The Nomad Lane Bento Bag is perfect as an accessory bag, but recently proved to be an ideal all-in-one bag for my overnight transatlantic trip. This is a versatile bag that can accommodate a lot of items in a very organized fashion and is now an indispensable part of my travel gear.
Nomad Lane Bento Bag Review
I receive many offers to review carry-on bags for Live and Let’s Fly, but the Bento Bag from Nomad Lane caught my eye because it is compact enough to fit under the seat. That means should I find myself on a budget carrier in the USA or Europe, I won’t ever have to worry about paying to bring it onboard. They sent me one at no cost.
The Bento Bag has a trolley sleeve that slips over the handle of a rollerbaord. My intent was to travel with my electronics and toiletries inside the Bento Bag, and the rest of my clothes inside my Rimowa cabin bag for my recent duck trip to Germany.
But then my Rimowa bag broke (the spring in the foldable handle snapped, and I was no longer able to collapse it). Pretty hard to take a carry-on bag along that doesn’t fold up…
I was left with a choice for my one-day trip to Frankfurt: try to find a larger carry-on bag, or make do with the Bento Bag. Could it handle an extra pair of shoes and a change of clothes?
The bag is 17 inches wide, eight inches deep, and 10 inches high. It’s made of nylon and features a water-resistant coating and leather handles that appear quite durable. It’s a well-thought-out bag in that there are six compartments that make organizing essentials easy.
Behind the trolley sleeve is small pocket that is perfect for holding a passport, mobile phone, or thin wallet. Next is a main compartment that comes with two shoe sleeves. This would be the real test for me: would it accommodate my gym shoes plus my workout clothes, plus a fresh shirt and underwear?
The answer is yes…everything fit with even a little room to spare. This meant I would not need to travel with any other bags.
The center compartment contains a padded sleeve that easily accommodated by 15 inch MacBook Pro (there was also a strap, though I viewed it as unnecessary). Although I don’t have one, there was room for a tablet or second laptop as well. In that same compartment on the other side was a mesh enclosure intended for liquids and smaller electronic devices. The bag comes with a plastic transparent toiletry case, though I prefer just to use a ziplock bag because I’ve run into situations in London and Frankfurt where only such bags were deemed acceptable.
Next are two smaller compartments on the top that are perfect to store cords and other smaller electronic items. I travel with the following accessories:
- Charging cables
- Macbook Pro
- iPhone (USB A and USB C)
- Apple Watch
- Battery packs
All fit neatly in one of the top compartments. I don’t like keeping my wallet in my pocket and put the wallet and my sun gloves in the other compartment.
Finally, the front pocket has room for pens, pencils, a mobile phone or small tablet, and can also hold boarding passes, vaccination records, or other essential travel documents. There’s even a stretchy water bottle loop, though I do not mix liquids and documents…
In short, this little bag packs a big bang. Although I will generally use this bag to carry my laptop, cords, and essential documents on top of my Rimowa bag, if I ever need to travel lighter this small bag is big enough to do the job.
The Bento bag is available in four colors:
- Jet Set Black
- Nomad Navy
- Positano Plum
- Juniper Green
I chose navy blue because I think it will be the most durable over time (from spills…sadly, I’m prone to them). It also has a leather shoulder strap that is essential when carrying it alone.
Live and Let’s Fly readers can receive a $10 discount (the bag costs $228) by clicking here.
If you’re in the market for a “personal item” sized carry-on bag, the Bento Bag from Nomad Lane greatly impressed me. After using it on my last few trips, I find it quite durable and versatile enough to double as an overnight bag on the many short trips I take.