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.
We’ve all been there: clumsily dragging our bag across the airport lobby and cursing ourselves for not purchasing something with wheels. And if you’re looking for a bag in the 60-liter range or larger, know that when it gets full, it’s going to be heavy. The good news is that duffel manufacturers have gotten creative with designing bags that can be carried in a multitude of ways. Below are the main carrying options, and some fully-featured bags offer all four.
In addition to using them in the real world, we conducted a number of side-by-side tests in an attempt to measure each contender's overall weather resistance. We didn't weigh Weather Resistance as high as other categories like Ease of Packing and Comfort to Carry but it remains an important category never-the-less. Weather resistance is important when you want to keep your stuff dry as you take it out of the car on a soggy day or when it's being driven around on the tarmac. We also find it useful for travel to more exotic locations where it may spend longer periods in the elements.
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.
This is more of a 'purse backpack – a sleek, frills-free anti theft backpack that will fit everything you need for a day trip and comes in red, teal and black. It features a couple of pockets and a padded electronic sleeve: just be aware that laptops larger than 13” likely won’t fit inside it. It’s not particularly stylish, but you’d be able to wear it around both urban and rural areas without raising eyebrows.
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I received the bag a little over a week ago and it looked great when I opened it. The only problem was the smell. The smell was like rancid oil on leather. To fix the smell, I conditioned it with Mothers leather conditioner. After letting it sit overnight the smell of clean leather came back. The quality seems great so far the leather feels nice and feels good. I took it on a four day trip and had no problems. I'm taking it on another weekend trip this weekend too.
5. Wear your bag in a way that dissuades theft. Most often thieves look for an easy mark. A handbag across your chest (as opposed to hanging loosely over a shoulder) will look more challenging and less appetizing. Keep your bag on the inside rather than on the street side. Yes, there have been instances of women being dragged along by a thief on a scooter BUT seeing a well-protected bag should be pretty dissuasive. If this worries you, use a pashmina or a scarf over your shoulder. It won't hide your bag completely but it makes it more complicated for thieves - and they like to keep things simple.
I bought the bag this summer for a trip to South Africa as a carry on. It was perfect for a complete set of hunting clothes, boots, personal items and snacks. I now use it every week as I travel. With the use of a garment bag its great for extended business travel. I always get compliments and questions about this great looking, unsual bag. The more I use it the better it looks.
Occasion & Durability: Travelling to a luxurious 5* hotel, going on a business trip or for a hike in the Alps? Not every journey requires the same luggage. Our luxurious leather travel bags and suitcases are perfect for weekend trips away, business trips, standard getaways or more sophisticated holiday destinations. Our bags are handcrafted from high quality, hard-wearing Italian leather in Tuscany and are able to stand the test of time and the demands of modern life and travel. Your Maxwell-Scott luggage will improve with age and gain a beautiful, well-travelled patina over time. All our luggage pieces are available in three colours, chestnut tan, dark brown and black. We are so confident about the best quality of our leather luggage bags that each bag comes with a 25-year warranty. However, we would not recommend taking our luxury travel bags for a hike or on other extreme journeys. You can take your baggage through the hold; however we cannot be held responsible for how the baggage handlers will treat your beautiful leather holdall.
The Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler is a nice option for travelers looking for a lightweight duffel with an assortment of carry options. It’s one of the more affordable duffels on the market at $99 for the 60-liter version, weighs less than 2 pounds, and even packs into its own end pocket. The bag is functional too: similar to the Patagonia Black Hole, the Cargo Hauler has a U-shaped lid, lash points and grab handles, a padded foam bottom, and padded and removable backpack straps.
For Ease of Packing: The easiest models to pack and unpack were The North Face Rolling Thunder 30" and 36" models. Both of these duffel bags featured a large opening that still was easy to zip closed when the bag was full. The Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled was also extremely easy to pack up as well as all the more traditional non-wheeled duffels we tested. A rigorous criterion for them to even be selected for non-wheeled models was their ease of packing. Most of the duffels we tested have U-shaped openings. The Patagonia Lightweight Black Hole, Top Pick Yeti Panga, and Top Pick Bago all have straight "I-shaped" zippers and were subsequently harder to load and unload.
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