Having a personal item on a flight can benefit you in many ways. If you’re an over-packer like me, a carry-on and an underseat bag will have enough space to fit in all the clothing and extra luggage you’ll need. We think that wheelless underseat bags are the best personal items because they’re usually flexible enough to fit under the seat, even when they’re over the size restrictions.
Below, we’ve included the best underseat bags without wheels, such as backpacks, duffel bags, tote bags, messenger bags, and coolers. We made sure to include options that are good for men and women, and also tell you what to look out for when buying one.
Top-Rated Underseat Bags Without Wheels
- Best overall underseat bag without wheels: Matein 15.6-Inch Laptop Backpack
- Best overall underseat duffel bag: WANDF 16-Inch Foldable Duffel Bag
- Best budget underseat duffel bag: Narwey 18-Inch Foldable Duffel Bag
- Best premium underseat duffel bag: TRAVELBAG 16-Inch Duffel Bag
- Best-looking underseat duffel bag: NRW Duffel Bag
- Best business underseat backpack: Rangeland 15-Inch Laptop Backpack
- Best underseat backpack for women: BAGSMART 15.6-Inch Laptop Backpack
- Best underseat tote bag for women: NEWHEY Laptop Tote Bag
- Best premium underseat tote bag: Travelpro Crew Versapack Deluxe Tote Bag
- Best underseat laptop messenger bag: Leaper Messenger Bag
- Best budget underseat messenger bag: XINCADA Messenger Bag
- Best underseat cooler: Lifewit Cooling Tote
Matein 15.6-Inch Laptop Backpack
WANDF 16-Inch Foldable Duffel Bag
Narwey 18-Inch Foldable Duffel Bag
TRAVELBAG 16-Inch Duffel Bag
NRW Duffel Bag
Rangeland 15-Inch Laptop Backpack
BAGSMART 15.6-Inch Laptop Backpack
NEWHEY Laptop Tote Bag
Travelpro Crew Versapack Deluxe Tote
Leaper Messenger Bag
XINCADA Messenger Bag
Lifewit Cooling Tote
Tips on Buying an Underseat Bag Without Wheels
Selecting the Correct Type of Underseat Bag Without Wheels
1. Underseat Duffel Bags
Duffel bags are flexible and lightweight, making them the perfect fit for underseat luggage (other called a personal item). Most of them are made from nylon, which would explain why they usually weigh less than a pound when empty. They’re often the best choice for overpackers since their exterior is very slim, so they have ample internal packing space regardless of their size.
The duffel bags’ flexibility makes it easy to store them under the seat, even when they’re a couple of inches larger than the restrictions. However, you shouldn’t pack them to the brim since they’re much more likely to get tears, especially if they’re above the size limits. I had that happen to me once; the airline only allowed for a personal item, so I overpacked my bag, and it ended up getting a big tear at the top of the main compartment.
A significant issue with duffel bags is that they’re somewhat uncomfortable to carry since their handles are made from the same materials used in seatbelts. While some have a padded socket where you could place the straps, they’re usually not grippy enough. Even the shoulder strap that some of them have can leave a mark.
2. Underseat Laptop Backpacks
Laptop backpacks (or small backpacks in general) are our favorite piece of underseat luggage without wheels. While they’re not as light as duffel bags, they’re equally flexible; so it won’t be too big of an issue if they’re a bit above the size restrictions, as long as you don’t fully pack them.
As their name suggests, laptop backpacks are the best option for travelers (business and leisure) that need to bring their laptops along. However, do remember that most 17-inch laptop backpacks will surpass the most common underseat bag size restrictions. Even though they can usually be squeezed under the seat, you’ll risk breaking your laptop by doing so. They’ll usually only fit laptops with screens up to 15.6-inches.
Still, small backpacks can be used as storage for your electronics, like a tablet or an e-reader, or a few extra pieces of clothing, including an extra pair of shoes. Most of them will come with a few pockets, with some backpacks having a secret pocket on the back for essentials, like your passport and phone.
The reason why we love backpacks is because of their versatility. The majority have a back strap, allowing them to be placed on top of your carry-on, which frees up one of your arms. Plus, you can always carry them on your back since they are often lightweight.
