Nowadays, such a wide variety of travel bags is available that you can get overwhelmed choosing one. If you are a traveler, you’ll need a good backpack. However, that’s not the only option; you can find lightweight backpacks, sling bags, messenger bags, duffel bags and much more. To be honest, I love duffel bags! Sure, I wouldn’t go on a long trip or a thru-hike with a duffel bag – that’s common sense. Still, they can be a great choice for certain trips.
They are super helpful when I go climbing. I can pack my clothes, sleeping bag and other stuff in my backpack; then I bring a duffel bag in which I keep my climbing ropes, shoes and other gear. I also like to bring a duffel bag when I go camping somewhere close and don’t need to hike much, such as when my friends and I drive to a nice lake or hill and pitch our tents there. Duffel bags can be useful in those situations because you can carry a lot of things while keeping everything organized.
On my last trip to Indonesia, I realized that duffel bags can also be great for short trips as long as you don’t have to walk much. On that occasion, I was traveling with a group (I was working as a guide with a travel agency) and some people brought duffel bags. It was a backpacking trip but transportation was well organized, so we didn’t walk long distances. We took buses and shared taxis between towns, from the hostel to the terminal, etc. Another advantage is that many of these travel duffel bags have wheels, which is great when you are carrying a heavy bag.
I find duffel bags to be very helpful because they are resistant and roomy, and you have access to your belongings in a matter of seconds. Choosing a backpack is a very personal decision so think carefully about what you really need. As I said, I would never recommend a duffel bag for long-term travel, but they can be great for camping, short trips and outdoor sports so you have a spacious bag to store all your gear. Moreover, they are durable and tough. They are meant to resist weather conditions and physical damage.
Are you looking for the best duffel bag for travel? You have come to the right place! As you know, there are many good options! But hey, don’t worry! You don’t have to spend hours reading reviews and comparisons. I’ve done it for you!
DUFFEL BAGS FOR TRAVEL, REVIEW
PATAGONIA BLACK HOLE
“Versatile and lightweight”
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.
The bag is made from resistant 900D polyester with TPU laminate and a weatherproof treatment. It’s a perfect bag for holding your climbing and outdoor gear and for short trips. If you are looking for something stylish, it has a beautiful modern design and is available in several colors.
Patagonia is a recognized brand that has been making outdoor gear and clothing for a long time, so the company knows its stuff. The bag is a high-quality product with great resistance and versatility. It has had many positive reviews and has passed several quality tests with great results. It’s the number one on this list.
- Weight: 2.4 pounds (60L)
- Sizes: 45L, 60L, 90L, 120L
PATAGONIA BLACK HOLE WHEELED
“Awesome wheeled duffel bag”
The Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled is a great choice for those looking for a duffel bag that can be used for almost any kind of trip. There are some differences from the previous model, the most obvious being that it’s wheeled. That means you won’t have to carry your bag most of the time, which will make your trips more comfortable.
The shoulder straps are not padded and it’s heavier because the wheel system adds some weight to the bag. Well, you can’t have everything in the same bag, right? If it’s wheeled, it must be heavier. Still, it’s one of the lightest wheeled bag on the list. It’s designed to be a great duffel bag for city trips and weekend getaways.
It’s easy to transport, resistant and tough, and it has a nice design. It’s made from reinforced 1200D polyester, so it’s meant to be almost “indestructible”. Another amazing Patagonia heavy-duty bag.
The only downside: it’s the most expensive duffel bag on the list!
- Weight: 7 pounds (45L)
- Sizes: 40L
NORTH FACE BASE CAMP
“Popular adventure duffel bag”
The North Face Base Camp is another awesome option for outdoor lovers. It’s been a popular bag for years because it’s lightweight, easy to pack and durable. Even though it’s not completely waterproof, it has a special treatment which can resist water and harsh conditions for a long time. I wouldn’t worry about water as long as you treat it carefully.
It features padded straps too, so you can use it as a regular backpack. There are many pockets to help you organize your gear and it comes in six sizes depending on your needs. If you look at the stuff professional climbers take to the Annapurna, Everest and other high mountains, you’ll see North Face bags among their gear.
It’s been on the market for a long time, but that doesn’t mean it’s obsolete. Just the opposite! North Face is very proud of this bag and that’s why the company has been introducing improvements to make it one the best duffel bags on the market. There are many colors (really a lot) and six sizes available at a great price.
- Weight: Depends on size
- Sizes: 6 sizes from XS to XXL
“Waterproof and resistant”
The Gregory Alpaca is a well-designed duffel bag. It’s made from resistant materials and it comes with high-quality zippers and comfortable straps. It’s designed to maximize its interior space and be comfortable to wear.
It’s similar to the Patagonia bag, but the Gregory Alpaca claims to be totally waterproof, which can be very helpful in the outdoors. Its heavy-duty handles and straps also claim to be extra resistant and durable.
