Amtrak has somewhat uncommon luggage size requirements, and for every oversized bag, you’ll have to pay a 20$ fee. Each passenger is allowed to bring two personal items and two carry-ons, which must be under 28 x 22 x 14 inches.
Carry-ons for airplanes are usually much smaller (22 x 14 x 9 inches), so for Amtrak specifically, you shouldn’t be shopping for carry-ons. Instead, you should look at medium-checked suitcases, which will be just below Amtrak’s size limit. In this article, we listed 12 bags that are just below 28 x 22 x 14 inches, which means that they’re just in the right size to be used as carry-ons on Amtrak.
Top-Rated 28 x 22 x 14 Luggage for Amtrak
- Best Overall: Travelpro Maxlite 5 25-Inch Spinner
- Runner-Up: Samsonite Omni PC 24-Inch Spinner
- Premium Pick: Briggs & Riley Baseline 25-Inch Spinner
- Best for Business: Travelpro Platinum Elite 25-Inch Spinner
- Best-Looking: American Tourister Moonlight 24-Inch Spinner
- Best Budget Option: Coolife ABS/PC 24-Inch Spinner
- Most Durable: Pelican Air 1606 Rolling
- Best Rolling: Travelpro Crew Versapack 26-Inch Inline Suitcase
- Best Duffel: Canway 85l Duffel
- Best Rolling Duffel: Gonex 70L Rolling Duffel
- Best Duffel Backpack:Gonex 80L Duffel Backpack
- Best Backpack: Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame
Travelpro Maxlite 5
Samsonite Omni PC
Briggs & Riley Baseline
Travelpro Platinum Elite
American Tourister Moonlight
Coolife ABS/PC Spinner
Pelican Air 1606
Travelpro Crew Versapack
Canway 85l Duffel
Gonex 70L Rolling Duffel
Gonex 80L Duffel
Teton Sports Scout 3400
Figuring Out Which 28 x 22 x 14 Luggage Is Right for You (Guide)
Step 1: Select the Correct Type of Luggage for Amtrak
Type #1: Rolling Suitcases
For 90% of the people, using a rolling suitcase will be the best option for Amtrak. When you’re traveling with Amtrak, you’re usually traveling on smooth, well-maintained roads, which means that you don’t need to carry your suitcase too much (for example, on stairs, cobblestone streets, and so on). Most of the time, you can just roll it by the retractable handle. That way, you won’t be dealing with any back pain and similar issues.
Another great thing about suitcases is that they’re very easy to pack into, and if you do it efficiently, your clothes won’t end up wrinkled. If you’ll be traveling with a smaller backpack in combination with a suitcase, make sure that your smaller backpack has a rear strap for securing it around the retractable handle of the suitcase. That way you won’t need to carry anything on your back and you can just pull all of your luggage at the same time by holding a single handle.
Type #2: Large Backpacks
Another type of luggage that you could use for Amtrak is large, framed backpacks. This is a slightly better option for those who are leaning towards adventure travel. If you’ll be walking on more rugged surfaces where suitcases have to be carried by the handle, backpacks just make more sense.
Another advantage of backpacks is that they’re flexible. This means that they can be an inch or two above Amtrak’s carry-on size limit, and they’ll still be accepted as long as they aren’t overpacked.
One disadvantage for backpacks is that they aren’t great for people with back problems and they’re much harder to pack into. So when shopping for a pack, you need to make sure that it has comfortable, thickly-padded straps and that it’s also accessible from the bottom.
Type #3: Duffel Bags
Some people prefer using large duffels for Amtrak. They’re incredibly easy to pack into, they’re much lighter than backpacks and suitcases, and they’re flexible, which means that they can be slightly above Amtrak’s size limit.
The only downside to duffels is that they’re the least comfortable to carry. Even if they come with a shoulder strap, they still aren’t as comfortable as internal frame backpacks or suitcases.
Step 2: Understand What Size Luggage for Amtrak You Should Get
On Amtrak, each passenger is allowed to bring two personal items under 14 x 11 x 7 inches and two carry-ons below 28 x 22 x 14 inches. The only exception is their Pacific Surfliner route (along the coastline of California), where carry-ons must be below 28 x 22 x 11 inches in size.
