This CabinZero review is a tale of two halves.
The first section was written back in 2018 when we first received our 44L backpacks. We’ve kept it because it helps to give you an overview of what CabinZero are all about and shows you what our first impressions of the backpacks were.
And the second section dives a little deeper into the CabinZero 44L backpacks and what we think the pros and cons are now that we’ve been using our bags for over two years.
Not two years of non-stop travel, because y’know, we actually have jobs.
But two years of multiple different trips taken using these bags – from UK roadtrips with our dog and weekend city breaks in Europe to our honeymoon to Bali, Gili Meno, Singapore and Dubai, which lasted for just shy of three weeks.
Honest Disclaimer: We’re all about being real with you here at Wanderers of the World. So full disclosure: we were gifted two 44L CabinZero backpacks so that we could both road test them and write this review for you. But all the thoughts, feelings and opinions you’ll read below are 100% from me and Scott – and ain’t nothing gunna change that!
CabinZero Backpacks: A Quick Intro
We first heard about the CabinZero bags a few years ago because they were all over social media. Here’s what you need to know about the company.
CabinZero are a UK company specialising in lightweight bags that are designed to be used as cabin luggage.
Why CabinZero? Well… Cabin Sized + Zero Hassle = CabinZero.
Designed by travellers for travellers, the team over at CabinZero really know what useful, practical and stylish cabin luggage should be like. You’ll find a bunch of the features we particularly rate highly a little later on.
But for now, we want to spend a moment on just how incredible their 25 year warranty is!
We’ve never come across cabin luggage that has this kind of warranty attached to it – and without a hefty price tag too.
All CabinZero bags as standard come with a 10 year warranty and you have the chance to increase this to 25 years just by filling out this form. And right there, you have a bag to stand the test of time and last for a large amount of trips!
Oh and did we mention the bags are of British design? *smug looks all around*
CabinZero 44L Backpack Review: First Impressions
Aside from what we’ve already mentioned, these bags have a lot of impressive features that just show how much the CabinZero team “get it”.
Here’s what we liked about our CabinZero 44L backpacks when we first received them a couple of years ago.
1. They’re cabin-sized (obviously)
The clue’s in the name here but these backpacks – even the 44L ones – are designed to fit within the limits of carry-on luggage.
With most airlines requesting cabin luggage to be no larger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, the CabinZero bags fit well into those requirements at a size of 51cm x 36cm x 19cm for their larger 44L bags.
You can also buy smaller 36L and 28L bags, which are ideal for day trips and even just popping to the shops with.
And because CabinZero’s luggage are backpacks rather than suitcases, the bags take up less room.
It’s really easy to stow them away in overhead lockers in airplanes, but they can also be stowed under your seat on busy flights – albeit with a bit of a squeeze.
No more having to check baggage if you’re last in the queue!
We also recently gave ourselves the fun challenge of driving to London to see our families for Christmas.
We each needed a week’s worth of clothes and toiletries and a large number of presents for two sides of the family. But we only had a tiny car at the time. Yet everything fitted perfectly.
And the CabinZero bags? We shared one between us and put presents in the other… how’s that for smart packing?
2. They’re lightweight
At less than 1kg in weight, this cabin luggage is seriously light.
We were recently interviewed by a fellow blogger about our travels and she asked: “What is one thing you hate most about travel?”
Without a second thought, we said it was having to carry around our luggage after a long flight and while searching for our hotel.
We both absolutely hate having to drag along a heavy suitcase while carrying our hand luggage – especially as we rarely opt for taxis and find ourselves on buses and public transport most of the time.
But this is no longer the case with our CabinZero bags!
We can pack all our essentials in one bag and carry it on our backs, instantly freeing up our hands for essential map reading – much better!
3. They’re water resistant
Being from the UK, any bag we decide to purchase must be water resistant.
Which means we’re very happy to include water resistant among the features we love most about the CabinZero bags.
4. They have lockable zippers
These are the first bags we’ve come across that have lockable zippers. We’ve obviously seen them for suitcases, but never a backpack!
It might seem like something so simple, yet it’s important as it prevents someone from going into your bag unnoticed behind you.
We’ve also found a pocket on the front of the CabinZero bags, which has been very cleverly designed and is actually hidden at first glance.
Although we prefer not to keep our valuables in that compartment, it’s useful for jackets, magazines and receipts you need to quickly stuff somewhere.
5. All bags come with a free luggage tracker
Every CabinZero bag comes with a global luggage tracker as standard, which is seriously impressive.
The device is powered by Okoban and is free to use, making this a very smart bag indeed!
We’ve thankfully never had to use this feature, but it’s definitely a weight off our minds that the bags have got this – and for no extra cost as well.
