Like many travellers nowadays, I take low-cost carriers to stretch my travel budget and especially on regional trips, I can do without the frills of main carriers. Budget airlines have made travelling significantly more affordable, although the discount comes with a cost. Among other things, check-in luggage cost extra and the cabin luggage size and weight are more strictly regulated by low-cost carriers.
I have bemoaned the fact that my traditional cabin luggage already takes up about 40 per cent of my cabin luggage weight allowance by weighing more than 3 kilogrammes when empty. Sometimes I wish I can yank out the trolley bits from the luggage when I am desperately trying to fit in more items for my trip. So I was elated for a chance to try the CabinZero bag and have been using it for my travels for the past 3 months. CabinZero, a UK brand, makes cabin baggage optimized for travellers who prefer to pack light and wants to maximize their cabin baggage.
Style and Design features
CabinZero bags are sized to fit cabin baggage requirements and they weigh only a fraction of traditional trolley luggage. All CabinZero bags have a full capacity of 44 litres, which is more than twice the capacity of my regular day pack! The rectangular design maximizes internal space, with two lockable zips running almost the full three sides of the bag to allow easy access to the main compartment. There is an internal pocket sleeve up against the padded side for a laptop. On the outside, there is a large pocket with a single zip for quick access to items like travel documents.
I was rather torn when choosing my CabinZero bag, since the Classic comes in 15 colours, and the new Vintage and Military series have 5 colours and 3 colours to choose from respectively. You can check out all the available the colours available here.
Besides the obvious capacity and weight advantage of the CabinZero bags, they also come with a nifty Okoban Tracking tag. The Okoban Tracking system allows finders of lost baggage to track down the owners, much like a sophisticated luggage tag actually.
I was given the new CabinZero Military bag in Desert Sand. The Military range weighs less than a kilogramme, which about 200 grams heavier than the Classic range. The extra weight is likely due to the extra thick ventilated padding on the shoulder straps and the back, which the Classic range lacks. One of the key features for the Military Series is the Molle-style webbing for expansion and additional attachments. Lastly, the Military Series bags also come with chest and waist straps to minimize the backpack from bouncing around if I need to run after a bus or to catch a flight.
I registered my Okoban tag online with my email the system works well enough. I doubt the Okoban system would be much use if my bag was stolen, or if people who found my bag does not know about the Okoban Tracking system or can’t be bothered to contact the owner. The tag is useful when it comes to possible disputes – since the tag is integrated to the bag, a registered tag points to the rightful owner of the bag. Unlike a luggage tag, the Okoban tag cannot be removed unnoticeably.
Besides being optimized for cabin baggage, I have used my CabinZero Military as a day pack during my year-end travels around Hong Kong, Taiwan and Bali, and the bag performed admirably. The side straps allow the bag to be cinched down when it wasn’t filled to the brim and makes a relatively compact when it doubles up as a day pack.
I also like the webbings on the bag, which I use to attach my CASIO FR-100 camera with a carabiner and my selfie-stick for easy access. The contoured straps with ventilated back paddings were also very comfortable for full day carriage.
The bag is not fully weather-proof, so don’t expect it keep everything dry in a thunderstorm. However, on occasions when I was caught in a light drizzle, the outer layers do provided some protection from the rain with the waterproof coating.
Now, my CabinZero Military is my default baggage for short trips where I get away without a check-in luggage. Waiting for checked luggage at the carousel can sometimes take up to 20 minutes, time which could be better spent at my destination instead of hanging around the airport.
The Classic, Vintage and Military are S$89, S$99 and S$129 respectively. The bags are now in stock and available at selected local stores. The bags come with a ten-year guarantee.