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10 Best Travel Duffel Bags Reviewed and Tested

last updated Jul 14, 2019
Travel duffles are the back up for lost luggage or just life. They should hold enough to get you through layovers or daily commutes while making sure you have what you need in any situation.

The best travel duffle bags are made to fit in smaller compartments and should be lightweight. Our 10 Best Travel Duffle Bags are a testament to what you should be looking for in a great bag. Further than that, it is all preference.

We did some serious searching to get you fit for your next travel and listened to what consumers were saying about what makes a great travel duffel. Check out the FAQs and Criteria to get answers and specs on what we go through to make sure we are offering you the best option for any gear. We are pretty sure you won’t have to look much further.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research

icon
Everest
90.4/100 our score
Materials
87
Accessories
95
Capacity
90
Style
85
Weight
95
Everest
Why is it better?

Compact but roomy design

Plenty of extra storage space

Convenient overall layout

Comfortable padded strap

Inexpensive

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Everest
Test Winner: Everest
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
9
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1600
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
17
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
24
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By Gabby Gabbard:

This update brings you a very affordable yet high-end style travel duffle. Shacke’s Travel Duffle Express proves that you can get affordable yet reliable luggage. It a perfect weekend companion as well as carries just enough to keep you from having to pay extra baggage fees. We also updated some of our Criteria for evaluation. We want to make sure you are getting the best info possible for your search. We do our best at offering you solid info on the products we review so you can spend more time enjoying them and less time searching for them.

Sorting Options
Materials Accessories Capacity Style Weight By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.4
Materials
87 %
Accessories
95 %
Capacity
90 %
Style
85 %
Weight
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$24.98
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Materials
80 %
Accessories
85 %
Capacity
92 %
Style
97 %
Weight
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$84.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Materials
80 %
Accessories
81 %
Capacity
90 %
Style
85 %
Weight
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$41.94
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Materials
80 %
Accessories
90 %
Capacity
80 %
Style
80 %
Weight
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$29.90
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.8
Materials
81 %
Accessories
75 %
Capacity
88 %
Style
80 %
Weight
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$29.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.6
Materials
80 %
Accessories
75 %
Capacity
95 %
Style
63 %
Weight
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$289.00
Backcountry Link
$299.99
See Deal
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77.2
Materials
84 %
Accessories
74 %
Capacity
88 %
Style
68 %
Weight
72 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$14.97
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75.8
Materials
84 %
Accessories
80 %
Capacity
85 %
Style
90 %
Weight
40 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$65.57
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
73
Materials
70 %
Accessories
70 %
Capacity
75 %
Style
60 %
Weight
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$39.95
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
70.8
Materials
80 %
Accessories
60 %
Capacity
75 %
Style
50 %
Weight
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Backcountry Link
$108.95
See Deal
Amazon Link
$139.00

Our Favorite Travel Duffel Bags

1. Everest

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.4
Everest
Amazon Link
Materials
87
Accessories
95
Capacity
90
Style
85
Weight
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$24.98
Pros:

Compact but roomy design

Plenty of extra storage space

Convenient overall layout

Comfortable padded strap

Inexpensive

Cons:

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.

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Materials
The bag is made of thick 600 denier polyester that can withstand regular use.

Accessories
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.

Storage Capacity
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.

Style
The bag is offered in multiple colors to suit a variety of styles and tastes.

Weight
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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Herschel Supply Company Novel
Amazon Link
Materials
80
Accessories
85
Capacity
92
Style
97
Weight
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$84.99
Pros:

Perfect carry on size

High-quality construction

Very stylish

Limited Lifetime Warranty

Spacious interior

Cons:

Lacks pockets

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.

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Materials
The bag is made of polyester fabric and features an interior lining for extra protection. The bag also features durable leather straps.

Accessories
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).

Storage Capacity
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.

Style
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.

Weight
The Herschel Supply Company Novel weighs only 1 pound, making it a lightweight and stylish option.

3. Under Armour Storm Undeniable II

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Under Armour Storm Undeniable II
Amazon Link
Materials
80
Accessories
81
Capacity
90
Style
85
Weight
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$41.94
Pros:

Water resistant

Very durable material

Comfortable padded strap

Compact but roomy

Cons:

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.

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Materials
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.

Accessories
The bag features a padded adjustable strap with HeatGear technology. A big front zippered pocket rounds out the overall design.

Storage Capacity
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.