3. Underseat Tote Bags
Tote bags and purses are the middle-ground between a backpack and a duffel bag, making them a great choice as personal items. Totes come in two distinct looks; they’ll either look like a duffel bag or a big, square purse. The latter is usually made from leather and is heavier than most personal items, while the former is nearly identical to duffel bags.
From our experience, tote bags are usually the best for women due to their fashionable looks. Most totes can be an alternative to a laptop bag, despite not having as many packing options. You could also use them as a toiletries bag, making security checks much faster since you won’t have to unpack your carry-on to remove your personal care products.
A significant disadvantage with most tote bags is that they’re too expensive. Similar laptop backpacks and duffel bags offer the same packing space and features while costing half the price. This doesn’t take away from the fact that tote bags are an excellent choice as underseat luggage and a fashion statement simultaneously.
4. Underseat Messenger Bags
Messenger bags are amongst the best types of underseat bags without wheels. They’re made from all kinds of materials, with the most common and durable one being canvas, while they weigh less than most other personal items. The great thing about messenger bags is that they come in several sizes and are all within personal item restrictions.
Since most of them are relatively small compared to other underseat luggage, messenger bags are an excellent choice for travelers who enjoy going off-the-beaten-path and visiting more dangerous areas. That’s because you can keep them in front of you, and they’re big enough for your necessary documents and your phone.
However, a messenger bag isn’t your best bet if you want a personal item for storing your clothes. For starters, their internal space is so small that you could barely fit clothes inside it. Some of them are bigger than the classic messenger bag, meaning you can store a small laptop inside. Essentially, a messenger bag is a more versatile backpack.
5. Underseat Cooler Bags
Cooler bags are rarely used as a personal item compared to other underseat bags since most travelers don’t need them. However, a cooler bag is one of the best options if you’re on a strict diet or a business traveler. You can do all your meal prep from home and use the cooler to store it for the flight’s duration or use it as storage for your lunch.
Most cooler bags are made from polyester or nylon, with a few made from Oxford cloth, and often come with a leak-proof interior. These bags are also excellent for road trips or picnics since they’ll keep all the drinks cold for several hours.
However, their biggest issue is that they’re geared towards a particular traveler group: business travelers or leisure travelers on a strict diet. We’d argue that if your budget is tight, you could save money by preparing all your meals from home before the trip and transporting them with the cooler bag, but that’s a pretty extreme case.
Read Next: 10 Best Wheeled Underseat Suitcases in 2022
Understanding What Size Underseat Bag Without Wheels Should You Get
The most common personal item restriction is 16 x 12 x 6 inches (40 x 30 x 15 cm). This differs from airline to airline, with most European airlines having stricter restrictions while US ones have much more lenient restrictions.
However, a great thing about underseat bags without wheels is that they’re usually flexible. For example, when your duffel bag or backpack is a couple of inches above the airline’s restrictions, you could squeeze it under the seat if it’s not full. Still, you should always try to find underseat luggage within the airline restrictions, just in case.
Other Things to Look out for Before Buying an Underseat Bag Without Wheels
- Is the bag lightweight? Most travelers carry their personal items at all times when they’re on a trip, which is why you’ll need to ensure that your bag is lightweight. That’s because when it is slightly heavier than average, it’ll put a lot of strain on your back in the long term. Duffel bags are usually the most lightweight, with backpacks and messenger bags following closely behind.
- Is the bag made from durable materials? Most underseat bags without wheels are made of some kind of fabric. While Polyester or Oxford Cloth is somewhat durable, you should check out bags that are made from Canvas, Nylon, or Leather, which last much longer. You should also check out if the handles and zippers are durable since these are amongst the first parts to break.
- Is it water-repellant? No underseat bag will be completely water-resistant since almost all are fabric. Some of them, however, have a water-repellent finish, which should protect your belongings if you encounter light rain. You can also look into getting a waterproof backpack cover or laptop sleeve if your personal item is a backpack.
- Is it comfortable to carry? Comfort is essential for personal items since you’ll be carrying them around for most of your trip. No matter what underseat bag you get, you’ll need to ensure that it has some padding around the straps, which should provide some comfort. Also, some padding is essential for bags with shoulder straps; otherwise, you might be left with a massive mark across your body.
- Does it come with smart packing options? While not as necessary as in a carry-on, several packing options will make it easier to separate your clothes from your laundry, toiletries, or shoes. Also, more pockets mean better organization, which is essential when your personal item contains electronics and clothes.
