Review: CabinMax Metz mini 30l Personal Item – beat the baggage fees!

Most Low-Cost-Carriers (LCC) limit the size and weight of our cabin bags and even full-service airlines have introduced “Basic Economy”, limiting you to hand-luggage. If you want to avoid those pesky checked bag fees, you’ll need a “Personal Item” that fits under the seat in front of you – you’ll need to pack light (read my tips to do it) and get a practical bag that fits – the CabinMax mini 30l is made for this situation!

Luggage Facts: The CabinMax mini is designed as a personal item for air travel with measurements of 45x35x20cm that will fit the limitations of many airlines for a personal item. Unfortunately, two fo the biggest LCCs in Europe, Ryan Air and Wizz Air just changed their luggage policies, rendering this bag a tad too big!
The interior volume of 30l is large and I can fit enough clothes for more than a week! It’s also very lightweight at only 0.5kg (1.1lbs), leaving plenty of weight for your stuff. Many airlines now have weight limits of 7-10kg, so a light bag is key to fitting in!
With a price of only $25, the CabinMax mini is one of the lowest-priced bags I have reviewed, making it an easy purchase!

Design & Features: If you want to travel with only a personal item, you need to maximize your interior volume and access – and the Metz mini is well designed: It opens clam-shell like a suitcase, making it easy to store and access your clothes without unpacking. This is a key advantage over similar-sized daypacks that are top-loaders and harder to access for clothes!
It also has a very functional front pocket with organizer, offering a zipper pocket for keys or coins, a large zipper pocket, slots for pens and several smaller pockets to put all your necessities. There is no laptop sleeve, but you can fit a small notebook or tablet in the front.

The bag has four compression straps on the outside to tighten your pack down. The bag material is very soft, so you don’t want to overstuff it or the measurements will balloon beyond the approved measures! There is only one handle on the top, which is sufficient given the small size of the bag. The carry straps and the back of the pack have little padding, comfortable enough for the way to the plane, but I wouldn’t recommend a longer hike with it!

Materials & Quality: The backpack is made of thin, lightweight material and isn’t waterproof. The zippers have metal handles and work reasonably well, I’d consider them appropriate for the price point. I’ve made more than 10 trips with the bag so far and it’s fully functional with no tears or material fatigue and all sewn seams are holding up well.

What can you bring? The unique size close to the personal item limit and the front-loading design of the CabinZero mini make it feasible as your only bag for a few days. I was able to pack 3 pairs of pants, 1 pair of shorts, 15 shirts (1 long buttoned, 2 short buttoned, 5 polo shirts, 7 T-shirts), 12 pairs of socks & underwear, a pair of sandals/sneakers, a 1-quart toiletry bag, and assorted personal items into the bag – and there was still room left.
Check out the photos below to see how it works: I start with all shirts neatly stacked. Stacks of undies and socks follow, as well as other small items. The shoes go into the bottom of the pack, for balance and protection. I wrap the pants over the top of the clothes. This makes for an efficient use of space, good organization and easy access – all I have to take out at my destination are the pants, everything else is easily accessible form the bag! For more tips, check out my post Top 10 Tips to Pack Light

The full weight is just under 7kg, good for all the airlines listed above and most others. If I want to fit my ChromeBook, camera and electronics as well, the weight goes up to about 10kg.

Bottomline: The CabinMax Metz mini is a light and sturdy bag with a perfect size for shorter trips. It has replaced the slightly bigger CabinMax Metz on all flights were I have to meet a weight limit, rather than a size limit. At a price of only $25, it’s great value and will pay for itself after only one trip saving checked or carry on luggage fees.
It’s only downside are the lack of a laptop sleeve and the size exceeding the limits of Ryan Air and WizzAir – if those things are important to you, your best bet is the slightly smaller CabinZero 28L (read my review)!


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