Looking for a new duffel bag for travel? Great – that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about in this detailed review!
Anyone can find a decent duffel bag they can travel with, but finding the best ones requires you to sift through dozens, if not hundreds of different options. And that’s exactly what we did so that we could show you the ten best duffel bags money can buy.
At A Glance: Best Duffel Bags For Travel
All of the bags you’re about to see are perfectly suitable for travel. Some make excellent carry-ons, others are so big they can fit an actual human being inside, and a few are so packable that they’ll fit into the pocket of your jeans. So, read on to find that perfect travel duffel bag for you!
Best Carry On Duffel Bag
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Best Wheeled Duffel Bag
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Most Durable Duffel Bag For Travel
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Best Leather Duffel Bag For Travel
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Best Packable Duffel Bag
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The Witzman duffel bag is a great option if you want something versatile and extremely functional. This bag doubles as a backpack, with two comfy shoulder straps that can be hidden away. And it is available in two sizes, both of which conform to the maximum carry-on dimensions of most airlines.
This duffel is made from sturdy canvas with PU leather accents for a more classy look. The interior of the bag is fully lined with polyester, with sufficient padding on the sides.
There’s one main compartment in this duffel, and it is very spacious. It features a padded laptop sleeve inside that can fit even 17” devices, as well as a small phone pocket and a couple of pen organizers. There are no internal compression straps though, so keep that in mind when you are packing.
The Witzman bag features two additional pockets on the front panel. The bigger one has a tablet sleeve inside and is pretty roomy, and there’s also a smaller phone pocket below it. This bag also has compression straps on the top and bottom, as well as two sturdy grab handles on the front panel.
There’s also a side grab handle, a durable webbing shoulder strap, and the two backpack straps that you can tuck away. If you want a bag that you can carry a million different ways, you’re going to love this one.
It even comes with a sternum strap and a hip belt, so that you’re able to make yourself comfortable when you are wearing it like a backpack. The only downside is that there’s no breathable mesh on the backpanel, so the ventilation could be improved. But that’s not even going to be a problem when you’re using it just like a duffel bag.
If you want a wheeled duffel bag for travel, the Samsonite Andante is a really good option. It is equipped with two in-line skate wheels and a lockable wheel handle, for easy maneuvering. This is a great bag for everyone who is tired of carrying heavy luggage but still doesn’t want to get an actual suitcase.
This duffel bag is made from water-resistant polyester, so it is pretty sturdy. It is not as tough as some of the other bags featured here, but it doesn’t really have to be – this bag has a base with the wheels, which means that the fabric is never actually touching the ground. And since you’re mostly going to wheel it around anyway, the exterior fabric is not really going to be exposed to any harsh conditions.
However, it’s important to note that it’s not entirely carry-on sized. The dimensions listed below are the internal dimensions of the bag, without the wheels and the handle. So, not all airlines will accept it as a carry-on, but those that accept 24” bags will.
The Andante duffel features a wide U-zip opening of the main compartment, for easy packing and access to your stuff. There’s also an additional external compartment on the side, which is great for shoes, toiletries, or just items you want easily accessible.
On top of that, the bag features grab handles on the front and top, so it’s going to be easy to pick it up. It doesn’t come with a wide shoulder strap though, meaning you can’t actually carry it like a traditional duffel bag. But that’s why you have the two wheels and the telescopic handle.
If you want a high-end duffel bag that will last you years if not decades, the Wandrd Hexad Access bag is easily one of the best options. It is made from 1680D ballistic nylon and waterproof tarpaulin, which are some really rugged materials. And it also has WR Army Coating, for even better performance in harsh conditions.
It is a carry-on-sized duffel bag that features a clamshell opening, meaning that you pack this just like a standard suitcase. But unlike a standard suitcase, the Hexad Access duffel features three internal compartments for easy organization.
Additionally, the two smaller compartments are actually compatible with Wandrd’s camera cube organizers, making this bag absolutely perfect for traveling photographers. Especially since those two compartments can be accessed from the side of the bag.
The duffel also has a laptop sleeve inside the top compartment, as well as an expandable laundry pocket on the side. And it’s equipped with external compression straps, stowable backpack straps, and multiple grab handles.
You can wear the bag like a classic backpack, and you will be pretty comfortable if you decide to do that. The backpanel features some really thick padding, with multiple airflow channels for breathability. So, even though there’s not really any mesh on the backpanel, the bag still offers really good ventilation.
The only downside of this duffel is the price point. It’s an expensive bag, so it’s definitely not suitable for everyone’s budget. But if you’re okay with spending more money on a high-quality bag, you will not have any regrets if you get the Hexad Access bag.