- Does it have enough room in the main compartment? If your bag doesn’t have packing options, it should at least have a roomy main compartment that can fit your belongings. After all, storing a couple of sets of clothes, a laptop, and toiletries takes up a lot of space.
Best Underseat Bags Without Wheels in 2022 Compared
1. Best Overall Underseat Bag Without Wheels: Matein 15.6-Inch Laptop Backpack
|- 18 x 12 x 7.8 in (46 x 30 x 20 cm)|
|- 2.2 lbs (1.00 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.8|
There’s no doubt that the Matein 15.6-inch laptop backpack is one of the best pieces of underseat luggage out there. It combines affordability with enough durability and packing features for the average business traveler or anyone who can’t travel without their laptop.
When empty, the Matein backpack measures 18 x 12 x 7.8 in (46 x 30 x 20 cm), which is a bit larger than the most common personal item restriction. However, it’s flexible enough to fit under the seat, even when it’s nearly full, so you shouldn’t have an issue using it as a personal item. Also, the backpack weighs 2.2 lbs (1.00 kg), which is pretty lightweight, meaning that you won’t have an issue carrying it around throughout your trip.
The laptop backpack comes in several dark colors, like black and navy blue, and bright ones like red and yellow. There are also two versions with a camouflage pattern and one with a beautiful galaxy design.
Speaking of the exterior, the backpack is made from polyester, which isn’t the most durable fabric out there, but it does its job quite well. While Matein claims that the bag is water-resistant, which was backed up by some reviews, we found that that’s not the case. Your belongings will get wet if you find yourself in moderate rain for more than 20 minutes.
Apart from that, the backpack has two handles on the top and two straps on the back; this also includes a back strap which you can utilize to secure it on top of a carry-on. The backpack’s rear and the straps have enough padding, which is excellent in terms of comfort. There’s also a built-in USB charger on the side (a power bank isn’t included) for any of you who want to charge your phone on the go.
As we look inside, Matein has done a great job adding several packing options. The main compartment is quite spacious, and, since it’s a laptop backpack, it has a laptop sleeve, which can fit up to a 15-inch laptop. Along with that, there are two zippered pockets where you could put your laptop’s charger or any other electronics. Then, there’s the front compartment, which has three small pockets and a hidden pocket on the backpack’s rear, where you can store your passport and keys. There are also a couple of mesh pockets on the sides of the bag, which are great for storing a water bottle or an umbrella.
However, there are a few issues with the backpack that we need to mention. As many reviews mentioned, the lifetime warranty is practically worthless. Also, there’s not enough padding around the laptop sleeve, which can lead to your laptop getting damaged, while the main compartment zipper tends to open up on its own. On top of that, our experience with it revealed that the stitching isn’t the best, especially after heavy use.
Still, the Matein 15-inch backpack is an excellent choice once you consider its price. As long as you don’t throw it around, you won’t have any issue with it, and it should fit a few sets of clothes, along with a laptop.
2. Best Overall Underseat Duffel Bag: WANDF 16-Inch Foldable Duffel Bag
|- 16 x 12 x 7 in (41 x 30 x 18 cm)|
|- 0.57 lbs (0.26 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.5|
If you’re not a big fan of backpacks, then a duffel bag like the foldable 16-inch one from WANDF will do the trick. Despite being very affordable, we were surprised by how well-reviewed this bag is, as is the case with many such duffels. The key selling point of the WANDF duffel bag is that it can fold to the size of a small pouch, meaning that you could bring it inside your carry-on and use it as a personal item on the return flight.
The duffel bag’s dimensions are 16 x 12 x 7 in (41 x 30 x 18 cm), which is slightly over the most common personal item restriction. However, as with many underseat bags without wheels, you can easily squeeze it under the seat as long as you don’t overpack. Regarding its weight, WANDF made sure that its duffel is one of the lightest on the market, weighing a mere 0.57 lbs (0.26 kg). This means you’ll have no issue carrying it around, even if you fill it up.
One thing that amazed us is the variety of colors this bag comes in. While there aren’t any fancy ones to choose from, the 16-inch version comes in 10 different colors, half of which have a nice denim design. There are also four other sizes (18-inch to 22-inch), which come in additional colors, like pink and wine red.
