TSA Regulations: Ditty Bags, Seabags & Carry On Luggage
Traveling with Your Seabag
For as long as there has been commercial air travel, there have been sailors traveling through airports with their seabags. The seabag (a.k.a. ‘ditty bag’) is one of the oldest and best known types of luggage, generally characterized by its cylindrical shape and a drawstring-type (rope) closure which doubles as the carry strap.
TSA Guidelines & Carry-on Bags:
All M&B SHIPCANVAS seabags are built in accordance with TSA guidelines for carry-on luggage.
Different airline companies have different restrictions on size maximums for overhead luggage bins. No matter which airline you fly, our Size 00 and Size 1 seabags always fit within carry-on size limits, and a well-stuffed Size 2 is also acceptable as long as the total contents can be compressed to fit the overhead bin.
Our seabags also meet the latest requirements to be 'checkpoint friendly', which generally means you won't be required to remove a laptop computer for separate screening, unless the bag is well stuffed with other items that may block the X-ray screening equipment.
As with most things, a little common sense goes a long way. TSA qualifications are mostly related to how the bag is packed, and how 'visible' the contents are to the X-ray screening equipment. In our opinion, standing in a long line to get to the checkpoint is actually the frustrating and stressful part... and whether or not a TSA agent decides to screen or re-screen the bag seems less important.
Of course all TSA policies remain in effect including restrictions on sharp items, weapons, liquids, incendiary devices, etc. For security purposes, some of the TSA inspection protocols remain undisclosed to the public, while others are enforced only randomly. It's all part of the security business. Ultimately, the TSA maintains the right to inspect the contents of any carry-on bag, with or without providing a reason.
Seabags which are to be "checked" for the baggage compartment are handled a little differently. The rules are easier, but the handling tends to be rough. So we recommend that your seabag's rope lanyard be adjusted all the way short (to prevent snagging on belts, etc.), the storm flap tucked over your gear before closing the bag, and then the copper slider to be drawn up all the way tight so the bag cannot open itself. As an added security measure, a nylon zip tie can be fitted next to the slider and cinched down tight.
What the TSA does (and doesn't) do:
Despite occasional use of the phrase "TSA Approved Bag," there is technically no such legal classification. To make such a claim is basically an advertising gimmick, designed to capitalize on the public's desire for simple answers to complex rule structures. And while the TSA does set forth certain guidelines for manufacturers to follow, they do not certify or endorse specific bags or manufacturers.
All bags are subject to the same rules. Otherwise, the bad guys would just buy the 'approved' brand and pack it full of whatever they want (right?). That's why the TSA reserves the right to screen and re-screen any bag, regardless of the design or manufacturer of the bag. Ultimately, it's up to the agent on duty.
Shop our hand-built Ditty Bag & Seabag collections: