Cabin Zero hand luggage review
The words ‘hand luggage only’ bring me out in a cold sweat. I have never been a light packer, preferring to throw in all those things I might need… just in case.
Once my daughter came along and commandeered basically all my luggage space for her paraphernalia, I’ve got a bit better. But I still try to cram so much into hand luggage that my last bag literally started to split at the seams.
So the idea of a cabin bag that can fit an impressive 44 litres, is accepted on board most airlines including low cost ones such as easyJet, Wizz and Ryanair and is tough enough to get a 10 year + warranty sounded like the answer to my overladen prayers. Step forward Cabin Zero.
Designed after the CEO endured a succession of bags which didn’t do what he needed on his own travels, and which would normally cost to be checked into the hold, the range is designed to fill a gap: sturdy, practical, small but spacious, letting you travel without being held back by luggage.
Offered one to review, I loved the look of the classic range. Available in up to 44 litres (loads of room even for me), it has handles on the side and the top (so useful when you just want to grab the bag rather than wriggling in and out), weighs only 0.76kg and is 51 x 36 x 19cm.
As you’ll know if you’re a regular reader, my year started with the kind of packing that makes a round-the-world trip seem straightforward… our house move.
And as I watched 99% of my possessions vanish into boxes, my Cabin Zero bag came into its own. As well as keeping out the same kind of essentials which you’d have on board a plane – change of clothes, tablet/laptop, toiletries, spare plug, passport (not risking that going astray) – I ended up putting even more in than for a flight.
After all, there were no 100ml restrictions and while you’re normally reunited with your suitcase on landing, it took days to work out what was in which box so I was relying entirely on the contents of my backpack. Perhaps the only exception to the usual rule was my camera.
But with padded and adjustable straps, it never felt too huge. There are plenty of pockets as well- external for those things you need to get at frequently (passport, lip balm, money etc) and two more inside, including a net one and a sleeve that was perfect for my Surface 3 tablet.
The net one should be just as handy to separate things out, although I did find I kept accidentally stuffing things into it when I put them back into the bag. It’s big enough for a book or tablet, or keeping money secure, although anything too heavy would fall out if the rest of the bag isn’t full.
There are other useful details too – lockable double zips so you’re not forever fiddling around looking for them. And it’s made from highly water resistant materials: a tropical downpour might tax it, but it sneered in the face of English drizzle.
There’s even a lost and found tag, so you can register the bag and track it if it goes missing.
Plus did I mention that it’s a fabulous cheerful bright pink? I was distinctly tempted by orange and a limited edition red print, as well as a vintagey option with flag patches sewn on, although there’s plenty of choice across the various styles including more muted colours if you’d rather not be spotted half way across an airport.
You can even buy packing cubes (and I love packing cubes) to go inside if you don’t already have a set.
Having also pressed it into service for some post-house move essentials – taking bags and bags of recycling/charity shop donations from our home, and on one memorable occasion, restocking the kitchen with a much-needed 10kg of shopping. I weighed it – you really could pack it with more than I could reasonably carry.
I had wondered about the squareish shape if you’re relatively small framed (as I am, at very nearly 5ft 4). But while it might look a little wide to others, I didn’t notice any difference wearing it compared to a more standard rucksack shape and those padded straps meant it stayed comfortable.
Priced £60, it feels like something of a bargain if it lasts a decade, especially if you travel a lot. And with an easyJet flight in a few weeks, I am feeling distinctly smug at just how much I’ll be able to take on the plane – as long as my daughter doesn’t commandeer it all for stickers…
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Disclosure: My bag was sent to me for review by Cabin Zero and this post contains affiliate links. All opinions, and slight disgruntlement at not travelling anywhere in January, remain my own. Any purchases you make are unaffected but I may receive a few pennies.
Images: copyright MummyTravels