In case you want a classy leather bag, the Gent Supply Co. duffel is a great option. It is made from genuine buffalo leather, so it is a very luxe bag. This is obvious from the price point – this is definitely not for everyone’s budgets, but rather for the people who enjoy the finer things in life.
Also, since this is a genuine leather bag, it’s not going to have a perfect exterior. But that’s how things are with natural materials – it’s part of their charm. As long as you care for the bag properly and oil it every now and then, it should look really good for a long time.
This duffel bag is a great option for short trips and weekends away. It’s an 18” bag so it’s definitely a carry-on, but a fairly small one at that. The bag does have expandable capacity, so it can actually fit more items inside than it looks like. Its interior is fully lined with a fabric that’s 80% polyester and 20% cotton for excellent durability.
And the bag has two packing compartments, which is one of the features I love the most. You’ll be able to organize everything neatly in this bag, keeping certain items more easily accessible. There’s also a zippered external pocket, for those things you want handy at all times.
This travel duffel bag features a leather shoulder strap, two grab handles, and protective brass feet at the bottom. The shoulder strap is removable and you can take it off entirely if you want. Also, the bag features only YKK zippers, so you are even getting top-quality hardware along with the premium materials.
If you want a packable and lightweight duffel bag, the one by Osprey is an excellent choice. It is very small when packed down, and you could actually fit this into a pocket of your jacket. And it has a pretty impressive capacity, considering just how small and lightweight this is.
The Osprey Packs duffel bag is smaller than most carry-ons, so it’s not really a good option if you want a bag that can replace a carry on suitcase. Especially since it doesn’t have more than one compartment or pocket. But if you are looking for an ultralight duffel bag for travel, which you can carry everywhere with you, it is the best one you’ll find.
The bag is made from 40D ripstop nylon, which is a very durable material. It has excellent tear and abrasion resistance, and it’s even water-resistant without any extra coating. In addition to the really durable exterior, the bag also features YKK zippers – they’re the best zippers you could hope for, but I didn’t expect anything less from Osprey.
On top of that, this duffel features a padded shoulder strap. It’s not insanely comfortable, but it has more than enough padding for its size. And part of the strap is even covered with breathable mesh, which is pretty impressive.
Mind you, I’ve shown you some very pricey bags so far, and none of them had any padding or mesh on the shoulder strap. This just goes to show that it is usually best to turn to an established outdoor brand that’s known for premium quality and great attention to detail.
The Eagle Creek duffel bag is a good option for people who want a packable large capacity bag. It also doubles as a backpack, so you have multiple ways of carrying it. And when you’re not using it, you can roll up the bag and pack it into one of its pockets for easy storage.
This duffel is made from Bi-Tech Armor Lite material, which is the brand’s proprietary type of fabric. It is ultra-light, water repellant, and has a really good tear and abrasion resistance, for great durability. Also, the duffel bag features bartack reinforcements, meaning that the main stress points have reinforced stitches.
The Cargo Hauler duffel is available in capacity options from 40 liters to 120 liters. I’m focusing on the 90-liter bag here, but you should know that there are other sizes available.
The bag has a wide, U-shaped lid that allows for easy packing and access to its contents. The actual main compartment is very spacious but lacks internal pockets. There are two external pockets though, so you will be able to organize your belongings to a degree.
If you would like better organizational features, I suggest you check out the brand’s own compression packing cubes – they’re one of the best travel organizers you can get your hands-on, and they’re great for maximizing packing capacity of any bag.
One more thing I want to mention is that this duffel features two shoulder straps. They are padded and adjustable, and it’s up to you whether you want to carry them like a backpack or a regular duffel. You should know that the straps have attachment points on them, so you’ll be able to attach some bulkier items to them. But they are not removable – you could partially store them in the main compartment, but then you wouldn’t be able to zip it up fully.
You can’t go wrong with Travelpro luggage – they are one of the top brands on the market. And they’re a great choice whether you’re looking for a carry-on suitcase or a massive duffel bag for travel.
Speaking of massive duffels, their Bold-Drop Bottom bag is one of the best large capacity wheeled duffel bags you can get your hands on. It has a total capacity of a little over 140 liters, spread over multiple packing compartments and pockets.
In fact, the duffel opens up suitcase-style, to reveal two spacious compartments inside. One has a zippered divider and the other one tie-down straps – just like a large suitcase. But unlike the big suitcases, this duffel also features external pockets and compression straps. And it has an expandable capacity, so you can really go crazy when packing inside this bag.
