We reference durability frequently in this article—everyone wants their investment to last. The most common way of measuring fabric strength is denier (D), and the higher the rating, the tougher the fabric will be. All deniers are not created equal, but this gives you a general idea of how two duffels stack up to each other in terms of toughness. When available, we’ve included the denier rating of each bag in our handy comparison table above, which range from 1000D for a bag like The North Face Base Camp down to 420D for the Eagle Creek Load Warrior. It’s worth noting that the manufacturers sometimes provide two numbers, which refer to the different panels (usually the highest number is the bottom of the bag that is exposed to the ground, whereas the lower number are the sides and top). This number may not be the definitive factor in your buying decision, but it certainly can help tip the scales when choosing between two close competitors.
Why do we have the REI Big Haul ranked here? The Patagonia gets the nod is a few areas that matter, making the extra $29 worth it in our opinion. First, the backpack straps and carrying handle on the REI aren’t quite as comfortable or easy to use. Neither is meant for super long journeys with the bag on your back, but Patagonia has done a slightly better job with carrying comfort. Second, the Patagonia has a tougher 900D polyester covering the body of the bag (REI’s is thinner 400D). We also prefer the look and colorways of the Black Hole slightly more—it’s very hard to compete with Patagonia in this regard. But both are excellent duffels for travel and light outdoor use, and the REI does win out in price.
The Cenzo Duffle Bag is the perfect 1-3 night weekender. It is made in Italy using Italian calfskin leather, brass zipper, smart contrast stitching, durable 8 oz cotton duck canvas lining, and brass hardware. The vegetable tanned leather looks better as it ages. One characteristic of our vegetable leather is that it has large pores and absorbs smell - so you might detect a sweet nail polish scent when you remove it from the plastic for the first time. Please take note of this characteristic. This new leather smell is the result of the leather edge paint and clear stain coating - it fades after 24 hours in fresh air. Weight is 4.5 pounds
I have an upcoming weekend business trip where I go straight to a conference upon landing. Normally, I just travel with a backpack as my travel bag on such short trips. However, I want to up my travel luggage game, so I thought a nice leather duffel bag could be just what I was looking for. A travel duffel bag is still small enough to use as my carry on luggage, but big enough to hold enough clothes for a weekend easily. Plus, a nice leather duffel bag would cast a professional look.
Whether you’re an experienced world traveler or just enjoy the occasional weekend road trip, a duffle bag makes a handy traveling companion. This versatile piece of luggage is loaded with storage space, with soft sides that make it perfect for squeezing into tight places. Stash it in the overhead compartment, check it or toss it in the back seat. Designed and built to be over-stuffed, dropped in the trunk and wrestled by baggage handlers, your duffle bag will protect your belongings in durable style.
Larger diameter wheels help rolling luggage to be moved more easily over uneven terrain like gravel, grass or only very poorly paved streets far more efficiently. Even though the Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel wheels were just half an inch larger than The North Face models, all of our testers felt it performed better on more rugged surfaces. The Eagle Creek Gear Warrior Wheeled sported the most massive wheels, and while due to other factors wasn't as maneuverable, it was nice to pull over old cobbles, gravel roads, or different rugged terrains. Why not just make all wheely bags with giant wheels? Well, wheel size, in addition to the width of the wheelbase, or how far the wheels are apart, affected a model's maneuverability.
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I was on the search for an anti-theft bag recently that wasn’t ugly and wasn’t too big. I was set on one of the ones shown here, but when I arrived at a local luggage shop, I found the Travelon Anti-Theft Signature E/W Shoulder Bag in black. It is the perfect size so that I didn’t feel weighed down or look too touristy, and because it has various zippered compartments and decent depth, I was able to also use it for as a camara bag for my compact-system camera with extra lens. It’s a good price at around $40 and comes in different colors ebags.com/product/travelon/anti-theft-signature-ew-shoulder-bag/276982
I have a PacSafe cross body bag. It’s not the most fashionable but I do like it. Locking zippers, wires in strap to prevent slash ‘n grab thieves ,Rfid internal picket, external pocket for water bottle too. I chose this style for the safety features but also, I can put my 35mm DSLR camera inside the bag and not look completely like a tourist at times.
The $130-ish duffel market certainly is competitive, but another nice option for travelers is the Long Hauler from Marmot. This bag is well designed with just all about of the features that you need: detachable backpack straps, a U-shaped access to the main compartment, grab handles on the ends, compression straps, and end pockets for storing smaller items and valuables. Durability is good too: the bag is reinforced with 600D nylon, which should allow for a decent amount of rough use.
