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Another pending trip, another cabin bag. My carry-on hand luggage obsession is taking over my tartan dresses. The newest addition is the navy blue Cabin X One, a stylish hybrid carry-on case. For the most efficient airport experience: check-in online, purchase a fast-track security pass (included in some lounge passes) and pack a light convertible travel backpack carry-on like this Cabin X. This summer, Craig and I (Gemma) try out the hybrid and report back in this travel gear guide. Keep reading to see if Cabin X One is for you.
Cabin X One
The first impression of Cabin X One is that the team behind this case clearly know and love to travel. The detail that has gone into the creation of the carry-on is impressive. The Cabin X One is a hybrid travel bag which means it converts into a suitcase and a backpack depending on your trip needs.
To get through customs speedily, you can wheel the Cabin X One then once you step out of the airport doors, swing it on your back to get through crowds and avoid that horrid ‘wheels on cobbled’ streets sound. Remember when Venice wanted to ban suitcases with wheels?!
» ‘Probably the only female packing list you’ll ever need’ says a reader – click here for the guide
Picking the Right Hybrid Carry-On
Before you decide if Cabin X One is the right type of hybrid bag for you consider the following:
- How long do you generally travel for?
- What type of items do you travel with?
- How many bulky/heavy items like shoes do you carry?
- Genuinely, how likely are you to convert the bag from a wheeled case to a backpack
The perfect hybrid carry-on has to meet the majority of airline measurements or it will end up in the hold which defeats the purpose of a carry-on and adds to your travel journey time. The ergonomics of the suitcase handles and convertible day bag straps need to fit well or will make travelling uncomfortable.
The back should be supportive and made from breathable material (don’t underestimate the sweat from getting lost in cities!). The wheels should not touch the users back when worn as a backpack. Zips must be sturdy to avoid breaking with use and big enough to add padlocks too.
Personally, I avoid top-loading bags because they are a pain to get into. Most hybrid cases unzip along the width of the bag. Ideally, the overall material will be showerproof in case you are caught in the rain.
Compartments inside the case are ideal for packing and the structure of the bag (including the wheels) should allow for as much storage space as possible. Once packed, the weight needs to be manageable on your shoulders. When used as a suitcase, the bag should not fall over when standing.
Carry-on Case Explained
Cabin X One case
The case itself is 38l capacity which is sectioned for different items of clothing. Sections include the flat back shirt flatter which is useful for business travellers who need crinkle-free shirts (I also recommend these Bluffworks fast-drying, wrinkle-defying travel shirt). The Internal Compression Section closes over clothes and straps down to create more space.
There’s nifty space for shoes and a detachable compartment with a coat-hanger header for unpacking at the hotel. The transparent toiletries pocket is useful, not digging around dark bags for items. It is leak-free too.
There is a separate fleece-lined and zipped ‘tech’ section at the front of the trolley/backpack case which fits large laptops such as the MacBook Pro 15.5″. The tech section has an RFID blocking section for cards. Bear in mind, at UK airports you have to remove laptops from all bags and cases when going through customs.
I’ve saved the best part of the bag for last. Along with two material handles, the Cabin X has a retractable handle and (patent pending) bag straps which zip away when not in use. No bits of material drag on the ground! There’s a cover for the wheels too.
There are two handles, one on the top of bag for lifting up and one to the side for picking up when putting down horizontally. Handy (boom boom) for pulling off conveyor belts, from under seats and overhead storage.
The case also has a compartment for your eco water bottles, which my current favourite weekend bag, the Cabin Zero, currently lacks.
» You may also like our wheeled backpacks review
Cabin X Material
The material is aesthetically pleasing and practical. The majority of the trolley/bag is showerproof 850D nylon (Nettuno Blue or Onyx Black) with a stylish grey suede which is exposed when the day bag is removed. The zips are also waterproof so the bag is Scottish weather approved! The zip pulls feel sturdy, unlike our Vango rucksacks which we had to replace with ties.
Naturally, the bag is as heavy as you pack it – there’s a cross-chest clip for support. The case has two wheels and a pull out stand to stop it falling over when full (a pet hate of previous carry-on trolleys). Those who are used to four wheels notice the difference unless pushing the case on wheels.
When converted into a backpack, the wheels are completely covered by material pullover which is found in a discreet pocket.
The best part? During a recent flight with EasyJet everyone with a trolly case was being asked to put the case in the hold (at the departure gate, this is their new policy). I converted the case into a backpack and was let through with it. Hello overhead and no waiting to get to out of the airport at the other end.
» Hey lads! Read our travel trousers review
Cabin X Day Bag
Another favourite part of the day bag is how it unfastens from the main case. Once unclipped, you can’t tell that Cabin X is a hybrid bag.
There are no messy zip fasteners left, instead of neat robins that complement the vintage-looking case front. The straps are tucked away in the back of the bag and clip to the bottom once pulled out. It measures in at 33x20x9cm (13x8x4 inches), weighs 450 grams and should carry 6 litres.
Day Bag Material
The back material is breathable which is ideal for hot cities and sweaty hikes. The bag straps have edged padding to prevent rubbing which is especially great for when you are wandering in a vest top or dress. I like that there is a bottle compartment too.
The Downside of the Cabin X One
The main downside to the companion bag is the size of the zipped compartment as I can’t fit my MacBook Pro in it (I know, first world problems). My flight routine consists of placing the Mac and hard drive in a tote bag which I remove from my carry-on once past the gate attendees.
The main bag then goes in the overhead and the tote stays with me so I can work after takeoff.
Cabin X never intended for the bag to be big enough to fit a larger laptop, advertising space for an iPad, but it really is the perfect case for those who travel for work and if it was literally an inch bigger it would have room for the Mac too.
- Price: £139
- Dimensions: 55 x 35 x 20 cm/22 x 14 x 8 inches --> had to remove the day bag for EasyJet just in case (boom boom, true story/funny pun)
- Type: hybrid bag/trolley
- Wheels: two wheels carry on luggage
- Shipping to USA, Canada, Europe (including the UK) is via tracked courier and is free
Minimalist Packing List
The minimalist traveller is a savvy one. They know how to save safe but doesn’t scrimp on style. Stop packing so much with this handy packing list:
- Foldaway Marmot PreCip waterproof coat US / UK
- Solid shampoo/conditioner – doubles up as body wash plus no spills/plastic-free
- One large scarf/poncho – throw, cardigan, picnic blanket and even a bag
- One colour palette for clothes, avoid patterns
- Universal plug WITH USB sections US / UK
Here’s what not to pack
- Hair straighteners/dryer – embrace the wave/wear a hat
- Too many outfits, especially heavy denim [check out our travel trousers review]
- Heels/heavy boots replace with sandals and smart plimsolls
- Your makeup bag – invest in a travel kit or pack testers
- Paper books, download an app
Like Cabin X One?
Pin to your travel gear board
We are a generation of convenience which can result in our packing habits getting out of control. The Cabin X One restricts the amount we can pack which makes us asses our wants and needs. This makes for a quicker, stress-free transition through customs and on to the real adventure! Go, team minimalist!