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.
1. For a $200+ dollar bag, I would not expect to have so many problems with the zippers. The design of zippers around the top of the bag is such that they get stuck in the corners at the bottoms and it take a minute of rearranging the sit of the zipper tracks and jangling with the zipper to get it come unstuck and finally zip up. On my bag, this is a bigger problem on the right side corner as you are looking at it. Perhaps this could be remedied by simply using a slightly bigger zipper track or bigger zipper tag? Regardless, its an obnoxious tick.
"When it comes to camera bags, Billingham is a tried-and-true brand that I trust with my camera equipment. The bag is structured with a removable padded insert, has exterior pockets, and can hold a DSLR, and extra lens, and accessories. The weather-resistant material and front flap protect my equipment from inclement weather, allowing for an uninterrupted day of outdoor travel." — Mary Robnett, Assistant Photo Editor
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Photographer Nicole Franzen loves her Voyager 2 bag, which stands out both aesthetically and functionally. “I like good pockets for organization, and tend to go leather and black because it’s effortless, goes with anything, and ages well,” she said. Made from soft Italian leather, this sleek bag features a front pocket with compartments for storing your phone, passport, pens, cords, and other items you’d like to have easily accessible — and even more pockets inside.
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If you traveled to far-flung destinations (or even sometimes not very far-flung), you've probably seen your luggage be attached to some form of transportation. If you are more commonly just looking at luggage options for catching buses, trains, and more typical commercial airplanes, then this isn't a super important factor for you. If you plan to travel to exotic locations or climb (or anything else) in remote parts of the world, you will undoubtedly need to strap your baggage to any number of things (and there can be a lot of different things and ways they will be attached).
The Trekker is Backcountry’s recent addition to the outdoor duffel market, and a nice value at that. Similar to the Patagonia Black Hole and The North Face’s Base Camp above, it boasts a U-shaped zipper opening, several pockets for organization, and offers the option of being worn as a backpack. And like the Base Camp, an external zipper on one end opens to a large secondary compartment, which is great for separating dirty laundry or shoes.
The Gregory Alpaca Duffel is premium-quality duffel that can withstand the elements and is well worth the higher price tag. With a 45-liter capacity, the weatherproof bag can take the wear and tear from the airport and is ideal for outdoor adventures. In addition to carry handles, the duffel features removable padded backpack straps for easy transportation – great for hiking. The water-resistant bag has reinforced threads for high performance and has a small exterior zippered pouch for quick access items, a “U-shaped” main compartment, as well as a large mesh interior pocket. There’s also a slot for IDs and plenty of exterior loops for attaching carabiners. It is available in bright blue or black.
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This lightweight, quilted bag from Oliver Thomas — a new travel bag brand that's named after founder Sue Fuller's dog — pulls out all the stops. It's got water-resistant fabric, a sleeve that slides over your luggage handle, a clip that keeps the straps from sliding off your shoulder, and a bottom zip compartment that's perfect for keeping shoes separate from clothes. The brand also makes tons of patches with cheeky statements like,"more baggage than LAX," and, "aspiring retiree," that adhere in a few seconds with a hairdryer.
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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 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.
If you’re on the go, nothing slows you down faster than a clumsy travel bag. Rushing off to the airport? Trying to pack for an extended, multi-city business trip? Or maybe you just like putting your organizational skills to use? A good travel bag—sturdy, efficient, stylish—can be worth its weight in gold, more as a necessity than a mere accessory. Travel + Leisure editors deliberate carefully over which luggage sets are ideal for bringing on a vacation, and make sure to feature only the best that money can buy.
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!!
For travel scenarios where you’ll be moving around a lot—think backpacking through Europe—we prefer non-roller duffels. They’re easy to grab and throw on your back, and you don’t have to worry about the surface (if you’ve ever tried taking a roller duffel down a cobblestone street, you know what we’re talking about). If you’re primarily an air traveler and moving your bag long distances by vehicle, a roller duffel is a fine option, and you do get the added benefit of one hard side for protecting your belongings. For the purposes of this article and the picks above, we’ve included a handful of our favorite roller models, and some of the standard designs have wheeled versions available.