The North Face Rolling Thunder was particularly good at managing a second bag. We think this is a combination of the stiffness and robust nature of the handle as well as the width between the bars and the length at which it extends. In fact, if we know we are going to have a second 50+ pound second non-wheeled duffel, the Rolling Thunder is our top-choice to "piggyback" them.
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Robust daisy chains (webbing with loops separated by stitches) is the feature that best facilitates secure attachment of your duffel to various modes of transportation. Daisy chains are versatile and easy to use, provided enough slack is left, at manufacture, in each webbing loop. Large grab loops and shoulder straps are also particularity useful things to thread through when attaching your baggage to things.
We’ll start by noting that we initially had our hesitations about the Filson Field Duffel. To start, the Tin Cloth fabric is rather distinct and has an Indiana Jones-type feel (not necessarily in bad way, but that was our first impression). Upon further inspection, this bag is exquisitely made and looks and feels the part. The thick canvas has a water repellant finish (oil-finish wax can be applied for added protection) and we love the silky interior liner. The Field Duffel certainly is more formal than others on this list, but we love the build quality and unique design.
What the Rolling Thunder is not, however, is a fully-featured piece of luggage for business travelers. It lacks the sleek suitcase look and organizational compartments of the Osprey Shuttle, and some people have reported that the internal support bar has worn through to the base of the bag. But if you’re looking for a duffel that’s equally at home on the dirt roads of a far-flung village as it is at the airport, the Rolling Thunder can take a licking and keep on ticking.
Nice bag -attractive and functional. But it was not the same item as pictured. The bag I received was made from a textured course leather, not the smooth leather shown in the on-line ad. When I pointed this out to Amazon, they kindly made an adjustment. However, the leather on the bag I received very easily scratches. And it fact it did on the first usage.
Many duffels on this list are made by big outdoor brands like Patagonia, The North Face, Osprey, and Marmot. Outdoor use can vary substantially, from throwing your bag in the back of a truck to hardcore expeditions (often tied to the side of a horse or put in a sled). The good news is that like many types of gear, many outdoor-oriented duffels are tough but versatile and cross over nicely into everyday use. For example, the Patagonia Black Hole, our top pick, can be used from anything from serious outdoor use to standard air travel (and looks the part for both). Because of this versatility, outdoor brands dominate the duffel market.
This Knomo bag marries form and function, with a rectangular shape made for comfortably toting around laptops sized up to 15.6 inches. There's also a trolley slip sleeve that fits over the handle of your wheeled luggage for easy carrying. Plus, travel without worry: The RFID-blocking liner will protect your credit cards and passport from wireless identity theft.
I always try to blend in like a local. I don’t talk loudly or draw attention to myself even when I am lost. I always keep my valuables in two safe places, one being a discrete Anti-theft mini cross body bag and had no problems all over Italy and Berlin last year. I have just purchased a Travelon messenger bag for an upcoming trip to Europe, where I will travel alone for most of it.
As far as organization goes, having a few zippered pockets goes a long way. The North Face Rolling Thunder offered the best level of organization, using a review high of eight compartments, which were all well thought-out. We granted our Top Pick award to the Eagle Creek Gear Warrior for its organizational attributes. Among non-wheeled competitors, our Editors' Choice The North Face Base Camp Duffel, offered up a sizeable external zippered pocket and an internal mesh divider. The Marmot Long Hauler also provided a similar design.
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A small percentage of people want waterproof protection from their duffel (think rafters, fisherman, and backcountry winter adventurers). The market is limited, but two bags on the list are waterproof: the YETI Panga and SealLine WideMouth. The Panga is a beast of a bag, with the shape of a traditional duffel but with extra thick materials and a fully waterproof zipper. The SealLine, on the other hand, is a roll-top bag that more closely resembles a dry bag. And it’s worth mentioning the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dyneema Duffel, which is not waterproof but highly water resistant and surprisingly tough.
Within its weight class, the Cargo Hauler is comparable in function and design to Granite Gear’s Packable Duffel, but comes in 4 ounces heavier and lacks features like top carry handles and internal organization pocket. Both duffels are made with 600D water-resistant fabric, a less durable (yet lighter weight) material than many of the more rugged models on the list. And it’s obvious at first glance that the Cargo Hauler simply is not as burly and water resistant as a bag like The North Face Base Camp, nor is it as comfortable of a backpack (it has a tendency to droop even when loaded). But for a nice all-around travel duffel at a reasonable price, give the Eagle Creek a look.
