Is a 60L Backpack Too Big for Carry-On?

Carrying a backpack that complies with airline carry-on regulations is essential for travelers who prefer the convenience of not checking in luggage. However, the question arises: Is a 60L backpack too big for carry-on? In this article, we will explore the various factors to consider when choosing a backpack for carry-on purposes and analyze the pros and cons of a 60L backpack in this context.

Backpack travelers rejoice! The convenience and comfort of carrying your belongings on board has become increasingly popular in recent years. However, with the rise of larger backpacks, a common question arises: can a 60L backpack be a carry-on on planes?

The answer, as with many travel-related inquiries, is not entirely straightforward. It depends on a combination of factors, including the specific airline’s carry-on restrictions, the dimensions and weight of the backpack, and the packing style employed.

To navigate this complex terrain, this comprehensive guide will delve into the intricacies of carry-on regulations, explore the feasibility of bringing a 60L backpack on board, and provide practical tips to maximize your chances of success.

Airline Carry-On Regulations: A Diverse Landscape

The world of air travel is characterized by various airlines, each with its own rules and regulations. While some airlines adhere to a more standardized approach, others maintain unique policies that can impact baggage allowance.

Size Restrictions: The Defining Factor

When it comes to carry-on luggage, the size of the backpack is a crucial determinant. Airlines typically impose limitations on the overall dimensions of carry-on bags, often expressed as a combination of length, width, and height.

For instance, United Airlines restricts carry-on bags to 9 inches × 14 inches × 22 inches (23 cm × 36 cm × 56 cm), while Delta Air Lines allows slightly larger dimensions of 22 inches × 14 inches × 9 inches (56 cm × 36 cm × 23 cm).

Interestingly, some airlines employ a linear dimension system, where the sum of all three dimensions must not exceed a specified limit. For example, JetBlue Airlines sets a linear dimension limit of 45 inches (115 cm).

Weight Restrictions: Adding to the Equation

In addition to size limitations, many airlines impose weight restrictions on carry-on baggage. The allowed weight typically ranges from 7 kilograms (15 pounds) to 10 kilograms (22 pounds), depending on the airline and the passenger’s ticket class.

While these weight restrictions are primarily intended to ensure safety and balance during aircraft operations, they can also play a role in determining whether a 60L backpack can be carried on board.

Airline Carry-On Regulations: A Diverse Landscape

The 60L Backpack: A Borderline Case

With a capacity of 60 liters, a backpack of this size undoubtedly exceeds the size restrictions of most airlines. However, the actual dimensions of a 60L backpack can vary depending on the brand, design, and packing style.

For example, some 60L backpacks can be compressed to fit within the size limits, while others may have a more rigid structure, making it more difficult to conform to the airline’s requirements.

Furthermore, the weight of a 60L backpack can also vary significantly depending on the items packed inside. A backpack with lightweight clothing and personal essentials may weigh well within the airline’s weight limit, while one loaded with heavier items like hiking gear or electronics could easily exceed the restriction.

Strategies for Success: Maximizing Your Chances

Navigating the intricacies of carry-on regulations can be daunting, but with careful planning and strategic packing, you can increase your chances of successfully bringing your 60L backpack on board.

  • Check airline restrictions thoroughly: Before booking your flight, thoroughly review the carry-on baggage policies of your chosen airline. Familiarize yourself with the size and weight limitations and any specific guidelines regarding personal items.

  • Choose a compressible backpack: Opt for a 60L backpack that can be compressed or rolled up to fit within the airline’s size restrictions. Some backpacks feature adjustable straps or compression buckles, allowing for a more compact form factor.

  • Pack light and efficiently: Strategically pack your belongings to minimize the weight of your backpack. Prioritize lightweight items and consider carrying heavier items like shoes or jackets in your item or checking them in as baggage.

  • Utilize packing cubes: Packing cubes can be a game-changer for organizing and compressing contents within your backpack. They allow you to categorize your belongings, making it easier to fit everything neatly and reduce overall bulk.

  • Be prepared to adjust: Be prepared to adjust your packing strategy at the airport if necessary. If your backpack appears too large or heavy, you may need to repack some items into your items or check them in as baggage.

