Nomad Lane’s Bento Bag just might be the perfect personal item to carry onboard a flight. I have tried endless canvas bags to go along with my carry-on roller bag from “Away” but I found that with kids, I was always digging around trying to find what I was looking for. The first time I used Nomad Lane’s Bento Bag was a game-changer and I knew it would become a staple for my travels.  

carry on bag with charger

This post contains affiliate links. We may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. I purchased my own Bento Bag from Nomad Lane and all opinions are my own.

Finding a great carry-on bag is like finding a needle in a haystack. I am the type of mom who will always choose a balance of both style and function. As a mom to two boys ages 7 and 9, I’m frequently on the go and I want a carry-on bag that is nicely organized so that I’m not searching endlessly for what I’m looking for.

We are also very much a carry-on luggage type of travel family. Each person has their own carry-on roller luggage and a canvas personal item to go along with it. My boys have their own backpacks, my husband brings his briefcase and I now happily slide my Bento Bag onto my carry-on roller luggage from Away.

Since we are a carry-on travel family, I am extremely particular about my personal item. Many moms out there can relate that half of my bag is filled with everyone else’s stuff. I need to have snacks accessible for my boys, a padded compartment for my laptop, my camera and extra lens, a change of outfit and shoes, my son’s Epi-Pen’s and my toiletries at the bare minimum.

My boys are old enough now that I don’t have to carry their Amazon Fire Tablets (love these tablets so much for kids!) but I like to travel with a book and a magazine as well as my own mini iPad so I need room for these as well. With my Nomad Lane Bento Bag, I am able to pack all of the items mentioned above, look stylish carrying it through the airport and feel relaxed knowing that everything is organized and in its place.

There are many reasons why I love Nomad Lane’s Bento Bag but here are the top details that I like about this bag for traveling with or without kids:

Nomad Lane’s Bento Bag Packs Like a Suitcase

One of my favourite things about the Bento Bag is that it opens right down the middle, exactly like a suitcase. It makes it incredibly easy to pack and to see if you are missing anything. It comes with carry handles and a removable shoulder strap which offers different ways to carry the Bento Bag.

I like to pack my change of outfit and my shoes in this middle section and the mesh keeps everything compressed while showing your packed items. The outside of the bag has a carabiner so you can attach a travel pillow or anything else you wanted to hang from the Bento Bag. There is an internal elastic to keep a water bottle in place.

nomad lane bento bag opens like a suitcase

It Fits Under the Seat

This was so incredibly important to me when I was researching this bag. As a mom to two young boys, I wanted to have something that was accessible and did not require me to dig around in while looking for an item. It fits easily under the airplane seat in front of you with leg room to spare. You will no longer have to get up from your seat to reach the overhead bin to access your in-flight essentials.

One tip I can share with you, if you turn the bag on its side, you can put your feet on top and use it as a foot stool to relieve pressure in your back during your flight. I pack cozy socks when I travel by plane and as long as there is nothing breakable packed in my Bento Bag, I happily take off my shoes and rest my feet on it.

Breeze Through Airport Security

With Nomad Lane’s Bento Bag you can easily and quickly reach for your toiletries and tech gear from the two top access pockets. The Bento Bag comes with a pouch for tech cables and chargers as well as a clear pouch for your liquids. They both have designated access pockets that they slip into, again accessible from the top zippers.

Your laptop can be accessed via top access zippers from it’s built-in padded pocket. No more digging around in the security line up, you can access everything on the go. One thing that I love about Nomad Lane’s Bento Bag is that in the security line up, I leave it on top of my luggage and simply remove the items I need to before placing everything onto the x-ray conveyor belt.

Style & Accessories

The Nomad Lane Bento Bag comes with two shoe bags so that you can keep your clothes clean while still packing shoes. The design of the bag is unisex and sleek and it is perfect to take from the boardroom to the airplane without missing a beat. The outside construction of the Bento Bag is made of a water-resistant nylon material that is incredibly lightweight and so far it is been quite easy to keep clean.

