Review: Nomad Lane Bento Carryon Bag (Plus A Great Discount)

Review: Nomad Lane Bento Carryon Bag (Plus A Great Discount)

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If you’re in a rush:
  • Nomad Lane's Bento Bag makes for a functional and tidy personal item, though making the most of the bag will require organized packing.
  • Use discount code "OMAAT" or the link below to save $30 on a Bento bag of your own.
  • Congrats to reader Chris P. for winning the giveaway!

My TravelPro rollaboard is nearly a decade old now, and while it has held up spectacularly well given what I put it through, it is coming to the end of its functional life, and is definitely in need of replacement. The personal item situation isn’t as quite as grim, but (as I’m sure many of you can relate to), it also isn’t ideal.

So I’m always casually on the lookout for something a bit…more.

When Ben wrote about his urgent need for a luggage makeover in late 2019, y’all had several great suggestions. One that came up repeatedly was the Nomad Lane Bento Bag, though it was unfortunately sold out at the time.

While he ultimately settled on a Briggs & Riley pair, the idea of a more structured bag and organizational system was something that many of you expressed interest in.

As luck would have it, the co-owner of Nomad Lane is also a long-time OMAAT reader. And as people are beginning to travel more again (and perhaps in a different fashion than they have in the past), there seems to be a lot of luggage shopping happening. So when Nomad Lane offered to send a bag for me to check out in-person, I agreed.

I’ll share my thoughts below, and then this particular bag will be up for grabs (along with some other swag). Or if you decide you’d like own of your own, Nomad Lane is offering a $30 discount using this link or the code “OMAAT”.

For avoidance of doubt, this post is neither sponsored nor commissioned — just hopefully helpful.

My current carryon “wardrobe”

Ben gets by with just one personal item, but I have found over the years that an assortment suits me better.

I have my go-to small weekender, but there’s also the “day of meetings in LA” tote, the “will probably want to have a backpack in this destination” bag, and the borderline-ridiculous “flying Emirates First and those amenity kits and pajamas aren’t going to get themselves home” duffel.

You know how it is.

I love all these bags for different reasons, but one thing they all have in common is a large, almost cavernous main area. That generally works well for me and my dialed-in packing list, though it can be annoying to get at things that sink to the bottom of the bag.

Having a bag with a more directive approach is a big departure for me, but one I’m intrigued by. You might be too.

The Nomad Lane “Bento” Bag

First of all, this bag is nicely packaged — from the printed and perfectly-sized shipping box to the custom dust cover. And while that really doesn’t matter, it is a nicer beginning to the experience than opening up a poorly-sealed plastic bag that’s been rattling around inside a lump of cardboard.

The bag is designed to fit under the seat in front of you, and in context with my other bags I think it would be comfortable fit on most every aircraft — even my extra-large duffel can fit if packed with soft items.

This is the “Bento Bag® v 3.0 – [LIMITED] Sport Black / Silver”, and the fit and finish is more or less what I expected. Solid and durable-feeling hardware, some “vegan leather” accents, and a body fabric that seems like it will hold up to heavy use.

What makes this bag more unique is just how many dang pockets and folders and zippered sections there are — “bento” is a perfect name. And you can tell that the bag was designed by people who travel a lot — one of my big frustrations when shopping for bags and totes is that so few of them seem to have gone through a design review with anyone who has ever been on an airplane, much less with frequency.

The main zipper opens as a clamshell, which I expected to be annoying (I share Ben’s disdain for many hard-sided bags for this reason), but the execution here worked well. The fact that there are alternate ways to access many of the pockets helps, and the layout is fairly well considered.

Test packing the Bento Bag

Like any other bento box, the thought of choosing and packing one’s own can feel a bit intimidating. I was definitely a little overwhelmed by all the possibility and compartments at first, as there is potentially a ton that can be done here.

So I ultimately just pulled things into a pile and started packing.

Hers

While I am sure there are more efficient (or at least more attractive) ways to pack this bag, I just took all the things I would normally put in my personal item, added some things I’d like to have with me in an ideal situation, and tried to see what/how stuff would fit.

I typically keep all my tech stuff (13″ MacbookPro, iPad, phone, associated charging apparatus) in whatever personal item, along with toiletries, a pashmina, my jewelry roll, a spare pair of socks, and backup shoes. Loungewear and another set of socks are the next things to go in when there’s space, and then I love to fit in gym clothes/shoes and a swimsuit whenever possible.

It’s just nice to have those things handy on a longer layover, or if my rollaboard has to be checked.

The “bottom” compartment has a decent amount of space, and includes two pouches (one clear) that fit nicely next to a pair of pockets (which are accessed from the outside of the bag).

I’ll be honest — I don’t love the included pouches. The 3-1-1 bag is a little bigger than I need it to be, which led to some sloshing around. But I also have my Freedom Baggie composition pretty dialed-in, and others may enjoy the extra space and lateral opening. The other pouch is perhaps meant to be for tech? I put my (admittedly minimal) travel makeup items in there, and still had tons of space.

I also found I had plenty of extra space between the pouches (this is potentially just my being new to packing using this method), which is either a waste of real estate or an opportunity to cram more things into the crannies, depending on your perspective.

I opted to fill in the space:

With all those items inside, and the divider zipped, I then had space on top of that half the bag for my laptop charger and two books (though the hardcover felt perhaps slightly ambitious when it came time to zip up). The padded pockets easily fit both my laptop and my iPad — in their cases no less!

The laptop/iPad section flips down to reveal a larger compartment. This would likely be your main packing area if you were using this as a weekend bag.

For me, with a Women’s ~9.5 shoe, I was easily able to fit both a flat pair of sandals and a pair of minimalist sneakers, along with gym clothes and a swimsuit. If you have longer (or even just bulkier) shoes, I’d only expect to fit a single pair.