Is a 60L Backpack Too Big for Carry-On?

Carry-on Restrictions

When air travel, most airlines have specific size limitations for carry-on luggage. These restrictions are in place to ensure passenger safety, efficient boarding processes, and adequate storage space in overhead compartments. Familiarizing yourself with the regulations of the airlines you frequently fly with is crucial to avoid any inconveniences or additional fees.

Size Limitations

Airlines enforce a maximum size for carry-on bags, usually measured by the total linear inches (length + width + height). While these dimensions may vary slightly among airlines, the standard limit is 45-55 linear inches. As a result, a 60L backpack may exceed these dimensions, potentially causing it to be deemed too large for carry-on.

Factors to Consider

Determining the appropriate size for a carry-on backpack depends on several factors. Firstly, the duration of your trip plays a vital role. A longer trip may require more clothing and essentials, necessitating a larger backpack. Secondly, the type of travel and activities planned should be considered. For adventurous hiking or camping trips, a larger backpack might be suitable to accommodate specialized gear. Lastly, personal preferences and comfort levels should be considered when selecting a backpack size.

Pros of a 60L Backpack

Despite the potential size limitations, a 60L backpack offers various advantages for travelers. One significant benefit is the ample storage space it provides. This allows for packing more items, making it suitable for long trips or those involving multiple climates. Additionally, a 60L backpack often features multiple compartments and organizational pockets, enabling efficient packing and easy access to essentials.

Cons of a 60L Backpack

While a 60L backpack has its merits, there are certain drawbacks. The most apparent disadvantage is the size itself. Depending on the airline’s carry-on restrictions, it may be too large and require checking in, potentially incurring additional fees. Moreover, the larger size and increased capacity can lead to overpacking, making the backpack heavier.

Tips for Packing a 60L Backpack

If you decide to use a 60L backpack for carry-on, here are some useful tips to optimize your packing experience:

  1. Roll your clothes to save space and minimize wrinkles.
  2. Utilize packing cubes or compression bags to maximize storage efficiency.
  3. Place heavier items closer to your back for better weight distribution.
  4. Pack essential items in accessible compartments or pockets for convenience.
  5. Consider the weather conditions and pack accordingly to avoid unnecessary bulk.

Alternatives to a 60L Backpack

If the size limitations of a 60L backpack concern you, there are alternatives to consider. Smaller backpacks, such as 40L or 45L, may compromise capacity and compliance with carry-on restrictions. Additionally, convertible backpacks with detachable daypacks provide versatility and convenience for short and extended trips.


In conclusion, the suitability of a 60L backpack for carry-on depends on various factors such as airline restrictions, trip duration, and personal preferences. While it offers generous storage space and organization options, the size may exceed limits, leading to potential inconveniences. Careful consideration of the pros and cons and effective packing strategies can help travelers make an informed decision when choosing a backpack for carry-on purposes.

FAQs – (Is a 60L Backpack Too Big for Carry-On?)

Q1: Can I use a 60L backpack as a carry-on?

Yes, using a 60L backpack as a carry-on is possible, but it depends on the specific airline’s carry-on restrictions. Some airlines may allow it, while others might consider it too large.

Q2: Will a 60L backpack fit in the overhead compartment?

The fit of a 60L backpack in an overhead compartment can vary depending on the aircraft and airline. It is best to check the dimensions specified by the airline to ensure compatibility.

Q3: Are there weight restrictions for carry-on backpacks?

While most airlines primarily enforce size restrictions, some may also have weight limitations for carry-on luggage. It is advisable to check the airline’s guidelines regarding weight restrictions.

Q4: What are the advantages of a smaller carry-on backpack?

Smaller carry-on backpacks offer increased maneuverability, lighter weight, and compliance with stricter airline restrictions. They are particularly suitable for shorter trips or those with minimal packing requirements.

Q5: Are there any specific backpack features to look for when carrying a carry-on?

When selecting a backpack for carry-on purposes, look for features like padded shoulder straps, a sturdy handle, multiple compartments, and easy access pockets for enhanced convenience and comfort.

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