10 Best Travel Duffel Bags Reviewed and Tested
In this high tech age, in addition to our gym clothes we want to carry high-tech stuff such as laptops and tablets and we want these to be safely protected. Companies are constantly adding more options from what used to be a standard duffel bag, creating multi-functional products, such as a duffel bag which can convert easily into a backpack or a shoulder bag. The classic duffle bag design is here to stay, but new features and options are always being introduced.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research
Compact but roomy design
Plenty of extra storage space
Convenient overall layout
Comfortable padded strap
- Herschel Supply Company Novel
- Under Armour Storm Undeniable II
- Adidas Squad III
- Yeti Panga
- Northstar duffel
- WITZMAN Vintage Duffle bag
- PUMA Teamsport Formation
- Patagonia Black Hole
- Marmot Long Hauler
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Our Favorite Travel Duffel Bags
Compact but roomy design
Plenty of extra storage space
Convenient overall layout
Comfortable padded strap
Zippers tend to get stuck
Water bottle pouch doesn't fit all bottles
Our new #1 is made of tough fabric and features a well thought-out layout and a roomy main compartment. Reviewers loved the lightweight and easy to access u-shaped zipper, as well as the multitude of extra pockets and storage compartments.Read more
The bag is made of thick 600 denier polyester that can withstand regular use.
The bag features a comfortable padded strap and a convenient water bottle holder to ensure users stay hydrated no matter where they're going. There's also a special pocket for holding ID and other important documents while traveling. Double handles on top give you carrying options. An open mesh side pocket provides additional storage and rounds out the convenient layout of the bag.
Reviewers were surprised that the bag was bigger than expected. The main compartment is roomy and the bag features additional storage by way of a side pocket for wet items and front zippered pockets.
The bag is offered in multiple colors to suit a variety of styles and tastes.
At 2.12 pounds the Everest isn't super lightweight but does a good job of keeping things light despite having a ton of features. This is just another reason that the Everest duffle bag is our new #1
2. Herschel Supply Company Novel
Perfect carry on size
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Reviewers complained about the strap squeaking
Probably the most stylish option on this list, the Herschel brand duffel bag comes with a limited lifetime warranty and stylish accents such as real leather straps. Reviewers loved not only the style but also felt that the Novel gave them a lot of different options on how to pack and organize their things.Read more
The bag is made of polyester fabric and features an interior lining for extra protection. The bag also features durable leather straps.
The shoulder strap can be removed to allow for use of the bag's handles. A shoe compartment can be used to store footwear or dirty items. The bag also features two other zippered storage areas (not including the main compartment).
The bag stores quite a bit inside its main compartment and users can use the interior pocket or exterior zippered pocket to store small stuff like keys.
This is a super stylish duffel bag that comes in a variety of colors and patterns. People couldn't get enough of this bag's retro styling but also felt like it wasn't ostentatious or draw unnecessary attention.
The Herschel Supply Company Novel weighs only 1 pound, making it a lightweight and stylish option.
3. Under Armour Storm Undeniable II
Very durable material
Comfortable padded strap
Compact but roomy
No interior section for dirty/wet clothes
Smaller than the standard duffel bag
This Under Armour duffel features water-resistant fabric and highly durable material. It carries a lot without taking up too much space.Read more
The bag is made of 100% polyester that features UA Storm technology. This technology helps to repel water so inside items are protected from the elements. Abrasion resistant fabric ensures the bag doesn't come apart even with regular use. Keep in mind, if it gets dirty, you'll need to handwash it.
The bag features a padded adjustable strap with HeatGear technology. A big front zippered pocket rounds out the overall design.
A large interior area provides the main storage space. In total there are 4 additional storage pockets (1 inside and 3 outside). The bag is large enough to fit a good deal of stuff but is compact enough for easy carrying.
Comes in many colors to suit different tastes and features a large Under Armour logo to finish off the overall design.
The Under Armour Storm Undeniable II weighs in at just 1.56 pounds, making it an easy choice for those looking for a light weight duffle bag for the gym or travel.