A.P.C.adidas OriginalsAerAlexander McQueenAnthropologieArc'teryxAwayBagguBallyBao Bao Issey MiyakeBarbourBEISBest Made Co.BluntBoarding PassBobbi BrownBoconiBoscaBrahminBric'sBriggs & RileyBurberryCALPAKCATHY'S CONCEPTSChampionCharlotte TilburyCHROMEClub GloveCole HaanCOTOPAXIDAGNE DOVERDAN300EastpakEleventyEstella BartlettEzra ArthurFEEDFilsonFjällrävenFLIGHT 001FossilFryeGucciHARVEST LABELHelly HansenHerschel Supply Co.HIDEO WAKAMATSUHobohook + ALBERTIncase DesignsJ.CREWJansportJaokate spade new yorkkikki.KKNOMO LondonLässigLevtexLongchampLuxieMarniMartin DingmanMCMMezlanmimaMiu MiuMONOCLEMoore & Gilesmountain buggyMZ WallaceNikeNordstromNordstrom Men's ShopOAD New YorkOMGOOHLALAPatagoniaPenfieldPradaProenza SchoulerRAINSRawlingsRebecca MinkoffRed WingRIMOWARodd & GunnSaint LaurentSalvatore FerragamoSaturdays NYCSerapian MilanoSherpaniShinolaSkinnydipSkip HopSnow PeakSole SocietySTATE BagsStella McCartneyStephanie JohnsonStephen JosephStokkeStoney Clover LaneStorksakTed Baker LondonThe North FaceThuleTimberlandTopo DesignsTory BurchTraskTroubadourTumiTYPOUnder One SkyUnited By BlueUrban OriginalsVACAVALIENTEVesselVictorinox Swiss Army®VOORAYWANDER BEAUTYWOLF
This was a gift for our son and he loved it. The canvas lining was nice and makes it look rugged. The only downside was the strap which is excessively long. Other reviews haven't mentioned that, so it may have an isolated instance. I did not notice any unusual smell. To me it just smelled like leather. He purchased a leather punch to allow it to be shortened. Even with that, I would purchase again.
Fjällräven’s Duffel No.6 looks a lot like the standard-issue bag you might find hanging on the wall at a military surplus store. It’s not. The Swedish outdoor brand started with its proprietary G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco fabric, a canvas-like blend of recycled polyester and organic cotton that’s incredibly tough, windproof and water-resistant (especially after treatment with Greenland Wax). Then the bottom was reinforced with padded waterproof, PU-coated, polyamide fabric, and double handles were added at the ends along with stowaway backpack straps on top. There’s also a nice padded top panel, to cushion your back from the bag’s contents when you’re carrying it backpack-style.
I’m a crossbody bag fan for sure, because I really like having my hands free. That said, there are times my shoulders begin to beg for a little relief. I’m seriously considering the Henri Bendel Jetsetter Convertible Backpack for my upcoming trip through the Czech Republic, because it can be worn so many ways…and I won’t have to transfer the contents from bag to bag!
Pack like a pro for your next wedding/business trip with a sleek garment weekender from Hook & Albert, or head to Paris in style with the latest monogram keepall from Luis Vuitton. For those who want to rough it, there’s hardly a better option than The North Face’s kick-ass adventure duffel, while for everyone else, there’s always a sublimely versatile leather travel bag that screams both cozy countryside getaway and luxurious city escape.
For travelers torn between a standard duffel and traditional wheeled luggage, the Osprey Shuttle may be exactly what you’re looking for. This high-end duffel is extremely roomy, durable, and comes with tons of organization. Time and time again, we’ve loaded an entire vacation worth of clothing and other items into the Shuttle with ease. Unlike cheaper wheeled duffels that have a tendency to fall over when full and upright, it maintains its stability nicely. And all of the other features are there, from external compression straps to tighten down your load to a separate lower compartment for wet gear.
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"This bag is roomy enough for a weekend, but usually I bring it along when I'm checking a bag — it's the perfect in-between size for when a second suitcase is overkill but a purse seems too small. It looks pretty sleek (gold fixtures, leather trim, a nylon exterior that's easy to wipe down should you happen to, I don't know, drop the Shake Shack milkshake you just bought all over the floor in Terminal 4), and it has wheels and a zip-open suitcase sleeve, so you can stuff it to the gills and still tool around the terminal with ease. And oh, the pockets! So many pockets. Pockets are key." — Lila Battis, Food & Travel Editor
I roll my shirts and tshirts and put them around my suitcase so in the middle i can put some fragile souvenirs like beer cans, or some eatables in glass (i love to eat, the beer is to give as present) and all is wrapped inside a plastic bag just in case! Everything ends up good packed and fixed because we know the airport won’t care and throw our luggage like freesbies
Features have gotten out of hand. No matter what the product is — be it as simple as a knife or as complex as a camera — we’ve come to expect that it’s jammed with as many bells and whistles (sometimes literally) as possible. Outdoor products are among the most egregious culprits here, fooling would-be adventurers into thinking that they simply cannot embark on a trip without bringing the multifunctional-jacket-pant-parachute-vest complete with eighteen camp-stove-dongle-ready removable pocket pouches (and it packs into its own hood!). It’s maddening.
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.
The Patagonia Lightweight Black Hole most certainly lived up to its name and tips the scales at a scant 1 pound 2 ounces; this makes it the lightest model we tested. However, before we continue, we want to be clear that while this is the lightest-weight model in our review, it is also the smallest volume bag (45 liter, largest volume this the Lightweight Black Hole is made) of any option we tested. The Top Pick Bago Packable is a few ounces heavier but is much larger. Both the Patagonia Lightweight and the Bago come in different size options. The Patagonia is available in 30 and 45 liter versions. We tested the 1.1 pound 45 liter version. The Bago comes in 60, 80, and 100-liter versions. We tested the 1.4 pound 80-liter version. For almost twice the volume the Bago is only 27% heavier. When corrected for volume, the Bago is much lighter than the Patagonia Lightweight Black Hole.
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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.
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.