Going back to the 16-inch version, it’s made from nylon, one of the most durable materials on the market, while also being the lightest. This was confirmed by many customers, who praised it for being durable and lasting for several trips despite having some issues with it. When it comes to its water resistance, WANDF claims that the bag is 100% water-resistant. While every fabric bag will succumb to heavy rain, we didn’t find any complaints about it, so you’ll probably have no issues in moderate rainfall.
As is true with most duffel bags, the WANDF 16-inch bag has two straps on the top and a shoulder strap on the side. Even though they’ll hold up pretty well, they’re not as comfortable as we expected since they have no padding. What we liked about the bag is that it has a rear strap, which you can use to secure it over a carry-on. One aspect to note is the zippers; some complaints about this bag targeted the zippers, which are prone to breaking and tearing the seams.
On the inside, the bag is very simple; the 16-inch version has a roomy main compartment, which can hold clothes for 5-7 days, as well as an extra pair of shoes. There’s also an external pocket where you can fit your passport, phone, or other small items you bring along.
However, one issue with WANDF’s duffel bag could be a deal-breaker for you. The bag has no structure, so if you don’t fill it to the brim, it will lose its shape when you lift it, meaning your belongings will roll up into a messy ball. So, to avoid mixing everything up, you’ll have to either fill up the bag or use packing cubes.
Overall, the WANDF 16-inch duffel bag is one of the lightest and most affordable underseat bags without wheels we could find.
3. Best Budget Underseat Duffel Bag: Narwey 18-Inch Foldable Duffel Bag
|- 18 x 13 x 6.3 in (46 x 33 x 16 cm)|
|- 0.45 lbs (0.2 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.3|
If you want the maximum space from your underseat duffel bag, then the 18-inch bag from Narwey is your best bet. It’s one of the best-looking duffel bags we’ve found while also costing less than any other underseater we’ve reviewed in this article. On top of that, it’s pretty lightweight and comes in two variations: one with a shoulder strap and one without one.
The bag’s dimensions are 18 x 13 x 6.3 in (46 x 33 x 16 cm), which is slightly over the most common personal item restrictions. Unlike the WANDF duffel, we believe that this one from Narwey might be harder to pass the size limitations, especially if you use European airlines, which are very strict with their restrictions. However, as long as you don’t fully pack it, you might still be able to barely fit it under the seat. The bag is also lighter than WANDF’s, weighing only 0.45 lbs (0.2 kg), which means that you’ll have no issue carrying it around.
Despite costing less than the other duffel bags we mention, it’s also the only one made from polyester, the least expensive fabric. However, since polyester isn’t very durable, the Narwey bag has a few issues regarding its durability. Several owners of the bag had problems with scratches, tears, and even holes due to bad stitching. Then again, we also went through many reviews where frequent travelers praised the duffel’s durability. We think it should last you through many trips as long as you’re careful not to overpack.
One key issue with the bag is its zippers and straps. The zippers aren’t the best, with many owners complaining that they broke within the first couple of trips. On the other hand, the straps are somewhat uncomfortable when you pack too much weight. We think this issue could be prevented if Narwey added some padding around the straps or if you replaced the shoulder strap with a more comfortable one.
As we take a closer look inside, the duffel bag has a lot of space, which is great if you’re only taking a personal item with you on your trip. Most owners stated that it could hold 4-8 days of clothing without bulging or up to 10 days if you’re willing to risk using it as a carry-on. Still, that’s a lot, even for a cabin suitcase.
While the Narwey duffel bag has a few durability issues, we think that you won’t be able to find an underseat bag without wheels that is cheaper than this one. And, as long as you don’t fill it to its limits, it’ll last much longer than you’d expect at this price point.
4. Best Premium Underseat Duffel Bag: TRAVELBAG 16-Inch Duffel Bag
|- 16 x 12 x 8 in (41 x 30 x 20 cm)|
|- 1.7 lbs (0.77 kg)|
|- Ballistic Nylon|
|- Editors rating: 4.6|
Even though the Narwey and WANDF duffel bags are affordable and well-made, if you’re looking for the best durability, the Travelbag 16-inch duffel is the way to go. The bag costs three times more than most duffels, but it will last you much longer than any of them, while it also comes with a 1-year no-questions-asked warranty. Several owners said the bag should last for many trips over several years.
