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Even though airlines are slowly but surely trying to elbow into the overhead compartments with their “additional charges,” flyers are still bypassing the baggage claim and opting for carry-ons—even for longer vacations. Some non-starters for packing in your carry-on are obvious (no knives, bottled water, guns, etc.), but others might surprise you. Read on!

Protein Powder, Ground Coffee, Spices…

This is more along the lines of portion control: whatever the powder or powder-like substance, don’t take more than 12 ounces or it will get thrown out.

Peanut, Almond or Other Nut Butter

Newsflash: nut butter counts as a liquid. As in, you can’t pack more than 3 ounces in your hand luggage.

Soft Cheeses

Got brie? See above.

Sports Equipment

Anything that belongs to the stick, pole, bat, or club category would be a no. That includes hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, golf clubs, pool cues, ski poles, etc. According to the TSA website, ice skates are ok, though, but we wouldn’t risk it because blades.

Self-Defense Accoutrements

Mace, pepper spray, nunchucks, brass knuckles… Nope.


Bob the Builder would be grounded: most tools are a no—at least in your carry-on. Think hammers, drill bits, screwdrivers over 7” long, etc.

Shoe Inserts

Are you “gel-ing”? You might be asked to leave them behind.

A Couple More Things…

These go under the heading “What you shouldn’t pack in your carry-on,” as in, technically they’re allowed but think before you break out the nail polish (bring it, just don’t use it during the flight), start spritzing on heavy perfume during the flight, or decide to chow on any strong-smelling food items.

For a list of what you can bring, check https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/all

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