4. Adidas Squad III
Convenient shoe tunnel
Holds the basics, not a huge bag
Lacks strap padding
This stylish duffel bag was specially designed with female athletes in mind. Isn't that refreshing? Featured accessories include a convenient shoe tunnel to separate your shoes from your clothing so you can keep your clothes neat, tidy, and odor-free, and a tri-cot lined roomy main compartment to hold all of your things. It also comes with a lifetime warranty. Bonus!Read more
Made of 100% polyester this bag features an impressive lifetime warranty. Another cool thing about this bag? It won't hold onto odors.
The collapsible design allows the bag to be easily stored. Inside, zippered pockets provide space for small items. A FreshPAK shoe tunnel allows users to separate shoes from clothes. Outside pockets are ventilated to keep clothes from getting smelly. A side pocket provides space for a water bottle and the bag also features an adjustable shoulder strap.
A big compartment provides the main storage. Several small zippered pockets allow for storage of smaller items that may get lost in a larger compartment.
The bag is very stylish and comes in many different color options. Fresh trendy style make this bag stand out from the rest.
At just 1.05 pounds the Adidas Squad III is really lightweight, whether you're going to the gym or traveling around the world.
5. Yeti Panga
Really well-made and durable
Comes with zipper lubricant
Available in several sizes as well as a backpack
This is a high-quality option from the company that's become famous for their ridiculously effective coolers. This one is waterproof and will keep your things dry even in torrential rains. Yes, it's expensive but reviewers felt that it was more than worth every penny because it's durable, effective, and well-built. It also comes with zipper lubricant which is a nice touch and especially great for users who expect to have their bag be exposed to salt water and/or humidity on a regular basis.Read more
It's made of high-density nylon that is coated with thermoplastic polyurethane, a substance that in addition to being waterproof is also elastic and will fight off oil, grease, and abrasion.
It comes with zipper lubricant. This is super thoughtful of the company and will definitely come in handy over time because you can expect to have this bag for years and years.
We linked to the 50-liter size, but it's also available in 75 and 100-liter sizes, as well as a really cool backpack.
It might turn the heads of people who love to fish and others familiar with Yeti products, but otherwise, it blends in pretty well.
The thick nylon fabric and TPU coating make it a little heavier than other options but overall it's pretty lightweight and won't slow you down.
6. Northstar duffel
Super durable construction
Strap design could be improved
The Northstar Duffel Bag is a basic duffel bag that's made in the USA. It features quality construction and a simple layout. It uses high-quality materials and thoughtful design throughout.Read more
1050HD Tuff Ripstop material is very resistant to tearing. The zippers are equally durable. The seams on the bag are reinforced. All this is a testament to the fact that the bag is made in the USA.
The strap on the bag can be removed if desired. The bag features a simple layout with a single compartment. No bells and whistles, just pack and go.
The bag holds about 44L making it a medium sized duffel bag.
Very basic style makes the bag easily used for non-athletic purposes. It comes in 3 color variations and features inconspicuous branding which is great for travelers who wish to blend in.
At 1.8 pounds this duffel is a little heavier than others on the list, but it still is light enough not to keep you from packing the things you want.
7. WITZMAN Vintage Duffle bag
Huge carrying capacity (if desired)
High-quality materials and construction
Popular vintage style
Protective laptop compartment
A few users prefer a single function bag
This product has a dual role, so basically you get two products in one. The WITZMAN is a very good high-quality duffel bag which can swap over to being a backpack. I for one have many times carried a duffel bag and at times thought, perhaps I should have used my backpack. That option is available with this bag. This brand is known for creating products which are very innovative for carrying capacity and convenience and is constructed with top quality materials for durability. Just a glance and you can see that this has good style and is designed to be very functional. Instead of storing two products at home, you can store one. Regardless, this product outperforms many other products as both a duffel bag or as a backpack.Read more
Presented in vintage style, thick durable cotton canvas blended with environmental friendly cotton and leather trimming. The materials outperform many others. The zipper systems are made of durable and functional zinc alloy, held in place with robust stitching, the duffel style handles are strong and durable leather, so you get longevity and the comfort of leather. Swap over to using it as a backpack and use the adjustable padded shoulder straps.