The Gonex 45-liter duffel ticks all the boxes: there are plenty of pockets, it’s durable, affordable, spacious and well-constructed, making it a solid choice overall. Available in six different color combinations such as dark green with tan trim or gray and maroon, there’s a favorite for everyone. Measuring 20 x 11 x 9.6 inches, the main compartment holds a couple days’ clothes, plus has a large lid pocket that’s perfect for tablets or magazines, in addition to a small organizational pouch. The zippered sides of the bag comfortably fit shoes – keeping them separate from your clothing, and there are four additional small pockets for quick-access items. The duffel includes a shoulder strap and carry handles and is water resistant.
Some want the best, while others will benefit from a niche Top Pick. Others want the best bang for their buck and are willing to go to the ends of the earth to find it. For all of the penny pinchers out there, we've compared overall score and retail price for all these bags. Figure out what your budget is, then choose a higher scoring duffel within that price range to maximize value.
This leather bag definitely is worth its price. It is large enough to be considered a weekender bag, fitting 2-3 days worth of clothes. It is also small enough to carry and look stylish. The durability of the leather is fantastic. I feel that it is thick enough to not tear easily, but soft enough to have that elegance. The redish brown color gives it a luxurious feel. I also like the inner lining, which whenever someone opens it, notices the fine detail.
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A favorite among in-the-know travelers, this sturdy canvas bag works as a weekender or a carry-on bag. The ingenious exterior pocket unzips into a sleeve so you can slip the bag over the handle of a rolling suitcase for a far less clumsy sprint to your gate. A separate bottom compartment means you can also keep a pair of slippers for your long-haul flight separate from the other myriad things you throw in your bag.
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Thank you for sharing a variety of bag options. I usually carry a Sherpani bag because it is what I have at home. My travel tip is to carry a small pouch of essential oils including peppermint and lavender. Peppermint comes in handy with car sickness and/or yucky fumes/smells on the plane and lavender is helpful for soothing sunburns or other skin stuff.
For any long distance your kit must be transported, the Base Camp's shoulder straps made it one of the most comfortable models to carry "backpack-style". The latest iteration, released in Fall '15, features an extra externally accessed zippered pocket, which adds much welcomed organizational capacity. Overall one of the easiest models to load and rummage through, the Base Camp is also among the most weather-resistant and most durable models tested. It also comes in a large variety of sizes and colors. Our only wish is that it was lighter for the same durability and function.
Enter the unsung workhorse of every traveler's luggage collection: The weekender. The ideal pick is not too big (or it'll weigh you down) and not too small (or you won't be able to fit extra shoes), sturdy enough that you won't need to baby it, and stylish enough that you'll feel confident hauling it to beach bungalows, mountain cabins, city apartment rentals, and wherever else your weekend travels take you.
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A fully loaded duffel bag can be a heavy burden to bear, but a bag with wheels takes the weight off your shoulders. Ben Pundole, founder and editor-in-chief of hotel review site a Hotel Life and vice-president of brand experience at Edition Hotels, trusts his wheeled North Face duffel for lasting through years of frequent travel. “It’s my favorite because it’s indestructible,” he said. “Waterproof, durable, and most of all dustproof.” The 36-inch bag must be checked on flights, but a carry-on-size version, also featuring lots of useful exterior pockets, is available here.
For a more traditional women’s travel purse, Travelon has a large collection of styles in all shapes, colors, fabrics, and sizes. I particularly like the look of their “Signature” and “Heritage” Collections like the Heritage small travel purse featured above. I highly recommend these styles if you’re looking for a more “fashionable” theft proof purse.
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Bottom Line While the Base Camp Duffel faces stiffer competition than it used to, it remains the duffel that all others are compared against. A solid all-around excellent expedition bag, this model was built with remote adventures in mind. A burly, waterproof sack that comes in a few sizes, all with nice backpack straps; it has a narrow niche, but is the only product we’ve found that checks the boxes it checks. This model offers a top-notch blend that makes it easy to transport and highly weather resistant. A top-notch model that is slightly less expensive than others, without giving up much in the way of features, pockets, carrying options or overall durability.
In our Ease of Packing category, we compared how easy it was to load each bag with both typical travel items as well as oddly shaped things that many people might want to include. We also compared how simple it was stay organized using smaller pockets and compartments and how much of a hassle it was to search both in these pockets as well as the main compartment and then the difficulty of zipping everything shut again when we were finished.
A long-lasting travel bag will remain your faithful companion, trip after trip. To keep your items safely stashed while you’re on the move, choose a carry-on with a hard-sided case, and make a statement with bold colors like teal and yellow. Traveling with all your gadgets? There are modern travel bags that come equipped with individual, labeled pockets for all your plugs, cables, converters, and tablets.