Style
Comes in many colors to suit different tastes and features a large Under Armour logo to finish off the overall design.

Weight
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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Adidas Squad III
Amazon Link
Materials
80
Accessories
90
Capacity
80
Style
80
Weight
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$29.90
Pros:

Roomy

Functional

Convenient shoe tunnel

Lifetime warranty

Stylish design

Cons:

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!

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Materials
Made of 100% polyester this bag features an impressive lifetime warranty. Another cool thing about this bag? It won't hold onto odors.

Accessories
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.

Storage Capacity
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.

Style
The bag is very stylish and comes in many different color options. Fresh trendy style make this bag stand out from the rest.

Weight
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. Shacke’s Travel Duffel Express

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.8
Shacke’s Travel Duffel Express
Amazon Link
Materials
81
Accessories
75
Capacity
88
Style
80
Weight
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$29.99
Pros:

Well-made

Durable

Holds a lot

Well designed and light

Very Affordable

Cons:

Shoe space is smaller than it says.

Shacke’s Travel Duffel Express offers a premium style travel duffle at a lower cost than most. However, this doesn't cut into value at all. Their semi-rigid design and sizable pockets are all made really well and you can’t ignore the hype. This bag is able to carry some serious weight no matter where your travels are taking you.

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Materials

Made from Dragon Nylon, Shacke’s Travel Express is water resistant inside and out. It also offers 4 extra pockets to hold items separate from the main compartment

All main pockets are secured with YKK double zippers that can easily use TSA locks. The nylon strap is comfortable and durable for extra weight carry. The side shoe pouch offers a separation, preventing messy shoes from dirtying your clothes and an elastic outer pouch for easy access to water bottles or other quick access Items.

Accessories

Travel Duffle Express offers tons of space and works great for overnight or long distance trips. Each pocket has its function as we mentioned to include a hanging water-resistant pouch for secure stowing of travel documents like passports or any other important small personal items you may have.

The shoulder strap we mentioned earlier is also accompanied by a trolly strap. This allows for a means of easy transport as it attaches to other types of luggage easily. You can also use the extra handles for a quick carry when you’re boarding or running to catch the train.

Capacity

This travel duffle offers a rigid PE board base that holds shape for better mobility. It can hold up t 40lbs and 38Liters alone in the main compartment. It is light but sturdy and has ample room to store pretty much a week's worth of undies and running gear.

Those extra compartments are set up nicely. The shoe compartment can hold up to 3 pairs of shoes or any other items you want separate from the main compartment. There are a front pocket and a hanging one that we mentioned. Pretty much, you aren't short on space.

Style

Looking for a simple design with super roomy compartments? This is the bag. It is sleek and pure duffle magic. It is deceiving as it looks small weighs virtually nothing. However, the water-resistant material and durable nylon make it a win, win.

To add, It is grey with black trim and has an easy access elastic pocket on the side. Not the strappy open end kind, but an actual pocket with elastic at the top to slightly secure items so they don’t fly out, like a sports bottle or a pair of flip-flops.

Weight

She’s light and roomy. Shacke’s Travel Duffle Express is 19.5 x 9 x 13.5 and only weighs 1.6lbs. However, you can fit up to 40lbs of whatever you want, securely.

Value

Shacke’s Travel Duffle Express is setting standards in affordability. We were actually surprised at the level of durability for such a low budget item. We prefer to save money and we are sure you do too.

Furthermore, we chose this as one of our 10 Best travel Duffle Bags because it is durable, made well, fits a whole lot and keeps the rain out. All that with a great price to match. We highly recommend this one for those on a budget.

6. Yeti Panga

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.6
Yeti Panga
Amazon Link
Materials
80
Accessories
75
Capacity
95
Style
63
Weight
90
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$289.00
Backcountry Link
$299.99
See Deal
Pros:

Really well-made and durable

Water-tight construction

Comes with zipper lubricant

Available in several sizes as well as a backpack

Cons:

Very expensive

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

Materials

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.

Accessories

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.

Capacity

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.

Style

It might turn the heads of people who love to fish and others familiar with Yeti products, but otherwise, it blends in pretty well.

Weight

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.

7. Northstar duffel

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77.2
Northstar duffel
Amazon Link
Materials
84
Accessories
74
Capacity
88
Style
68
Weight
72
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$14.97
Pros:

Very affordable

Super durable construction

Nice size

Lightweight

Cons:

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.

