How to Measure a Duffel Bag for Carry-On

VD September 09 2023

Traveling can be challenging, especially when going through airport security. A typical way to pack is using a duffel bag, which can easily hold all of your trip requirements.

Being an expert packer is crucial if you travel frequently. In this post, we will go through the necessities of packing and show you how to measure a duffel bag for carry-on usage, which will be very helpful while going through airport security checks.

Steps for Measuring a Duffel Bag

Steps for Measuring a Duffel Bag

Duffel bags offer a convenient option for travel, especially on shorter trips with minimal luggage needs. But if you intend to use your duffel as a carry-on item, there are some steps to follow before your airport journey.

Check Airline Baggage Policies

Know your airline's luggage size and weight regulations before you begin packing your duffel bag. Most US airlines accept carry-on bags that are 22-14-9 inches (56-36-23 cm) or smaller, and have handles and wheels.

These items frequently go in the overhead compartment due to their size and cannot fit under the seat. Some airlines use linear inches to indicate their carry-on size limitations, which are measured as the sum of the length, breadth, and height.

For instance, US airlines like Delta restrict carry-ons to 45 linear inches (114 cm). However, other carry-on size limitations could apply to international airlines like EasyJet or Ryanair.

The maximum size for carry-on luggage on Ryanair is 21.6-15-7.8 inches (55-40-20 cm), whereas the maximum size for luggage on EasyJet is 22-17.7-9.8 inches (56-45-25 cm). When checking in or at the gate, airline workers may ask you to show that your bag fits in a baggage sizer if it looks too large.

Fill the Duffel Bag

It is time to collect measurements once you have determined the duffel bag's proper size. The bag should be filled as much as you can without compromising its form.

Avoid overstuffing, which can cause the sides to bulge and distort your measurements. As a rule of thumb, if the bag is comfortably zippable when filled to capacity, you are likely within the size limits.

If you are preparing for your trip, go ahead and use your actual items to fill the bag. If you are simply checking the bag's size, consider using sheets and/or towels, as they are conveniently sized and you would not require a large quantity to achieve the desired fill.

Measure the Duffel Bag

When your duffel bag is fully packed, take measurements of its height, width, and length using a tape measure or ruler. For the length, measure along the top of the bag where the zipper provides a more stable reference point.

When measuring the height and width, choose one end of the bag and measure both upwards and downwards for height and from side to side for width. Include any protruding handles and wheels in your height measurements to ensure accuracy.

Measuring Cylindrical Duffel Bags

Measuring Cylindrical Duffel Bags

Measuring cylindrical bags for air travel might seem a bit tricky, but it's not as complicated as it sounds. Airlines use luggage sizers to determine if carry-on items meet their requirements. As long as your bag comfortably fits in and out of the sizer, you should be within the limits. To measure a cylindrical bag accurately, start by filling it. Then measure the entire length of the bag along the zipper. Next, measure the height and width of the circular end. When measuring the circular side, place the tape measure or ruler along the diameter, which is the widest part of the circle, to ensure the most precise dimensions.

Tips for More Accurate Measurements

Tips for More Accurate Measurements

Using a table, measuring a duffel bag becomes much simpler. When you place it on a raised surface like a table, having the bag at eye level provides better control over your measuring tool, allowing for a more precise and accurate measurement.

If you are particularly cautious and want to be certain your duffel will fit in the luggage sizer, find a cardboard box with the same dimensions.

Place your bag inside the box to see whether it fits comfortably after measuring the interior of the box to confirm its measurements. If you do not have a box the right size, you may measure the space on a big piece of paper or cardboard and see whether your duffle fits inside the marked-out areas.

Manufacturer measurements are different from airline sizes. Even if a manufacturer advertises their bag as travel-sized, it is essential to verify if it meets airline-approved dimensions.

In many cases, the measurements provided by the manufacturer relate to the bag's total capacity, usually stated in liters, or internal dimensions, often excluding the wheels, handles, or the bag's thick bottom.

To avoid any complications at the airport, it is best to use a measuring tape and rely on your own measurements, disregarding what the product specifications may claim.

Packing Tips 

Packing Tips

Regardless of how spacious your carry-on may be, travelers often find themselves with more items than anticipated. When planning or packing for a trip, it is all too common to experience last-minute panic while searching for your toiletry bag buried beneath layers of clothing.

To avoid such situations, consider using a multi-hook luggage strap. This will help keep your belongings organized and easily accessible.

By securing your clothes or toiletries in one specific spot within your carry-on, you reduce the chances of misplacing them. Additionally, you can utilize other items as hooks to hang bags or water bottles for convenience.

When packing for a trip, try to bring fewer clothing items, especially if you are heading to a cold destination. Use Ziplock bags to store cold weather gear and even keep store-bought fruits and vegetables fresh during transit.

When dining out, consider including space blankets for added warmth throughout your journey.

A duffel bag can serve as a carry-on as long as it adheres to the airline's size restrictions. Furthermore, duffel bags are excellent choices for personal item bags. If you frequently travel on budget airlines, a duffel bag can help you maximize your free baggage allowance.