The outer pocket has an area to connect a power bank, and a host of other sleeves and pockets. I think I’d need to spend more time with this bag to really understand the best ways to organize things in this section, but it generally worked okay. I did find myself wishing for credit card pockets so I could skip bringing my travel wallet though.

And then my planner went on the opposite side, near a sleeve that can slide over the handle of a larger suitcase.

With everything together, the bag was definitely very full, and very heavy. Which has pros and cons — like having so many things close at hand is super convenient, but then you also have to carry it. 😉

But on balance I think it’s likely better to have more space than is strictly necessary, and practice curation, then to not be able to fit key items. Overall, I’m quite impressed with the capacity and structure of the Bento bag.

I’d obviously have to make significant adjustments if I was hoping to bring this-bag-and-this-bag-only on a trip, but as a supplement to a rollaboard — which is how I travel 99.99% of the time anyway — it seems like it would work well for me.

His

In what apparently passes for a fun evening activity these days, my husband did a test pack too. His current go-to bag is a Timbuk2 messenger bag I gifted him on our second or third Christmas together, which means it is nearly old enough to drive, and could probably stand to be replaced.

Though it does, technically, fit everything he’d want for a weekend trip.

Just, well…

The main challenge with using a messenger bag as a solo bag for him is that while he can get it closed, in order to access anything he has to unpack everything, which is super cumbersome.

Here’s what he packed, which was assuming a 3-night casual working trip with no rollaboard (Men’s size 12 shoes, for reference):

In packing the Bento bag, he ditched one of their pouches for his standard shaving kit (courtesy of LH F), but everything else seemed to fit quite well — including his 15″ laptop.

However, while it looked like everything fit, it was a struggle to zip the bag up fully.

Like, this probably could have been forced shut, but not only did that seem impolite for a loaner bag, it’s just not really something you want to have to struggle with. Moving things around might have helped, or even just a bit of curation.

“Or I could just acknowledge that I have never successfully used a hotel gym, and am unlikely to start on this imaginary trip.”

But I don’t really think the shoes as such were the issue here — again, this is a very different style of packing than he is used to. Different folds on the jeans could make all the difference, and a smaller notebook wouldn’t hurt.

Not packing it perfectly the first time is a minor enough concern that he is still interested in grabbing a Bento Bag or something similar for himself. He also thought the power connector for your own charger bank was a nice touch (I’m ambivalent).

Mostly he really liked how easy it was to both find and retrieve individual items from the bag quickly, and in a way that didn’t require risking socks tumbling down the aisle.

Bottom line

I like this bag, and if you are already an adherent of the “highly sectioned and divided” method of packing, you might love this bag.

While all functional luggage is obviously designed to be “stylish at best” versus necessarily “fashionable”, I felt like the Bento Bag looks less utilitarian than it ultimately is. Which I consider to be a good thing. I also think the $228 price point (or $198 with code “OMAAT”) is appropriate for the quality and detail work.

I’ll likely buy one for myself (though not in black, as it’s a bit too stark for my personal preference, so I have my eye on the navy/gold combo), but I also suspect this won’t quite be able to become an “every trip” bag for me. Though that is realistically probably more of a commentary on my packing habits than on the bag itself.

I can definitely see how it would be useful to have items more compartmentalized, and it was easy to just open the bag and grab something quickly. Far less rummaging than I’m accustomed to, and would absolutely be easier to keep up with on a longer trip.

And now, a giveaway!

As I mentioned above, this bag was provided by Nomad Lane, and so I won’t be keeping it myself. But I will be sending it (along with some other goodies!) to one of you!

Or if you’d like to order a bag directly, Nomad Lane is offering a $30 discount using this link or the code “OMAAT”.

Update: The giveaway has ended, with the randomly selected winner being comment #41, which read:

“I definitely look for a bag that has structured and organized, smaller compartments to complement a larger compartment so that, as you said, I don’t need to “go fishing” in the cavernous main compartment for smaller items that I can anticipate needing to access during travel.”

– Chris P

Thanks to everyone for their comments — the discount code will continue to be valid.

Conversations (265)
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  1. Eskimo

    A bag that reminds me I have to comment before Tuesday July 20th at 11:59PM Pacific.

    Obviously without it, I missed the giveaway.

  2. CY

    Most important is space and ability to fit on top of my rollaboard!

  3. Philippe

    I definitely like the amount of pockets and the durability of the product. Since I mostly only take electronics, books, crosswords, etc. on the flight, some outside pockets are handy too.

  4. Ben

    I really like having many pockets which are highly accessible :)

  5. Matthew k

    I look for a bag that has different compartments and that can separate my dirty clothes from clean clothes. I also look for something that is lightweight

  6. Matt

    Lots of storage space for accessories

  7. John

    I love a bag that let's you quickly retrieve and return my toiletries pouch without scrummaging or getting everything else out. (Ex. Going thru security)

  8. Chris

    A bag that fits under the seat in front of me & made of durable material.

  9. Laura

    I love a bag with enough pockets and areas to keep everything organized. This sounds like a bag that fits the bill!

  10. Miguel P.

    On a carry-on I look for a comfortable bag, that also offers enough space and protection for all the tech I travel with.

  11. Michael R.

    I like a bag that can slide over the handle bar on my rollaboard suitcase. Separate storage compartments are a must so I can organize my stuff and quickly access it.

  12. Alanvarah

    Something versatile with a good amount of pockets and good organization. My main personal is a converted backpack that i made into a sling backpack. Great size but i wished it was a little bit bigger and had a strap to attach to my roller bag.

  13. Linda

    I like a modern looking carryon. More importantly, it needs to be able to fit easily under the seat. I'm a huge fan of a carryon with lots of compartments.

