13 Best Personal Item Bags for 2023

13 Best Personal Item Bags for 2023 titlecard

Do you ever struggle to find the best personal item bag for your travels? If you are like most travelers, you probably want a bag that is spacious, stylish, and easy to carry.

A personal item bag is a smaller bag that you can bring on board a plane in addition to your carry-on bag. It can be a shoulder bag, a tote bag, a laptop sleeve, or anything else that fits under the seat in front of you.

A personal item bag can make your travel experience more comfortable and convenient, as you can store your essentials and valuables. But how do you choose the best personal item bag for your needs?


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The best personal item bags to buy this year:

This blog post will show you some of the best personal item bags available in 2024 and what features to look for when buying one. We have covered you whether you need a personal bag with a laptop compartment, exterior pockets, or a stylish design. Read on to find out more about the best personal item bags for 2024.

Related article: 11 Best Travel Backpacks for Europe in 2023

The Best Personal Item Bags You Should Buy For Your Trips

1. Travelpro x Travel + Leisure UnderSeat Tote

Travelpro x Travel + Leisure UnderSeat Tote bag


The Travelpro x Travel + Leisure UnderSeat Tote is a versatile and stylish bag for the modern traveler. As a personal item bag and carry-on bag, it’s crafted with high-density textured fabric coated with DuraGuard®, resisting stains and abrasions.

The genuine leather trim adds comfort, style, and durability. It’s a top choice for shoulder or personal carry-on bags. The design features a rear zippered opening for laptops up to 15 inches and a Travelpro® QuickSlip™ front pocket for essentials.

Features include a rear strap for stacking, a removable shoulder strap for hands-free carrying, and a trolley sleeve.

The UnderSeat Tote comes in two stylish colors: black and navy. They complement Travelpro x Travel + Leisure Hardside luggage.

Inside of Travelpro x Travel + Leisure UnderSeat Tote


  • Tote Bag: Stylish and practical tote bag design for easy carry and organization.
  • Laptop Sleeve and Compartment: Dedicated laptop compartment and sleeve, ideal for securely carrying laptops up to 15 inches.
  • Exterior Pockets: Multiple exterior pockets for convenient access and organization of essentials.
  • Best Personal Item Bags: A top choice for travelers seeking the best personal item bags for their trips.
  • Everywhere Bag: Versatile and suitable for carrying everywhere, meeting various travel needs.


  1. Versatile Usage: Functions as a personal item bag, carry-on, and messenger bag, offering flexibility for different travel styles.
  2. Efficient Organization: Ample exterior and interior compartments, including a water bottle pocket, ensure easy access to all your necessities.
  3. Travel-Friendly Features: Integrated trolley sleeve for stacking on a rolling suitcase. Front seat access adds mobility and convenience..


  1. Limited Space: Being a personal item, it may have limited space for extended trips or those requiring a larger carry-on luggage.
  2. Weight Limitations: Consideration is needed for weight restrictions, especially when used as an only bag or with a rolling suitcase.
  3. Fashion Preference: The design, though stylish, may not appeal to those seeking a more specific camera bag style.

User Reviews

The Travelpro x Travel + Leisure UnderSeat Tote has received positive user reviews. Here are some of the comments from bloomingdales.com:

  • Excellent build quality and materials.
  • The small outer pocket with a magnetic closure is handy for quick access, but I wish the magnet was stronger.
  • Designed to fit under the seat of domestic airplane seats easily, you can rest assured that everything you need can fly with you in a stylish tote.
  • The Travelpro Maxlite 5 Lightweight Underseat Carry-on Travel Tote Bag weighs just 2 pounds and remains comfortable to carry.

My Take

In my view, Travelpro x Travel + Leisure’s UnderSeat Tote offers a blend of practicality and style for travelers seeking a reliable personal item or shoulder bag. Seamlessly integrates with Travelpro’s rolling luggage. Includes shoulder straps and a laptop compartment, making it a standout choice.

However, it’s essential to consider the space limitations and weight restrictions, ensuring they align with individual preferences and travel needs. Overall, it’s a valuable addition to lightweight bags and an excellent companion for on-the-go travelers.

Also read: 7 Best Crossbody Bags For Men

2. The Tom Bihn Synapse 19

The Tom Bihn Synapse 19 bag


The Tom Bihn Synapse 19 is a versatile backpack designed to meet the needs of various travelers.

Whether you’re looking for an everyday carry bag, an ultralight travel companion, or a day hiking pack, the Synapse 19 covers you. Tom Bihn, known for top-quality American-made bags, crafted this backpack. It’s a favorite ‘personal item’ or ‘carry-on’ for travelers.