So if you’re shopping for a new suitcase, make sure that it’s within these size limits, with wheels and handles included. Alternatively, you could go with a backpack or a duffel bag that’s slightly larger and not pack it too full.
Read Next: 8 Best 62-Inch Checked Suitcases in 2022
Step 3: Other Things to Look out for Before Buying 28 x 22 x 14 Luggage for Amtrak
- Does it come with spinner wheels? Suitcases with four spinner wheels are much easier to move around compared to rolling suitcases with only two wheels. That’s because they don’t have to be tilted to move – you can push them in front of you pretty much effortlessly. The only downside to spinner wheels is that they’re somewhat easy to break off because they’re “sticking out” from the main frame. This happens pretty often when spinner suitcases are checked-in for air travel, but for railway travel, this shouldn’t be much of an issue because they’re put under much less stress.
- Is the bag lightweight? On Amtrak, you’ll most likely have to store your bag on the top overhead shelves, which means that your bag needs to be lightweight enough for you to be able to pick it up. Duffels will always be the most lightweight options, followed by backpacks, then fabric suitcases, and lastly hardside suitcases.
- Does the bag have side or bottom handles? Because you’ll be storing your bag in the overhead compartments, it would be beneficial to be able to pick it up by two handles – one on each side. For suitcases, having a side handle or a top and bottom one is usually better than just one top handle.
- Is the bag hard or soft shell? For air travel, we usually recommend fabric suitcases, because they’re more durable. Hardside suitcases made from plastics tend to crack when put under too much stress. When you’re traveling with Amtrak, your luggage isn’t exposed to rough luggage handling conditions, so had shell suitcases are also good options. They’re usually heavier than fabric ones, but they provide more protection to the contents of the bag, they’re more water-resistant, and in our own opinion, they also look better.
- Is the bag made from durable materials? For fabric luggage, ideally, you’d want one made from Canvas, Leather, or Nylon because it will last longer. For hardside ones, it’s better to go with aluminum or PolyCarbonate, instead of ABS or Polypropylene, which will be much less durable. Also look at all the handles, zippers, and seams to make sure that they’ll withstand frequent use.
- Is it made by a reputable brand? If you aren’t planning on traveling too much and if you’ll only be traveling with Amtrak, then you can probably get away by getting a bag that’s made by a moderately-durable brand. You don’t need to get premium brands, such as Briggs & Riley, Rimowa, Tumi, Victorinox, unless you’re planning on traveling frequently. As for the cheaper brands, some of the ones found on Amazon with good reviews will do fine, but we wouldn’t recommend going with a poorly-reviewed one or cheap luggage from fashion stores and shopping centers, such as the ones from Walmart, Target, e.t.c.
- If getting a backpack, how comfortable is it? For large backpacks that are meant to carry heavy loads, you should always go with a pack that comes with an internal frame. It should also come with a chest strap and a hip belt, and there should be plenty of padding on all of the straps and the backside of the pack.
- What kind of warranty does it come with? If you’re planning on traveling frequently, then you need to get a pack with good warranty terms. Some brands offer only limited warranties, which cover only basic defects (Samsonite, Delsey) and others offer more-useful terms, where accidental damage is also covered (Travelpro, Briggs & Riley, Tumi, Osprey, Eagle Creek)
- Do you really need so large baggage? Carrying less is always better. You’ll have less stuff to pack, your bag will be lighter, and you won’t have to worry about fees for oversized/overweight luggage. Honestly, you can pack everything that you’d need for 2-4 weeks in a small carry-on and a personal item if you become a more minimal packer.
Best 28 x 22 x 14 Luggage for Amtrak Compared
1. Best Overall: Travelpro Maxlite 5 25-Inch Spinner
|- 27 x 18.5 x 11.5 in (69 x 47 x 29 cm)|
|- 7.3 lbs (3.3 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.4|
Personally, I’ve been using the slightly smaller Travelpro Maxlite 5 19-Inch International carry-on, as my main carry-on, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. For the price that it’s retailing at, it’s a total bargain, especially if you manage to catch it on a sale. If you don’t know Travelpro, it’s essentially a really well-known brand in the luggage industry, especially among pilots – they supply over 90 different airlines with custom luggage.
