Finding the Perfect 9 x 10 x 17 Travel Bag - Best United Personal Item Backpacks

Looking for a bag that is 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches? Well, that’s specific. Chances are you are on the hunt for the right size bag or backpack to carry as your personal item on your next United flight.

Airlines like United often have strict size limits for what does and doesn’t count as a personal item. According to the official United Carry-On page the size limit is 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm) while carry ons have a limit of 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm).

Pictured: United Personal Item and Carry On Size Limits

Pictured: United Personal Item and Carry On Size Limits

Larger bags and backpacks may be considered a carry on and can be subject to being checked at the gate or additional charges. This is worth noting if you plan on traveling with a Basic Economy ticket where only a personal item is included with the fare. So it’s important to keep your bag or backpack at or below the United personal item size limit.

In this backpack guide we are going to take a closer look at some of our favorite backpacks that fit the United 9 x 10 x 17 bag size limit so you can enjoy your next trip with ease and in style. 

Best United Personal Item Backpacks

These backpacks are reliable, stylish and perfect for travel. The best part? They all fit the United personal item size requirements of 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches.

Patagonia Atom 18L - Under 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches backpack requirements

Patagonia Atom Backpack

Patagonia offers a compact way to carry your essentials with their Atom Pack. At 18 liters, it’s large enough to carry all of your tech and personal items while still allowing you to comfortably stow the backpack underneath your seat. And a breathable mesh pack panel and water repellent finish allows the Patagonia Atom to be used as a reliable daypack once you get to your destination.

Features at a glance:

  • Dimensions: 17” x 9.5" x 5.5”

  • Capacity: 18L

  • Soft lined pocket for tablet or laptop up to 13”

  • Available in multiple color options

Forbes & Lewis Suffolk - 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches bag

Forbes & Lewis Suffolk Backpack

The Forbes & Lewis Suffolk is a travel backpack for those who want a polished design that can be used as a personal item on just about any airline. Perfect for business or leisure travel alike, the Suffolk offers great organization options for a cell phone, passport, tech and more. It even includes a hidden stash pocket for safekeeping of wallets and cash.

Features at a glance:

  • Dimensions: 15.74” x 10.23” x 5.9”

  • Padded pocket for 13-15” laptop

  • Elegant silk lining and leather trim

  • Also available in Racing Green color option

Herschel Heritage Mid Volume 17 x 10 x 9 backpack

Herschel Heritage Mid Volume

The Herschel Heritage backpack strikes just the right balance of throwback style and modern functionality for those who need a simple yet reliable personal item backpack. There are two versions of the Herschel Heritage backpack; regular size and mid-volume. The smaller mid-volume version will fit the United 9 x 10 x 17 bag requirements for an easy time through the gate and comfortable underseat stowage.

Features at a glance:

  • Dimensions: 16.25” x 10.5” x 4.5”

  • Padded shoulder straps for all day comfort

  • Headphone port with small media pocket for phones and media players

  • 13” padded laptop sleeve

  • Available in over a dozen colors and patterns.

Lifeproof Quito 18L 9 x 10 x 17 backpack

Lifeproof Quito 18L Backpack

Made of water-repellent cordura and with an easy cinch-top design, the Lifeproof Quito can take you from the airport to sightseeing without skipping a beat. Lifeproof is a brand that specializes in gear made to protect tech and the Quito backpack is no exception. The bag includes a weather-resistant tech pocket to protect small electronics from water, dirt and snow. The best part about the Lifeproof Quito is that is measures well below the 9 x 10 x 17 travel bag requirements making airline travel a breeze no matter where you roam.

Features at a glance:

  • Dimensions: 16.9” x 9.5” x 5.9”

  • Volume: 18L

  • Sealed weather-resistant tech pocket

  • Front tie-downs for easy carry of bulkier items like a jacket or travel pillow

  • Available in multiple color options

Fjallraven Kanken - 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches backpack

Fjallraven Kanken

A favorite since 1978, the Fjallraven Kanken was originally designed to provide Swedish school children with an ergonomic way to carry their heavy textbooks. Today, the Kanken backpack is a travel favorite thanks to it’s classic vintage design and spacious storage capacity. Those looking for a small backpack to fit the United personal item requirements will love the Kanken’s simplicity and endless the color options to choose from.

