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This is the most user-friendly bag I have ever owned. Being a messenger style, it slips on and off very easily and is extremely lightweight, unlike my heavy leather bags. The main compartment is plenty big enough for my big (heavy) B-Mak wallet, and personal items, with room to spare. I love the see-through netted zipper compartment in the bag-I can actually see what is in there! I have yet to rummage through to find something, and that is highly unusual for unorganized me! The multiple outer pockets are so accessible, and I love the side pockets, which are expandable via zippers, making them even more versatile for not just water bottles. The quality is very good, zippers all work very smoothly, strap is very adjustable for any height/size of person (I'm only 5'2"). Yes, it is not a high fashion leather bag, and I ... full review
It can be a little hard to close because there is a metal frame where the zipper is to keep it’s doctor bag shape. So if you overstuff the bag, you may not be able to close it. There are plenty of pockets inside to keep everything organized. The pockets for electronics are padded. (I love that there’s a pocket for my laptop and a separate for my ipad). The biggest plus to this bag and probably one of the main reasons i picked this bag over other ... full review
Duffels advertised as “water resistant” are designed to keep your belongings protected from light rain and soggy ground. These models often cover their durable ripstop fabric with a laminate that keeps moisture from soaking in (often called a DWR treatment or something similar). A DWR treatment certainly is a nice feature for everyone using a duffel: the weather is unpredictable when traveling, you never know when your duffel might be sitting on the tarmac for a few extra minutes, and it’s super helpful for outdoor use. In addition, some bags have flaps covering the zippers, which can be a point of weakness. Water resistant gear does have limitations: it should work well in light to moderate precipitation but eventually will soak through. 

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The North Face Base Camp featured highly contoured backpack shoulder straps with high-quality foam that didn't collapse under loads. Both the Base Camp and Black Hole could be worn for extended periods and over distances with only minimal discomfort. Not that we'd recommend this, but a good friend of ours who doesn't own a large pack hiked all the way into the Bugaboos (a 3-4 hour hike, 2,300 ft of elevation gain) with massive loads in a Black Hole Duffel. This isn't ideal but is a testament to both his toughness and to the comfort of some duffel bag shoulder straps.

I just ordered the Signature 3 Compartment Crossbody, based on your reviews!! I’m excited to get it and see if it will be just what I’m looking for. My best travel tip is to read about where you’re going to familiarize yourself – it helps with packing appropriately, knowing the local customs, and just an overall sense of respect for the place you are visiting. I enjoy seeing the sites, but living like a local. Immersing yourself and just taking it all in is the perfect idea of a vacay for me!! 

The Top Pick Bago Packable has four pockets in addition to the main compartment. Among lightweight bags, this is well above the competition. One of the Bago pockets is an externally accessed, large and variable volume "shoe/wet" compartment that sequesters dirty or damp things from the rest of your gear. Its volume is shared with the main compartment. If the main bag is full, you won't get much in the sequestered compartment. It is a clever and welcome design that we've seen in other bags and are happy to observe and use in this ultra-lightweight piece of equipment.
Great for carrying sporting equipment and gear to a game or practice, our assortment of duffel bags includes a variety of different sizes, from small gym duffel bags for holding shoes and clothes to large equipment bags that can hold gear for an entire team. Look for options made of strong and sturdy materials with high deniers if you often use your duffel bag outdoors, or choose duffel bags with multiple carrying options, like shoulder straps or carry handles, if you know you'll be carrying heavy gear for long periods of time. Sport bags with additional exterior and interior pockets help keep your gear organized and easily accessible. For more sports and fitness gear and accessories, check out our vast fitness assortment.
For more traditional air or bus travel, wheeled duffels are excellent, as they are just plain easier to get around with and their heavier weight is typically less of an issue. For expeditions or more exotic travel, we prefer traditional duffels because of their low weight, ease of transporting on non-smooth surfaces, and ability to be transported by non-traditional means (AKA strapped to animals, boats, snowmobiles, etc.)
What would you recommend to avoid being robbed? One place I read, suggested a backpack. A backpack surely seems unsafe and you can’t see them going into your bag. I was in Egypt in 09 and a lot of people were robbed while sightseeing. Please advise as I’ll be traveling to South Africa (Johannesburg and Cape Town) soon and doing a lot of sightseeing. I like the idea of the anti theft one mentioned in your article.
The body of the No. 1 Grip is made of our vegetable-tanned vintage brown polished leather for strength, while the flap and ends of the bag are made of our dry-milled leather to give it character and softness. The bag has plenty of room to carry everything you need for an overnight stay, or it serves well as your personal carry-on bag for extended trips. It opens wide and packs easily. The Colonel packed his No. 1 Grip with a pair of khakis, two folded shirts, shoes, socks, two tee shirts, two boxer shorts, a bandana, a belt and his GP1 Shave Kit.

