If you are planning on going for a holiday, you ensure that you make the best arrangements possible. Whether you’ll travel using air, road or any other means, you must think of where to pack your luggage. Worry not as the duffel bag got you covered. These bags have become extremely popular for traveling purposes. They are not only easy to pack and carry but are also made to take a beating. The following are the best duffel bags for your traveling, outdoor and weather convenience needs. Read on and get to know the available rolling and standard types to enable you to make an informed decision.

Top 10 Best Duffel Bags for Travel in 2019

Patagonia Black Hole

This bag tops my preference list. It is among the best travel duffel bags available in the market. Some of the features that make it stand out include; it’s extremely lightweight. This bag weighs 2.4 pounds only, making it among the lightest duffel bags. It has one big compartment plus several other pockets. The Patagonia bag is available in 45, 60, 90 and 120-liter sizes. It is very versatile and can be carried in many ways such as; a backpack or bag. All thanks to its padded shoulder straps.  Also, the shoulder straps are removable if you don’t need them.

The material that makes this bag is resistant 900D polyester with TPU laminate plus waterproof treatment. This makes it suitable for short trips and for holding your outdoor and climbing gear. The design of this duffel bag makes it fit for those who love stylish items. It is also available in different colors.

The Patagonia is a highly known brand. It has for a long time been making clothing and outdoor gear, therefore this company is well aware of its stuff.  Its bag is a testament of this due to its high quality coupled with tough resistance and versatility too. Over the years, users have highly praised this bag for passing quality tests with impressive results.

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled

This is another wonderful bag. It is a suitable choice for any type of trip. The fact that it is wheeled makes it different from the previous type of bag. The presence of the wheel make is an advantage. You won’t have to carry it everywhere you go. This will make your trips even more enjoyable and comfortable. It is available in 40 liter sizes and has a weight of 7 pounds.

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled bag lacks padded shoulder straps. The presence of the wheels also makes the bag heavier. You need to add weight by packing everything in the bag though. That notwithstanding, this is among the lightest wheeled-duffel bags in my list. Its design makes it suitable for weekend getaways and city trips.

The presence of the wheels means everything as transporting this bag becomes easier. It is also tough, resistant, and has a wonderful design. The material that makes this bag is reinforced 1200D polyester. Destroying such a bag is therefore next to impossible.

With such amazing features, the price tag on this bag is definitely quite high. In fact, it ranks highest in terms of price. This is the only known disadvantage of this heavy-duty bag. None other!

North Face Base Camp

This is another suitable travel bag use can buy and be proud of. For outdoor lovers, look no further. For many years, the North Face Base Camp bag has been the most preferred. It’s easy to pack, durable and lightweight nature simply makes it stand out. It is however not fully waterproof. Nonetheless, it can withstand harsh conditions and water for long periods. Provided you take great care of this bag, you need not to worry about water, much as I don’t.

It can also be used as a backpack regularly, thanks to its padded straps. The numerous pockets available in this bag come in handy when arranging your gear.  It is available in six sizes to serve your needs completely. A keen look at professional climbers atop the Everest, Annapurna will reveal the North Face bag. This is a testament of how superior this bag is.

Having been in the market for the longest time possible further adds of its high value. This should not be mistaken with obsolescence. Not the least! The producing company, North Face, takes pride in this bag. They are continuously adding features to better this bag’s quality even more. All this is with the aim of making it the most superb duffel bag in the market. It is available at an affordable fee and in many colors too.

Gregory Alpaca

This bag has comfortable straps and high-quality zippers, making it a well-designed duffel bag.  The materials that make this bag are also highly resistant. The design of this bag is intended to make it comfortable to wear and to maximize its’ inside space. Unlike the Patagonia bag which is partially waterproof, the Gregory Alpaca is completely waterproof.  This unique feature makes it suitable for outdoor activities. Other amazing features that make it convenient for such functions are its heavy-duty straps and handles. They also add onto this bag’s durability and resistance

All in all, the popularity of this bag has and is still growing. Its features and great design are what make it stand out to me. You’ll also agree with me on to the position of ranking this bag. It is available in 30, 45, 60, 90, and 120 liters respectively. The weight of this bag is 2.8 Ibs and has four nice glowing colors.

