Cabin Max is the “best-selling” brand of travel cabin, providing its customers with a luxe experience. This luxury item allows for both individual and group journeys anywhere. With an experienced staff passionate about their product, this company is sure to provide you with your dream vacation.

Finding cheap airfare to your following location is excellent until you learn how much carry-on costs on the budget airline you’re going with. Now that you’ve purchased your no-frills, low-cost flight to Europe, it’s time to locate the tiniest bag with the most fantastic room that can serve as a free personal item bag. The Cabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL fills that need. It was designed to be precisely the same size as Ryanair’s individual item dimensions (40x20x25cm). On their website, cabin Max even refers to it as a “Ryanair sized Backpack/Shoulder Bag”.

Cabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL DuffelCabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL | When traveling Europe on a budget, you must do what you have to do. This 20-liter pack is simply a large bucket that can be filled with packing cubes. It’s simple to stuff beneath the seat on the aircraft since the fabric and frame sheet are so flexible. Unfortunately, we were unable to accept this bag. It was pretty inconvenient to carry as a backpack and a messenger bag. Would we take the Manhattan Stowaway the next time we’re looking for an inexpensive flight to Europe? Maybe. However, we’d leave it in the hotel and swap it for a packable daypack as soon as feasible for exploring. In this review, we’ll go through everything this boxy little bundle succeeds (and doesn’t excel) at, so let’s get down to business.

Aesthetics & Materials

The Cabin Max Manhattan Stowaway is made mainly of UV-coated Twill. It has a light, airy vibe about it with little structure. As previously said, this makes it simpler to squeeze beneath the airline seat in front of you. It’s also more flexible, allowing you to pack it to the brim. It’s almost like wearing a corset: stuff everything in, zip it up, and form a lovely uniform shape, squeezing everything into place.

The fast grab pocket is made out of an Eco-suede panel on the front. However, this doesn’t feel very high-end, but after two weeks of testing, we have no rips, tears, or snags to report, so no complaints! A little Cabin Max logo may also be seen on the front. It’s the only spot on the bag where there’s any marking. We often believe that branding plastered all over a product makes you seem more touristy. Therefore we like Cabin Max’s decision to keep things simple here.

Cabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL logo and materialCabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL | The front pocket’s suede looks classy. Say that five times quickly! SBS is the manufacturer of zippers. If you’ve read any of our previous reviews, you’ll know that we’re significant admirers of YKK since their zippers never let us down. Because of their robust construction, they’re pretty much the gold standard in the zipper market, so when we encounter a name that isn’t YKK, we’re typically concerned about durability.

The zippers on this bag, on the other hand, were flawless. The zipper pulls are good and sticky for simple opening, and they’re substantial and durable while being lightweight. They’re also lockable, giving us more security while traveling overseas. There’s hardly anything worse than having your passport or wallet taken in a strange country—well, maybe having your zipper break, but none of those things happened with this bag. Though we just had it for two weeks, we’ve seen zippers on other items break in the same time frame, so we’ll give the Manhattan Stowaway XL its due.

Cabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL lockable zippersKeep your zippers on lock with the Cabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL. This bag is now available in a black and grey base with a blue, red, yellow, or grey accent color on the zipper tracks at the time of this review. Of course, if you don’t want to use color, you may go with black and grey, as we did.

The Manhattan Stowaway XL looks like a giant block from the outside. Although the suede accents give it a more professional appearance, there’s no getting past the boxy design, particularly when fully loaded.

Components from Outside

Cabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL fit noteRemember how we started the Manhattan Stowaway XL looked like a giant block (like a paragraph ago)? It certainly feels like one, given how heavy it is on your shoulders. This occurs for various reasons, the most common of which is the placement of the shoulder straps on the bag. They include a stowaway compartment where you can conceal them if you want to carry the bag messenger-style. The remainder of the pack pushes forward and away from your body since they are sewed onto a tiny piece of cloth within that pocket rather than the bag itself.

The straps include a layer of mesh for ventilation and just a little padding—much less than we’d like to see on a travel bag. Each one also has a nylon loop for attaching accessories or bags with a carabiner. When you’re ready to transition to messenger bag mode, you separate the straps from the bottom of the bag using a clip and put them away. After a week of carrying the bag, we did this since it was too unpleasant to use as a backpack. This isn’t ideal for a pack.

Sadly, messenger bag mode didn’t fare any better. The crossbody strap’s shoulder cushion is much smaller than the shoulder straps. It’s also relatively minor, so it doesn’t cover much of your shoulder. It’s not our idea of a good time to have this box of a bag weigh down on one shoulder while it’s complete.

Cabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL briefcaseCabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL | This bag isn’t exceptionally comfy for a backpack or messenger bag. In the end, we decided to carry the Manhattan Stowaway XL by one of the grab handles. There are two: one on top and one on the bag’s side. Both have a lot of padding. They’re useful not just for collecting the bag from an overhead bin but also for transporting the load.

The crossbody strap is secured with d-rings, and when we switched to carry-handle mode, we tucked it in the stowaway compartment. The only drawback to storing the straps this way is that they are right up against your back, so you may occasionally feel them while wearing the bag.

Cabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL laptop with additional sleeveCabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL | Because the bag has no false bottom, we suggest utilizing an additional laptop sleeve. The laptop compartment is directly against the rear panel with a little cushioning, and the bag doesn’t have much of a frame sheet. While the cushioning is designed to protect your laptop, the bag has a fake bottom, thus when you lay it down, it will strike the floor. It’s a good idea to invest in a laptop sleeve. If you have a 16-inch gadget, it may be a tight fit since it will be right up to the bag’s corners.

Let’s move on to the exterior of the bag, where there are a few additional unique characteristics. For little, quick-grab goods, there’s a deep front pocket. We appreciate that it has a vertical zipper since it makes it simple to get to this compartment while carrying it by the handles. The neoprene water bottle sleeve on the bag’s side is also a plus. It’s rather large and can hold a small notepad or a travel umbrella if you don’t want to drink water.

Cabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL USB portStay energized on the run with the Cabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL. A USB charging connector is located just above that to keep you charged while on the run. However, there are a few stipulations. The first is that it seems natural to place your phone or whatever gadget you’re charging inside since it’s just above the water bottle pocket. But where do you put your water after that? The second is that the device port is USB-A, so if you’re using USB-C, you may need to carry an adaptor. You may also bring the Nomad Goods Universal USB-C Cable, which comes in a variety of configurations (including USB-A). However, if you’re already attempting to travel on a budget, adding another item to your shopping list may not be ideal. Another USB-A cable is included on the interior of the backpack for connecting a power bank. Sorry if we’re going too quickly—we’ll get to the contents of the bag in the following part.

The Inside of the Pack

You’ve made it this far. Exhale deeply and shake off the bad karma from the unpleasant strap system, since the main compartment is where this bag really shines. The Cabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL, as previously said, is a large bucket. It has a surprisingly huge capacity, despite the fact that it is just 20L.

Cabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL with Aer Packing CubesThe bucket main compartment of the Cabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL. This bag is ideal for long travels when you have a lot to pack. To give you an idea, three Aer Packing Cubes fit in here—one small, one medium, and one big. If the 14L capacity of the huge Aer Packing Cube is any indication of how much this bag can hold, it’s a big guy. That was a “max carry” test of sorts. A few (normal-sized) packing cubes, a toiletries bag, plus a tech pouch fit easily in the bag.

The internal structure is lacking in this bag, which might be a positive or negative thing depending on your tastes. It’s not an issue if you keep your belongings arranged in pouches (which we suggest anyhow). However, if you’re searching for a bag with a lot of pockets to store your tiny belongings, this isn’t the bag for you.

There are two mesh pockets on the inside, so it’s not devoid of interior structure. However, because it’s immediately beneath the charging port cable, the one on the side of the main compartment is the most practical for keeping your power bank. You can put a few small objects in here as well. However, the elastic on the pocket’s entrance isn’t particularly tight, so your belongings may fall out.

Cabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL flap with pouchesCabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL | This mesh pocket is ideal for holding electronics and toiletries. A significantly bigger zippered pocket is located on the bag’s opening flap. Smaller organizer pouches, your toiletries bag, or your tech pouch will fit well here. The only issue is that it will gobble up space if the main compartment is filled. Nevertheless, there is undoubtedly a sweet spot to be found when organizing your stuff.

It’s a fun game of “guess and check” to see how many packing cubes and little pouches can fit inside. Three loosely packed cubes gave us enough area in the mesh pocket for a tech pouch and a toiletry bag. Of course, it all depends on your style and the items you need to carry, making selecting the ideal bag for you so pleasurable.

Overall, the Cabin Max Manhattan Stowaway XL accomplishes its goal of becoming a black hole for packing cubes that fit under Ryanair’s seat. However, if you must travel on a budget, don’t be shocked if this bag hurts your shoulders. We warned you ahead of time.

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