In terms of durability, even though it’s made from Polyester, not Nylon, it’s held up really well. I haven’t gotten any noticeable scratches or tears, the stitching still looks perfect, the handles and zippers are still holding up really well, and even the spinner wheels still roll as smoothly as when I received it.
It doesn’t come with many packing features, but overall, it’s got everything that I’d need. From the outside, it comes with two pockets (one smaller one for documents and another larger one, large enough to fit a 15-inch laptop) and from the inside, it has one large zippered pocket for organizing all the smaller items.
Another thing that I like about it is that in addition to the retractable handle, it also comes with top, side, and bottom handles, which makes it very easy to lift up to higher compartments. Speaking of that, it’s one of the lightest fabric suitcases that you’ll find, which again helps with lifting it up to higher storage compartments.
Overall, it’s a really well-made suitcase with all the essential features, sold at very affordable prices, and I think that for Amtrak, it’s the best choice out there. The only thing that I don’t like about the Maxlite 5 is that it’s offered only in dark, monotone colors, which makes it better-suited for business travelers.
2. Runner-Up: Samsonite Omni PC 24-Inch Spinner
|- 26.5 x 17.75 x 11.75 in (67 x 45 x 30 cm)|
|- 8.3 lbs (3.8 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.2|
The Samsonite Omni PC is one of the most popular suitcases out there, and I believe it finds the perfect balance between price, durability, features, and design. Plus, it’s made by Samsonite, which, in addition to being the most popular luggage brand, also is known to make very reliable suitcases.
The Omni PC is made from a polycarbonate shell, which in real life feels extremely flexible. Actually, it feels too flexible – so much that it doesn’t seem like it’ll last. But actually, the flexibility is a good thing because this means that instead of cracking, this suitcase will bend and then return back to its original shape.
It comes with four spinner wheels, side-mounted TSA combination locks, and an expandable zipper, which means that you’ll have some extra space for your return trips when you’ve bought too many things. In terms of features, it has everything that I’d expect to see on a similarly priced suitcase.
It doesn’t come with many packing features though. It opens up in a split-book way, and one side is separated by a zippered mesh divider and the other one by x-shaped compression straps. You’ll also find another smaller pocket inside for organizing all of your valuables.
The Omni PC is also offered in a variety of different colors – both in professional and leisure styles. It’s a really great suitcase, which is not only great for Amtrak but for airline use as well.
3. Premium Pick: Briggs & Riley Baseline 25-Inch Spinner
|- 25 x 18 x 11 in (64 x 46 x 28 cm)|
|- 11 lbs (5 kg)|
|- 1680D ballistic nylon|
|- Editors rating: 4.8|
Similar to Travelpro, Briggs & Riley is another luggage brand that’s very popular among flight crews and frequent travelers. The key difference between them is that Briggs & Riley is about twice as expensive. That said, if you’re planning on traveling with Amtrak very frequently, then it’s definitely worth it to invest in a durable suitcase, and you pretty much won’t find anything more durable than the Briggs & Riley Baseline.
It’s made from the most durable fabric used for fabric luggage – ballistic nylon. All of its other elements are extremely durable as well. For example, they’ve used self-repairing YKK zippers (which are essentially the best zippers out there), reinforced corners, and a fiberglass frame.
Another awesome thing about Briggs & Riley is that all of their suitcases come with an unconditional lifetime warranty. This means that any defects will be covered for the lifetime of the suitcase, even airline damage, and you don’t even need a receipt for the warranty to be valid. Shipping costs to and from the repair centers are also covered.
The Baseline is also packed with many innovative features, such as the CX compression system, which compresses the contents of the suitcase with built-in latches. It also has two exterior pockets, a dedicated suiter compartment, another pocket in the interior, double spinner wheels, and a retractable aluminum handle mounted on the outside for extra packing capacity.