B&B Duffel Bag

You can easily access your belongings from the B&B Duffel bag thanks to its several compartments. It is a wonderful bag with a unique design. Further, it has a U zippered compartment. It is ideal for keeping your wet gym clothes and shoes separately. The presence of two external pockets plus a small concealed interior pocket is ideal for keeping small personal belongings.

The B&B duffel bag has a modern design, solid construction which is all stylish. The material making this bag is of high-quality. It makes this bag comfortable, durable, and resistant.  Other quality features present in this bag include a reinforced bottom, padded shoulder straps, powerful YKK zippers and 420 honeycomb polyester of waterproof fabric.

For travelers, climbers, nature lovers, and athletes, the B&B duffel bag is your best partner. You won’t find any other lighter bag for your needs than this, weighing only 1.5Ibs. Its size is 80 liters. Be sure to get value for your money by investing in this bag.

Helly Hansen 2

Among the classic model, the Helly Hansen 2 is the most recent improved version bag. That said, you’ll want to know what is new. The Helly Hansen 2 bag has better materials despite the bag’s design being similar. This new model is more resistant to water and more long-lasting. The owner company maintains that the bag is also waterproof.

The Helly Hansen 2 duffel bag is very reliable and solid, thanks to its high-quality seams and reinforced straps. The presence of removable straps makes it usable as a backpack and more comfortable. Even though its padding is good, I doubt if it can match that of the Patagonia or North Face. It is not as good. However, that does not make it of less importance.

It can withstand any weather due to the resistant polyester material it is made from. It has zippered pockets on the inside and outside.  Further, you can reduce its space by packing it in a bag, making storing easy when you’re not moving. It is available in 30, 50, 70, and 90 liter sizes. This may not be the best bag for you if you’re looking for one to store more equipment. For most people though, this bag is fit for all your luggage needs. You won’t need to get a 120-liter sized bag.

Its affordability nature is another factor that makes it highly preferable. It is, in fact, the most affordable bag. Lastly, the Helly Hansen 2 duffel bag is versatile and water-resistant and thus extremely durable.

North Face Rolling Thunder

You’ll love this bag. Read on and attest to this.  This bag takes pride in its great strength thanks to its firm construction. It ranks way above other bags in durability due to the strong and well-designed structure.

It is almost similar to the North Face Base bag in design. The only difference is that the Rolling Thunder duffel bag is reinforced so that it’s wheeled.  The two models of bags are built from similar resistant material. They also have similar organizational features and pockets too.

This bag is no lightweight as it weighs 9 Ibs, 14 oz. The weight aspect plus its resistance and durability all come at a cost. Wheeled bags as earlier noticed are not lightweights, and we’ll all agree. If you are considering weight, then the North Facing Rolling Thunder duffel bag is not for you. It is available in 19”, 22”, 30”, and 36” sizes.

I conclude by saying that this rugged, incredible bag is perfect for your short trips, weekend getaways, and air travel. You love this bag, don’t you? I do.

Mountain Hardware Expedition

This bag features the most times on the list of duffel bags. The Mountain Hardware Expedition is the model that has the most number of pockets. Its versatile nature will help you maintain all items in an organized manner.

Other fascinating features associated with this bag include; internal compression traps and internal and exterior zipper pockets. Also, the special treatment offered by this bag is unique. This is so because of the water-resistant nature of this bag. It is among the most water-resistant duffel bags.

It is available in three sizes namely small, medium and large. Unlike previous duffel bag models which are available in different colors, this type is available in only one color. The only disadvantage of this bag is its weight. It is quite heavier than other duffel bags weighing 3 Ibs, 10 oz.

Finally, if you’re going for an expedition soon, make sure you have acquired this bag. It has a strong and firm design making it suitable for use as a move-on bag.

Marmot Long Hauler

We all love saving, don’t we? I’m sure most do if not all. If you are like me, the Marmot Long Hauler is the best offer of a duffel bag for traveling. You will get this bag with fantastic features at a very fair cost. It has detachable shoulder straps meaning you can use it as a backpack. This great feature makes this bag suitable for outdoor activities.

The material that makes this bag is 1000D TPE reinforced polyester. This helps it to stay intact even the weather conditions are unfavorable. It has numerous pockets on the inside. Both the straps and zippers are resistant and thick.

Its’ U-shaped nature gives you access to the key compartment. You can easily grab the handles on its end. The compression straps and end pockets come in handy when you want to keep valuable items. What makes this duffel bag a great choice is its solid construction which adds onto its durability.

The available sizes of this bag are small, medium, large, and extra-large. Its weight of 2Ibs makes is one of the factors that make this bag affordable.

Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler 90L

If you are looking for a lightweight bag with a variety of carrying options, this duffel bag is the best option. With a holding capacity of 90 liters, it is well designed and constructed to pack all your items.

It has been subjected to numerous tests and produced great results. Such include the water test. Its water-resistant nature makes it favorable for all your outdoor, travel and adventure functions. You can easily store this bag when you are not using it thanks to its packable nature.

Other interesting features that make me love the Eagle Creek are its U-shaped lid, easy to grab handles, padded bottoms, and detachable backpack straps that are padded. You’ll note that these features are common with other duffel bag models previously mentioned.

It weighs 2 Ibs, 2 oz, and is available in 45, 60, and 90-liter sizes.

How to Choose the Best Duffel Bag

Duffel Bag Types

Travel Duffels

A casual duffel bag is all you need for any type of travel. Be it an international trip or a weekend outing, you’re well sorted. These bags have many features. Such include backpack straps and a water-resistant finish. This water-resistant finish protects the bag from wet ground and light precipitation. Organization can also be done well depending on the bag size. A roller duffel bag is ideal for air travel specifically. This is because you can comfortably walk around the airport without carrying your bag or hauling it. Travel duffel bags offer a good mix of simplicity and convenience to travelers. More so them who don’t wish to subject their bags to certain elements for long.

Outdoor Duffels

 a majority of the travel bags on the above list comprise big outdoor brands. Such include the North Face, Marmot and Patagonia. The use of outdoor activity can vary from hardcore expeditions to throwing your bag at the back of your truck. Interestingly, the versatility of duffels is an advantage that can easily be noticed. This is during using duffels for general basic needs and more so to those with diverse carrying options. Also when there are appropriate organizational features such as multiple compartments or pockets and U-shaped opening.

A good example is the Patagonia Black Hole. This duffel bag is suitable for standard air travel and serious outdoor journeying. To get the best duffel bag, look for great fabrics containing water-resistant zippers, and DWR coating. Also, get one with lash points for connecting additional gear on the exterior or grabbing your bag. You can equally get better backpacks with carrying straps. Worth noting is that outdoor duffel bags keep your items dry when there is little rain. For very wet conditions, you will require you to explore for models further.

Waterproof Duffels

backcountry winter explorers, rafters, and fishermen are among the few people that prefer people waterproof duffel bags. Top quality bags for such people are SeaLine WideMouth and YETI Panga. The latter has a completely waterproof zipper and has the shape of an old duffel. The former looks like a dry bag and is roll-topped. Their built up nature makes them convenient for use in watery areas. Unfortunately, these bags have minimal straps and organization, are too expensive, and heavy to be used daily.

Other equally convenient duffel bags are the Hyperlite Dyneema and the Arc’teryx Carrier. They can be used in certain wet conditions.

Duffel Bag Capacity

There are three main capacities namely small, medium, and large.

Small

 it has between 25 and 50 liters. There is a bag suitable for your intended purpose and need as this range can accommodate 25 to 150 liters. For overnight and weekend outings, and for solo travelers, any duffel bag within a range of 20-40 liters is okay with you. Most of these duffel bags are carry-on attuned. You thus save on time spent looking for such bags and money too. There is no universal carry-on bag size used by US airlines even though the 22*14*9’’ bag is commonly used. These are the highest measurements for JetBlue, United, and Delta which were used during publication. Worth noting is that most carry-on attuned bags are usually advertised as above, though the cut-off mark is about 40 liters.

Medium

 these bags are of 50 to 75 liter capacity. A bag of this capacity is enough for any travel needing one but without huge outdoor gear. In fact, a bag with a 60 liter capacity is the most ideal for this category. It is good enough for almost all trips be they short weekend getaways or those lasting a week. The right choice though depends on the amount of stuff you intend to pack. That said a Patagonia Black Hole duffel bag of 60 liter capacity tops my preference list in this group.

