggage size test boxes with a little push, but, the flight attendant demanded that the bag be checked since it didn't slide in easily on the first try.

    As noted above, they get really persnickety about carry on size when the flights are full (increasingly common these days), and they can be quite generous when the flight is far from full (increasingly rare these days). I've seen the most consistently over-full flights and by-the-letter baggage enforcement from American Airlines and US Air in the last few years.

    In the end, it's probably never worth the risk of planning on being able to check anything over the stated maximum size and weight, even if occasionally (or frequently) you can get away with it. Flying to Europe this last summer I noticed at least one airline was charging $200+ to check bags at the gate that were over the size limit and should have been checked before getting to the gate. Of course, other airlines I've flown with recently have been checking bags at the gate for free, to reduce carry on volume, when the flight is full and space is limited. Go figure.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  9. #9

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    I've always just checked my pack, easy peasy and safe despite the silly fears and made-up stories on here.

    But, what's nice about carrying-on a pack, if you must do so, is of course the fact that it can generally squish-down in length, unless of course it's an external frame pack. Seems like most internal frame packs have shorter internal frames, at least all of my internal frames in my backpacks would fit in most carry-on bins. In other words, the soft part above the frame, when fully packed, might not fit a lot of overhead bins, but take some stuff out and squish down the length.

    If you need to squish down, take some of the bulky items, like your stuffed sleeping bag and put them in a plastic grocery sack and place it down at your feet.

    I assume you've seen some of the ridiculously large roller-board carry-ons people get by with... Yikes!

    If you happen to fly SW airlines, make sure you get a relatively early boarding position, like the A's to mid B's, like B40 or so... High B's and C's many times don't have any overhead storage left. You can buy an earlier boarding on SW air for an extra $12, or just make sure you check in online at 24 hours sharp before your flight. I always do this and get early-mid-B's boarding. Unless I forget.... but I always check my bag anyway, always. Why bother hauling stuff on and off the plane? Plus some backpacking items I carry are not allowed on board, like stoves and trekking poles (<-debatable).

    Good luck and have fun on your hike!

  10. #10

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    Four of the last five flights I've been on, they've mandatory gate checked all the carry on luggage anyway. It's most likely going get stuffed in the baggage compartment anyway.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    I've always just checked my pack, easy peasy and safe despite the silly fears and made-up stories on here.

    But, what's nice about carrying-on a pack, if you must do so, is of course the fact that it can generally squish-down in length, unless of course it's an external frame pack. . .
    I can speak from personal experience that I have had compression straps on my backpack torn of by airline luggage handling, and I have had some massive abrasion on the outside fabric as well, not to mention greasy filth. Yes, my backpacks traveled a fair bit, and only a few times did they see significant damage, but none-the-less, if I had it to do over again, I would protected my backpacks better.

    As for compressing internal frame packs, I have actually measured the ridged frame length on every trail oriented backpack (i.e. not "travel backpacks") in my local REI (yeah, some of us are a bit od) and with the exception of the REI Trail 40, which is about 21" long for a large, every single backpack over 38L is over 22" long. So, unless you are carrying a frameless pack or remove your pack stays, it is unlikely that most peoples' backpacks will fit within the airline standard length for carry-on luggage regardless of how much gear they pull out.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    Four of the last five flights I've been on, they've mandatory gate checked all the carry on luggage anyway. It's most likely going get stuffed in the baggage compartment anyway.
    So the plane flew with empty ovhd compartnents?

    Or....could you have been in last boardng group?

    They do gate check all carryons on small regional flights, the ones with 1 seat on one side and two on other, but not on bigger planes. On those little planes the overhead bins are too small for a normal carry on.

    I was on a domestic flight not long ago on a normal mid-sized plane, three seats on each side, where the for the first time the foot space under the seat in front of me was too small to get anything under. That's where I normally put my laptop backpack. Then I had a flashback to how much room there used to be under the seats in front of you years ago. You used to be able to put a carry-on under the seat.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 02-12-2018 at 14:45.
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  13. #13

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    I've carried my full Atmost 50 on many airlines all over the world without issue. I've had to gate-check it on the small propeller/regional planes. Of course on the cheapo airlines they make you pay for virtually any size carry on.

    It will fit.

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    My ULA CDT qualifies as carryon - no question about it. My Circuit technically is a bit too large with the "hoop" suspension in, but I've never been challenged and it is still smaller than many of the roll-on bags people carry. One warning: I have noticed that my backpack gets more scrutiny than similar sized roll-on bags.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    So the plane flew with empty ovhd compartnents?

    Or....could you have been in last boardng group?

    They do gate check all carryons on small regional flights, the ones with 1 seat on one side and two on other, but not on bigger planes. On those little planes the overhead bins are too small for a normal carry on.

    I was on a domestic flight not long ago on a normal mid-sized plane, three seats on each side, where the for the first time the foot space under the seat in front of me was too small to get anything under. That's where I normally put my laptop backpack. Then I had a flashback to how much room there used to be under the seats in front of you years ago. You used to be able to put a carry-on under the seat.
    Yeah, mostly empty overhead compartments. It seemed like they just didn't want to be bothered with the extra time it took people to slowly store their luggage that they could barely lift overhead, at which point the attendants just came down the aisle and needed to shuffle it all in anyway before they could close the compartments.

    I've been flying on a lot of mid sized jets recently with a stopover in Atlanta or Chicago.

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    A lot of the horror stories about flying that I read about would never happen on Southwest. I hate flying other airlines. If carryon space is an absolute must, on SW all you do is pay $15 for early bird checkin and you'll certainly have room to put up your pack. And if you're able to 24 hours prior to the flight, you can check in for free and nearly always get an A boarding pass or a high B (meaning overhead space will be available).

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    If you pick a seat in economy in the middle of the plane you don't board last. The first to board are special needs, maybe those with babies/ children, or those in Exit seats. I try to get an Exit seat and don't always wait to get it until at the AP. It's a seat w/ more leg room which is why I mainly do it. First Class may be first or second. They tend not to carry on as much big stuff. They check it. Moral of the story: Don't board last when there's diminished overhead. You don't need to pay extra.

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    That was interesting. I usually just put my pack in luggage inside a heavy duty yard/trash sack, but I've been thinking ever since I read the guy writing about that.

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