Traditionally, people used cabin size suitcases as hand luggage. Nowadays, people are beginning to use cabin size backpacks more often as it’s more convenient. However most of these are heavy to carry but the Cabin Max Barcelona backpack is lighter making it easier to carry.
I wonder whether this backpack suitcase is light enough to be comfortable to carry because of the large size. I will review this question to help you decide whether this is better than using a suitcase.
At A Glance
- Spacious Main Compartment: Enough room to pack for short holidays.
- Compression Straps: Helps to minimise the bulkiness of the cabin bag.
- Wide Ventilated & Padded Shoulder Straps: Comfortable to wear due to the weight being evenly distributed.
- Lightweight: Lighter than many conventional wheeled suitcases.
- Hand Luggage Approved: Shows it fits within the hand luggage dimensions for most airlines on short haul flights.
- Length of Front Pocket: Unable to fit anything A4 in as it’s short by an inch.
Design & Construction
Made from a lightweight polyester fabric, the Cabin Max Barcelona backpack was designed to fit hand luggage dimensions. Despite the bag’s large size, it weighs just 700g which means you can pack a lot in here.
What stands out on this Cabin Max bag are the large white printed numbers printed on the front in one bottom corner. Along the height of the bag on the left, the number 50 is printed and along the bottom is 40. Adjacent to these numbers on the side is the number 20.
The style of the numbers reminds me of American football. These numbers actually represent the dimensions of the bag – 50 x 40 x 20 cm. The aim is to conveniently show the bag is a ‘guaranteed carry-on’ cabin size backpack for airport staff to see.
There’s not much else on the front except for the Cabin Max brand logo and a zip to the front pocket. Other than the numbers, the design is pretty boring.
Each of the zips is made of stainless steel with the Cabin Max logo embossed on it. There’s a hole on the end which is big enough for a padlock. However, only the zips to the main compartment can be locked since there are 2. These are concealed under a flap going around the edge.
On both sides of the Barcelona bag, there are 2 sets of compression straps that clip together with plastic buckles. The straps enable the main compartment of the bag to be compressed if it gets too bulky. Each of the straps is adjustable and measure 25cm in length so it’s longer than the depth of the bag.
Ergonomically Designed Padding
The back of this cabin bag is well padded with ventilated mesh fabric to ensure good airflow between your body and the bag. The thick padding has been ergonomically placed to give comfort to your shoulder blades and lower back.
Ventilated mesh fabric can also be found stitched underneath the wide shoulder straps and the carry handle. The shoulder straps are quite wide with each one measuring 9cm which helps to distribute the weight of the bag evenly on your shoulders.
The carry handle is a good long length at 20cm and wide at 5cm. It’s also thickly padded and looks securely stitched on. There’s a metal D-ring attached next to it which can be used to clip things on such as a metal water bottle or to keep your padlock there so you won’t lose it.
I have no worries about the handle tearing since it’s a big handle which should be able to carry the weight of the bag when it’s fully packed.
Other big backpacks I own had poorly designed carry handles that broke as they were unable to handle the weight of the bag.
Despite the flimsy look and thin material of the backpack suitcase, it’s actually quite tough. I’m not sure how durable it would be overtime but it held 15 pairs of my footwear (as a test!) and remained intact.
The stitching looks quite secure overall but some people did have a few loose threads. No seams burst and no stitching came apart when I overfilled the bag so the quality seems fairly good so far.
There’s one external compartment on this cabin size backpack – the front zipped pocket. Measuring at 28cm in length and 24cm in width, it’s fairly big.
Unfortunately it’s a few centimetres shy from fitting anything A4 in here. However, it’s handy for stashing travel documents, magazines or anything else you need to hand quickly.
Upon opening the main compartment of this Cabin Max bag, you will find there is one large internal pocket under the flap. The internal pocket is zipped and is made of mesh which makes it easier to see what’s inside. It’s ideal for storing your toiletries or any other essentials you need to get quickly.
To hold your items in place, there are elasticated straps stitched into the main compartment. There’s light padding to the side where the base of the bag is and thicker padding on the bottom where the back of the bag is. Unfortunately there’s no padding surrounding the sides.
Comfort & Convenience
Is There Enough Room to Pack For A Holiday?
There’s a lot of room in the main compartment and it can fit more in than a cabin size suitcase due to there being no hard sides to limit your packing. I could still squeeze or stuff in items down the side of the backpack despite it being overly full.
The Cabin Max Barcelona backpack suitcase can hold a reasonable amount of clothing particularly if it’s thinner fabrics. For summer clothing, I could pack enough for over a week and for winter, enough for about four days.
Guaranteed Flight Approved
Not all backpacks count as cabin approved luggage so having this was useful to show it’s well within the size limits for many airlines. Just make sure you don’t go over the weight limit which can be easy to do since the cabin bag is so light.
It can be used on easyJet, Ryanair and Monarch. Unfortunately it can’t be used on some airlines such as Virgin Atlantic and Qatar – the width was bigger by a few centimetres!
Carrying the Backpack
Despite the large size of the Cabin Max Barcelona bag, I thought it was really comfortable to carry even when it was heavy. I think this is because of the wide shoulder straps and thick padding which fit snugly against my back so I was well supported.
Some backpack suitcases can sit too close against your back or pulls away from your back which end up hurting your shoulders. There was nothing digging into my back either which is usually the case with ones that have the telescopic handle.
The carry handle is soft making it comfortable to carry the bag this way too. The only quibble I have with it is that it’s too big for me to carry it due to my height. It would be easier if there was a handle on the side as well.
When I set the bag down, it would fall over at times if it was too packed on the top with heavy items in the mesh pocket or front pocket. The thin padding in the base barely acts as platform which is why the bag doesn’t balance very well.
As the main compartment only opens down to three quarters of the way, I found it annoying packing items into the mesh pocket and at the bottom of the bag. I had to keep lifting the flap up to pack items in. It wasn’t difficult but would have been easier if the compartment was fully opened up to lay flat.
I liked that the zips were large as it was easier to grab. However the zips kept getting caught or stuck on the extra fabric inside particularly when the backpack was full to the brim. Cabin Max could have stitched this unnecessary bit down instead.
Final Thoughts on the Cabin Max Barcelona Backpack Suitcase
Carrying the Cabin Max Barcelona backpack isn’t too bad, it’s actually easier and lighter than using a wheeled suitcase. There’s no need to fiddle with telescopic handles or stopping to carry your suitcase up a flight of stairs.
For anyone preferring to carry their hand luggage instead of wheeling it round, then this backpack suitcase is perfect for you. It’s ideal for short trips as it can hold enough for at least a week and great for extra storage space on longer holidays. Compared to other cabin size backpacks, it’s a lot lighter and comfortable.
The price is inexpensive and the quality is pretty decent which will last quite a few trips. Should you find any faults in the quality and design, there’s the added 3 year guarantee for peace of mind.