Whether you are getting away for a weekend adventure or a business trip, you will need a reliable duffle bag to carry your essentials.
There is an endless variety of duffle bags in the market. This post looks at some of the best duffle bags you can get for your frequent travels.
How to Buy the Best Duffle Bag
When I first got into digital nomadism, I was so thrilled by the frequent travels.
Nonetheless, my first duffle bag purchases were nothing but disappointing. The zippers would break, or the straps would come loose in a short time of use. In other cases, the bags would soak even in cases of light rain, dampening my adventurous spirit.
I knew I had to find a reliable bag for my Bleisure travels. It takes a lot of research and time to make the right purchase decision. What appears dependable on face value might turn out to be the biggest disappointment. Here are some of the criteria to consider:
Look for a sizeable bag
Airlines have specific carry on size requirements. It is vital to get the right information on acceptable carry-on bag sizes before you spend your money. Ideally, your bag should be or under 2 feet in length and width.
That said the compact nature of a duffle bag shouldn’t compromise its carrying capacity.
Find a bag made from durable materials
Typically a duffle bag goes through a lot of mistreatment through luggage compartments, car trunks, and the tough wilderness. It’s only ideal, therefore that the bag should be hardy. Most duffel bags come in canvas, which is highly affordable but performs only averagely on durability.
Nylon and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) materials have a slightly higher degree of strength and durability than canvas. The benefit here is that TPU duffle bags are water-resistant.
However, good old leather should be the material of choice if you are looking for stylishness, durability, and water resistance.
The larger the carrying capacity, the better
It would be wise to find a bag with larger carrying capacity. That can be hugely beneficial, especially if you wish to pack all your essentials at once. Most duffle bag models come in a variety of sizes for your picking.
Choose a bag with many storage compartments
The best duffle bags have compartments so you can separate your clean clothes from dirty clothes, shoes and fragile gear. Also, your ideal duffle bag should have external side pockets for storing your wallet, phone, passport, and other quick retrieval items.
Mode of carrying
The best duffle bags in the market have hand straps and detachable shoulder straps. The shoulder straps can be convenient when your luggage gets too heavy for your hands. Some models go a step further to include backpack straps that make it possible to haul the bag on your back.
Also, remember to check the stitching quality of the straps—double stitching is best.
Notable Duffel Bags in the Market
[amazon link=B01GGNW2WI title=”1. Amazon Basics Duffel” /]
[amazon box=B01GGNW2WI title=” “]
The signature design of coated polyester is what stands out most for Amazon Basics Duffel. Its material stands out as both rugged and water-resistant. This could, therefore, be an ideal bag for stylish weekend backpackers.
The bag weighs about 1 pound and comes in capacities of 40, 60, 1000 or 140 liters. The weight makes it one of the lightest duffel bags in the market. Then again, with the given capacities you might be able to accommodate many items in this bag without needing a second travel bag.
I am particularly drawn to the large detachable shoulder strap –if my luggage gets too heavy, I could just swing it over my shoulders. Even better, the hand straps are position just right with an architecture that achieves maximum support.
This bag could possibly withstand any trip you throw it, owing to its robust structural outlook. Also, you might find the daisy chains on the sides useful for hooking your jacket or other gear that you pick along the way.
There is a zippered side pocket that’s meant for self-storage. It’s possible to zip up the whole bag in this side pocket and stash it in your backpack. That can be hugely beneficial, especially if you plan on carrying many souvenirs on your back trip.
The main drawback to the Amazon Basics Duffel bag is the lack of backpack straps, which is a bummer for hikers. There are also limited internal compartments, unlike many duffel backs coming up in the review.
Amazon Basics Duffel Pros & Cons
- It’s lightweight and sturdily built
- Comes in several large capacities
- Shoulder strap included
- It is waterproof and aesthetically designed
- No backpack straps or internal storage
- The zippers are prone to breakage
[amazon link=B074QSLHZ7 title=”2. YETI Panga Submersible Duffel” /]
[amazon box=B074QSLHZ7 title=” “]
The YETI Panga duffle bag holds a significant amount of luggage for impromptu trips. Unlike the REI coop duffle bag, this one is a little heavier, weighing about 6 pounds.
However, it comes in large capacities of 50, 75, and 100 liters that might be advantageous if you need to pack essentials in one go.
It features a thick shell made of nylon and TPU lamination which makes it resistant to puncturing and abrasion. This bag might, therefore, serve you for long through the toughest of journeys.
Its waterproof capability means that you can take it on boat rides and other wet adventures.
I find the HydroLock zipper to be a thoughtful design direction. Some bags might be made of waterproof materials, but water still gets in through the zippers. That will likely not be the case here.
The bottom of the bag features burly EVA foam material which feels like rubber. It can be ideal for cushioning your delicate luggage.
The dry haul straps are made to be comfortable and durable. Unlike the REI coop bag, there is no included shoulder strap here. That could be a liability, especially when you are carrying heavy luggage.
YETI Panga Submersible Duffel Pros & Cons
- It’s made of a sturdy and waterproof material
- It uses thick TPU and EVA foam materials which help with durability
- The zipping system is uniquely designed to keep out water
- It would have been better if it had a few more pockets and a shoulder strap
- Quality control issues- your bag might come with holes in it
[amazon link=B01HTTSQIW title=”3. Patagonia Black Hole 60″ /]
[amazon box=B01HTTSQIW title=” “]
The Patagonia Black Holes 60 comes across as a sporty waterproof bag for camping and other activities. It is much lighter than the YETI Panga, coming in at 2 pounds. Its lightweight nature improves its practical use, especially if you are packing many essentials.