  14. Michael Chiang

    Oops forgot to put what I like in my bag. But definitely something with numerous pockets, nondescript, but also has structure that can stand on its own while also being compressable to fit under a Frontier seat! #bougie on a budget

  15. Michael Chiang

    Ooh interesting concept! Hope I can win the bag if the contest is still up :). Just a poor med student so out of the budget for the meantime haha

  16. Robin Toewe

    I have three bags that I use as my personal item or weekender bags. Louis Vuitton Keepall Bandoulière, a Kipling roller backpack I bought a church garage sale for five bucks and is tough as nails, and a hard side carry-on that I bought red tag at TJ Maxx.

  17. michaelsbike

    I take a different approach, I assume that I'll go through a bag a year so don't spend more than $100 on bags. With that limit I generally go for something that will withstand 100+ flights and hope for the best.

  18. Klavs

    A bag that has enough compartments to split everything up into a manageable mess. As well as it being able to pack the bag away easily after getting home.

  19. Tyler

    This looks like a great bag! I especially like the zippered pouches on the front/back for quick/easy access to essentials.

  20. Ilan

    I look for durability and an accessible outer pocket for documents - very important especially in the age of covid!

  21. BoredinWNC

    I like a segmented bag- the Nomad Lane looks great. I usually pack a couple of spare outfits, laptop and books for a short trip.

  22. Teddy

    features: very stylish, fits all my travel needs and traveller friendly

  23. MadsR

    Flat bottom, handles and shoulder strap, exterior pocket for travel docs, phone, etc.

  24. Harrison

    Looking for a bag that helps me keep everything organized and carries more than it looks like it should be able to.

  25. Florian

    For me easy access to different things without everything falling out is important

  26. Aaron Carreno

    I look for plenty of storage options: Small pockets, cushioned spaces for electric tablets/laptops, and secure zipped spaces for smaller items or valuables. If it fits nice and snug, and is durable - it's a win-win for me! :)

  27. Phil

    I like the separation of spaces in a bag so my shoes don't smell up my clothes, clothes don't get wrinkly, etc.

  28. Melinda

    I need space. All the other bags I have used don't allow me that. many thanks!

  29. AJO

    Durability. A bag that still looks good after three years on the road.

  30. Dotti M Cahill

    One that is able to stuff under the seat in front of me in any of the CRJ's and be able to have all of the things I need access to during the flight!!And be a nice looking bag!!

  31. Jason Barschi

    Lightweight, durable, sleek and exterior charging ports.

  32. Dina

    I travel a lot for business and the most important thing to me is having luggage fit under a chair. I dont trust luggage checking. After that durability and a small easy access pocket for cell phones and chargers. Multiple compartments is useful but it can be overdone.

  33. JDM

    I like a bag with wheels. If I’m on a small plane, I want a light, compact duffel that fits effortlessly into the overhead bin.

  34. NL

    Size, durability, and ability to get me through TSA quickly
    quick access compartments, and a separate electronics sectional are also nice

  35. Lara S.

    I like the idea of this on top of my roller bag I carry on. Especially since Ill be trying to take some scuba gear in that and won't have much room for actual clothes!

  36. Karen

    I want an easily accessible pocket (from the outside) to stash my 3-1-1 item so I can put them in the tray at security without holding up the line, or spending too much time re-packing them. (Not every country has Pre-Check!)

  37. panda

    Durable yet lightweight at a reasonable price.

  38. David Jensen

    Nice compartmentalize (zipper or velcro) options are a must. Keeps everything in its right place (once I determine the priority and location)!

  39. Matthew C.

    Flat bottom, handles & shoulder strap, at least one external pocket for travel docs, phone, etc.

  40. Mike

    Ample pockets and flexibility/can condense.

  41. HK

    Hidden spaces and the ability to pack more than what I think the bag can fit!

  42. THOMAS REED

    fabric or leather that is strong/won't tear and soft sides--no hard-side bags for me.

  43. Edgar Landas

    It needs to be functional and stylish, but can take a beating. Yes I've thrown bags off trains before.

  44. Kathy McElderry

    Pockets, pockets, lots of easily accessible pockets!

  45. KK13

    (1) A section where I can put my laptop and iPad. If this can flip open to a more spacious compartment top hold few clothes, some documents and my sandal.
    (2) Small section in front for toiletries.
    (3) light weight and water-resistant features preferred

  46. Faris Karaborni

    Needs to have strong zippers. I can't tell you how many times a bag has failed due to the zipper seam ripping off or falling apart. It's a must have!

  47. Michael

    sectioned and divided. easy to carry

  48. Calvin Derkins

    It has to fit under the seat (SAS) and should have enough pockets to stash my laptop, iPad, etc. when I travel alone and colouring books and cookies (and my iPad) when I travel with my family. Lots of compartments preferred, so the cookies don’t crumble into my laptop and the crayons can be accessed instantly. Looks like a very good fit to me…

  49. Cilff

    Being able to store my camera gear and amenity kits with a modular design.

  50. cahbf

    lightweight and easy to sling over my shoulder

  51. Roger

    Want to be able to slide it on to my larger rolling carryon, safely protect my laptop, and have pockets that help keep me organized.

  52. Ryan

    To me, I need enough accessible pockets from the outside, and enough divider so that I can separate my laptop and my dirty clothes lol

  53. Kay Lynn

    I look for multiple compartments with easy access in a travel bag.

  54. Todd Reigel

    Durability and a looooong warranty.

  55. kq747

    I do love different compartments as well as a main cavernous space. Also, for my personal item, the ability to strap it to my rollerboard has become key!

  56. Mark R.

    I second the shoulder strap.

  57. KareK

    I love different compartments to hold my different items and clothing. I have lots of little things too because of being a mommy. It has to allow me easy access and keep my hands free while we are traveling to take care of those things that my kids keep having issues with.