The Travelbag duffel bag measures 16 x 12 x 8 in (41 x 30 x 20 cm), which is slightly over the most common underseat bag restrictions. That, however, is not an issue with this bag since you’ll be able to squeeze it under the seat as long as you don’t pack it full. It is much heavier than the duffel bags we’ve mentioned so far, weighing 1.7 lbs (0.77 kg). This could be an issue for any of you who have back problems, though we don’t think you’ll notice the difference from any other duffel bag.
The best thing about the Travelbag underseater is that it’s made from ballistic nylon, which explains why it’s so heavy. Despite being the heaviest fabric on the market, ballistic nylon is also the most durable one while also being the most expensive. This added durability can be seen in every review since almost everyone praised the bag for its durability, and we couldn’t find any issues with it.
The bag also comes with a shoulder strap and two straps on the top, which are padded for extra comfort, something we liked. The zippers on the bag are made from metal, and we didn’t find any complaints about them, meaning that they’re very durable, despite being one of the first parts to break on any luggage.
The Travelbag duffel bag has three pockets: the main compartment, a side pocket for a water bottle, and the front for small items, like your passport and phone. The main compartment is spacious, with customers saying they could fit at least 4-5 days of clothing and electronics (like a laptop or an e-reader) inside. We also found some owners of the bag who fit a week’s worth of clothing and a laptop.
The only real issue with the bag is that it comes in one color, so it’s targeted toward business travelers. Still, the Travelbag bag is the most durable duffel we’ve seen so far; but it also costs more than every other duffel bag we’ve reviewed.
5. Best-Looking Underseat Duffel Bag: NRW Duffel Bag
|- 16.5 x 10.6 x 6.3 in (42 x 27 x 16 cm)|
|- 1.1 lbs (0.5 kg)|
|- Oxford Fabric|
|- Editors rating: 4.4|
While this might not fit the traditional duffel bag design, NRW’s bag is an excellent choice if you want the best packing options from your underseater. It comes with several pockets on the inside and outside, and it’s also available in several different designs, all of which are excellent for leisure travelers.
Measuring 16.5 x 10.6 x 6.3 in (42 x 27 x 16 cm), the NRW duffel bag is just above the personal item restrictions. However, since the difference is so tiny, you should have no issue using it as an underseat bag, even if you fully pack it. That said, it’s not the lightest bag we’ve reviewed so far, weighing 1.1 lbs (0.5 kg), which is nearly double the weight of the WANDF and Narwey bags, while also being lighter than the Travelbag duffel bag.
The bag is made from Oxford cloth, which is basically polyester that’s woven in a different pattern for “extra durability”. As we learned from the reviews, though, the material is cheap and not very durable. That said, most owners of the NRW bag had no issues with its durability.
A big issue with this duffel is its shoulder strap. While the top straps are relatively durable and padded for extra comfort, the shoulder one received criticisms for breaking within the first couple of trips. So, you should either avoid using it to prevent tearing the sides of the bag or replace it with a more durable one. On the other hand, despite the zippers being one of the first things to break on luggage, the ones used by NRW seem pretty well-made.
The real star of this duffel bag is its packing options and main compartment. Even though it’s not the most spacious out there, with many owners stating that it can only hold clothes for 2-4 days, there are several pockets inside and out. Aside from the main compartment, there’s a pocket to separate your wet items from dry ones, two small inner pockets, and two outer ones (one in the front and one in the back). The back pocket is attached to a strap, which you can use to place the duffel over a rolling suitcase; you could store your phone inside this one for extra security.
Aside from that, the bag is reportedly water-resistant, so your belongings won’t get wet unless you find yourself in heavy rain. Overall, if you like several packing options, then the NRW duffel is amongst the best-looking options you can pick.
6. Best Business Underseat Backpack: Rangeland 15-Inch Laptop Backpack
|- 16 x 12 x 7 in (41 x 30 x 18 cm)|
|- 1.39 lbs (0.63 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.6|
This backpack from Rangeland is one of the best companions you can have on a business trip, as it comes with a few packing options and can fit up to a 15-inch laptop. On top of that, it’s available in a few unique colors and two different sizes, a 21L one and a 17L one, which features different designs. We’ll review the 21L because its design is superior to the 17L version.