Although it’s the most expensive suitcase on this list, it’s definitely worth it if you have the budget. You could even use it daily for over a decade and it would still be usable.
4. Best for Business: Travelpro Platinum Elite 25-Inch Spinner
|- 28 x 18.5 x 11.75 in (69 x 47 x 30 cm)|
|- 9.8 lbs (4.4 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.6|
If you’ll be traveling with Amtrak very frequently and you need a reliable, professional-looking suitcase, then the Travelpro Platinum Elite is a very solid choice. Essentially, it’s a dumbed-down version of the Briggs & Riley Baseline (Or improved Maxlite 5) that costs about half of what the Baseline does. Still, it’s extremely durable, packed with many useful features, and looks professional enough for business travel.
The Platinum Elite is made from nylon, which is one of the most durable fabrics used in suitcases. It also has a few leather elements, but mainly it’s made from nylon. Many websites are continuously ranking Platinum Elite as one of the best suitcases offered right now, and we agree. Many people have reported using this suitcase frequently for many years with any issues or defects.
On the inside, it’s fitted with a large mesh pocket on one side and a removable, transparent, quart-sized bag for your toiletries, which would be useful for air travel. Instead of having regular x-shaped compression straps, that come with most suitcases, the Platinum Elite is fitted with the “Deluxe Interior Down System”, which essentially is a compression system fitted with a few pockets on top.
From the exterior, it’s fitted with an expandable zipper, which will let you expand it by two additional inches. On the side, it also has a built-in TSA Combination lock for extra security. You’ll also find a USB charging port on one side, to which you can connect your power bank and charge your phone without taking it out.
Overall, the Travelpro Platinum Elite is one of the best suitcases that you’ll find for business travel – it’s durable, professional-looking and it comes with a lot of packing, security, and innovative features.
5. Best-Looking: American Tourister Moonlight 24-Inch Spinner
|- 27 x 17.5 x 11.8 in (69 x 44 x 30 cm)|
|- 9.5 lbs (4.3 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.1|
American Tourister is another really popular luggage brand, which actually is owned by Samsonite. The Moonlight spinner is one of their most popular models out there. It’s reasonably durable, affordable, and offered in a wide variety of patterns and colors.
The outer shell is made from an ABS/Polycarbonate mix, which will be durable enough for infrequent travel. You should probably go with something more durable if you’re planning on using it on Amtrak daily, but it should be good enough for a few uses per month, and last for about 3-5 years.
In terms of features, it doesn’t come with anything to get too excited about, but it still has all the necessities of a modern suitcase. It has four smooth-rolling spinner wheels, a top and side handle, and an aluminum retractable handle.
From the interior, it’s split into two equal parts – one is separated by a zippered mesh divider and one by x-shaped compression straps. You’ll also find another smaller pocket inside for organizing all the smaller items.
All in all, it’s a pretty basic suitcase, but it has all the essentials, it’s durable enough, and it’s offered in many beautiful patterned color options, which is why I think it’s a great choice for irregular Amtrak use.
6. Best Budget Option: Coolife ABS/PC 24-Inch Spinner
|- 24.5 x 17 x 10 in (62 x 43 x 52 cm)|
|- 7.9 lbs (3.6 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.0|
The Coolife ABS/PC spinner is essentially a “no-brand” version of the Samsonite Omni PC spinner. It looks almost identical and it has very similar features. That said, we’ve tested many suitcases from Coolife (which is essentially a Chinese manufacturer), and their suitcases are somewhat similar in durability to Samsonite. The only downside is that you won’t be getting any warranty by getting this suitcase, but other than that, it’s very similar to the Omni PC.
Its hard shell is made from a mix of Polycarbonate and ABS. Although it’s slightly less durable than pure Polycarbonate, it’s still a very durable material. Most people reported that in real life, this suitcase feels very rigid, and most didn’t experience issues with the handles, zippers, or spinner wheels.
In terms of features, it comes with a TSA-approved combination lock, but unfortunately, the expandable zipper is available only on the 28-inch model, which is slightly too large to be used on Amtrak.