The Travelpro duffel features two in-line skate wheels with reinforced housings and skid guards, for improved protection of stress points. It also has a really sturdy wheel handle; it is made from aluminum, and it locks into multiple height positions. The handle even has its own compartment where you can store it when not in use so that it does not get in the way.
In addition to that, this bag features multiple padded grab handles on the front and sides, for easier lifting. This is going to come in handy, considering just how heavy the bag can get when fully packed. Especially since it weighs more than 10 lbs when empty – it is a pretty heavy bag, but that’s expected for a wheeled duffel of this size. At least you don’t actually have to carry it, thanks to those sturdy wheels.
The Plambag duffel bag is great for people who want a medium-sized bag for weekend trips. It has a capacity of 40 liters that can be expanded, as well as multiple external pockets for easy organization.
There are five external and three internal pockets on the bag, so there’s lots of space for the stuff you don’t want to put in the actual main compartment. There’s no laptop sleeve inside the bag though, and you will need to figure out some sort of storage for your computer.
But there’s definitely enough room inside even for the bulkiest of laptops, especially considering that you can expand the bag on either side to get a total capacity of 50 liters. And those are some really good features, especially for such an affordable bag. The Plambag duffel retails for about $30, making it one of my favorite budget options for travel duffel bags.
Also, you can get this bag in large size if you want – the bigger bag has 10 extra liters of space, and it’s only about $5 more expensive.
This duffel is made from high density cotton canvas, which is a very tough material. It’s not really water repellant though, so I wouldn’t expose the bag to heavy rain at all. But the fabric does have really good tear and abrasion resistance, especially with the protective feet at the bottom.
Additionally, the bag comes with a shoulder strap and two sturdy grab handles at the top, for easy carrying. The shoulder strap is padded for improved carrying comfort, and you can remove it entirely if you don’t want to use it.
The Canway duffel bag for travel is a a good option if you want a large but packable bag. It has a total capacity of 115 liters, but it weighs just a little over 2 lbs and it packs into one of its own pockets. And, unlike most other packable bags, this one actually has multiple pockets.
The main compartment of the bag features a classic double-zip opening, which gives you easy access to the bag’s contents. There’s also a dedicated shoe/laundry pocket on the side, which has two tiny vents that allow the items inside to breathe.
On top of that, this duffel features an additional side pocket, two front pockets, and an extra pocket in the back. The back pocket is actually located on the wide luggage sleeve, which lets you secure this duffel on top of a larger suitcase. That’s a pretty convenient feature to have, considering just how big and heavy this bag can get when fully packed.
It comes with a detachable shoulder strap and four grab handles total – two on the top and two on the sides. The grab handles are very durable and feature reinforced stitches, but they are not really padded. This makes sense – this is a packable duffel, and padded handles take up too much space.
The main body of the Canway duffel is made from 600D polyester with excellent tear resistance and even water resistant coating. It is a very sturdy bag, I would still advise that you don’t expose it to the elements too much – the fabric is pretty thin, and it is not going to be very water-resistant in heavy rain.
Also, this duffel features SBS zippers, which is very good. They’re the second-best type of zippers you could hope for, and that’s pretty impressive for a $30 bag.
The Piel Leather duffel bag is an excellent option if you want a classy but functional travel duffel. It has a spacious main compartment with U-zip opening, as well as lots of external pockets for easy organization of the small stuff.
But the gorgeous exterior is the first thing everyone is going to notice. It is full-grain, Colombian naked leather that looks stunning and only gets better with age. As with every product that’s made from natural leather, you should expect some tiny imperfections on the bag – it’s part of the charm.
And you will need to get your hands on some leather caring products if you want to properly maintain this bag. Also, avoid exposing it to the elements too much, as excessive water can damage the leather and change its appearance. Which is something you will want to avoid as much as you can, considering that this is by no means an affordable duffel bag for travel.
The interior of this bag is fully lined, and that is true for both the main compartment and all the external pockets. It is important to note that there aren’t pockets inside the bag – they only exist on the outside, and there are six of them total. You get three small pockets on the front, two roomier ones on the side of the bag, and a medium pocket on the top.
This duffel bag also features two sturdy grab handles and a detachable shoulder strap. The shoulder strap is also made from full-grain leather and it’s not padded – this is a shame since it’s the first part of the bag that’s going to get worn out.
Do you want a carry-on duffel bag or one that you could use instead of a large suitcase? I’ve shown you duffels of many different sizes, but most of them are smaller bags that can easily be carry-ons.
The main reason for that is versatility of the smaller duffel bags. Some of them can even be transformed into backpacks, so you actually getting two bags for the price of one. And since all of them are well made and have great organizational features, you’re getting backpacks that you would actually use.
The bigger duffels are best if you want bags that can eliminate the need for a large checked suitcase. Duffels are a better option than checked suitcases because they have a more flexible capacity and better organizational capabilities. Well, at least the large-capacity duffel bags featured here do – they all have multiple internal and external pockets, ensuring there’s a spot for everything you might want to pack inside.
However, I would not recommend that you get a big duffel bag if you’re planning on flying somewhere. Hardside suitcases are the best option for checked luggage if you want to be certain that you’ll find your bag in one piece on the luggage carousel. The same can’t be said for duffels, or any softshell luggage in general – we all know how gentle baggage handlers are, and soft fabrics are usually the ones that suffer the most.
You’ve surely noticed that no two duffel bags in this review are exactly the same. So, which type do you think is the best one for you? Is it is wheeled duffel bag or one with expandable capacity?
The most common type of duffel bag I featured is the one that has stowable backpack straps. This is actually a very popular travel bag type – it’s great for people who want a backpack and a duffel bag, but don’t actually want to get two separate bags. Plus, these bags allow you to carry them several different ways, and that’s the most convenient thing about them.
You could also go for a wheeled duffel bag – these are the best option if you’re sick and tired of carrying heavy luggage in your hands and need a break. They’re excellent for heavy items, and you can maneuver them with ease.
I did include several bags that have that classic duffel exterior, but they’re all very different on the inside. In order to choose the best one for you, you should think about the features that you really want your bag to have. Think about the number of internal compartments, exterior pockets, whether or not you want expandable capacity, if you need a laptop sleeve, etc. I’m sure there’s at least one duffel bag in this review that’s going to tick all your boxes!
The materials a bag is made from can tell you quite a lot about it. They determine the bag’s durability, toughness, water and tear resistance, and you should always look for the best materials you can get your hands on. But not every material is great for all purposes – the best example I can give you is don’t get a genuine leather bag if you want a duffel bag you can check on flights.
Just imagine that carnage on the luggage carousel! But do get a premium leather bag if you want a carry-on duffel or something you can take on weekend trips.
Generally, if you need a really tough and rugged bag, look for one that is made from either tarpaulin or nylon. Those are the two toughest materials for a duffel, and they have really good water resistance as well.
Canvas and polyester are a close second since they perform slightly worse in harsh conditions. This is why they are great materials for carry-on bags, but not the best option for checked bags.
There’s another thing to keep in mind here, and that’s the ease of maintenance with each bag. Nylon and polyester are both usually stain-resistant, and they’re super easy to clean. Canvas is a bit more difficult to clean since it doesn’t have really good stain resistance, but it’s not very difficult to get stains out of it. Leather, on the other hand, is the most difficult to maintain.
These bags need to be oiled every so often, they should only be cleaned with damp clothes or products for leather care, and they shouldn’t be exposed to the elements too much. It’s kind of like with expensive cars – they cost way too much, they’re a nightmare to take care of, but they just look so damn good you don’t care about anything else.
Not sure which of these travel duffel bags is the best one for you? It’s okay – go with one of our top picks and you won’t have any regrets!
If we just look at build quality and durability, it’s obvious that the Wandrd Hexad Access duffel bag takes up the first three spots on the list. It is made from premium waterproof materials, it features multiple packing compartments for easy organization and more external pockets than you’ll know what to do with. And you can even wear it like a backpack if you want – the backpanel is super comfortable, with high-density foam and multiple airflow channels.
Wheeled duffel bags are really popular with travellers, and the Samsonite Andante is one of the best such bags. It is made from water-resistant materials, with two smooth wheels and a telescopic wheel handle. The duffel is easy to maneuver, and it’s great for people who are tired of actually carrying their heavy luggage but still don’t want a traditional suitcase. It is spacious, lightweight, durable and at least three times cheaper than a Samsonite suitcase!
If you want a carry on duffel bag, the Witzman duffel bag is the best option. It is very durable, stylish, water-resistant and it features multiple internal and external pockets for easy organization. This is actually one of a few duffels that has a padded laptop sleeve, as well as dedicated tablet pockets. And you can also wear it like a backpack, or you can stow the comfy shoulder straps and carry it like a traditional duffel bag – it’s entirely up to you!
Head over to Amazon to see the prices and more photos of all the duffel bags for travel featured in this review. And check out our related posts, for ideas on other duffels and excellent travel bags you might be missing out on!