Monday, March 4, 2024

The 6 Best Monos Luggage Pieces of 2023 — Tested By a Travel Writer

Must read

As a commerce writer for Travel + Leisure, I’ve tested a variety of luggage in our New York City lab and when traveling in a real-world setting. While I’ve tried minimalist suitcases from most popular luggage brands, Monos is now my go-to for all of my travel bags and accessories. 

The Canadian-based company makes suitcases and accessories that prioritize simple, functional designs at competitive prices. After using Monos luggage for all types of vacations from international flights to road trips, I continue to be impressed by the durable materials and special features that make packing and traveling so efficient it’s nearly effortless.

From stylish vegan-leather belt bags to sleek, hardshell suitcases, I’m confident about the versatility of Monos products for both trips and everyday use. Keep reading to find out more about my favorite Monos carry-ons, checked bags, backpacks, and accessories.


Monos


Why We Love It: It can easily fit a Kindle, larger wallet, passport, phone charger, and more.

What to Consider: The larger capacity makes it less compact than other belt bags on the market.

As the first piece of Monos luggage I tried, the Metro Sling made me an instant fan of the brand. This belt bag is incredibly spacious without feeling bulky to wear, and I love how versatile it is for running errands or traveling through an airport. The best part of this sling bag is that it can easily fit my carry-on essentials, including a Kindle, phone, passport, AirPods, wallet, and even a snack. I receive plenty of compliments on the stylish and simple vegan-leather design, especially when I wear the matching saddle tan Metro Backpack, too. It’s easy to dress the pouch up or down, which means it can be the only additional bag I pack while traveling for a variety of activities from sightseeing during the day to dining out at night

Price at time of publish: $80 for vegan leather

Dimensions: 10.24 x 5.51 x 1.97 inches | Weight: 0.75 pounds (nylon,) 0.88 pounds (vegan leather) | Capacity: 1.28 liters

Travel + Leisure / Anna Popp


Monos Metro Backpack

Monos


Why We Love It: The front pocket detaches without any buttons or latches showing. 

What to Consider: The leather straps could have more padding.

I always travel with a laptop so I’m a big fan of the protective and padded laptop pocket in the back of this Metro Backpack. The bag’s rectangular design makes it easy to pack other items in the main compartment, including a blanket (for when I get cold on a flight), a water bottle, snacks, and tech accessories. While going through the TSA security checkpoint usually stresses me out, having designated media pockets makes it easy to grab my computer and tablet without having to scramble and hold up the line. When I use the backpack to commute to work, I love having the ability to remove the front pouch thanks to the brand’s QuickSnap mechanism. With the press of one button, I can discreetly detach the zippered pocket from the mini trolley-like sleeve on the front of the bag leaving no noticeable buttons or latches behind. Once again, Monos impressed me with a versatile bag that is beyond functional for everyday use and traveling. 

Price at time of publish: $220 for vegan leather

Dimensions: 11.5 x 16.5 x 6 inches | Weight: 2.4 pounds (nylon), 3 pounds (vegan leather) | Capacity: 18 liters

Travel + Leisure / Anna Popp


Monos Hybrid Check-in Medium

Monos Hybrid Check-in Medium

Monos


Why We Love It: The capacity is perfect for a long trip without feeling like you’re lugging around an unnecessarily huge checked bag. 

What to Consider: The TSA-approved locks on each trunk-style latch jammed after rough handling when checked.

Made out of lightweight aluminum and polycarbonate, the Hybrid collection is the newest line of Monos luggage that includes carry-ons, checked bags, and a trunk. Personally, I already love a good piece of checked luggage, but the Hybrid Medium is much easier to travel with since it’s not as big as a regular checked bag. I’ve used this suitcase over a dozen times now and I have been able to roll it through city streets and busy train stations just as easily as a carry-on. Instead of zippers, the bag has two latches with TSA-approved locks, and I’ve never had any issues securing the suitcase thanks to the built-in compression pad on one side and the zippered compartment on the other. After checking in this suitcase for multiple cross-country flights, the hardshell material has a number of scratches and scuff marks, but the suitcase comes with little foam squares that work well at removing the scuffs. The contents of the suitcase have always remained perfectly safe and undamaged, so I prefer the hardshell design despite the inherent marks that come with using it. 

