- Nearly 30 different color options
- Low price
- A lot lighter than your typical travel pack (0.7 kg)
- Barely has any compartments at all - no water bottle pocket, travel organizer, etc.
- Basic suspension system making this more for casual travellers than hardcore globetrotters
2019 Update: I recently had a chance to look at a friend’s Cabon Zero Classic Plus, which I think is a bit better. I also recommend other backpacks like the Osprey Farpoint.
The travel backpacks by Cabin Zero make for an attractive choice—at least, on the face of it. The bags have gotten much praise from other bloggers as of late, though I think you will either love or hate them depending on how important certain features will be to you.
First, we have to talk about the price. While many other popular carry-on backpacks have you ponying up between 150 to 300 Euro or Dollars, the Cabin Zero bags range from about 55 to 80. That’s clearly a huge difference.
Not only that, but they’re available in a truly mind-boggling spectrum of styles and colors. So if you’re sick and tired of the same old black and grey backpacks (and I wouldn’t blame you), then you’ll love what’s on offer here. Currently, there are nearly 30 different options, including some cool camo patterns and flag patch designs for that classic European backpacker look (but that’s clearly not as cool as collecting flag patches yourself).
The Cabin Zero Backpacks come in three types: classic, military, and vintage. All of these are very light carry-on travel backpacks designed to fit every on-board flight requirements. What we’re going to evaluate here is the Cabin Zero Classic 44L.
Whether you’re going for an urban travel or exploring the wild, finding the best travel backpack can be challenging – considering what looks good, serves the right function and, of course, stays within your budget. So let’s take a closer look at the Cabin Zero Classic 44L and see if it might be the right bag for you.
Weight and Size
Weight: 0.7kg / 1.5lbs
Dimensions: 21” X 15” X 8”
The Classic 44L of Cabin Zero is an ultralight carry-on backpack promising zero-hassle travel. Although 44 liters can sound really large (and it is!), it is also still cabin-size and will fit pretty naturally on your back without looking too big. Obviously, with this bag you’ll experience no more extra baggage fees or waiting for your checked-in luggage, while benefiting from truly maximum carry-on size.
At 0.7kg it’s also one of the lightest backpacks I’ve reviewed. Most carry-on backpacks are at least twice as heavy. That’s excellent news if you like to travel light, and it gives you nearly another kilogram of baggage allowance that won’t be wasted on the bag itself. With many airlines restricting carry-on luggage anywhere from 8kg to 12kg, this is a great saving.
This backpack may be light, but… there is a catch. It is also very light on storage spaces. You get effectively just two spaces: one big main compartment, and one awkwardly sized front compartment on the outside.
Yes, there’s also a little mesh compartment inside, but bizarrely it doesn’t have a zipper on it – so whatever you put in there will often fall out. There’s also a flap at the back of the main compartment that can be used to separate some items (like a laptop perhaps), but it isn’t very padded and doesn’t have a zipper. In other words, expect the bare minimum here in terms of organizational features.
Straps and Suspension System
The straps and suspension system of this backpack didn’t really impress me that much either. Its suspension system is very basic and even though the straps are adjustable, it’s not padded well enough. Moreover, it doesn’t have a chest strap which is supposed to help distribute the backpack’s weight along your body. While the Cabin Zero Classic is reasonably comfortable to carry for a short while, my shoulders began straining after about 20 minutes, and it’s not an ideal bag for carrying heavy loads.
Design and Material
Cabin Zero Classic 44L’s design is quite stylish, add I love the fact that it’s available in different colours and design. In this aspect, it’s absolutely a three thumbs-up from me.
The bag is made of polyester although the manufacturer doesn’t provide details on what kind. The material is fairly thin and there isn’t much padding at the back, though the bottom fifth is made of a considerably thicker material. This is a wise choice as this is where a backpack is most likely to need some additional durability.
Warranty and tracking tag
One interesting aspect of the Cabin Zero Classic 44L carry-on backpack is that it comes with a luggage tag you can register for tracking should your backpack go missing (either lost or stolen). I do question whether this is any more useful than just leaving a regular nametag inside. The tag doesn’t do anything for security, it just helps someone in a lost and found department retrieve your address or contact details. This ID system is run by a company called Okoban.
Furthermore, the bag has a 10-year warranty. That’s actually a great assurance, considering the lower price point of this bag compared to other manufacturers offering a similar level of warranty.
Can it fit in the overhead bin?
The answer is… yes! I was initially concerned that the Cabin Zero Classic 44L might be a tad too big, as most carry-on bags max out at about 40L. Fortunately, its dimensions of only 21” X 15” X 8” are below the typical 45 inches requirement. It fits the requirements of many restrictive airlines about carry-on backpacks including Ryanair. You can definitely squish it in the overhead bin even if you have quite a lot of items inside.
• It’s one of the lightest backpacks I’ve reviewed, saving as much as 65% weight versus other carry-on size bags.
• It’s undoubtingly stylish. The crazy number of colours and designs available are far beyond what any other manufacturer offers.
• It’s cabin-sized making it a convenient companion whatever type of travel you’re preparing for.
• The price won’t leave your pockets empty. Great for students, backpackers, or budget travellers.
• It has barely any compartments at all. In terms of organizing your stuff, you’re truly left to your own devices.
• The harness is quite basic making this more for casual travellers than hardcore globetrotters.
• It lacks useful features like a laptop compartment, water bottle pocket, travel organizer, and so on.
Clearly, there are some things to really like about the Cabin Zero Classic 44L. It’s super light, looks good, and in terms of convenience will be… well, more or less fine. If you’re going on a weekend trip or maybe backpacking around Europe and you’re lacking a decent backpack, then this can be a pretty low-risk choice.
This isn’t a swiss army knife so much as it is a competent butter knife. It does what it needs to do without having to be particularly clever about it. I respect the design’s simplicity… but don’t expect too much of this bag either.
Maybe you won’t still be using it 5 years down the line, but it will surely get you through your next few trips. It is a good enough bag given what you’d expect at this price, but keep your expectations low in terms of the organizational features and comfort you’ll get.
I’d say this bag is ideal for low-stress urban environments where mostly you’ll be transiting through rather than walking with all your stuff on your back. It can be a great buy for budget travelers or students. But for more adventurous destinations or longer trips, there are still much better choices – such as the Osprey Farpoint 40 or the Tortuga Setout.
Availability: this backpack is sold exclusively through Cabin Zero’s online store. International shipping available.