L.L. Bean Carryall Rolling Underseat Bag

One of the perks of my job as a television news & documentary producer is I get to travel a lot. Then again, when I’m waiting in an airport security line, I’m reminded that travel is also the worst part of my job…

So, when I hit the road I try to pack as much business into the shortest amount of time possible — and pack all my clothes into the littlest bag possible. And this little LL Bean suitcase is ideal for trips 2-3 days long: I can fit a toiletry kit, Keen’s sandals [which I wear as exercise shoes in hotel gyms], socks/underwear/t-shirt/shorts, 2 dress shirts, a sweater, and a pair of dress pants. There’s even room for a full-size laptop. My reading material, sunglasses, chargers, snacks, water bottle, DSLR, and sundry gadgets go into a Patagonia Lightweight Travel backpack — though the Bean bag can usually hold most of these items too.

If I need dressier clothes, I go with an Eagle Creek 22″ roll-aboard with a Pack-It suit folder. But 90% of the time this little bag does the trick — and there’s never a problem finding room for it in the overhead bins. With regional jets taking-over more and more short routes, traditional carry-ons almost always have to be gate-checked; I can often slip this one on-board.

For that reason, I can’t speak to how this thing will hold-up to regular abuse by baggage handlers. But I’ve flown with mine at least twice a month for the last three years without any sign of wear on the fabric or wheels.

I know that many will object to having wheels on a small bag, but the fact is I’m rarely moving across unpaved surfaces. Why schlep when you can roll?

Compared with other big-name brands (Travelpro, Briggs & Riley, Tumi, Eagle Creek, Victorinox, Delsey etc), I’ve found this bag has the best weight-to-size ratio and the most useful features for the money. It’s looks are kind of frumpy – hardly a cool design. But as a tool that quietly performs a vital job for me, it’s very cool.

-- Ed Forgotson