How To Measure a Duffel Bag for Using as A Carry On?

When measuring your duffel bag, it’s essential to take the longest measurement because airports can be a little too accurate regarding carry-on luggage weight and size.

To measure luggage, pack your duffel bag first so that it takes its largest shape. And then measure your bag’s length, width, and height to ensure it complies with your airlines’ carry-on policies. 

Also, remember that although duffel bags are handy to carry luggage, they can be troublesome to measure because they don’t have a perfect solid shape like a suitcase.

So, to avoid getting your carry-on bags stuck in the oversize luggage line, you should prepare beforehand. 

Measuring the Length, Width, and Depth of a Duffel Bag

A duffel bag seems like the most convenient thing on earth when it comes to airline travel since you can effortlessly carry it as checked luggage. But for the convenience of carry-on, follow the following steps to comply with your airline’s size limit and measure your bag correctly:


First of all, stuff your duffel bag, zip it up, and then use the leather straps to squash the bag so that there is no empty space left. After it is fully packed, you can start to measure.


Measure all the sides with a measuring tape and make sure to take the reading from the broadest possible points, including the zippers and wheels. When measuring the height of the duffel bag, do it from the outside as some duffel bags have thick bottoms, which might add an inch or two.

Use a Cardboard Box as a General Rule

While measuring a duffel bag for use as a carry-on, think of the rectangular frame the airlines are using to contain your carry-on. 

Thus, your measurements need to ensure that your bag can fit inside a cardboard box of airline standards. This tip is especially important for bags that are not a standard shape. 

Cylindrical Duffel Bags

For cylindrical bags, different airlines use different criteria. But mostly, they rely on linear inches. 

To perform this measurement: 

  • First, measure the radius of the circular side, which is just half the circle’s diameter.
  • Then, apply the following formula: pi (3.14) x radius x radius. 
  • Multiply it by 2.
  • Finally, add the height of your bag, and your sum total will be your linear inches. 

You can then compare the linear inches with the airline size limits.

Tips for More Accurate Measurements

  • When measuring duffel bags, make sure to add the height of the handles.
  • Also, you should measure the duffel bag at your eye level by placing it on a table so that you stand directly in front of it. This step can help you avoid errors. 
  • You can take multiple readings from different points and pick the one with the highest value for even more accuracy.

Look for the Sizing Set by your Airlines

A standardized set of rules for carry-on baggage size applies to almost every airline. Many airlines allow 62 linear inches as the acceptable carry-on luggage size, but overall, each airline will have its own rules.

Also, for most airlines, you can not exceed the three dimensions of 22 x 14 x 9 inches. However, these rules mainly apply to suitcases. 

Commonly, duffel bags have the dimensions 22 x 11 x 9 or 22 x 9 x 9, which are within the limits of the 22 x 14 x 9 rule. 

You should also know that it can be more efficient to calculate the volume of the duffel bag if you can’t find the proper carry-on size limits. The volume specified by the majority of airlines is 45 liters.

Manufacturer’s Measurements are Not the Airlines’

The airline staff is looking for your carry-on to fit their template frame at the gate so that it can fit beneath the seat in front of you on the plane. And so, their standards of measurement are different than the manufacturers.

You see, the length, height, and width on the labels refer to the capacity or the internal measurements, and it does not even include the wheels or the thick bottom of the bag.

So, grab a measuring tape, and ignore whatever it says on the dimensions section. 

Can You Bring a Personal Item with the Carry-on Bag?

Using a duffel bag as a carry-on when traveling light is attractive for two reasons: faster arrivals and stress-free bag handling. But can a duffel bag take in everything you need to carry?

A duffel bag can be a carry-on item, so you can still bring one personal item with you. We recommend carrying a backpack or purse as your personal item in addition to your carry-on.

Just remember that your personal item must fit in the compartments under your seat or in the overhead bin of your seat. For a perfect-sized book bag, you should aim for 20-26 liters.

How to Pack Duffel Bags for Travel?

Here are some tips for packing your carry-on baggage for the minimum hassle at the airport. These tips are helpful for your checked luggage as well. 

Roll Clothes and Use Cubes

To easily access your clothes and keep them organized, you should use cubes. Just start rolling your packed clothes and then stuff them into a suitable cube.  

Carry your Shoes Separately

If you don’t have a separate compartment in your duffel bag or checked bags for shoes, you can again use packing cubes.


Always keep paper items in the outside pockets of your duffel bag, so they are easily accessible.


Duffel bags are the best carry-ons when trying to avoid extra fees. They come in a range of sizes, and you can choose the one that best suits your airline’s weight and sizing guidelines while still bringing a personal item with you on the plane. 

Finally, just remember that you should measure your duffel bag to avoid any issues on your next trip. 

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