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Reviewed: The CabinZero 44L Backpack

There are so many good reasons for travelling with just carry-on luggage. No worries about your luggage not turning up with you at your destination. Avoid ridiculous charges for checking-in hold luggage. No waiting at the carousel when you’d rather be out of the airport like a rocket itching to explore.

But which carry-on luggage is the best one for you? If you’re like me then you’re constantly looking out for the perfect carry-on backpack and I’ve tried loads over the years. Here’s what I think about the CabinZero 44L carry-on backpack.

Cabin Zero Backpack

I’ve been testing out an innovative back-pack from British company CabinZero. The idea for a cabin-sized bag that is durable, lightweight and stylish came from CabinZero’s owner and traveller Neil Varden. He didn’t want the hassle of checking-in his bags. In fact, he wanted zero hassle with his bag. Extra features were added, a built-in lost and found system and lockable zips for extra security. Cabin-sized, heaps of features and zero hassles = CabinZero.


Why is CabinZero a good carry-on backpack for travel?

CabinZero is Airline Approved

I‘ve taken the classic CabinZero 44L ultra-light on a few trips and to France on my Camping Ilbarritz trip. CabinZero bags have been designed to be accepted with all major airlines. We flew with Ryan Air (shudder) so I needed a bag that would fit within the sizing restrictions and not go over the 10k weight allowance.

The bag weighs around 760 grams and at 55 x 40 x 20 cm easily fitted the Ryan Air carry on restrictions, one of the strictest there is*. I’ve tested it with around five discount airline luggage cages including Easy Jet, Air France, Hop! and Norwegian. It fits them all – some with room to spare. It also fitted easily into the overhead luggage compartment on the flight.

*Ryan Air have reduced their carry on luggage dimensions. Check here for new luggage regulations but do remember to click through to each airline’s website for exact and up to date information.

>>>> You might want to read my best travel backpacks guide. This guide will help you choose the >>>> best backpack for your size and your trip.

Best carry on back pack

>>>> Read more: Osprey Farpoint 40 Review – and why it’s my favourite backpackback


CabinZero is Lightweight and Spacious

The weather was forecast for sun and rain meaning I had to consider both eventualities. We’d also be exploring glitzy Biarritz and spending time of the beach so there were lots of different outfit scenarios to cover. Here’s what I packed in my CabinZero 44 litre pack which came in at a total weight of 9.3kg. I wore jeans, shirt and trainers on the flight.

  • Flip Flops
  • Sandals
  • Jeans – in case my first pair got drenched in the rain (it didn’t rain…!)
  • Hoodie for chilly evenings
  • Yoga leggings
  • Yoga tops x 2
  • Shorts
  • Swim wear
  • Beach cover
  • 2 x t-shirts
  • Cotton top
  • PJs
  • Toiletries
  • Underwear
  • Cagoule

Blogger Gear:

  • Mac Pro with padded case
  • DSLR Camera
  • Various cables, phone charger
  • Battery pack
  • External Hard drive
  • Selfie stick (which I never use because I hate selfies but always take for some reason….)
  • Adaptor plugs
  • Torch
Packing for France

I love that the bag completely unzips and opens like a suitcase for easy packing. Inside there’s a zipped compartment, a mesh compartment and a padded laptop compartment. I use packing cubes to help organise my packing. I used to be a bit sceptical but am now a total convert and use them on most trips.

Cabin Zero Backpack

Stylish Design

The outside of the pack is made from durable waterproof Polyester so I didn’t have to worry about it getting wet. The bags come in a full range of colours. I chose Galactic Green because I wanted something bright, easily identifiable and unmistakably mine.

If you want something subtler you’ll find that too because there are 21 other colours to choose from. There are also other sizes and designs in the CabinZero range.