Back of the Tom Bihn Synapse 19 bag


  • Personal Item Bags: Designed to meet the personal item requirement on most airlines, ensuring hassle-free travel.
  • Lightweight Bag: The Synapse 19 offers a lightweight yet robust solution for carrying your essentials.
  • Padded Laptop Compartment: Featuring a padded sleeve, it keeps your laptop safe and secure during your travels.
  • Detachable Shoulder Strap: Added convenience with a detachable shoulder strap for different carrying options.
  • Water Bottle Compatibility: Exterior pockets are designed to accommodate water bottles, making hydration easily accessible.
  • Good Personal Item Bag: Praised for its organization, durability, and simplicity, it’s a top choice for those seeking a good personal item bag.


  • Exceptional Durability: Tom Bihn’s commitment to quality ensures that this bag stands the test of time, making it a reliable investment.
  • Smart Organization: The multiple pockets, including the padded laptop compartment, help keep your items neatly arranged and easily accessible.
  • Versatile Use: Whether you’re a ‘messenger bag’ enthusiast or need a ‘carry-on’ for your travels, the Synapse 19 adapts to various roles.


  • Limited Size: While meeting airline requirements, it might be smaller for extended trips or those requiring larger ‘carry-on bags.’
  • Price Point: The quality comes at a cost, which may not align with everyone’s budget.
  • Color and Fabric Choices: While offering variety, many choices might overwhelm some buyers.

User Reviews

The Tom Bihn Synapse 19 has received positive reviews from users. Here are some of the comments from tombihn.com:

  • The Synapse 19 has fantastic organization for smaller items, but it’s unsuitable as a work + gym bag.
  • The Synapse 19 is the supreme backpack for everyday carry, ultralight travel, or a day hike. It has an abundant amount of organization for your everyday essentials, big and small.
  • The Synapse 19’s back panel features 1/4″ closed-cell foam padding covered in Spacer mesh and 210D nylon on the exterior. This mesh and smooth nylon combo maximizes breathability, remaining gentle on your garments. Perfect for your clothing care needs.

My Take

In my opinion, Tom Bihn’s Synapse 19 is an excellent choice for travelers and bag enthusiasts alike. It embodies the qualities of a great ‘personal item bag’ or ‘carry-on.’ This bag’s durability and thoughtful design, featuring a padded laptop compartment and detachable shoulder strap, reflect the brand’s commitment to quality.

However, the size limitation, though ideal for most travelers, might not suit those with extensive packing needs. Additionally, the price point reflects the quality, but it may be a consideration for budget-conscious buyers.

Tom Bihn’s Synapse 19 is a versatile, well-crafted solution for travel, making it a reliable ‘good personal item bag.

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3. The Samsonite Wheeled Underseater

The Samsonite Wheeled Underseater bag


The Samsonite Wheeled Underseater is a game-changer in travel gear for those seeking efficient and hassle-free travel. It caters to the need for a convenient personal item bag that fits neatly under the seat in front of you on most flights.

The design features a spacious main compartment with a removable organizer for easy packing and organization of travel essentials.

Side details of the Samsonite Wheeled Underseater bag


  • Versatile Storage: Features various pockets and compartments, including a padded laptop sleeve, tablet pocket, and side mesh pocket for efficient organization.
  • Carry-On Convenience: Ideal for travelers looking to avoid checking in their bags or paying extra fees for carry-on bags.
  • Smart Mobility: Equipped with a retractable handle and four multi-directional spinner wheels, allowing easy maneuverability in busy airports and tight spaces.
  • Charge On-the-Go: Select models come with a built-in USB port, ensuring you can conveniently charge your devices while on the move (battery pack not included).
  • Travel-Friendly Design: Including a smart sleeve for secure stacking over the handle of larger luggage makes it a great travel bag.


  1. Efficient Organization: Including a padded laptop sleeve and separate laptop compartment ensures easy access and proper protection for your electronics.
  2. Easy Accessibility: The easy access design elements, like various pockets and a spacious main compartment, simplify packing and retrieving items during your journey.
  3. Smooth Mobility: Being a wheeled bag with four multi-directional spinner wheels, it offers smooth and effortless maneuvering through crowded spaces.


  1. Limited Capacity: While excellent for essentials, the space may be limiting for longer trips or those requiring more storage.
  2. Weight Consideration: The weight of the bag itself, especially when filled, might be a factor for travelers mindful of airline weight restrictions.
  3. Durability Concerns: Some users may have experienced durability issues over extended periods of use.