  58. Jane

    A shoulder strap. Makes carrying anything with a bit of weight so much easier.

  59. Carol

    I like a bag with a frame but that also allows for some adjustment to the shape depending on the load. These bags are great, I owned one for many years

  60. Rache

    My challenge is keeping all my electronics and papers organized so I can easily put my hands on anything when I need it, and still having space for toiletries, with a bag that is relatively lightweight!

  61. Speck

    Mostly I look for a bag that is well built in terms of durability with smartly designed pockets!

  62. Kristen

    I prefer as large a bag as will fit in the frame, and I feel like a trolley sleeve is a necessity these days. (especially if/when I pack said bag as full as it can get but then becomes too heavy to carry easily.)

  63. VX_Flier

    Packing cubes, anyone? No?

    There are websites and subreddits dedicated to minimalist traveling. I tend to overpack personally, but their recommendation for using packing cubes is a no-brainer once you try it.

    There is also the challenge of resisting the urge to bring the kitchen sink for a vacation or getaway.

  64. Richard

    I'll prefer a bag with accessible compartments, e.g. for passports, chargers, etc that I might want to retrieve on a plane, as well as sufficient inner volume for enough clothes (perhaps a short weekend getaway). Also, it's important for the bag to have a shoulder strap or perhaps retractable wheels, so that I'm not holding on to it all the time.

  65. Wmorrison99

    Id like a large carry on size bag with lots of seperate storage pockets. I typically travel with a backpack which has great little pockets but is quite small, and a duffel which is much bigger but has just one large container and is impossible to find everything

  66. Sam

    Any good bag should have the ability to be opened without everything flying in all directions as happens with many bags that have smaller access points

  67. rtbones

    I'd like a bag that fits under the seat in front of me, has an external place for a water bottle, and an internal compartment I can store my passport in.

  68. Ken

    The most important thing for me is to have any item readily accessible. This means that the bag has to be small enough to fit under the seat in front of me and I don't have to waste any time digging in the bag. I also dislike my things shifting around in a bag, everything should be exactly how I packed it when I open it.

  69. MichaelLB

    Something with a comfortable handle and doesn't feel overly bulky when being carried.

  70. arshi007

    For me, my secondary bag has to be something i can carry on my shoulders easily. I like to double my additional carryon bag as something that i can also take to the office regularly so that I don't have to keep switching bags when i'm taking a trip. I currently use the Tumi Alpha 2 which i kinda like but its still not perfect.

  71. JoshR

    I love the ability to have different easy to access sections you can easily access while traveling without needing to unpack the whole bag. Not that I need credit card slots (my wallet has all the cards I need minus infrequently used credit cards for lounge access and Priority Pass), but it would nice to be able to keep at least those cards in a separate pocket.

  72. William

    I like the all the dividers, wish it has wheels though, remind me my old Sharper Image carry-on.

  73. Scott T

    A bag that won’t tip over!

  74. aarowa

    Zippers that can stand up to abuse

  75. Dbelam

    Love a bag that has a zip pocket on the outside for ease of accessing wallet and other items. It makes security easy as you can empty your pockets into the side pocket as well.

  76. Dave

    Easy access pockets for passport and charging cords

  77. Will

    Multiple compartments for all my tech!!

  78. Tarun Sam

    A stylish soft bag with a carryon strap which can hold things for a weekend trip.

  79. Victoria

    For a weekend/carry-on, pockets are so helpful (even with my packing cubes). I love to keep my stuff as organized as possible.

  80. Mark Blakley

    I always look for a bag that is well made and will last for many years of travel, but is also light weight. I’m usually packed pretty full thus weight is important to me. It also needs to be easy to carry - handles have cushion and sit well in your hand and has a comfortable shoulder strap. Lastly, let’s be honest, I do want it to look nice and fit my style. For me,...

    I always look for a bag that is well made and will last for many years of travel, but is also light weight. I’m usually packed pretty full thus weight is important to me. It also needs to be easy to carry - handles have cushion and sit well in your hand and has a comfortable shoulder strap. Lastly, let’s be honest, I do want it to look nice and fit my style. For me, that’s simple and professional. I want the bag to stand out to me, not others!
    Thanks for all the great content and info you share - love the site!

  81. JDL

    I look for a stylish yet practical bag. One that has enough space but can also look good and modern in any setting. Ultimately it has to allow me to travel for a modest weekend away without breaking the bank or falling apart after 3 uses.

  82. Eric

    I look for a bag that is flexible and allows me to pack for a weekend that is casual or more formal that looks somewhat stylist and doesn’t have to be checked.

  83. MD

    If I ever get the opportunity to travel, I would really like a bag that has a strap in the bag that would allow me to fasten it o a roll-away.

  84. Surya N.

    I'm a big fan of bags with at least a shoulder strap, a bit like a messenger bag. I like having my hands free if I can help it!

  85. Aldyzest

    I look for nylon bag not leather one. Thr Zipper on side, not in thr middle. Has pocket on both sides. Ideally has no compartment and has a strap on

  86. wesley

    ability to fit a dslr and water bottle

  87. TN

    Look for a bag that’s easy to organize, enough compartment for different gadgets like a laptop, iPad, camera and their chargers, plus clothes and shoes. Having dirty workout clothes pouch is a plus.

  88. Amanda

    I need a bag with compartments and is lightweight.

  89. JS

    I want a bag that’s fashionable but low-key, and can easily fit all my essentials for a quick or extended weekend trip.

  90. Kevin

    I look for a trolley strap primarily as nothing worse than your bag falling off your rolling carry-on while walking around the airport!

  91. Amanda

    I need organization in a bag first and the weight of the bag second!