Price at time of publish: $395

Dimensions: 26.5 x 18.5 x 10.5 inches | Weight: 11 pounds | Capacity: 70 liters | Expandable: No | Smart: Yes

Travel + Leisure / Anna Popp


Monos Carry-on Plus

Monos


Why We Love It: The built-in compression pads make it easy to pack bulkier clothing. 

What to Consider: The hardshell material scuffs easily.

With six different carry-ons, it can be tough to choose which Monos suitcase is your best option. For a traditional style, the Carry-on Plus most resembles a typical carry-on out of all the models. This suitcase is on the bigger end for a carry-on, so I always double-check the size restrictions before going to the airport (and I’ve personally had no issues using it on Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines). The clamshell-style bag has two main compartments that are spacious and fit bulky items like boots or puffer jackets. I love the compression pad closure on one side of the suitcase, as it makes it easy to pack down items and seamlessly zip the luggage. The only downside to the Carry-on Plus is that the hardshell material scuffs easily, but the suitcase comes with a piece of foam that helps clean off the markings. My suitcases are a light blue color — I would recommend getting darker colors to hide the scuffs better, but I don’t mind them because the material has proved to be super durable despite the rough handling at the airport. 

Price at time of publish: $306

Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 7.38 pounds | Capacity: 48 liters | Expandable: No | Smart: Yes

Travel + Leisure / Anna Popp


Monos Carry-on Pro

Monos


Why We Love It: The hardshell front pocket is protective and ideal for storing a laptop. 

What to Consider: The capacity is better for a long weekend or shorter weeklong trip.

For short trips or airlines with smaller carry-on size restrictions, I suggest turning to the Carry-on Pro suitcase. When it comes to capacity, this is the smallest out of all of the carry-on models Monos offers, but it’s hands-down one of my favorites. The water-resistant polycarbonate shell makes this suitcase extremely lightweight and the 360-degree wheels help with maneuvering the bag through a busy airport. My favorite part of this hardside carry-on is the zippered front pocket like the ones often found on softside suitcases. The pocket is made with the same hardshell material so, when I know I’m not checking the bag, I’ll put my laptop in this storage section since it’s protective and sturdy. While I generally use this carry-on for short weekend trips due to the smaller size, it fits perfectly under my bed or inside the Monos medium checked bag for easy storage in my small New York City apartment. 

Price at time of publish: $311

Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9 inches | Weight: 7.8 pounds | Capacity: 36 liters | Expandable: No | Smart: Yes

Travel + Leisure / Anna Popp


Monos Metro Toiletry Case

Monos Large Toiletry Case

Monos


Why We Love It: The capacity is big enough for up to two weeks’ worth of cosmetics, but small enough to fit in a carry-on.

What to Consider: It’s a little tough to wipe down the interior to clean.

I fell in love with the vegan leather from the Metro Backpack and Sling, so when it came to choosing a toiletry bag, the decision was a no-brainer. The large toiletry case in ivory vegan leather is ideal for carry-on and checked luggage, as it’s big enough to fit several full-size cosmetics or a variety of small items like makeup. I’ve used it for weekend getaways and two-week-long trips, and I was able to hold items like a toothbrush, full-size night cream, travel-size shampoo, face sunscreen, and plenty of makeup. Some of my powdered makeup spilled during travels and it did take a bit of spot cleaning to get the fabric lining clean again. I’m neither a light packer nor an over-packer, so I’m a big fan of the spacious yet compact design of Monos’ toiletry bag. 

Price at time of publish: $65 for vegan leather

Dimensions: 7.5 x 3 x 3.4 inches | Weight: 0.69 pounds (nylon),  0.77 pounds (vegan leather) | Capacity: 2.8 liters

Travel + Leisure / Anna Popp


Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Anna Popp is a Commerce Writer at Travel + Leisure, where she writes most of T+L’s tested articles. Anna has tested and written about hundreds of pieces of luggage and has developed a keen eye for high-quality suitcases, bags, and accessories. She traveled with her recommended Monos luggage pieces on international and domestic flights, as well as road trips and weekend getaways to test the durability and functionality of each bag. 

Love a great deal? Sign up for our T+L Recommends newsletter and we’ll send you our favorite travel products each week.

Latest article