Adventure Travel

Carry-on Luggage Dimensions and Requirements Explained – Part 1

Carry-on Luggage Dimensions and Requirements Explained – Part 1

Selecting the Red Oxx carry-on luggage that’s right for you

This first in a series of articles written by Red Oxx co-founder and CEO Jim Markel will address questions we often answer by phone, email, chat or face to face in regards to traveling with carry-on luggage. Red Oxx offers a lot of options to meet your carry-on requirements. Selecting the correct bag is sometimes a challenge.

This first article is about selecting the correct Red Oxx carry-on luggage for you, considering that carry-on luggage has special requirements, limitations, dimensions, and a maximum size. Remember, we’re always ready to answer your questions by phone or email.


By answering just two questions, you can reveal your personal travel style. Tell me how you pack, and whether you prefer to go light, and I’ll tell you what bag’s right for you. Your personal travel style determines the perfect fit when it comes to selecting carry-on luggage.

  • First question: Are you a “clothing folder” or a “bag stuffer”?
  • Second question: How much are you willing to carry? Weight limitations play a big role in determining if you’re going with the “maximum carry-on” or taking a minimalist’s approach and going for a smaller version that’s well within carry-on luggage dimensions.

The first question about Stuffers pertains directly to how you prefer to pack your carry-on. I generally prefer the stuffer method because it usually means I’m off on another adventure travel trip!

Folding clothes for me typically entails business travel and not necessarily my favorite reason for leaving home!

The Safari Beanos series has two pieces that meet the carry-on luggage rules. The first choice with most stuffers is our PR 5 Safari Beanos. At 10W x 10H x 24L inches, it’s easy to see why this award winning carry-on bag was actually the first in the series. Starting out the idea was to meet the carry-on luggage maximum size then match that with a robust design. And then you have the carry-on duffel bag to end all bags…

Or do you? Maybe it could be a bit smaller? So the next in the series was the PR 4 Safari Beanos Duffel. At 9W x 9H x 19L inches, it’s well within most domestic carry-on luggage requirements. This sweet little weekend bag is perfect for the traveler seeking to carry the bare essentials — maybe a change of clothes and necessary toiletries.

The two larger sizes, the PR 5.5 and PR6 Safari Beanos Duffel, are too large to meet carry-on luggage dimensions.

    Okay, I’ll admit I have been getting some feedback from customers who are able to get away with sneaking by with a 5.5! I do not endorse this type of travel. All it takes is one crabby airline gate agent and your bag is heading to the checked bag line or perhaps outer Bagmanistan!


Say you’re a folder and the options just got a little tighter. The bag we have for this style of packing is hands down one of the coolest bags we make. The Air Boss was designed with the help of carry-on travel expert Doug Dyment.

When it came time to step out of my area of expertise I consulted the man who is known as the world’s foremost authority on carry-on travel. It was an inspired decision.

Doug’s design pulled us away from our adventure travel roots and opened the door to the traveling business road warriors. You know who you are! The men and women sitting in the airport waiting area with the big money suits and enough electronic gizmos to cause a brownout. These folks travel constantly and burn through bags at an incredible rate. They’re always on the hunt for the perfect carry-on bag. The Air Boss fits this group of travelers like the hand-tailored suits they love to wear.

    Mind you, the Boss also has a following with the ladies. Surprise Mr. Stuffer! Your wife likes to travel with folded clothes and dress nice on vacation, too. The Air Boss keeps everything in its place for the professional business woman traveling to close her next deal, or to hike Corcovado National Park.

In the end, the satisfied reviews from customers may be your best source of info on what style’s best suited for the Air Boss. The raving fans of this bag are starting to rival our Safari Beanos category as a whole! We’ve increased production of the Air Boss as a result and see this bag as the ultimate “one bag” carry-on for the folders!


Between the battle of Folders vs. Stuffers there lies the Expedition Series, here is where the minimalist is at home. The large main compartment allows for some folding of casual wear or you can just stuff it. Due to its configuration I would not recommend this bag for sport coats; for that go with the Air Boss.

This series of duffels was designed with the help of Dr. Jean Ellis who was instrumental in our early success. Jean taught us that less is more when it comes to building a bag series suitable for his successful Cho Yo mountain climbing expedition. Two out of the four bags in this series meet carry-on requirements. The Sun chaser easily meets carry-on luggage dimensions at 9W x 9H x 21L inches. All bags in this Expedition Series have a foam padded bottom. The reason for this is the large main compartment that does not have the same divided style as the Safari series and tends to slouch without some support.

The next size in maximum legal carry-on duffel size is the Flying Boxcar 10W x 10H x 24L inches. The name was inspired by the classic transport plane of the Second World War. I was out scouting the middle of Wyoming and found a beautifully restored example at Hawkins and Powers! This bag is the go to bag for carry-on luggage at the maximum size.

    I almost wonder if it was too close to the limit. The open main compartment can be jammed to the gills and give the bag an “oversized look” this is something I tend to avoid in our designs. But this bag is within domestic carry-on limits and we have had no rejections from airlines or customers to date or none that have made it back to yours truly. 🙂


Rounding out our carry-on selection is the Rucksack series. Once again we set out to go with the maximum legal carry-on luggage dimensions. The C-Ruck Carry-on Rucksack fills a need for taking a ton on board without having to go with a traditional shoulder-carry styled bag.

The advantage of a backpack rucksack is quite apparent if you need to keep your hands free when dealing with a couple unruly kids or some Barcelona street hustlers. The multitude of pockets and comfy shoulder straps earned this bag a five star rating from and a loyal following among the stuffer crowd.

The Roadster Mini Ruck Rucksack though smaller, is in reality the ideal bag for day trips around the market of my favorite coffee countries. As with the Safari Beanos series and the Expedition, we have one maximum carry-on in each style and a little brother to handle the shorter day trip or overnight stay. The Roadster Mini Ruck is the little brother in this carry-on category.

Hopefully this will help you in the selection of your bag. As always you can contact us with any concerns and we will help you find the correct carry-on luggage for your needs.

Cheers, Jim Markel CEO


“I have an Air Boss and love it. But if I ever get back to traveling more often for work, like I used to, I’d look at a Sky Train as I like the backpack carry option.” ~ George Bridges

“It’s worth comparing the CPA to published personal item (secondary bag) sizes. You will be surprised 🙂 If you want one to fit United and Air Canada both, that’s 6 in x 11 in x 17 in and the CPA is 7 x 11 x 17. Just don’t over-pack it. This is a very common under-seat size so even for airlines that don’t publish dimensions it’ll be fine.” ~ Karoly Negyesi

Jim’s second article offers some insight on how to pack your Red Oxx gear with a few of my travel tips thrown in. The third article addresses the philosophy of why traveling with carry-on luggage is the way to go for the seasoned traveler!

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