Very user-friendly as a duffel bag, a tote bag, or a backpack, the storage capacity designed into this means as a duffel bag you can choose to carry a few items or as a backpack you can get serious and comfortably carry so much.
The multi-purpose design puts you in full control of storage, as a duffel bag you can carry a little, a medium amount or a lot and these same criteria applies if you use it as a backpack. The thoughtful design gives you one huge carrying compartment and another seven various sized carrying compartments including a protective compartment for a laptop.
Reviewers loved the vintage styling of this dual purpose duffel/back pack.
At 3.09 pounds this is by far the heaviest bag on our list. Reviewers didn't seem to mind however, and felt the great style and features were worth the extra weight.
8. PUMA Teamsport Formation
Comfortable strap and handles
Good amount of storage
Shoulder strap tends to squeak loudly
Some reviewers found it a bit small
Inner pocket is not well-protected
The PUMA Teamsport duffel is a lightweight sporty option that can conveniently be thrown into the washer. Reviewers loved the ventilated shoe pocket and it's convenient size and light weight.Read more
The bag is made of 100% polyester and is able to go into the washing machine so you can easily get rid of smells. The bag is fairly durable as well so it won't start coming apart if you wash it.
A side-ventilated pocket is available to store shoes or wet clothing. Inside, a zippered pocket keeps small items from getting lost. The bag's shoulder strap is padded.
The large main compartment provides enough room for storage but the bag isn't over sized.
This sporty, simple duffel comes in five color options including a bold orange and a simple classic black.
This duffel bag weighs less than a pound, so it's super light and easy to take anywhere with you.
9. Patagonia Black Hole
Holds a lot
Well designed with handy travel features
Some didn't like the style
Somewhat the expensive
They call it the Black Hole because it's amazing how much you can pack into it. It's extremely durable and comes from one of the best and most well-known companies in outdoor gear and apparel. Like all of their gear it comes with a lifetime warranty and if it ever breaks or needs repairing you can send it back to the company and they'll repair or replace it for free.Read more
It's made from an extremely durable ripstop nylon. This material is then coated with a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) coating this repels water as well as oil and other undesirable substances and is also resistant against abrasions. Finally it's coated with a durable waterproof coating.
It comes with a detachable shoulder strap and also has a thick, resistant, and well-padded bottom.
This one will carry up to 60 liters of gear, which should be plenty to bring everything you need for a long weekend or even a full week if you're a lighter packer.
It won't turn heads or attract too much attention, but overall it's well designed and attractive.
This one is light, especially for its size, at just under 4.5 pounds.
10. Marmot Long Hauler
Converts to a backpack
Comes in 4 handy sizes
This is a tough and lightweight option that's well-made and long-lasting. The coolest part is that it can easily convert to a backpack making it highly versatile. It also has some really cool features that you might not appreciate until you use them because the attention to detail on this one is so high.Read more
This one is made from durable 1000 denier polyester and coated with a thermoplastic elastomer. We know those are some big words, but basically, this means that the bag is durable and sheds water well.
It has haul loops on each side of the bag, and since it converts easily to a backpack it's like you're getting two bags for the price of one.
It comes in 35, 50, 75, and 105-liter sizes so whether you're looking for a small carry-on bag or a giant way to hold all your expedition gear there's a size for you.
It looks outdoorsy and active and is available in black, red, or blue.
It's one of the lighter options on our list. The 35 liter is only 2 pounds. The 50 liter comes in at 2 pounds, 2 ounces. The 75-liter option is 2 pounds, 12 ounces, and the 105 liter is only 3 pounds, 8 ounces.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The material, the durability of the fabric, and the overall quality of the bag in question all factor into how durable it’s going to be. Whether you plan on using the bag just for the gym or want to take it with you on vacation, it will need to hold up to consistent use. You want a bag that will hold your items, even the heavy ones, without tearing apart. The zippers on the bag should be sturdy enough to handle a situation where you might need to overpack. Exterior pockets should be solid enough to hold your items without the seams coming undone. Some bags will be made of water-resistant or waterproof fabrics which make them appropriate for extended outdoor use.