My only criticism of Nomad Lane’s Bento Bag is that the zippers do not glide easily and can be sharp if they are not zippered up. I have been traveling with my Bento Bag for many years now and the zippers have not broken but I’m very glad to see that Nomad Lane has since upgraded to YKK zippers on the most recent version of the Bento Bag.

This bag comes in many different colors and two color options for the zippers. It comes in Jet Set Black, Nomad Navy, Juniper Green and Positano Plum. All bags come with either bronze or silver zippers. I love the combination of Navy with bronze zippers and find it very stylish but not too flashy.

Carry On Sleeve

Nomad Lane’s Bento Bag has a carry-on sleeve so it slides over your luggage handle easily keeping it securely in place. When traveling with kids, I want my carry-on luggage to be compact and easy to manoeuvre so I am able to assist my boys with their luggage or to run from gate to gate.

The Bento Bag easily slides over your luggage.
The Bento Bag easily slides over your luggage.

External Pocket for Essentials

The bag’s external front pocket allows you to keep must-haves like your passport, phone, and keys within arm’s reach. I love the safety clip to attach your keys to so that you don’t have to frantically dig around for them when you return home. I always keep a pen in the holder in this front pocket for filling out customs forms on the fly.

Charge on the Go

Use the built-in charging port for your devices within the bag. Pop in any standard battery pack and you won’t have to worry about a low battery. The compact nature of this set up is perfect. The bulky battery is tucked away in the pocked and the plug for the USB charger is nice and snug and won’t catch on anything as it faces downwards along the side of the bag.

I have tried many other internally built chargers and this is by far my favourite design. My Away luggage also has a built in charging port but I much prefer to use the one in my Bento Bag.

Charge your phone on the go
Charge your phone on the go with a built-in charging port.

Perfect for One-Bag Travel

If you are going on a shorter trip or are already a light packer, this bag is perfect as your one and only carry-on. It is shocking just how much stuff this bag can hold and it is perfect for weekend trips. The organization and design of this carry-on bag makes it easy to pack and unpack leaving you more time to explore.

Whether you are traveling with kids or heading to the office, the Nomad Lane Bento Bag does it all. Tried, tested and true, it gets the Karpiak Caravan stamp of approval. Click below to order your carry-on today. I have no doubt that you will love it as much as I do. Click the button below to receive $10 off your order!

History of the Nomad Lane Bento Bag

I first came across the Nomad Lane Bento Bag in one of those pesky Instagram ads. It caught my attention and after seeing the ad a few times, I finally gave in and clicked the link. The Nomad Lane Bento Bag first started on the fundraising platform Indiegogo and when I discovered it, it hadn’t yet entered production. The founders of Nomad Lane, Kish and Vanessa, have lived on several continents and have traveled to over 42 countries and it was their mutual love of travel that initially sparked their relationship.

It was the first time I had purchased from this platform. It ended up being kind of a fun experience as Nomad Lane did a fantastic job of keeping their customers up to date on everything from choosing manufacturers, zippers, bag colors to shipping partners and an estimated date that we would receive the Bento Bag.

It took a few months from the time I ordered the bag until I received it. The Nomad Lane Bento Bag arrived just before Christmas so I was ecstatic to be able to use it on a post-Christmas vacation.

The Nomad Lane Bento Bag has since gone on to new variations, the most recent one being Bento Bag Version 3.0. This version of Bento Bag has YKK zippers, an upgraded exterior bag construction so it no longer tips over, a longer shoulder strap to use cross-body if desired and a larger cord organizer and toiletry pouch to fit more essentials.

Nomad Lane has also introduced The Bento Bag Sport Edition which they are touting as the lightest version ever. The Bento Bag V 3.0 Sport Edition comes only in Black or Navy with option for either gold or silver zippers.

RELATED: Check out our Caravan Packing Protocol to get you packed and ready for your next vacation, stress-free with our tried and true packing protocol.


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