Cabin Zero Backpack


Multiple Carry Options

There are side compression straps to keep things neat although when these were tightened the straps dangled and I kept treading on them while I was holding the bag by the side handle. I guess I could trim them off.  Padded shoulders straps meant the bag was comfortable to wear although I’d have like a chest strap and hip straps to distribute the load is more evenly. The weight did tend to pull on my back after a while which became uncomfortable

There are top and side grab-handles. The outside compartment zips are sturdy and tuck out of sight for a clean look. The zips are lockable – although you’ll need to provide your own lock. There’s another large outside zipped compartment.

Built-in Luggage Tracker

CabinZero bags have built-in lost and found tags. If I ever lose my bag it’ll be tracked by Okoban to help locate it. Okoban is also linked directly into the Airline’s own baggage tracing system. Before I travelled I registered my bag on-line with Okoban so if I get separated from my bag the chances of getting it back again are much higher.

Social Responsibility

CabinZero takes social responsibility seriously. Bags are not made in sweat shops and they care that their staff are happy in their work.

Quality materials are used and they take measures to reduce environmental impact. The bags are made to last and come with a 10-year warranty. If you want more give CabinZero a like on Facebook to increase the warranty to 25 years. That means mine’s guaranteed until I’m 78! Now that’s sustainable.

CabinZero also encourage sustainable tourism and support charities in developing countries. You can read more about their efforts to be socially responsible here.

The Verdict

I love the stylish design, the durability and practical features. It’s light but tough and has loads of space. The bag is airline approved and will also work for train travel and weekend breaks at home and overseas. But, when it’s filled and weighs 10k it does start to slip down my back – a chest strap would help. Hip straps would help a lot. There’s a smaller (and cheaper) 36L version for overnight trips. At just £60 or US $79 the 44L bag is excellent value for money. CabinZero ship worldwide.

You might want to read my best travel backpacks guide. How to choose the best backpack for you and your trip.

Disclosure: CabinZero provided the Classic 44L Ultra-Light in exchange for an honest review. As always all views and opinions are 100% my own, otherwise there’d be no point.

Fathia Weller

Monday 14th of January 2019

Hi Suzanne... with the new Ryanair policy, will I be still able to take the Cabin Zero 36L or the 44L on board without paying extra? I'm debating which size to buy. Thanking you in advance.

Suzanne Jones

Monday 14th of January 2019

Currently (Jan 2018) The Ryanair website states the following dimensions for carry on luggage "All passengers are entitled to bring 1 small personal bag on board which must fit under the seat in front of you (40cm x 20cm x 25cm). Examples include, handbag, laptop bag and small backpack". I don't think therefore that any of the Cabin Zero bags are small enough. I'll update this page to reflect the changes. Happy travels.


Thursday 17th of May 2018

I love the colourful design – no danger of mixing it up with anyone else’s – I’m a great believer in carry-on only

Suzanne Jones

Monday 21st of May 2018

That's not going to happen and if you did lose it there's the tracker to fall back on...

Kerala Packages

Wednesday 7th of February 2018

I love the design of backpack. I’m a great believer in carry-on only. This unique colour don't mix up with any others bag, It saves the time.

alison abbott

Tuesday 15th of August 2017

I try to travel with a carry on as often as possible and CabinZero looks like a great option. I like its lightweight construction and social responsibility mission. For me a weekender would be a good choice. Otherwise I need wheels, my camera and computer have gotten to heavy for my shoulders.

Suzanne Jones

Saturday 19th of August 2017

I had both my camera and Mac in my CabinZero and still managed to keep it under 10 kilos. I love that this is a company that really cares about its workers and sustainability.

Jaillan Yehia

Saturday 12th of August 2017

I've been hearing a lot about Cabin Zero lately and I'm definitely coveting one of their bags. I like to travel with hand luggage only where possible and since getting ultra lightweight check-in luggage I am a convert. The trackable thing is a huge bonus too.

Suzanne Jones

Sunday 13th of August 2017

I know I'll be using this bag a lot!

Comments are closed.