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Best lightweight luggage 2023: Keep your travels light

Our list has some of the best lightweight luggage picks to ensure your suitcase doesn’t dominate your weight allowance

Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a solo trip around the world, you need luggage that won’t weigh you down. Avid travellers know that the weight of a suitcase can easily cut into the limit set by airlines, so a lightweight luggage option is a must, especially if you’re planning on doing a little shopping while you’re away. 

You also don’t want the strain of lugging a heavy suitcase from the airport to your city centre hotel, or up the hill to your cliffside vacation home. That’s the benefit of lightweight luggage – it’s made to be easy to carry, while still durable enough to handle all your travelling needs for years to come. 

Luggage is generally considered lightweight if it’s under four kilograms and, whether you prefer a hardshell or softside suitcase, there are options available for every taste, requirement, and budget. Often, the perfect piece of luggage will come down to personal preference, and our list has some of the best lightweight luggage options available, in a variety of styles and colours to suit. Keep reading to learn more about what constitutes quality, lightweight luggage, and what products we recommend.

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Best lightweight luggage: At a glance

How to choose the best lightweight luggage

There are some things to think about before purchasing your lightweight luggage.

What types of lightweight luggage are available?

Standard luggage sizes include small, medium, and large cabin size bags, as well as medium, large, and extra-large suitcases. If you’re trying to cut weight from your luggage, you’ll need an efficient packing plan – with a well-packed suitcase, most travellers can easily work with the medium size.

Other than size, the next main question is: hard or soft shell? Hardshell suitcases are typically made with sturdy plastics, such as polycarbonate or polyethylene. They also usually have a middle opening, which allows you to pack on either side, holding items in place with an X-strap. These suitcases are easy to stack, though they’re also prone to getting scuffed and scratched. If you’re a heavy packer, a hardshell can help prevent overpacking since there’s no give in the material.

On the other hand, soft-sided cases have more flexibility, allowing for the possibility of squeezing in one more shirt or pair of trousers – though that may defeat the point of choosing a lightweight suitcase! Softshells tend to be more practical due to their flexibility, and they typically have more pockets, although hardshell suitcases have been making headway in that department too.

What features should I look for in quality lightweight luggage?

Once you decide on size and material, there are a couple of other features you should consider:

Two wheels or four? Almost all luggage available for purchase these days have either two wheels or four. Two-wheel luggage will only roll forward or backward, not side-to-side. Though they’re less manoeuvrable, they’re often easier to carry through streets with kerb cuts. Four-wheel luggage is able to swivel a full 360 degrees, and creates less strain on the wrists, shoulders, and back. However, the wheels are not recessed, so they’re at greater risk of snapping. 

Security: Pretty much all suitcases are designed to lock zippers with a pre-approved EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) or TSA (US Transportation Security Administration) lock. More recently, luggage may even feature integrated EASA/TSA locks for better security.

Handles: Top and side handles are convenient for handling and storing your luggage, while telescoping handles will make it easier to pull alongside or behind you. 

One final consideration is that every airline has different regulations on size and weight. So, before any trip, check the airline’s website to ensure your luggage meets their specific requirements.

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The best lightweight luggage to buy in 2023

1. it Luggage World’s Lightest Medium Suitcase: The best overall lightweight luggage

Price: £45 | Buy now from Argos

With its high tensile fabric and fibreglass framework, the World’s Lightest, from it Luggage, is one of the best lightweight luggage options available. Don’t be deceived by its insubstantial weight – this suitcase is built to be durable, and strong enough to handle any travel you embark upon. 

The retracting handle is cushioned for extra comfort, and is the width of the suitcase, which makes the interior completely flat, offering more space than others with a narrower handle. Though, that said, it’s less convenient for those who like to hook smaller bags over their suitcase handle.

There are two zipped pockets on the front, allowing you easy access to your essentials, and the four swivel wheels make it effortless to guide your suitcase through the airport or along the pavement. With a weight just a touch over two kilos, this really is one of the lightest suitcases available. 

Key specs – Weight: 2.16 kg; Dimensions: 73.5 × 43.5 × 23.5 cm; Shell: Soft; Wheels: 4; Capacity: 63 litres; Colour: Blue 

Buy now from Argos

2. Tripp Holiday 6: The best UK brand lightweight luggage

Price: £70 | Buy now from Amazon

For those who want to support a homegrown business, Tripp has been a top UK luggage brand for over 20 years. And the Tripp Holiday 6 line features lightweight hardshell suitcases made from polypropylene. 

The interior has a polyester lining, with luggage straps and a mesh divider to keep your items in place. The medium boasts a roomy 66 litres of space for your travel essentials. The suitcase has a retractable handle, as well as side and top handles for easy use. It has a four-wheel design for easy navigation, and an integrated TSA-approved lock for added security. 