  92. Htek

    I look for a bag that is made sustainably, is fair trade certified, but doesn’t lack in quality

  93. Jeff

    I like a tethered clip to attach to my key ring.

  94. Liski

    Something nice that can fit all my travelling gadgets but still looks chic!

  95. Heman

    A bag with seperate shoe storage

  96. JC

    I look for a carryon bag I can fit at least 3 days worth of clothing, while still
    having my odds and ends in a separate reachable compartment.

  97. ddex

    Lightweight but durable materials. Maximum capacity with minimum outside dimensions (i.e., boxy shape, not curved or tapered). Meets "Personal Item" limitations for most airlines. No wheels. Shoulder strap.

  98. Daniel

    I look for a safe place to put my iPad and especially my Apple Pencil. Of course a safe passport spot is also key.

  99. Andrew L

    Lightweight and maneuverability

  100. Clay

    Either easy to carry or easy to roll. And an external pocket for chargers, etc is a necessity!

  101. linhang

    I'd like to see a water containment compartment, where we can store swimwear or sweaty clothing.

  102. tiffany

    Lightweight enough not to add more weight to what I'm bringing, but strong enough so that it can withstand abuse.

  103. J Reg

    I like a bag that has a built in luggage tag. Not having to attach a separate tag makes it look less like luggage and more like a stylish every day bag.

  104. David W

    I like a bag with different compartments and easy access to certain things and the ability to put it thru the handles of a rollaboard is great. I have a backpack that does that. For longer trips I have the rollaboard and the backpack or messenger bag. Shorter trips is just either the backpack, messenger bag or a duffel bag.

  105. md9802

    Compartments to hold different things like food, laptop, charging cords, toiletries, etc.

  106. Tracy

    I like a little padding on the bottom and one panel of the bag, the over-the-carryon-handle sleeve and a good metal zipper

  107. Susan

    I usually use a backpack, but like the ability to really organize in this bag. Also like that it can it on a roller bag.

  108. Austin

    I look for durability and ease of access to a few compartments for quick grabs!

  109. Lynn

    A bag where everything will not fall out when you open it

  110. Lindsay

    Easy Accessibility and a dedicated spot for my phone and passport . I don’t want to dig to the bottom of my bag in a panic because I just threw my passport in a giant cavern.

  111. iamhere

    This post seems low class. This blog is supposed to be about points, miles, and other useful tips.

  112. jason

    I always look for practicality and convenience -- large zippers that won't burst at the seams under load, a very well-padded handle to take strains off your shoulder, and ideally fold-out wheels with a long handle.

  113. Lolo G.

    I have the Nomad Lane Bento bag and I love it. There is a place for everything, it’s super durable, fits under the seat in front of me on a plane so everything I need is right is in reach. It’s worth every penny.
    And…the green matches my Away luggage perfectly.

  114. mgaz

    The most important items for our travel is to fit the electronics correctly and to fit under the seat. This sounds like a great bag, thanks for doing this as a giveaway!

  115. Christopher

    I always look for durability, specifically a quality zipper that can keep up with my bad habit of over packing!

  116. Melissa

    I look for a way to easily hook it onto my roller bag, and switch to carrying it on my shoulder. Nothing too heavy.

  117. Sung

    I think the main thing these days is weight and durability. The less the weight, the more you can pack, but generally that also affects durability too. Waiting for new space age material that is feather light and ultra durable.

  118. Ivan

    I just look for style and design. In my opinion the utility tends to be generally the same across bags.

  119. Richard

    In my go to bag I look for something with the space and flexibility to allow me to pack my tech and enough clothes/toiletries for a couple nights in case of a cancellation. I also look for a quality bag that will last me quite a few years.

  120. avi

    a bag that has the slits to be held on my carryon handles

  121. David

    For me, my personal item just needs to be easy to carry and have enough space.

  122. Jocelyn

    Zippers that won't break and fabric that is easy to clean and won't rip.

  123. JK

    I've been looking for the perfect travel bag forever - super tough to combine utility, lightweight and durability but looks like the bento may come close!

  124. Andrew

    A padded section for a laptop and small pockets for cords/chargers/snacks.

  125. Victor

    Secret compartment for wallet and phone essential!

  126. Tennen

    I look for a versatile bag that can also double as a day bag. That usually means a cross-body, messenger, or backpack. Ideally, it'll be lightweight so that it'll meet the ridiculously low weight limits (on airlines that have them).

  127. Jay

    Lightweight is probably most important.

  128. Sam I am

    The most important feature for me is to take something out without disrupting everything else. For example, you want to wear sneaker one day but taking it out of the bag doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take out next three days outfit first.

  129. Alex

    I want a bag that I know is going to keep my more breakable/valuable stuff safe - that means enough structure to keep stuff in the right place inside, room to separate liquids and snacks so they won't contaminate other sections, etc.

  130. James

    I look for a bag that can carry my meeting/work stuff and the things I need for a 2-3 day trip. Access to essential items without opening up the whole thing is a plus.

  131. AB

    Would want a removable padded shoulder strap

  132. Lisa Y

    Easy opening so I can just pull it out from under the seat and grab what I need without having to dig in the bag or take things out to get to something else.

  133. James Saunders

    I check a bag. When I have a load of stuff to carry for work so my go to bag is different to a lot of you
    I have a Think Tank Camera bag as my carry on
    Great inner bag for a laptop, mouse and cable
    In the bag I have my camera and an extra lens. But the other space has room for emergency clothes. I have three days rolled....