You might find Patagonia Black Hole’s design to be much sleeker than the Yeti Panga and the REI Coop duffle bags. The fabric used in this case is polyester ripstop with TPU. For that reason, this bag will likely hold up well on hiking, climbing, and other demanding activities.
The bag is finished with a durable water-repellant finish (DWR) which potentially qualifies it for water activities. https://www.patagonia.com/dwr-durable-water-repellent.html
Another essential quality here is the heavily padded base. The shock absorption comes in handy to keep your gear safe in cargo compartments, including computer or photography equipment.
The inside of the Patagonia Blackhole 60 has many compartments, giving it an edge over the REI Coop duffle bag. You will likely be able to organize your stuff in a breeze, finding room for small things in the zippered mesh side pockets.
The anatomy of the Patagonia Blackhole 60 features a removable shoulder strap, making it as a camper–friendly as the REI Coop. The detachable backpack straps make things even better. Also, there are compression straps that you might find useful in preventing your luggage from bouncing around.
You might also be pleased to know that you have several options with the Patagonia Balck Hole. The company makes this line of bags in a variety of fashions; you can find a model with wheels or one with exclusive carry on handles.
Patagonia Black Hole 60 Pros & Cons
- It is lightweight and comes in spacious volumes
- Ripstop TPU construction makes it resistant to abrasion
- DWR coating makes it water-resistant
- Many carrying options backpacking straps, shoulder strap and carry handles
- Internal compartments make it easy to organize your luggage
- The bag might soak under extreme exposure to water, much so unlike the YETI Panga
- The shoulder strap might be problematic to adjust
[amazon link=B07F9ZSZQM title=”4. Crospack Business Travel Duffle Bag Garment Bag 55L ” /]
[amazon box=B07F9ZSZQM title=” “]
If your work involves long trips, the Crospack duffle bag designed solely for business travel might be ideal. It has a capacity of 55 liters and weighs about 2 pounds. This capacity can enable you to pack several days’ essentials in one go.
The design construction of the Crospack also makes it practical for vacations and wilderness adventures. It’s made of 1800D polyester and uses fray resistant seams, thus providing the needed structural strength to support your luggage.
Its design enables you to pack your clothes flat. You can then roll it up to fit in small luggage spaces and cabin lockers. The bag has many compartments that you might find handy for storing your phone, passport and other items.
Additionally, there is an internal buckle system that you can use to reinforce your luggage before you zip up the bag. It helps to keep your items in place when traveling so that they can be in tip-top condition when you get to your destination.
One caveat you might find with this bag is that it’s hard to access the inner compartments. The location of these pockets makes them ineffective for storing quick retrieval items.
Crospack Business Travel Duffle Bag Garment Bag 55L Pros & Cons
- It features a sleek design made for business travel
- It is tough enough to withstand wilderness adventures
- It has several internal compartments for extra storage
- Not waterproof
- Its interior pockets are hard to access
[amazon link=B00GT5NIF4 title=”5. KPL 21-Inch Leather Duffel Bag” /]
[amazon box=B00GT5NIF4 title=” “]
If you are looking for a sophisticated way to brace your long-distance journeys, leather duffle bags might give you all the conveniences you seek. The KPL 21-INCH bag weighs 3 pounds, which is slightly heavier than the others in the review, but its weight might help with strength and durability.
The bag is made of 100 % leather, according to the manufacturers. Leather puts up well to abuse, more than the TPU bags reviewed earlier.
One other thing this bag has going it for it is aesthetics. The full-grain leather has a rich patina which changes over time to a timeless brown hue that is a cut above the rest, fashionwise.
The KPL bag would do you more good on a business trip, but it works just as well in the wild. The hardy goat leather and the included brass hardware might help with durability and strength through sandy desserts or shrubby trekking routes.
The bag has hand straps and a shoulder strap for flexible carrying. If the luggage gets too heavy for your hands, you could throw it on your shoulders and work out your rotator cuff muscles.
The inside of the leather bag features separate compartments for shoes, clothes, and toiletries. This compartmentalization can make your packing stress free, helping to keep things clean and well organized.
You might find the side zipper pockets on the outside to be more functional than the interiorly located pockets of the Crospack duffle bag. You can use these side pockets for storing your wallet, phone, and passport.
The interior is padded and lined with canvas to cushion your gear. The prominent drawback to this bag is that its small capacity might be limited to campers.
KPL 21-Inch Leather Duffel Bag Pros & Cons
- Leather material is sturdier than nylon
- The bag has many internal compartments to organize your items the right way
- There are hand straps and a shoulder strap for carrying flexibility
- Exterior side pockets are convenient for storing quick retrieval items
- The bag has an aesthetic vintage design
- Its luggage capacity is a mall
- You might find that it has an offensive odor
The Best Pick
The [amazon link=B00GT5NIF4 title=”KPL 21-Inch Leather Duffel Bag” /] stands out as the best duffle bag in the list. This bag could handle well on business trips and wilderness adventures.
Its goat leather material is hardy, and on top of that, the makers have used a brass plate reinforcement to give you all the support you need for your luggage.
Even though it has a small carrying capacity than most bags reviewed, it makes up for it with its internal compartments and exterior side pockets. Through a seamless organization, you can be able to maximize space usage.
Another thoughtful inclusion here is the shoulder strap for hauling heavy luggage. To wrap it all up is a sleek vintage flair that will likely get even more aesthetic with time. These features make the KPL 21-inch duffle bag a worthy travel companion.