For starters, this Rangeland backpack measures 16 x 12 x 7 in (41 x 30 x 18 cm), meaning that it’ll fit easily under the seat on US airlines; however, when it comes to certain European airlines, like Finnair or Lufthansa, this bag is slightly over their restrictions. That said, because of the backpack’s flexibility, you will probably not have any issues using it as a personal item, as many customers confirmed. What we liked about this bag is that it’s lightweight, weighing only 1.39 lbs (0.63 kg), which is almost half of the Matein backpack’s weight.
The fabric Rangeland used for this bag is polyester. After going through several reviews, we couldn’t find any significant complaints about its durability, so you’ll have no issue using it for many trips. However, one issue that did arise in many reviews was that the zippers are not of great quality, meaning that you’ll have to be extra careful when you open and close the main compartment.
The Rangeland backpack has three pockets; one in the front, the main compartment, and a laptop pocket in the rear. The front pocket can fit some flight essentials, like your passport, tickets, and phone, while the main compartment can hold clothes, toiletries, and accessories. According to the owners of the bag, you’ll be able to pack enough clothing for a 4-day trip or even up to a 7-day one.
Overall, the Rangeland backpack is a minimalistic one that you can use on your business trips without worrying that it will exceed personal item restrictions. Plus, while it’s not water-resistant, you should be able to walk through light to moderate rain without fearing that your laptop will get damaged.
7. Best Underseat Backpack for Women: BAGSMART 15.6-Inch Laptop Backpack
|- 17.5 x 12 x 6.5 in (44 x 30 x 17 cm)|
|- 1.64 lbs (0.74 kg)|
|- Editors rating: 4.5|
If the Rangeland backpack seems too mundane for you, then this backpack from Bagsmart will fill your artistic needs. Coming in a beautiful pink color with golden accents, an all-black version, and a black with roses pattern, it can serve as a great mobile office, and it’s one of the best underseat backpacks on the market.
The backpack measures 17.5 x 12 x 6.5 in (44 x 30 x 17 cm), which is larger than most European airlines would allow for a personal item. However, the bag doesn’t keep its shape when it’s empty, so as long as you don’t fill it to the brim, you should be able to squeeze it under the seat of any airline. Regarding its weight, it’s right in the middle of the Matein and Rangeland backpacks, weighing 1.64 lbs (0.74 kg). Since it has padding on the straps and the rear, you won’t have any issues carrying it around throughout your trip.
While we’re on the topic of your trip, it’s worth noting that the bag won’t hold many clothes. Each pocket is meant to fit work equipment, like your 15-inch laptop, folders, chargers, and so on. Still, some owners stated that they could pack all their gear and an extra change of clothes inside. It’s also worth mentioning that the backpack has four compartments, which is excellent for those of you who want to separate all your belongings. On top of that, there’s a hidden pocket in the back where you could put your phone for extra safety.
That said, the backpack has a few flaws, which are often found in similarly-priced bags. For starters, some customers didn’t find the fabric to be durable, which is expected since Bagsmart opted for polyester, the least durable material on the market. Also, we found a few complaints about the zippers in terms of their durability, with most stating that they broke within the first couple of trips.
However, because the Bagsmart backpack has so many pockets and is relatively cheap, it’s worth checking it out. Plus, hundreds of people adored it and have been using it for several tips. Though, keep in mind that because the material is not the most durable, its water resistance is also below-par; so, while other softside underseat bags would keep your belongings dry in light to moderate rain, this one might not.
8. Best Underseat Tote Bag for Women: NEWHEY Laptop Tote Bag
|- 15.35 x 12.6 x 5.1 in (39 x 32 x 13 cm)|
|- 1.76 lbs (0.8 kg)|
|- Faux Leather|
|- Editors rating: 4.2|
If the Bagsmart backpack seems unprofessional to you, the NEWHEY tote will make it look like you seem business. The tote can be used as a mobile office since it has several compartments, a simple laptop bag, or a toiletries bag. However, because of its design, you won’t be able to pack any clothes inside it, so you’ll also need a carry-on.
Measuring 15.35 x 12.6 x 5.1 in (39 x 32 x 13 cm), the tote from NEWHEY will fit under every seat, whether you’re flying with Spirit or a strict European airline like Lufthansa; though, you’ll have to squeeze it in to use it as a personal item when flying with the latter. The bag is also lightweight, weighing 1.76 lbs (0.8 kg). It’s definitely not as light as the duffel bags we mentioned above, but this comes down to the materials used.