    I check a bag. When I have a load of stuff to carry for work so my go to bag is different to a lot of you
    I have a Think Tank Camera bag as my carry on
    Great inner bag for a laptop, mouse and cable
    In the bag I have my camera and an extra lens. But the other space has room for emergency clothes. I have three days rolled. Then more space for glasses, contacts. Some grooming stuff.
    Then adapters and a 24 foot/ 8 m extension cord with three outlets. Lots of adjustable sections

    Side I have refillable water bottle and a compact gortex coat
    It is a back pack very well made. On the handle, bear bells (so I can hear my bag being moved) and a bicycle light (powerful and rechargeable)

  134. ymx

    I typically look for carry-on backpacks so I only have to roll my rollaboard. Like easy access to headphones and chargers.

  135. Easty

    The clamshell design that makes everything accessible. Something like this with easy access compartments would be SO much better than rummaging through my duffel bag.

    Amazing how whatever I need has always relocated to the bottom of my current bag!!!

  136. Adrian Cabrera

    Smart, sexy and functional.

  137. Patrick

    Being able to separate out clothing is key for me.

  138. pstm91

    Most essential part of my "go-to" bag is how easy it is for stuff to go in/out of it while at the airport, which this bag seems to have in spades. I need to be George Clooney in "Up in the Air" while going through security, and this bag seems like it helps with that.

  139. Birdie

    What I look for: Well-structured—will stand up to getting tossed around without breaking down, a few easy to grab into pockets, and easy for my petite self to lug around

  140. ginger_pickle

    Just like how I prefer SUV over sedans, I always opt for duffle bags! Stress-free when opening and searching for something. I look for lightweight and large cargo space. But I do like this concept of literally "hand" carry, carry-on. I would love to try it!

  141. Stevie B

    HUGE fan of the fact that you can separate out clothes from work and other things via the zipper divider thing. Like your husband, I am CONSTANTLY rummaging through socks, tshirts, and other clothing items just to find my work notebook or a good pen. Great review!

  142. bryan t

    I look for ease of accessing electronics while traveling, so having a bag that has multiple pouches and quick access locations.

  143. Michael Fleming

    The Bento Bag seems close to my ideal; would like a pouch or compartment to hold a water bottle and quick access to iPad or notebook. I never travel with anything larger than a 13” MacBook.

  144. Michael Hayoun

    Needs room for my MacBook Pro and charger, few magazines, pens and small notepad

  145. Matt

    I like a bag that has a large main area surrounded by plenty of pockets. The backpack I often use just doesn't cut it :(

  146. Judy

    I like a hands free option, Does the Bento have shoulder strap or the option to be worn as a backpack?

    1. Lolo G.

      It does have a padded shoulder strap.

  147. Gary

    All that is good that you packed, however what is the weight??
    On the last international flights I was on you were limited to
    7kg or 15 lbs. This was absolute on Air New Zealand, and Iceland Air.

  148. Ryan

    I want easily accessed compartments, mainly for electronics and power cord storage.

  149. RayFlyer

    Prefer a shoulder strap to keep hands free for cell phone, ticket, etc.

  150. ScottL

    Left handed bags are the ones I need!

  151. David

    Cool. I need a bag that is sturdy and has a lot of compartments to organize my travel goodies.

  152. Benjamin Jolly

    Definitely a lot of pockets but also like skinny pockets for phone and passport to be able to slide them in but secure them.

  153. William LS

    Durability and lots of easily accessible compartments designed for visibility.

  154. Jena Palisoul

    I actually typically use a 20" hard sided roller onboard along with a pacsafe backpack. For shorter trips, I really like this bento bag with all of the pockets and separation. I think it would work really well as the only bag for a one - three night trip.

  155. Keith

    I like one that has enough room for 3-4 days clothes and laptop and accessories

  156. L Lau

    Cool. I think all the different compartments is the most appealing feature to me.

  157. Dave

    I’d use this in combo with a rolling carry on.

    Hopefully there’s a shoulder strap of some sort as well?

  158. jjmpdx

    My go-to travel bag needs to be sturdy, and it needs to be stylish.

  159. Brian

    Must haves for me include tons of storage in a compact case and easy access for a few onboard accessories or a stop at security.

  160. Kristina

    Like you, I have several personal item bags, which change depending on the trip. I want my bag to be compact enough to fit under the seat and have easy access to what I want during the flight. I also want it to have a trolly sleeve and not appear "too big" when sitting atop my rollaboard.
    I've looked at this bag several times and been intrigued, so thanks for the detailed review.

  161. B N

    I like a bag that I can carry crossbody if worse comes to worse. I always want at least one exterior pocket. Total weight of the bag is also important. I’m not overly short or tall for a woman, but I also want to make sure I can carry the bag by the handles with my hands without it dragging on the floor. Not always an easy find.

  162. Jaime

    Easy to access, can hook onto luggage, stylish, some form, i. e., not thin nylon, neoprene.

  163. TTravel

    A lightweight, but durable bag. Preferably from a company that has good customer support and can do repairs quickly around the world, when necessary. Would spend heavily for this.

  164. Lawaia

    Must have quality zippers - heavy duty and never gets stuck. Also the sleeve on the backside to slide over the rails of my rollaboard. Don't need shoulder straps or wheels for this size bag.

  165. DT

    External sleeve to slide it over the pull-out handle on a roll-aboard.

  166. SC

    A bag that is lightweight and easy to fit all my stuff!

  167. Chris G

    I’m looking for a bag that is compartmentalized and allows me to fit more than I think and be ready for what I need while traveling. I don’t want a big open pit. Organization is what makes adventure even more successful!

  168. paul

    lightweight AND actually being able to take onboard without question as to size

  169. HT

    I'm a big fan of using storage space well. That way, I can get more stuff into less space (although my packing ability probably has something to do with it).

  170. Kelly Nagle

    Pockets and compartments- never enough. An easy way to access items. A place for credit cards/phone. And comfortable to carry.

  171. Nick Gonzales

    Organization that includes easy access to chargers

  172. JS

    Pockets, pockets, pockets. Which can be easily accessed.