Large

these are bags with a capacity of 75 liters and above. They are heavy movers and appropriate for many people, massive outdoor equipment, and longer trips. A perfect choice for this category is the 100-liter REI Co-op Roadtripper duffel bag. It can accommodate bulky footwear, several empty backpacks and many more items. Due to the large space inside bags of this category, they often get heavy quickly. You should thus keep a close eye on the total weight when packing your items. Most regular material and clothing should not exceed the 50 pounds check weight. However, packing any heavy material can otherwise be a major problem. For serious expedition and outdoor use consider getting the North Face Base Camp. This duffel travel bag can accommodate 150 liters.

Roller (Wheeled) vs. Non-Roller Duffel Bags

The roller duffel bags are quite popular, particularly among air travelers. You simply take out the bag from your car, wheel to your gate or check-in. If it is a carry-on, you are good to move. If you dislike packing your bag on your back, then roller duffel bags are ideal for you. They are also fit for bags within 40 liter range and below as they are carry-on attuned.

Roller duffel bags, however, have limitations. Hardly will these bags have any extra feature other than carrying handles. This makes it difficult to use these bags in places that lack enough rolling surfaces. They also lack backpack straps. Ultralight or cheaper duffel bags have a high likely hood of falling over when full. You should thus know this when purchasing. In my view, heavier models such as the Osprey Shuttle are worth buying at some extra cost as they never fall over. Finally, roller duffels naturally have many breakable parts. There are those whose wheels can be replaced even though the majority can’t. You can, therefore, lose all of your transport functionality easily and quickly.

In cases where you will be involved in a lot of traveling, such as backpacking via Europe, then non-roller duffel bags are the best. These bags are effortless to grab and put on your shoulder without worrying about the type of surface. You definitely understand this better if you’ve attempted taking roller duffel through a cobblestone street.  A roller duffel bag is equally a perfect choice for people who are largely air travelers. They mostly move their bags for long distances by car and benefit further from the harder side which protects their belongings. You can choose your favorite roller or non- roller duffel model from the list of duffel bags above.

Carrying Options: Backpack Straps, Shoulder Straps, Handles

Duffel manufactures have continuously enhanced their creativity by designing bags which can be carried in many ways. The main carrying options include backpack straps, shoulder straps, carry and grab handles. Also, there are other bags that are fully-featured that have all four combined thanks to their creativity.

Backpack Straps

These are ideal for people capable of throwing their bags on their backs and walking with them. Many high-end bags have backpack straps which are easily removable and lightly padded. One such example is the Osprey Transporter. It is very similar to the actual backpack and suitable for people planning to take longer distances. Note that the carrying comfort varies thus some bags rank higher than others. After detaching the straps, you can put them in the major compartment.

Shoulder Straps

These are less comfortable than the previous type for extended periods. Single shoulder strap bags are thus ideal for short distances. Ideally, these types of duffels should be used for smaller duffels whose weight is less than a ton. Worth noting is that not all duffels have shoulder straps. They are common on bags that have a smaller capacity and specifically traveling bags. It’s possible to streamline your duffel bag for transport as shoulder strapped bags are easily removable.

Carry Handles

A majority of duffel bags have carry handles of some kind. This is regardless of if it’s a simple padded handle or dedicated straps attaching backpack straps to one another. Carry handles are useful for carrying bags of small capacity in one hand. They are also fit for picking and moving a bag over short distances.

Grab Handles

These are mostly found on the side or at the end of the bag and stay near the surface. They are also used to swiftly slide or lift a duffel bag, just like carry handles. It is convenient to move around with your bag when you have a grab handle on either side.

Durability (Denier)

We all love getting a product that will serve us for the longest time possible. Denier is a measure of fabric strength and is the most used method. The higher the denier rating, the tougher the fabric is. Despite the variance in denier, you can have a rough idea of how two duffels pile up on one another regarding toughness. The North Face Base Camp has a denier of about 1000D and the Eagle Creek Load about 420D. Where possible, these rankings are availed to help you make an informed choice. Manufacturers at times refer to the various panels by providing two numbers. The highest being the bags’ bottom, and the lower number refers to the top sides. Numbers may not be the determining factor during purchase but are worth considering.