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Materials
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.

Accessories
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.

Storage Capacity
The bag holds about 44L making it a medium sized duffel bag.

Style
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.

Weight
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.

8. WITZMAN Vintage Duffle bag

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75.8
WITZMAN Vintage Duffle bag
Amazon Link
Materials
84
Accessories
80
Capacity
85
Style
90
Weight
40
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$65.57
Pros:

Huge carrying capacity (if desired)

Duffel bag/backpack

High-quality materials and construction

Popular vintage style

Protective laptop compartment

Seriously durable

Cons:

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.

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Materials
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.

Accessories
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.

Storage Capacity
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.

Style
Reviewers loved the vintage styling of this dual purpose duffel/back pack.

Weight
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.

9. PUMA Teamsport Formation

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
73
PUMA Teamsport Formation
Amazon Link
Materials
70
Accessories
70
Capacity
75
Style
60
Weight
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$39.95
Pros:

Durable

Comfortable strap and handles

Good amount of storage

Lightweight

Cons:

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

Materials
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.

Accessories
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.

Storage Capacity
The large main compartment provides enough room for storage but the bag isn't over sized.

Style
This sporty, simple duffel comes in five color options including a bold orange and a simple classic black.

Weight
This duffel bag weighs less than a pound, so it's super light and easy to take anywhere with you.

10. Marmot Long Hauler

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
70.8
Marmot Long Hauler
Amazon Link
Materials
80
Accessories
60
Capacity
75
Style
50
Weight
89
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$139.00
Backcountry Link
$108.95
See Deal
Pros:

Converts to a backpack

Durable

Sheds water

Comes in 4 handy sizes

Versatile

Thoughtfully designed

Cons:

Expensive

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

Materials

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.

Accessories

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.

Capacity

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.

Style

It looks outdoorsy and active and is available in black, red, or blue.

Weight

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

Materials

Materials play a huge part in the durability and all over construction of a travel duffle bag.

The best options are usually made from reliable fabric such as nylon and reinforced with equally durable threading and sewing techniques.

Other factors to consider with the material is how well it repels liquid. You don't want your items to be saturated with just the talk of moisture. You want to have something that keeps your items safe as well.

Furthermore, it is also a good idea to make sure it isn't too heavy while still giving a little for those times you need to get the last pair of shorts in without ripping the seams. Pay attention to seams as well. If not sewn right, the material may be ok but will separate and leave the duffle bag useless.

Accessories

Depending on need will depend on what sort of extras you want in a travel duffle.

Some come with alternate means of carrying such as straps for backpack conversion. You also will have bags that are made with shoe pouches and liner bags to keep documents from getting damaged, etc.

On our 10 Best Travel Duffle Bags we have also found some that offer lubricants to prevent zippers from rusting. As well as covers for a more water resistant carry. When looking into accessories, focus on what it is you will be doing.

Is this going to second as a beach bag or go out in the woods somewhere? Is it made for overnight travel or long distance for many miles of use? There are great options out there to fulfill any travel need and we are sure you will get a good Idea of what many offers by checking out our line up.

Capacity

A great travel duffle is going to get you just enough and keep the weight down.

This is huge, no pun intended. What you can fit into a travel bag can really make or break baggage fees for one. It will allow for separate spaces to organize as well as offer room for easy access items like water bottles.

True travel bags are made to fit in overhead compartments and under seats while still offering the space needed for a good amount of backup items. You never know when a luggage issue may arise. Or if you travel light, then you know the benefits of being able to fit what you need in one bag.

Style

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.

Weight

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

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Always bring a duffel on vacation

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.

Need extra security?

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

Compression

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.

Weather Resistance

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.

Comfort

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.

Use

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.

Ease of Use

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

q: How big should a duffel bag be?

a:

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.

q: What are the advantages of a duffel bag?

a:

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.

q: What are the disadvantages?

a:

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.

q: Does color really matter?

a:

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.

q: What’s so great about having a separate shoe compartment?

a:

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.

q: I hate zippers! Is there another option for me?

a:

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.

Sources

  1. Graham Averill, The Guide to Every Kind of Carry-On Bag (And Which You Should Choose), Online Magazine
  2. Caroline Costello, Choosing the Right Travel Luggage, Travel Tip Website
  3. Rebecca Armstrong, PT, HOW TO CARRY YOUR BAG AND AVOID SHOULDER PAIN, Physical Therapy Company Website