  173. marian

    compartments. and room for my running gear.

  174. Julio Urdaneta

    I certainly look for versatility and amount of pockets, as well as weight and quality of the fabric. This bag looks stunning!

  175. Kajukenbo

    I prefer an external water bottle holder

  176. Charles S

    Storage space and pockets to organize items. The more compartments the better.

  177. Steven Siow

    Functional and clearly defined compartments including for passport/boarding pass, pens, laptop, etc

  178. Michael Anthony Diaz

    I have using Lite Gear's bag called the Rolling Pro 2.0...plenty of pockets and a removeable bag that can be used as a personal item onboard aircraft. This bag provides plenty of space including an RFID spot for credit card security.

  179. Scott G

    Plenty of pocket space and the ability to hold up over time.

  180. Andrew B

    Pockets/Compartments! Especially in a small carry-on. There’s a lot of small things that I want to grab during a flight (cables, headphones, etc), and its a pain when it is all in one place.

  181. TheJayHatch

    A large cavernous pocket to pop the ankle-biters in when they start bickering is an absolute essential. But don’t forget to take the kids back out before immigration…now THAT is a conversation I never want to have again!

  182. Michael Anthony Diaz

    No matter how "compact" the bag, I prefer a bag that has wheels for the many "roads" taken on the path to the train or plane.

  183. Josh Cain

    I value a sleeve to attach the bag to rolling suitcase handles. Currently looking around for a new personal item and it’s surprising how many bags/backpacks don’t have one. This Bento bag looks like a great option.

  184. Bill

    A shoulder strap, a way to attach to a rollaboard and a laptop/iPad enclosure are important.

  185. José

    If I'm carrying it, I prefer something with an external water bottle holder.

  186. Donna

    A sleeve to attach to the rails of my carryon spinner is pretty much a requirement given my propensity to pack heavy items in my smaller bag. Also, I need a leak-proof side pocket for my water bottle.

  187. Jan

    I always pack using pockets, compartments and pouches. This bag sounds amazing--and right up my alley. I love the look!

  188. Chris

    I love this idea of a sort of hybrid bag between a duffel and a backpack. I like having things easily accessible in a hierarchical way - for example my charger and water and lip balm are somewhere that I can access by feel, whereas things at the bottom of the needs hierarchy reside in the less accessible area, and a couple areas in between. I don't mind the clamshell design as I actually kinda...

    I love this idea of a sort of hybrid bag between a duffel and a backpack. I like having things easily accessible in a hierarchical way - for example my charger and water and lip balm are somewhere that I can access by feel, whereas things at the bottom of the needs hierarchy reside in the less accessible area, and a couple areas in between. I don't mind the clamshell design as I actually kinda like opening it and leaving everything (excepting maybe vanity case in the bathroom) within the four physical walls of the bag so I know where everything is. Would love to give this a whirl as it seems to occupy a middle ground I've been searching for.

  189. Jason

    The biggest feature I like in a carryon is a fairly large, but shallow pocket to put things I need to get to quickly/conveniently like passport, a pen, boarding pass, iPad, destination mobile phone, etc…

  190. Elizabeth Mateo

    Easily accessible compartments AND lightweight

  191. khatl

    Bags with a great shoulder strap... the sort you only usually get on high-end backpacks!

  192. Lifetime Status

    Having all the right compartments to pack effectively

  193. Andrea Cannon

    I look for lots of functional pockets!

  194. RH

    My preference for a "personal item" bag is something that's versatile enough to carry my laptop and other business travel necessities while also having space for other travel essentials, all while providing convenient access so that I don't have to unpack/dig through the entire bag to find what I'm looking for.

  195. Mo

    I've had my BentoBag since the original crowd source in 2018 and I don't travel anywhere without it.

    I'd also like to add their customer service is outstanding. After some heavy use, I had an issue with one of the interior seams. Sent them a picture and they sent me a new bag.

    The newer zippers are much smoother than the first run.

  196. Eric

    Would like a bag that says it's anti microbial. Am I the only one the worries about germs when you place a bag on the floor?

  197. Grace

    Backpack straps when you are running around in public transportation, I also prefer wide open spaces because for me too many pockets, compartments means more spaces to search when I can’t find something.

  198. Angel MIA

    I also like lots of pockets and organized sections. It would be nice if the bag is lightweight also since we must carry it. It would be nice to have wheels, too.

  199. Paul

    At this point I just want a bag to take on a plane - it's been too long since my last flight! ;)

    I like a structured bag that allows for easy access to the items used most during travel.

  200. Bill

    I look for storage compartments and padding

  201. Mike

    I need something that is stylish but also versatile, suitable as an overnight bag and equally a personal item on a plane.

  202. Patty

    I like looks of pockets and accessibility for go to items

  203. Sam

    I've been looking for a bag that lets me pack everything then transition to stashing dirty laundry in a dedicated pocket as I use things during the trip.

  204. DCA Rob

    I like a bag from which I can easily retrieve my laptop and allows for some padding around it.

  205. Mike1977

    A bag that I can cram everything into and still be able to lift!

  206. Chris H

    Dividers to protect my laptop / ipad

  207. pwirth158

    #1 feature is having easy access to the items inside. If you can't access your items easily, the convenience drops dramatically.

  208. DolceStilNovo

    I definitely look for a bag that has structured and organized, smaller compartments to complement a larger compartment so that, as you said, I don't need to "go fishing" in the cavernous main compartment for smaller items that I can anticipate needing to access during travel.

  209. Msd2179

    I do like a dedicated shoe compartment.

  210. jacob

    A go-to travel bag should have functional compartments for organizing items for your trip.

  211. Julian

    I need a bag with good zippers and a comfortable handle/shoulder strap!