Features at a glance

  • Dimensions: 14.9” x 10.6” x 5.1”

  • Volume: 16L

  • Spacious main compartment with a clamshell zipper opening

  • Ergonomically designed shoulder straps

  • Available in over a dozen different color options

Mountainsmith Scream 20 - 9 x 10 x 17 bag

Mountainsmith Scream 20

The Mountainsmith Scream 20 is an ultra-lightweight backpack made for light hikes and easy traveling alike. Perfect for carrying on-flight essentials, this backpack features a two way zipper that allows full access to all of the contents inside. And thanks to it’s strong yet lightweight nylon construction, the Mountainsmith Scream 20 can also be compressed when empty for easy storage inside bigger bags.

Features at a glance:

  • Dimensions: 17” x 10” x 6.5”

  • Capacity: 19L

  • Two way zippered front panel allows to quickly find items anywhere in the main compartment

  • Lightweight and compressible for easy storage in larger bags

  • Versatile: Can be used while traveling, for simple carry and day hikes

Forbes & Lewis Littlehampton - 9 x 10 x 17 travel bag

Forbes & Lewis Littlehampton Backpack

Forbes & Lewis offers a compact yet roomy backpack for travel and more with the Littlehamptom. Made of weather resistant canvas and real leather accents, the Littlehampton will allow you to travel in style while still having a reliable daily backpack at your destination. Organizers and pockets for phones, pens and passports makes finding your essentials a breeze. This backpack is perfect for anyone looking for a 9 x 10 x 17 travel bag they can bring just about anywhere.

Features at a glance

  • Dimensions: 13.3” x 9.8” x 5.5”

  • Padded pocket for 13” laptop

  • Made of water resistant canvas and leather

  • Hidden anti-theft pocket for secure traveling

  • Also available in the color Black

Patagonia Arbor Market Pack 15L - 9 x 10 x 17 personal item

Patagonia Arbor Market Pack

The Patagonia Arbor Market Pack is a compact 15 liter backpack tote with plenty of room for personal and travel essentials. The open main compartment is perfect for things like a light jacket, travel pillow and snacks while it’s exterior stash pocket makes allows for accessing smaller items like a phone or boarding pass quick and easy. It’s the perfect personal item backpack for those who want something simple, well-made and stylish.

Features at a glance

  • Dimensions: 17” x 10.5” x 4”

  • Capacity: 15L

  • Padded sleeve holds laptop up to 15 inches

  • Made of recycled polyester with a water repellent finish

  • Available in multiple colors

How to choose a personal item backpack

Final Tips: Before Picking Your Next Personal Item Backpack

Here are some quick tips that will help you in finding the best personal item backpack or bag. It’s important to keep certain factors in mind as they can change based on airfare class and plane size.

Is a backpack a personal item on United?

Yes, a backpack is considered a personal item on United Airlines. But you must keep the backpack under the size limit of 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches. Larger backpacks may be considered carry on items and can be subject to additional charges.

Your personal item must safely fit underneath the seat in front of you.

While your carry-on must be able to fit in overhead stowage, a personal item must be able to fit in underseat storage. Keep in mind that United Basic Economy fare only allows you one personal item per ticket so make sure your bag is small enough to avoid additional charges.

Underseat storage varies by size of airplane and ticket fare.

Although there is wiggle room underneath your seat for an extra inch here and there it’s important to note that space will sometimes be limited. Avoid overstuffed backpacks or hardshell bags to allow some give when stowing away your personal item.

Don’t compromise leg room if you don’t have to

It’s better to go with a smaller backpack as your personal item rather than a large one. Large backpacks and bags can take up too much leg room and this can be bad news on long flights where stretching is important.

For more helpful info before your next trip make sure to check out our travel backpack guides!