Some duffle bags come with extra bells and whistles, for instance, some will have convenient shoe tunnels that allow footwear to be stored separately from other items. Things like water bottle pockets or mesh ventilation are part of the overall design of the bag. Features like these help to make the bag more functional. But don’t quickly discount bags with a simple design. Bags with single compartments can be just as useful, especially for those who want to avoid complicating their packing routine. Some bags can also convert to backpacks which we consider to be an accessory since it's like you're getting two bags for the price of one. Some will even come with a lubricant to keep the zipper operating at its best. All of the products on our list come with shoulder straps but if you're buying another product make sure it includes this essential item.
This is probably the most important thing to take into consideration when deciding on a duffel bag or any bag for that matter. Think about what you need to store or transport and how much room you need for your stuff. Keep in mind, the more you pack into a bag, the heavier it will be. You’ll also want to take into consideration whether a specific bag meets the travel bag requirements should you decide to use the bag as a carry-on. Extra storage capacity is also important. Some people will prefer a bag with additional pockets so you’ll want to pay attention to whether a bag you’re thinking of buying has the right amount of additional storage for your unique needs.
Whether a bag is stylish or not won’t compromise its functionality but it’s a nice bonus for a bag to be aesthetically pleasing. You’ll need to decide whether you want a bag that has a more athletic look or you’d prefer something a little sleeker. Most bags will come with different color options so there’s certainly something out there to suit all tastes. Do you want a big brand logo or are you more interested in an understated design? If you plan on using a bag for both travel and gym use, you’ll likely want to choose something in between.
You’ll want to make sure that your chosen duffel bag is easy to carry and weight plays into this in a big way. Some materials will be heavier than others and larger bags will often weigh more. Pay attention to how much the duffel bag weighs when it’s unpacked. If you’re already having trouble lifting it comfortably, imagine how annoying it’ll be to tote around while you travel or head to the gym. Even compact bags can be deceivingly hefty, so be sure to take a look at the weight specifications of the bag or try it out for yourself to ensure hauling it around will be comfortable.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Just about all duffel bags can be compacted or folded when empty. It is always advisable to bring a duffel bag on vacation whether you use it as a daily travel bag once you are your destination or whether you need an extra bag to bring your souvenirs home.
Consider buying a travel duffel bag that has a locking function to keep your items secure inside. Some even come with a cable to allow you to lock your bag to a fixed item. You can always attach a small yet secure padlock if that's your only option.
Other Factors to Consider
Most duffel bags have the advantage of compressing and collapsing down for easy storage. This also allows folks to reduce the overall footprint of their bag by packing lighter. It means that the size of the bag can be in flux. Most duffel bags will have this malleable structure but there are some with a more rigid consistency. If you are a frequent traveler and plan on using your new bag as a carry-on, a collapsible bag may help you to avoid unexpected bag checks. It’s much easier to smoosh down a collapsible duffel bag than a rigid suitcase. When it’s not being used, it also makes it easier to transport. For instance, you can travel with a duffel bag full of Christmas presents and return home without having to carry a cumbersome second empty bag.
Few duffels are completely resistant to the elements but if you’re concerned about heading into the outdoors on a camping trip and running into rain you’ll want to ensure your bag is, at the very least, water resistant. Some bags will feature water repellant fabric and waterproof zippers to keep water from infiltrating the interior. Tougher seams on a bag will help with keeping out moisture. Water resistant bags can usually handle rainfall and will protect your stuff as long as they’re not completely stuck under a torrential rain pour. Unless you’re heading outdoors for a camping trip or outdoor adventure with your duffel, though, water resistance isn’t super important.
Since you'll be carrying your duffel bag it's important how comfortable it is. You may not even notice it at first, but after a while, you might find your shoulder aching unexpectedly. Your bag may be the culprit. Most duffel bags have convenient shoulder straps to allow you to free your hands. Unfortunately, the strap design of most duffels means that the bag puts pressure on only one side of your body. This can potentially cause imbalances and, as mentioned, uncomfortable aching. The heavier the bag, the worse the problem may be. Duffel bags are made to handle larger loads so be aware that if you plan on packing your bag to the brim, carrying it via your shoulder could cause discomfort. Many duffels will come equipped with handles so you can switch to toting the bag by hand. Swapping the bag from shoulder to shoulder may also be a way to alleviate potential shoulder strain. You’ll notice that there’s one bag on this list, the Osprey brand bag, that actually allows users to haul it as a backpack. This is a nice feature that helps to eliminate the possibility of a shoulder strain. Having a convertible duffel bag allows the user to carry it in multiple ways which helps stop shoulder pain right in its tracks.