User Reviews

The Samsonite Wheeled Underseater has received positive reviews from users. Here are some of the comments from amazon.com:

  • It’s a well-designed, well-made bag. If longevity is your top priority, this is the bag I would recommend. The fabric is high-quality, the handle and wheels are sturdy, and the zippers are smooth.
  • The Samsonite spinner under seater with USB port features an integrated charging port and multidirectional wheels, perfect for travel.
  • Overall, it was very easy to use and rolled nicely. I traveled all over Europe with it. I didn’t use the USB port, but it was there if I needed it.
  • The Novaire Wheeled Underseater has an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Users appreciate the compact size and the fact that it fits under most airplane seats.

My Take

From my perspective, Samsonite’s Wheeled Underseater is a game-changer for travelers seeking a reliable personal item bag that aligns with airline regulations.

The range of models, each with its distinct features and designs, showcases the brand’s understanding of diverse customer needs. Including a water bottle holder, various pockets, and a spacious main compartment indicates careful consideration for practical functionality.

However, it’s important to consider individual preferences and travel requirements, especially capacity and durability.

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The GORUCK GR1 bag

The GORUCK GR1 is a versatile and rugged backpack designed for those who demand both functionality and durability in their bags.

Whether for rucking, everyday carry, or travel, the GR1 offers durability and versatility to meet your needs. This American-made backpack uses premium materials – 1000D Cordura nylon, YKK zippers, and parachute 550 cord – for durability.

Inside of The GORUCK GR1 bag


Here are some key benefits of the GORUCK GR1 for its target customers:

  • Personal Item Bags: The GR1 is designed to fit comfortably under the seat in front of you during air travel, making it an ideal personal item for your flights.
  • Carry-On: The GR1’s ample storage and airline-friendly size make it a versatile carry-on, saving you from checked baggage fees.
  • Water Bottle: The exterior pockets are perfect for carrying water bottles, ensuring you stay hydrated during your adventures.
  • Mesh Pockets: Inside, you’ll find a range of pockets and compartments, including mesh pockets, for organized storage of personal items, gadgets, and accessories.
  • Padded Compartment: The dedicated laptop compartment is padded and reinforced, providing excellent protection for your devices during travel.
  • Personal Bag: Whether you’re hitting the gym, going to work, or embarking on a weekend getaway, the GR1 can be your trusty personal bag for all occasions.


  1. Durability: Made with high-quality materials, the GR1 is built to last and comes with a lifetime guarantee.
  2. Versatility: It’s a versatile bag suitable for various activities, from rucking and hiking to daily commuting and air travel.
  3. Customization: You can enhance its functionality with accessories like the Cache, Freudian Slip, or Guardian Light.


  1. Price: The quality comes at a price, and the GR1 might be on the higher end of the budget for some consumers.
  2. Limited Color Options: While it comes in different sizes, color choices are somewhat limited compared to other brands.
  3. Weight: The high-quality materials make the bag slightly heavier than some alternatives.

User Reviews

The GORUCK GR1 has received positive reviews from users. Here are some of the comments from various sources:

  • The GORUCK GR1 is a well-designed, well-made backpack built to last. The bag has a minimally tactical style, balancing an urban style and military roots. The bag has a simple design, with straightforward features and organizational design. The MOLLE webbing allows for some customization. The laptop sleeve is slightly more difficult to access than other backpacks.
  • The GORUCK GR1 is a perfect daypack for hard use, techy nomads, and no gym workouts. The bag is rainproof, has padded tech protection, and minimalist organization. The bag is comfortable to wear and is built to last. The bag is worth every penny.

My Take

In my opinion, GORUCK has truly excelled in designing the GR1. Its focus on durability and functionality is evident in every aspect of the backpack. Whether for air travel, rugged rucking, or everyday carry, the GR1 consistently proves its worth in various scenarios.

The attention to detail, like the padded compartment and customizable accessories, sets it apart from the competition. While the price might be a consideration for some, the lifetime guarantee and long-lasting quality make it a wise investment.

Overall, I believe the GORUCK GR1 is a top choice in the realm of personal item bags, carry-ons, and everyday backpacks.

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5. The Matador Transit30 Duffel

The Matador Transit30 Duffel bag

The Matador Transit30 Duffel is the perfect travel bag for anyone seeking a lightweight, compact duffel bag that offers a surprising amount of space. This durable, waterproof bag, made from siliconized Cordura® ripstop, can hold up to 30 liters of gear and compresses palm-sized.

It’s an ideal option for travelers needing extra space or a backup bag, meeting personal item backpack criteria.

