Just how light is “ultra-light luggage,” anyway?

I opened my inbox this morning and discovered email from travel supplier Magellan’s (one of my favorite) with the following subject:

“Ultra-Light Luggage! Check it in, or carry it on.”

Ooooooh, I thought. Just what me and Virgin Atlantic check-in crew were looking for! I excitedly went to read the mailer, and I see that the luggage they are promoting is from Eagle Creek. Hmmm…. a new item, perhaps?

I click the link in the email.

The $149.00 Eagle Creek Hovercraft Wheeled Underseat Tote from the Magellan’s travel supplies online store. Photo from Magellan’s.

Kachow! It takes me to a page describing the Eagle Creek Hovercraft Wheeled Underseat Tote. Basically a MiniMe version of the rolling upright. At 13.5″ by 13.5″ by 9.5″, it’s definitely within carry-on limits. But then I check its weight:

Five and a half pounds!

Let me tell you, even with a gnome-sized carry-on, the wheel and handlebar mechanism just adds so much weight. And I guess we all have different ideas of how light “ultra light” should be. Thanks to a reminder from Skip, we’ll probably travel with a couple of Outdoor Products Essential Carryon travelpacks. Well made enough, light as a feather (under two pounds), and only $29.99 from Campmor. How can you lose?

The “Essential Carryon” travelpack by Outdoor Products. One of the most plain travelpacks on the market, this one is also one of the lighest, at under two pounds. Photo from OutdoorProducts.com

My plan to pack my carry-on lightly enough to fit Virgin’s strict 13-pound limit (for our upcoming trip to Europe) is going well! Once I finalize my list, I plan on packing everything and putting it on a scale, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be OK. The challenge is in seeing if we can do the same for my husband, who is considerably taller and larger than I am. However, over the years he’s devised his own carry-on system; he already has the concept down pat, so he will just need to make a few adjustments in his wardrobe to lighten his bag. His biggest challenge will be his camera gear, since he wants to take his digital SLR with him. Depending on how much spare room I have, I may carry some of his clothes just for the Virgin Atlantic segments.

Edited to add:

I’ve gotten some requests to provide links for those retailers who carry this product:

Note: Although prices vary widely, check each site to see which is the best deal for you. Some sites, like LetMom, had a promotion (50 cents shipping for backpacks) that may be worth shopping around. Some sites carry a lot of other good merchandise you might want to buy, and in most cases you save on shipping if you shop for more goods from one place rather than a few items from a number of different vendors.