  212. Russ

    The most important thing is to have a sleeve to put it on the rails of a carry-on bag so it sits on top. Very helpful in reducing back sweat.

    Also - check out the Fuse Reel Sidewinder for that MacBook power cord!

    1. Tiffany

      @ Russ -- HOLY MOLY! Buying one immediately, and then likely as holiday gifts for everyone I know. Thank you, sincerely.

  213. Beko

    Quality and durability - are the seams stitched well and zippers robust, or will they start to come apart after a few uses?

  214. Kurt

    zip/velcro/pullout Drybag lining in one of the compartments to keep dirty/wet clothes or dirty shoes. Pullout lining to cover the bag in rain and/or easily washable to get dirt/smells out.

  215. Jacob

    I like having 4 wheels and a strong handle that's built for abuse. I also like super light weight to maximize weight limits

  216. Andrew

    I appreciate several discrete pockets for ease of access and comfort in carrying and stowing.

  217. KE

    I do like compartments and typically get by with a single “personal item” carryon that fits under my seat for trips of 4 days or less. So being able to get to stuff easily is important. Also like a shoulder strap.

  218. Juergen Russ

    I personally like the functionality more than design or having an prestigious brand to carry. I really like durable material which endures the daily use. Many pockets round up the perfect bag for me.

  219. SAN_POA

    I really appreciate a bag that can be set on the floor or on top of a suitcase without falling over! It's helpful when moving around the airport or prior to security.

  220. Qi Chu

    I like bags that make it easy to access things you may need on the road, like ear plugs, portable battery, etc.

  221. Sel, D.

    Durability and style are most important. The ability to attach to a rollaboard is a must for me. Including a removable shoulder strap provides flexibility as well.

  222. Alexis

    The right amount of pockets is key: too many and I don't remember where I put anything and too few and I have to empty too many things to get to what I need.

  223. Izz

    I hope the contest is still going as this was only published today.

    I would be so grateful to win this bag. I travel often and would love to see how it would hold up to constant moving around. Would like a bag that has separate laptop compartment and separate clothing area, so it does not mix together.

    A compartment for an umbrella or water bottle would be great too!

  224. Amanda

    Something lightweight and easy to attach to my suitcase would be great so if it's heavy I can balance it on my carry on

  225. Michael

    I definitely look for function over form in a bag. Being able to quickly access what you need in flight without unpacking everything or digging to the bottom is key.

  226. SFO Guy

    Lots of small compartments that can be easily reached for all the essentials like earphones, chargers, etc.

  227. Mary Whitcomb

    Look for several large accessible compartments as well as a slot to put this over my rimowa carryon.

  228. MM

    Oh damn. I scrolled through the pictures and thought "That's a lot of girly stuff for Ben to pack in a bag..." and then I realized it was Tiffany's article.

  229. Mirp

    I like a bag that can attach to my wheeled carry on to eliminate the need to carry it when it is heavy.

  230. Robert Walters

    I like a bag that will easily fit in various travel spots (bin, under the seat) and has lots of zipper pockets for cords etc.

  231. Alex CG

    Something that has masses amounts of space but isn’t big and bulky. Lots of sections to put different things into different areas.

  232. gba

    I just want something that won't attract unwanted attention from gate agents carrying sizers.

  233. eponymous coward

    So I got one of the earlier versions a while back, one that didn’t have YKK zippers.

    Guess what? The zippers tend to blow out when the bag is tightly packed close to what it can hold… I don’t exactly love that.

    I ended up with a Pakt bag as an alternative. That and I learned to get bags with better zippers.

  234. Jess

    Bags that are easily wiped down. Like to be able to get dirt/spills off easily!

  235. [email protected]

    I like a bag that has easyvaccess to everything i might need on a long flight without having the entire plane staring at your pjs.

  236. MICHAEL CAREY

    A bag that can attach to a carry-on is a must

  237. MPW

    Are the dates here correct? Seems like this post went up 3 mins ago.

    Either way, lots of storage, which is why this bag looks great.

  238. Gino

    I personally need a bag that has a good organizing system for cables and cords - they always make a mess in my bag and are impossible to fish out if I have to put them in the main areas with other things.

  239. AJ

    Considering the deadline for this raffle (July 18th--aka yesterday), was this article supposed to be posted yesterday?

    Regardless, I would just like a bag. Yeah...that's it. Any new bag is better than the bag I have so yeah...I don't really mind the color or if it has wheels or has straps. I'm grateful.

  240. Up Up & Away

    A bag with a leak-proof lining in one of the compartments.

    1. Tiffany

      @ Pete -- Yep! It is removable, and attaches to the D-rings on the outside.

  241. Dan

    I look for a bag with sturdiness enough to handle the bumps and bruises of frequent travel. Definitely room for a solid three days of clothing, and separation to keep smelly gym clothes away from my daily wear is a big plus!

  242. Brian G.

    I like a bag that can attach to a carry-on suitcase.

  243. ML

    A bag with wheel so I don't have to carry it

    1. Dorothy Beaulieu

      A bag that fits into of suitcase.

Featured Comments Load all 265 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Lolo G.

I have the Nomad Lane Bento bag and I love it. There is a place for everything, it’s super durable, fits under the seat in front of me on a plane so everything I need is right is in reach. It’s worth every penny. And…the green matches my Away luggage perfectly.

Kristina

Like you, I have several personal item bags, which change depending on the trip. I want my bag to be compact enough to fit under the seat and have easy access to what I want during the flight. I also want it to have a trolly sleeve and not appear "too big" when sitting atop my rollaboard. I've looked at this bag several times and been intrigued, so thanks for the detailed review.

Julio Urdaneta

I certainly look for versatility and amount of pockets, as well as weight and quality of the fabric. This bag looks stunning!

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