The Matador Transit30 Duffel bag inside a container


Here are the key benefits that the Matador Transit30 Duffel offers to its target customers:

  • Packability: This duffel bag can be compressed to an impressively compact size, making it ideal for travelers looking for a lightweight and easily storable option.
  • Versatility: This versatile duffel suits weekend trips, shopping, or travel. It meets various needs and is ideal for hiking, camping, and daily commuting.
  • Convenience: The zippered front pocket and tether point provide access and security. The detachable roll-top storage bag ensures quick, organized packing.
  • Airlines Friendly: It conveniently fits airline personal item requirements, sliding under seats, making it an excellent choice for air travel.
  • Durability: Constructed from waterproof and tear-resistant materials, this duffel can withstand travel’s rigors and protect your belongings.


  1. Portability: Compressing this duffel into a small size for easy storage and transport is a major advantage, especially for those on the move.
  2. Durability: Using waterproof Cordura® ripstop material and high-quality zippers ensures the bag can withstand various weather conditions and heavy use.
  3. Multi-functionality: Its sleek design and spacious main compartment make it versatile for different activities and travel needs.


  1. Limited Color Options: While coyote and indigo are attractive color choices, some users might desire more variety to suit their preferences.
  2. Minimal Organization: The duffel has a minimalist design, lacking extra pockets or compartments, which might disappoint those seeking better organization.
  3. Shoulder Strap Comfort: Some users might find the shoulder straps less comfortable for extended periods of carrying.

User Reviews

The Matador Transit30 Duffel has received positive reviews from users. Here are some of the comments from packhacker.com:

  • The Matador Transit30 is a reliable and durable duffel bag that is perfect for a weekend trip or as an extra bag when space is tight. The bag is lightweight and packable, making it easy to store when not in use.
  • The Transit30 2.0 is a large packable duffel bag that is great for adding extra capacity to your travel setup. The bag is made from high-quality materials and is designed to be durable and long-lasting

My Take

Matador’s Transit30 Duffel is a stellar example of innovative design meeting the needs of modern travelers. The focus on portability and durability while maintaining a minimalist and sleek aesthetic is commendable. Being always on the go, I appreciate this travel bag’s packability and versatility for weekend getaways or backups during trips.

A key advantage is meeting personal item backpack requirements, fitting under the seat during air travel. While the limited color options and minimal organizational features could be improved, the pros outweigh the cons.

Overall, this duffel is a standout option for anyone seeking a reliable, compact, and versatile travel companion.

Related article: 11 Best Travel Backpacks for Europe in 2023

How To Pick The Right Bag For Your Travels?

person carrying his bags

When it comes to choosing the perfect bag for your travels, here are five essential tips to consider:

1. Consider Your Travel Needs

Before selecting a bag, assess your travel requirements. Determine the purpose of your trip—whether it’s a short weekend getaway, a business trip, or an extended vacation. Different travel needs call for specific bags, such as a weekend bag for short trips or a wheeled suitcase for longer travels.

2. Evaluate Bag Size and Capacity

Tailor the bag size to the length and purpose of your trip. For compactness, use a personal item or under-seat bag for carry-on. For longer trips, consider carry-on or wheeled luggage

3. Prioritize Accessibility and Organization

Consider the bag’s internal organization and pockets. Look for features like slip pockets, packing cubes, and compartments that help keep your personal items well-organized and easily accessible. A bag with designated compartments for a laptop, camera, or other electronics is a bonus if you need these on your travels.

4. Versatility and Comfort

Choose a bag that offers versatility and comfort in carrying. Crossbody bags, fanny packs, and small backpacks distribute weight evenly and are easy to use. Ensure the bag is comfortable to wear for extended periods, especially if you plan to explore or walk extensively.

5. Air Travel-Friendly Features

If air travel is involved, opt for bags that comply with airline regulations. Opt for bags that fit under seats, in overhead bins, or meet personal item size for smoother airport travel.

To choose the best personal bag for travel, consider size, features, organization, comfort, and airline compatibility, catering to your needs.

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Final Thoughts About The Best Personal Item Bag

In conclusion, finding the best personal item bag for your travels is all about aligning your needs with the bag’s features. Options like Travelpro’s UnderSeat Tote, Tom Bihn’s Synapse 19, Samsonite’s Wheeled Underseater, GORUCK’s GR1, and Matador’s Transit30 Duffel cater to various preferences.

Tailor your choice to the journey, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable travel experience. For a detailed exploration of these top picks and more, click the links to read further and make an informed decision for your next adventure.

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