Instead of polyester or nylon, NEWHEY uses a faux leather (PU leather) material for the bag’s exterior. Real leather is one of the most durable materials while also being somewhat heavy and expensive; on the other hand, faux leather sacrifices the durability for a lower price and weight, keeping the flexibility that the real one has. That said, we didn’t find too many complaints about the bag’s durability, so you’ll not have any issues with it.
However, we did find a bunch of complaints about the straps. The tote comes with a shoulder strap and two top handles. All three were heavily criticized by customers, who stated that they broke within a month, or a few trips; some owners managed to keep the bag in good shape for a few months before the top handle’s exterior started to scrape off. Also, it’s worth noting that several reviews complained about the bag having a chemical odor upon arrival; cleaning it up with some rubbing alcohol and leaving it outside for a day or two will be necessary.
The real star of the NEWHEY bag is the interior which features four main compartments. Each compartment has a few pockets, which is excellent in terms of packing options. Apart from fitting in a few folders and a 15-inch laptop, you’ll be able to store your make-up, extra papers or notebooks, and a water bottle or an umbrella.
9. Best Premium Underseat Tote Bag: Travelpro Crew Versapack Deluxe Tote Bag
|- 17 x 11 x 9 in (43 x 28 x 23 cm)|
|- 1.6 lbs (0.73 kg)|
|- Ballistic Nylon|
|- Editors rating: 4.8|
Travelpro is a well-known name in the luggage industry, so we had to include their best underseat bag without wheels: the Crew Versapack Deluxe tote. This bag isn’t for everyone, but if you’re willing to spend double what most bags on this list cost, the Verspack tote will last for many years or hundreds of trips.
It measures 17 x 11 x 9 in (43 x 28 x 23 cm), which is quite large for a personal item, and it’s not within the personal item restrictions implemented by some European airlines. However, as many customers stated, the bag is flexible enough to fit under the seat of any airplane, including ones operated by Lufthansa, which has very strict personal item restrictions (15.7 x 11.8 x 3.9 inches). In terms of its weight, while many complained that the bag is heavy, it only weighs 1.6 lbs (0.73 kg), which is not that bulky compared to the other bags we’ve mentioned so far.
Most of the bag’s weight can be attributed to its ballistic nylon construction. The ballistic nylon used by Travelpro is one of the most durable fabrics on the market, and it’s guaranteed to last through a lot of abuse. The same can be said for the Supra zippers featured in the tote, which are very durable; many customers praised them for remaining so smooth and unharmed after tens of trips.
On top of all this, the Crew Versapack tote comes with Travelpro’s lifetime warranty, alongside a 3-year worry-free one, which covers any damage on the bag. Plus, the bag is coated with DuraGuard, a water-resistant coating, meaning that you’ll have no issue carrying it through the rain. Speaking of which, you’ll have no problem carrying this tote around since the handles are padded, and it comes with a rear strap to secure it on top of your carry-on.
The only issue with this bag is its lack of packing options and interior space. At its price point, we expected the bag to have enough room for at least a 5-day trip and several pockets on the main compartment. While it comes with a couple of exterior pockets, the owners of the tote were disappointed that they were only able to pack for a weekend trip and that the bag had no significant packing options.
10. Best Underseat Laptop Messenger Bag: Leaper Messenger Bag
|- 13.6 x 10.2 x 4.4 in (35 x 26 x 11 cm)|
|- 1.79 lbs (0.81 kg)|
|- Canvas, Leather|
|- Editors rating: 4.4|
One of the best messenger bags on the market is this one by Leaper. While messenger bags are relatively small to have meaningful use when traveling, this one comes with a few packing options and enough packing space to stand out. It’s worth noting that this bag comes in three sizes: medium, large, and X-large. The X-large version can fit a 14-inch laptop and comes with a combination lock as well as a USB port. However, we’ll mainly focus on the large version.
The large version of the Leaper bag measures 13.6 x 10.2 x 4.4 in (35 x 26 x 11 cm), which will fit under the seat on any airplane, even if you fill it to the brim. This is great since most of the bags we’ve mentioned so far are somewhat larger. Despite its smaller size, the Leaper messenger bag weighs 1.79 lbs (0.81 kg), which is slightly heavier than other, larger underseat bags without wheels. Many customers also stated this; their main complaint was that it feels heavy once you wear it for a prolonged time.