Water Resistance

This is the ability of duffel bags to keep your items sheltered from the soggy ground and light rains. Such models mainly cover their long-lasting ripstop fabric and a coating that prevents moisture from soaking inside.  A DWR treatment or something alike is usually used for this purpose. When travelling, you don’t know how long your duffel will be on the tarmac. A  DWR treatment on your duffel, thus, comes in handy during such outdoor use. Further, some zippers bags are covered by flaps and can be a weak point. Water resistant material usually has limitations, although it should function well in light to reasonable precipitation. However, the gear will eventually allow water to soak in.

You’ll note that some duffel bags are fully waterproof such as the SealLine WideMouth and YETI Panga. These bags can be completely submerged in water. Your items should remain dry but this is not guaranteed. Also, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Duffel has a Dyneema fabric which is water-resistant in nature. It thus plays a crucial role in this matter. All in all, waterproof duffels are a must have for adventurers who love water sports. For those who rarely visit watery places, this should not be a factor to consider when buying your duffel.

Weight

To some, weight is a determining factor and to others, it’s not, more so with heavier rolling models.  Non-wheeled duffels are easy to carry, store, or throw in the car as they are only a few pounds heavy. Rolling duffel bags are quite heavy. The 80 liter capacity North Face Rolling Thunder, for example, is 9 pounds 14 ounces heavy. This is already 20% of the required limit of 50 pounds for checked duffels. The Osprey Shuttle is another such model whose weight is 8 pounds 3 ounces and a capacity of 100-liters, which is a bit larger. It is available to 130-liter capacity.  Loaded Osprey Shuttle duffels of 100-liter capacity loaded with items such as shoes can almost reach 50 pounds. This is after being on occasions where I have experienced the above to be true after hitting highs of 40 pounds. Worth noting is that getting a 45-pound duffel bag into and out of your car or moving up the stairs is not easy.

U-Shaped Zipper Access

Ensure you are well aware of the kind of access you’ll need before you buy a duffel bag. Take into considerations factors like the bulkiness of the items you’ll store inside and how full you’ll load your duffel. Also, consider whether you’ll be unpacking after your destination or if you’ll live out of the duffel.

The simplest duffels to search through, pack, and unpack are those that have a big U-shaped opening. A good example of a U-shape designed bag is the Patagonia Black Hole. Its zippered flap extends to about three or four sides of the duffels top. After opening, you’re able to see almost all the content inside. Having such a designed bag in a tent, hotel or along the road is highly advisable. The Filson Field Duffel bag opens in a traditional conventional way and has a single zipper which extends through the top of the bags. Access to the bags content is minimal when the opening is small and when the bag is fully packed. This results in disorganization and rummaging.

If your main aim is getting convenience, consider acquiring a duffel bag like the Osprey Shuttle. It’s a large roller with a tough structure and has the largest packing and unpacking opening.  

Pockets & Organization

Before buying a duffel, consider the number of times you’ll want to access your items when traveling. The best-streamlined models those having a single large compartment without an internal organization like the REI Roadtripper duffel. More fully-featured designs have practical external pockets for tiny items or padded sections for computer or laptop storage. The Osprey Shuttle, a rolling duffel, is completely luxurious thanks to its exterior pockets. Its interior dividers help in organizing the clothing inside. The Shuttle also has a stretchable external pocket for separately keeping hiking shoes and dirty clothes. Having an extra pocket for separating your little basics is important for travelers.

Compression Straps

Both internal and external compression straps can compact a duffels pack more. Internal compression straps remove the zipper strain and compact the stuff inside the duffel. This reduces movement while on transit. The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dyneema Duffel, and the Patagonia Black Hole have internal compression straps. External compression straps can either be on the side like the North Face Base Camp or at the end like the Gregory Stash. They squeeze the duffel once the zipper is shut. External compression straps are particularly important in large duffels that are not fully stuffed. They help keep your bag less disorderly during traveling. Besides, a model that has compression straps is highly recommended when carrying your duffel bag like a backpack. It is more comfortable having it so during your expedition.

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