6. Did we mention the 25 year warranty?
As mentioned previously (but so good it warrants mentioning again), each bag comes with a 10 year warranty as standard.
But if you fill out this form, you’ll get another 15 years worth of warranty, taking you up to 25 years and in possession of a bag fit to last a quarter century – wow!
And if that’s not all, they also ship to every country on the planet – and for FREE to most of them!
7. There are lots of colours and designs to choose from
Now, we’re not going to lie – backpacks are often quite boring to look at.
They often come in basic colours like black and grey and that’s about it. Backpacks are useful, but not exactly what you’d call ‘Instagram-worthy’.
Their bags are just as beautiful to look at as they are useful! They come in a wide range of colours from bright red to orange-yellow to pink, purple, turquoise, you name it.
Mainly because we’ve been to nearly all of the places featured on it, which we’re reminded of each time we use our bags. We just need to tick off Japan now – hopefully soon?!
CabinZero 44L Backpack Review – 2 Years On
So if the above is what we thought of when we first got our CabinZero bags… then what do we think now that we’re two years on?
We’re ready to reveal all!
For a start, the backpacks are still in great condition. And this is despite us using them A LOT over the past couple of years.
Looks like that extended warranty we’ve got might not be needed after all?
As mentioned earlier, we haven’t been travelling non-stop for the past two years (we wish!)
So we can’t comment on whether they would have lasted if we had. But what we can tell you is that these bags have come on LOTS of different trips with us.
The 44L size is definitely roomy enough to share between us for a weekend. But we probably wouldn’t get away with doing that for longer, say a week.
We’d be better off having our own bags for trips of that length.
We’ve not once had an issue with using the bags as carry-on. This is obviously important.
We’ve used them on Easyjet flights as well as on British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Norwegian Airlines, Delta, Icelandair, Singapore Airlines, Emirates and many more.
But we’ve never flown with Ryanair so we don’t personally have experience of using the bags on those flights.
During all those flights, we’ve only ever had one staff member ask us to weigh the backpacks.
All the other times, they’ve not even looked at them. We think this is probably because they look like normal everyday backpacks – even when they’re full – rather than the great big duffel bags you see a lot of backpackers using.
But just in case, be aware of your airline’s carry-on weight restrictions. It’s easy to get carried away with how much space you’ve got inside the bags.
Okay, honesty time. Nothing’s ever perfect, am I right?
Although we’re happy with our CabinZero backpacks, and plan to keep using them until they break, there are a couple of areas where we think they can be improved.
First, they’re lacking compartments inside.
There’s a zipped pocket on the front of the bag, two small zipped pockets inside, a panel on the back that you can slip things into and a mesh pocket above one of the zipped pockets inside.
But that’s it. No water bottle pocket. No separate large zipped compartments.
And that mesh pocket we talked about? It’s kind of in the wrong place so things fall out of it easily.
But this can be worked around by a) not using the mesh pocket for anything heavy and b) using packing cubes to organise your stuff inside the main compartment.
Although packing is easy because the backpacks open flat and wide (just like normal carry-on luggage), the bags lack structure. This goes hand in hand with the lack of compartments issue.
If you don’t use packing cubes, you’ll need to rifle through all of your stuff and will probably keep finding that everything falls to the bottom and becomes a bit of a drag on your lower back as opposed to everything being spaced out and balanced.
And finally, we would have loved to have seen a luggage strap on the back.
We know these bags are designed to be the only bag you use when travelling, but if you’re like us and still want to travel with a wheeled suitcase on longer trips, then we think having this option would be really handy. But that’s a small niggle.
CabinZero Review – Summary
Okay, we’ve said a lot so far. So let’s sum up the pros and cons of our CabinZero 44L backpacks in handy bullet point form.
The Good Stuff
- Cabin-sized (we’ve personally tried and tested them on a lot of airlines but not Ryanair)
- Water resistant
- Lockable zippers AND free global luggage tracker
- 10 or 25 year warranty (2 years on, ours are still in great condition!)
- Colours and designs galore
The Not-So-Good Stuff
- Lacking compartments and structure (you’ll need packing cubes to avoid messy heaps of stuff!)
- No luggage strap
Want one? Here’s where to buy CabinZero backpacks:
You can either buy direct from CabinZero to get hands on their full range of colours, designs, styles and sizes.
Based on our experience of using the 44L CabinZero backpacks, here’s what we think each of the sizes work well for:
- 44L: You can share one between two for weekend breaks or use it for a week-long holiday for one person
- 36L: Great for short weekend breaks or a week’s holiday if you can pack super light
- 28L: Your best bag for day trips!
We hope you’ve found our CabinZero review helpful! Do you have any other questions? Or do you think you might get one? Let us know in the comments section below…
If you’re looking for more travel backpacks, take a look at some of these!
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