The interior is fully lined and it opens up in a split-book style. One side is divided with an unzippable fabric divider (which has two additional pockets) and the other one with x-shaped compression straps. It doesn’t offer the most advanced packing features, but it’s good enough for most people.
To sum up, the Coolife ABS/PC is a very worthwhile alternative to the more-expensive Samsonite Omni PC, with almost identical features and durability.
7. Most Durable: Pelican Air 1606 Rolling
|- 27 x 15 x 11 in (69 x 38 x 28 cm)|
|- 12.4 lbs (5.6 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.7|
Although we stated that the Briggs & Riley baseline is the most durable suitcase, the Pelican Air 1606 is even more durable. The difference between both is that the Baseline is the most durable “classic” suitcase, and the Pelican couldn’t really be called a suitcase. Really, it’s a hardside box with two wheels and a retractable handle.
Pelican is a very popular luggage manufacturer, and they specialize in creating protective equipment, rather than typical travel luggage. Their cases are commonly used by film crews, photographers, climbers, and other professionals who need to keep their gear protected. They offer a wide range of cases – with wheels and without, with foam padding and without, and several ones with many compartments for organizing gear. However, the Pelican Air 1606 is the only one that comes in a size that’s good for Amtrak.
The hard shell is made from polycarbonate and it’s virtually indestructible, at least when traveling by Amtrak. It doesn’t have any zippers and instead, they went with a zipperless design, which opens up with latches. You can lock the Pelican Air 1606 by purchasing an additional TSA-approved lock.
Another really awesome thing about this case is that it’s waterproof. It comes with an o-ring gasket which ensures that the contents of the case always stay completely dry, even in the pouring rain. It even has pressure-release valves if the case needs to be stored in a pressurized environment.
And lastly, it’s protected with Pelican’s lifetime warranty, which covers most defects. And best of all, it’s also really affordable, at least when also considering its durability. In this price range, you won’t find anything more durable than the Pelican Air 1606.
8. Best Rolling: Travelpro Crew Versapack 26-Inch Inline Suitcase
|- 28 x 19.5 x 10.25 in (71 x 50 x 26 cm)|
|- 9.2 lbs (4.2 kg)|
|- Ballistic Nylon|
|- Editors rating: 4.5|
In terms of durability, it’s built from even more durable materials than all of Travelpro’s suitcases we mentioned on this list. Instead of regular nylon, they went with Ballistic nylon which is even more durable. Although it doesn’t come with spinner wheels, in terms of durability, that’s actually a good thing because inline wheels are usually much more durable.
Another great thing about the Crew Versapack is that it has a built-in suiter compartment in the interior, which is a feature that the more-expensive Platinum Elite doesn’t have. Even though the suiter compartment is pretty basic, it will reduce the amount of wrinkling by a lot when compared to packing it inside the main compartment. You’ll also find a waterproof/odor-resistant pocket in the interior for storing dirty laundry, and two compression straps for keeping the rest of your clothing in place.
I would say that the largest downside to having a two-wheeled suitcase is that it’s harder to move around, especially if you’re keeping another backpack secured on top. After a while, your arm gets tired from pulling. Spinners, on the other hand, are much easier to lug around. That’s why I included only two rolling suitcases in this list – for Amtrak, where the increased durability of inline suitcases isn’t needed – spinners are better.
But overall, the Versapack is a very solid suitcase, which I would definitely recommend over the Maxlite 5 or the Platinum Elite for airline travel.
9. Best Duffel: Canway 85l Duffel
|- 28.3 x 16.5 x 12.9 in (72 x 42 x 33 cm)|
|- 2 lbs (0.9 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 3.8|
The Canway 85l duffel is a very simple (and affordable) duffel, and it will work great for Amtrak. It’s by far the lightest and cheapest option mentioned on this list.
For the main fabric, they went with polyester, which isn’t really too durable, but for this price range, you can’t really expect anything else. When the duffel is not in use, you’ll be able to fold it down to a compact size and stow it in a tight place, such as a drawer.