When deciding on what travel duffel bag to purchase, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to use your new bag. Are you planning on using it solely for travel? Then you’ll need to evaluate how much storage space you need. If you want to use it for the gym you need to decide if you want a bag with sport-specific features such as a shoe tunnel. If you’ll be using the bag outdoors, then you may want to consider whether you need an option that’s water resistant. How you plan to use your bag will change the amount of storage required. You don’t want a big oversized bag if you only plan on using it for overnight trips. Likewise, a compact duffel won’t be suitable for very long trips.
You’re going to need to carry your duffel bag. Unlike a suitcase, a duffel does not come equipped with wheels. The advantage is that they’re more maneuverable but to ensure you stay comfortable while you travel, you’ll want to make sure the included straps don’t irritate you or cause discomfort. An adjustable shoulder strap is always a good option and padding will help ensure pressure points are kept to a minimum. Find out if the strap can be removed in case you want it out of the way. If you plan on carrying it by its handles, make sure the grip on them feels right.
Capacity is important and having nifty extra features like zippered pockets and water bottle holders can be useful, but having a simple layout that allows for easy packing is a nice way to ease the stress of packing and unpacking. More compartments mean there’s a greater potential of simply forgetting you’ve packed something and completely forgetting later when you unpack. You won’t be able to see everything laid out in front of you, so you may even find yourself forgetting to pack items. Think about how large the bag’s opening is. Is it big enough to fit more cumbersome items? Will you need to strain to fit certain items inside the bag? A large opening that allows full access to the interior of the bag makes packing a lot easier. Bags will be easier to pack if they have a special D-shaped opening as opposed to a simple straight zippered opening.
Frequently Asked Questions
This really depends on what you intend to use the bag for. If you’re concerned about sizing for travel reasons you should check with your selected airline to ensure your bags fits the requirements for carry-ons. If you’re going to be traveling with your bag, you’ll also want to make sure you can easily transport it. If it’s too heavy, you’ll find yourself have a really hard time.
Generally, most duffels are collapsible and do not have a lot of structural integrity. This allows for easy storage and allows users to pack awkwardly shaped items with ease.
Most duffels don’t have as many compartments as other types of bags, like a tote bag for instance. Not all duffels feature shoe tunnels for organized carrying. Some users may also dislike the fact that duffels are collapsible since under packing can leave items floating around without proper protection.
Yes! A brightly colored or uniquely styled bag will stand out from the rest. This means that if you’re traveling and are required to check your bag, you’ll have no problem spotting it on the luggage carousel. No matter where you leave your bag, it’ll be easy to see.
Think about it for a second. No matter where you’re using your shoes, they are coming in contact with the dirty ground and smelly socks. Having a separate place to put your footwear keeps the rest of your stuff free from contamination. If you’ve stepped in mud, you’ll keep it from getting all over everything else inside your bag. It will also help eliminate the possibility of odor transfer. Unfortunately, shoes tend to get smelly. We don’t wash them regularly like clothing, so keeping them separate from your other stuff keeps the stink quarantined, too.
Absolutely, although zippers are probably the most secure way to close a bag. Some bags have velcro closures, although on our list only the additional pockets (on some bags) may feature velcro attachments. Drawstrings are another type of closure, but they offer a lot less security. We chose bags with zippers because they are sure to keep your items safely stowed away.
- The Guide to Every Kind of Carry-On Bag (And Which You Should Choose), Online Magazine, May 23, 2016 ,
- Choosing the Right Travel Luggage, Travel Tip Website, Jun 19, 2017 ,
- HOW TO CARRY YOUR BAG AND AVOID SHOULDER PAIN, Physical Therapy Company Website, Jan 13, 2017 ,