The slate colour we reviewed compliments the textured design of the suitcase front, helping it to stand out from many standard suitcases. Overall, this suitcase is the perfect lightweight, yet durable, luggage for basically any vacation.

Key specs – Weight: 3.2 kg; Dimensions: 66 × 45 × 26 cm; Shell: Hard; Wheels: 4; Capacity: 66 litres; Colour: Slate, black, ocean blue

3. Samsonite C-Lite: The best large hardshell lightweight luggage

Price: £425 | Buy now from John Lewis

Samsonite is a well-trusted luggage brand, and the C-Lite suitcase meets those high standards. The C-Lite exterior is made of an incredibly light, woven polypropylene, while the inside lining is polyester made from post-consumer, recycled PET bottles. 

This suitcase has a generous 94 litre capacity, with divided storage and compression straps to prevent a messy suitcase. The bottom has four 360 degree spinning double wheels, for easy moving, that are also shock absorbing for extra sturdiness. The zipper is water-resistant, so rain won’t be a concern and it includes an integrated TSA-approved, three-digit combination lock. 

The textured, shell-shape pattern of the case helps your luggage to stand out on the carousel and it’s available in two classic colours. While the suitcase isn’t expandable, it has the capacity to handle just about any vacation packing without cutting into your weight allowance.

Key specs – Weight: 2.8 kg; Dimensions: 75 × 51 × 31 cm; Shell: Hard; Wheels: 4; Capacity: 94 litres; Colour: Black, navy

Buy now from John Lewis

4. Travelpro Maxlite 5: The best large softshell lightweight luggage

Price: £170 | Buy now from Amazon

For those that prefer a more flexible suitcase, a softshell case provides that extra give. The Travelpro Maxlite 5 expands by five centimetres, offering much more space to bring home all those souvenirs and other vacation purchases. The material is a stain-resistant and water-repellent polyester, with strengthened zippers and zipper heads to mitigate damage and loss.

The suitcase tapers towards the top, giving it better balance, and preventing it from tipping over. It sits sturdily on four spinning wheels that rotate 360 degrees. It has an aluminium retractable handle with a rubber, contoured grip, with more subtle, fabric handles on the top and side.

The interior has a similar capacity to our preferred hardshell case, and it has a bottom tray to increase both stability and durability. The inside has a mesh pocket and straps to hold down your packed items. The suitcase also includes pockets for extra storage. 

Key specs – Weight: 3.3 kg; Dimensions: 68.5 × 47 × 29.2 cm; Shell: Soft; Wheels: 4; Capacity: 91 litres; Colour: Black, green

5. American Tourist Soundbox: The best lightweight cabin luggage

Price: £119 | Buy now from John Lewis

With checked luggage becoming more and more of a headache in recent years, many people are aiming to pack everything in cabin luggage to avoid the stress of the carousel. The Soundbox cabin luggage from American Tourist brings flair to your carry-on with its vinyl-inspired design. Available in a number of fun colours, you can match your luggage to your style. 

This cabin case is a hardshell, made of polypropylene, for durable protection. It also includes an integrated TSA zipper lock for further security. It has four double wheels for easy mobility and a retractable cushioned handle. For easy lifting, it also has a second handle on top.

The case has multiple zipper compartments inside, with a divider pad in the case lid, and a small, zippered compartment between the top and bottom. It also has straps to keep items from shifting during transit. Importantly, this case meets the carry-on dimensions for dozens of airlines.

Key specs – Weight: 2.6 kg; Dimensions: 55 × 40 × 20 cm; Shell: Hard; Wheels: 4; Capacity: 38 litres; Colour: Golden yellow, bass black, jade green, poolside blue

Buy now from John Lewis

6. Eastpak Tranverz: The best expandable lightweight luggage

Price: £115 | Buy now from John Lewis

For a holdall-style luggage option, the Eastpak Tranvers is perfect. It has two wheels and a telescoping handle for easy transportation, with padded handles on the top and side for comfortable carrying. The bag itself is made from a durable, water-resistant polyester, so there’s no concern of dampened luggage.

The interior contains multiple compartments, including the lid, so it’s easier to sort things and keep everything from tangling. There are two internal zippered compartments in the bottom half of the bag, and garment straps to secure everything. There is also a pocket on the front of the bag, perfect for those items you need within easy reach.

The standout feature of this bag is the inclusion of exterior compression straps. With a light packing job, you can pull these straps tight to keep everything in place, and make sure your bag is as compact as possible. And when you need more, simply loosen the straps to expand your luggage, and get the space you need.

Key specs – Weight: 3.1 kg; Dimensions: 69 × 36.5 × 36 cm; Shell: Soft; Wheels: 2; Capacity: 80 litres; Colour: Black, triple denim, crafty wine

Buy now from John Lewis

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