Savvy travellers have packing down to a science. They employ rolling or bundling techniques; go the extra mile by investing in packing cubes or compression bags; and can survive a week away with just carry-on. This traveller gets quizzical glances as they breeze through security and whiz past the luggage carousel upon arrival. I’ve done the work to identify some of the most practical and stylish carry-on pieces out there.
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Ebby Rane Quartermaster
Ebby Rane was founded by Canadian executive Sonja Salmon, who was frustrated at the lack of stylish and executive luggage built with business travellers in mind. The Quartermaster includes 10 removable nylon pouches to organize shoes, jewellery, toiletries, laundry and even your “knickers” as well as a stylish leather clutch to boot. The carry-on piece can easily fit two dresses, two pairs of slacks, a skirt, a pair of jeans, four blouses, two lightweight sweaters, a cashmere cardigan, two silk scarves, a nightgown, a bathing suit, two pairs of shoes, underwear, cosmetics, jewellery and sunglasses. No wonder that the Quartermaster was the choice Royal Wedding carry-on for Meghan’s mum Doria Ragland and bestie Jessica Mulroney. There’s also an equally natty version for men.
Away The Carry-On
Each Away unisex carry-on suitcase has “features that solve real travel problems and premium materials chosen to be resilient and beautiful.” Founded by two ex-Warby Parker executives, the luggage line has quickly become a fave of travel influencers and the Silicon Valley set. The Carry-On comes with an ejectable battery pack (finally, no need to set-up shop next to the charging station, or worse, have to sit on the floor next to an outlet, ugh), an internal compression system, hidden laundry bag and a durable polycarbonate shell.
Tumi Voyageur Mauren Tote
Women have been using totes to their advantage for years. The Tumi Voyageur Mauren Tote is a well-designed bag that fits quite a bit and counts as a personal item. Seventeen inches wide and almost 11 inches deep, this stylish nylon tote has a padded laptop compartment; interior pockets for tablets and a waterproof one for water bottles; and comes with a monogrammable leather key ring.
Everlane Day Market Tote
When Meghan and Harry officially stepped out as a couple at the Invictus Games in Toronto, she was snapped toting this bag around the event. It immediately sold out! And, no wonder. The sleek tote is unlined, made of Italian leather, has a nine-and-half handle drop and fits enough to take you “from your morning commute to an evening nightcap.” Like the Duchess, it epitomizes timeless elegance.
Longchamp Le Pliage Tote Bag
A favourite of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, the large version of this nylon tote, has both a zipper and snap closure and can be folded to the size of “a paperback book.” It’s water-resistant, stylish, 18 inches wide and has an almost 10” strap drop. The Le Pliage Tote Bag comes in 15 colours (special edition colours and prints are added seasonally), two sizes, is easy to clean and the perfect “handbag” for travelling.
The Herschel Novel™ Duffle
If you’re seeking the perfect weekender bag, look no further. This unisex bag has been a best-seller since it came on the market. Clean lines, 21 colour options, lightweight material and a signature shoe compartment (in which, from personal experience, you can squeeze two pairs of size 13s) make grabbing this duffle a no-brainer.
Roots Large Banff Bag Prince
Roots knows leather and is a popular option for many Canadians. The Banff Bag Prince is made for supple leather that looks better when the patina sets in. Strangers will ask where you got it, and those who know will give you a knowing glance. With sturdy handles and an adjustable shoulder strap, this may be the last leather duffle that you purchase.
Victorinox Rath Slim Backpack
Designed for “office, travel or everyday use” this award-winning backpack has more pockets than you’ll know to do with and is perfect for staying organized. With waterproof external zippers and space for a 17-inch laptop, this bag conveys that “you’re ready for anything.”
Aer Travel Pack 2
This is a versatile backpack that keeps you organized and prepared and with the adjustment of a couple straps, can be work on the back or carried as a duffle. It has a dedicated quick-access pocket for travel documents, is water-resistant, has a separate ventilated compartment for shoes (or worn clothes) and “takes the headache out of travelling.”
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