We can’t sing the praises of this bag enough. It’s spare but polished, made of lightweight, stain-resistant nylon, and hits the sweet spot of form and function. The interior offers plenty of pockets for keeping your stuff organized, and it’s got wheels and a retractable handle hidden in a zip pocket, so you can roll it through the terminal if you overpack.

In terms of features and carrying comfort, you get a multitude of ways to grab and carry the Black Hole Duffel. The backpack straps are more comfortable and functional than most, and the bag comes with a large detachable shoulder strap for throwing over one shoulder. Keep in mind that this duffel does not have a particularly rigid structure, so it doesn’t offer a ton in the way of protection for your fragile items. In addition, it’s one of the more expensive non-roller duffels on this list, but we think worth the quality is worth the extra cost. Patagonia makes the Black Hole in a variety of versions including with wheels, and the 40-liter roller version is carry-on compatible. 

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From a short commuter flight to traveling deep in the Alaskan wilderness, we went all out to compare how each model stacked up in our ease of transport category. Photo: Topping out Heartbreak Hill, with the mighty North Buttress of Mt. Hunter Looming above, just below Kahiltna Base Camp, while dragging 50lbs stowed in duffel bags that are strapped to plastic sleds, Denali National Park, AK.

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The only thing that kept the Alpaca from being our Editors' Choice was The North Face Base Camp's additional pockets and organizational oriented features, which our testers thought helped it as a better all-around piece of travel baggage. However, the Alpaca provided a high level of durability and was burlier than most of the models in our fleet. In fact, it will be plenty durable for most users for many, many years.
My travel advice is to carry 5,10 or 20 dollar cash in and out pocket in case you are robbed at gun point as I was. I only had a straw wrapper and the robber looked nervous so I was afraid to remove my outer layers to give him my security pouch. My travel partner was being held up by his accomplice who did not have a gun so she handed him her pouch and they grabbed it knocking her down on the curb in the process. If I had cash n that outer pocket I could have handed over and they may have run off with that .

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There is a lot to like with REI’s well-appointed line of Big Haul duffels. This high-end design is on the same playing field as the Patagonia Black Hole above but costs about $30 less (it’s not a perfect comparison, but the Black Hole 45 is $119). Features include backpack and compression straps, a large U-shaped opening for easy access, and a stuff sack to pack it down when not in use. At 2 pounds 1 ounces, the Big Haul hits a really nice balance between toughness and carrying comfort.
The Patagonia Black Hole is one of the best duffel bags you can find out there. Why? It’s super lightweight (one of the lightest on the list) and it has many pockets and a big main compartment. It’s super versatile, featuring padded shoulder straps, so you can carry it in many ways, like as a bag or even a backpack. If you don’t need the shoulder straps, they are removable.
I am traveling with my Travelon bag now and it is wonderful. My best travel tip is to use a tether to attach your smart phone to your bag. I tuck the tether into the bag when I’m not using the phone for a camera. Admittedly it does not quite pass muster as stylish but if I have to choose between stylish and not losing my phone, I will choose not loosing every time!
Anyone who has traveled a fair amount knows the value of a good tote. The workhorse of the travel bag ensemble, it’s the perfect carry-all for your essentials. You can toss everything in one roomy bag (we’re talking wallet, passport, phone, headphones, tablet, book, scarf, sweater, toiletry bag, water bottle, snacks — don’t forget the snacks!, and even a travel pillow), grab it, and go.

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Exemplifying its motto of “fewer, better things,” Cuyana makes beautiful, minimalist products that instantly become wardrobe staples. This bag in a soft, luxurious Argentinian leather — and available in an array of muted, sophisticated tones — transitions from work to brunch to the farmer’s market perfectly. And while many classic leather totes have open tops, the zipper closure on this one is especially useful for warding off pickpockets on international adventures. Might we also recommend getting the Tote Organization Insert to add even more structure?
Another sporty duffel bag, this one from the makers of our all-time favorite cooler, can also be worn as a backpack and is made from thick, laminated nylon that’ll withstand any rough baggage handling. It’s also completely waterproof — the zippers tuck into enclosed docks — so there’s no need to fear a rainstorm or wet ground ruining your clothing or gear inside.
I see a real resurgence in the country today for products made in America. Our focus is to design and create products that speak to the time-honored traditions that have made this country great such as handmade craftsmanship, authentic rich leathers and quality workmanship. There’s a nostalgic feel about the products we make . . . most of them could have been made 100 years ago and many are made using turn-of-the-20th-century methodology and machinery. Our products are true Americana; forged as our forefathers intended by people who care and take pride in making a beautiful product.
Some of the most prominent factors that contribute to how comfortable a bag is to maneuver are the width of its wheelbase, how stiff its frame and handle are, how far its handle extends, and how far it extends above the bag or load. With lighter weights, it makes only a little bit of difference; once a piece of luggage becomes more massive, the difference is more apparent.
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