Its increase in weight comes down to the materials used in its construction: canvas and faux leather. Canvas is more durable than polyester and nylon. While canvas isn’t well-known for its water resistance, most customers mentioned that their belongings stayed dry even when the bag was wet. Though, you should remember to dry it as soon as possible since canvas can get destroyed when left wet for long.
Taking a closer look at the messenger bag’s interior, it features many pockets where you’ll be able to fit a 13-inch laptop and any other electronics you have. However, the laptop pocket isn’t padded, so you’ll need to be extra careful when carrying the bag. Also, it’s worth noting that the front pocket is covered by magnetic straps, which are said to not be the most durable ones.
For its price, the Leaper messenger bag is a great choice for a weekend trip or an overnight flight.
11. Best Budget Underseat Messenger Bag: XINCADA Messenger Bag
|- 12.2 x 9.45 x 4.5 in (31 x 24 x 11.5 cm)|
|- 1.52 lbs (0.69 kg)|
|- Canvas, Leather|
|- Editors rating: 4.3|
Similar to the messenger bag from Leaper, this one from XINCADA is smaller than other underseat bags without wheels. That doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s an awesome messenger bag that should last you for several trips. While it comes in two versions (medium and large), we’ll focus on the larger one since it’ll hold quite a few more items than the medium one.
The bag measures 12.2 x 9.45 x 4.5 in (31 x 24 x 11.5 cm), making it smaller than the Leaper messenger bag, while it’s also within the personal item restriction for almost every airline. So, you should have no issue filling it up and using it as an underseat bag. It also weighs less than the Leaper bag, weighing only 1.52 lbs (0.69 kg). Speaking of which, out of thousands of reviews, we only found a couple of complaints about it being too heavy, meaning that you shouldn’t have an issue carrying it around on your trip.
Like most messenger bags, the XINCADA one is made from canvas and has leather accents. This allows it to be more durable than polyester bags and somewhat lighter than most of them. The zippers are made from metal; unlike other bags, we didn’t find many complaints about them.
The key aspect of the XINCADA messenger bag is its interior and packing options. Considering its size, this bag should be used as a daypack, so you should also bring a carry-on for your clothing. That said, the XINCADA bag can hold all your small electronics, like a 9.7-inch iPad, a Kindle, and your phone, along with their chargers, documents, and a few books and pens. If you decide to use it as a daypack, it’ll have enough space to keep all your necessary belongings safe.
Overall, the XINCADA and the Leaper messenger bags are pretty similar. The former is excellent when used as a daypack, while the latter is best used as a laptop bag.
12. Best Underseat Cooler: Lifewit Cooling Tote
|- 12 x 9 x 9 in (30 x 23 x 23 cm)|
|- 0.97 lbs (0.44 kg)|
|- Oxford Fabric|
|- Editors rating: 4.1|
Rounding up our list, let’s check out a cooler from Lifewit. Coolers aren’t often seen on airplanes, especially as passengers’ personal items. However, many of you might not know that you’re allowed to bring your own home-cooked food on planes, which is where this bag from Lifewit comes into play. Like the Travelpro tote we mentioned above, this underseat bag isn’t for everyone; it acts like a lunchbox on the airplane and throughout your trip. So, that’s why coolers are mostly geared towards business travelers or ones who follow a strict diet.
Measuring 12 x 9 x 9 in (30 x 23 x 23 cm), you should be able to squeeze the cooler under the seat on any airline. In terms of weight, it’s one of the lightest bags we reviewed, weighing a mere 0.97 lbs (0.44 kg). Many of the reviews we read argued that the cooler isn’t big enough, while most praised it for being considerably lighter than other underseaters.
Like the NRW duffel, the cooler is made from Oxford cloth, which is pretty lightweight. That said, it’s not the most durable fabric out there, and this was evident in a fair share of reviews, with some complaining that the cooler isn’t durable at all. The same was said for every part of the bag, including the handles and the zippers. However, thousands of owners had no issue using the cooler for several years.
As expected, the cooler doesn’t have any packing options, and you definitely won’t be able to fit in your clothes. However, it’ll hold 2-3 meals, as well as a few snacks and drinks, which is more than enough for the day-to-day routine of business travelers. If you’re looking for a cheap cooler for your next business trip, Lifewit’s bag is one of the best options.