In its design, it’s pretty basic. It has a single, spacious main compartment, a shoe compartment accessible from the exterior, one large exterior pocket, and two smaller ones. You’ll be able to carry it by the shoulder strap or the top handle. In addition to that, they also added side handles for lifting it up to the overhead shelves of Amtrak, which is a nice touch.
I would recommend the Canway 85L duffel to someone who isn’t going to travel regularly with Amtrak, and to someone who doesn’t care too much about being organized. It’s incredibly easy to pack into. You just throw everything in there, and you’re all set. And best of all, it’s incredibly cheap.
10. Best Rolling Duffel: Gonex 70L Rolling Duffel
|- 25.2 x 15 x 10.2 in (64 x 38 x 26 cm)|
|- 8.6 lbs (3.9 kg)|
|- Water-resistant PVC|
|- Editors rating: 4.2|
The Gonex rolling duffel couldn’t really be called a duffel bag, because it doesn’t have the typical top handle or a shoulder strap. Instead, it’s a lightweight, water-resistant suitcase that offers more flexibility than regular fabric suitcases.
It comes with a folding internal frame, which you can expand for the bag to retain its shape when used, and contract when you need to reduce its size for storage. It also has two compression straps on the exterior to keep everything tucked together.
What I really like about Gonex specifically is that their bags are made from a somewhat different PVC fabric, which isn’t common in luggage. It makes their luggage water-resistant and more durable, while not increasing the total weight by too much.
Its main compartment is very spacious, and it has another two compression straps inside to keep the contents of the bag from moving around. You’ll also find two additional pockets inside for storing all the smaller items.
Overall it’s a really sturdy and affordable rolling duffel, which would be great for anyone who’s using amtrak semi-frequently.
11. Best Duffel Backpack: Gonex 80L Duffel Backpack
|- 27.5 x 15.3 x 11.8 in (70 x 39 x 30 cm)|
|- 3.7 lbs (1.7 kg)|
|- Water-resistant PVC|
|- Editors rating: 4.2|
If you’re leaning towards adventure travel, then the Gonex 80L duffel backpack might just bet for you. Essentially, it’s a hybrid backpack/duffle bag because it has two shoulder straps that let you carry it like any other backpack and additional ones to carry it like a duffel bag. In addition to that, it also has two side handles which will be useful for lifting it up to the overhead compartments.
Similar to the Gonex Rolling duffle bag, this one is also made from a water-resistant PVC fabric, which will ensure that the contents of your bag will stay dry. It’s pretty much the perfect size to be used on Amtrak, and it can store whopping 80 liters.
It also has quite a few pockets all around for organizing everything. From the exterior, it’s equipped with a dedicated shoe compartment and two smaller pockets. The main compartment is quite spacious and you’ll find additional two zippered pockets there for storing all the smaller items.
12. Best Backpack: Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame
|- 30 x 17 x 12 in (76 x 43 x 30.5 cm)|
|- 4.5 lbs (2.0 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.4|
If you’re a hardcore backpacker, and you’re just using Amtrak to get from one outdoor destination to the next one, then you’ll probably want an internal frame backpack. The Teton Sports Scout 3400 is a perfect choice because it’s been praised as the best affordable internal frame backpack.
Even though it’s somewhat affordable, it’s made from thick and durable fabric. Many people have used this exact model for over a decade and it’s still in a useable shape. Teton also offers another larger, nearly identical model called Explorer 4000, however, it’s too large to be used on Amtrak. Even the Scout 3400 is slightly too long to fit Amtrak’s requirements, but if you don’t pack the top pocket too full, it will fit perfectly.
All around it comes with a lot of different pockets for organizing everything. On the exterior alone, you’ll find two side pockets, one large top lid, a small mesh pocket, two water bottle pockets, two bottom straps for attaching stuff to the bottom of the pack, and a drawstring on top for attaching something to the top. The interior is very spacious, it’s also accessible from the bottom, and you’ll find another zippered pocket inside.
Where the Scout 3400 really shines though, is comfort. If you’re planning on doing a lot of walking, you can actually carry quite a lot on your back without experiencing back pain. It comes with a hip belt, chest strap, load lifters, and it’s nicely padded everywhere where the bag is in contact with your skin.