Overall, it’s a great bag and is becoming more popular. Personally, I love the design and features. You can find it in five sizes from 30L to 120L and four nice, vivid colors.
- Weight: 2.8 lbs. (45L)
- Sizes: 30L, 45L, 60L, 90L, 120L
B&B DUFFEL BAG
“Best price on the list”
The B&B Travel Duffel Bag features a nice design with several compartments for easy access to your belongings. It has a great lateral “U” zippered compartment to keep your shoes and wet gym clothes separated. In addition, it’s equipped with two external pockets and a small hidden interior pocket.
It has a stylish, modern design and a solid construction. It’s made from high-quality materials to provide comfort, resistance and durability: 420D honeycomb polyester waterproof fabric, sturdy YKK zippers, padded shoulder straps and reinforced bottom.
It’s a great option for travelers, athletes, climbers and nature lovers. It’s one of the lightest bags on the list, and probably the best value for the money.
- Weight: 1.5 lbs
- Sizes: 80 L
HELLY HANSEN 2
“Good overall performance”
The Helly Hansen 2 is the newest improved version of the classic model. What’s new? Though the design of the bag is basically the same, the Helly Hansen 2 contains better materials. The new model is more durable and more water resistant (the company claims that the bag is waterproof).
The Helly Hansen 2 has reinforced straps and high-quality seams, making for a very solid and reliable duffel bag. It has removable padded straps so it can be used as a backpack and it’s comfortable to wear. I don’t think the padding is as good as that in other models, like North Face or Patagonia, but it’s a great duffel bag overall.
It’s made from resistant polyester to confront the harshest weather. It offers internal and external zippered pockets. It packs into a bag, reducing its space, so you can easily store it when you’re not traveling. There are four sizes, from 30L to 90L. This could be a downside for those looking for a big 120L bag to store a lot of gear. Otherwise, 90L should be enough for most people.
It’s a bit more affordable than the other models and you get a versatile, water-resistant duffel bag meant to last for decades.
- Weight: Depends on size
- Sizes: 30L, 50L, 70L, 90L
NORTH FACE ROLLING THUNDER
“Tough and durable construction”
The North Face Rolling Thunder is another bag you will love. The main strength of this bag is its solid construction. It’s a tough, well-designed bag that ranks over other models as the most durable on the list.
It has almost the same design as its brother, the North Face Base Camp, with some reinforcement to make it wheeled. Both are made from the same resistant materials and have the same pockets and organizational features.
As you may know, durability and resistance come at a price – it’s not a lightweight bag. We know that wheeled bags are rarely lightweight, but if that’s something important to you, consider another type of bag.
Overall I find it to be a fantastic, rugged bag for air travel, short trips and weekend gateways.
- Weight: 9 lbs., 14 oz. (80L)
- Sizes: 19”, 22”, 30”, 36”
MOUNTAIN HARDWARE EXPEDITION
“Full-featured duffel bag”
The Mountain Hardware Expedition is one of the most featured duffel bags on this list. It has more pockets than any other bag in this review. It’s a versatile bag that will help you keep everything organized.
It features internal and external zipper pockets and internal compression straps. It also comes with a special treatment which makes it one of the most water-resistant duffel bags on the list. You can find it in three sizes, only in black. On the downside, it’s a bit heavier than other models.
It has a solid design so you can use it as a carry-on bag or take it on your next expedition!
- Weight: 3 lbs., 10 oz. (L)
- Sizes: S, M, L
MARMOT LONG HAULER
I like the Marmot Long Hauler because it’s a fantastic bag with great features and it won’t break your bank. You can use it as a backpack thanks to its removable padded shoulder straps and take it outdoors.
It’s made from 1000D TPE reinforced polyester meant to hold up in the worst climate conditions and it has several internal pockets. The zippers are thick and resistant, and so are the straps. It has a durable and solid construction that makes it a great choice.
- Weight: 2 lbs., 3 oz. (L)
- Sizes: S, M, L, XL
EAGLE CREEK CARGO HAULER 90L
“Design and construction”
The Eagle Creek is another amazing bag. You get a super lightweight duffel bag with a great capacity of 90L, modern design and solid construction.
It passed all water test with very good results, making it a great choice for adventure travel and outdoor sports. This duffel can also be packed into a bag, so you can store it when you aren’t going to use it.
- Weight: 2 lbs., 2 oz. (90L)
- Sizes: 45L, 60L, 90L
ADVANTAGES OF TRAVEL DUFFEL BAGS:
Duffel travel bags tend to be lightweight. After a long walk, they might feel heavy, so it’s important to choose only lightweight models. If you choose a wheeled duffel bag, that’s different. The frame and design of the bag make it way heavier than regular bags or backpacks.
You can use your duffel bag in many situations. Even if you don’t need much space, you can squeeze the bag to make it smaller and adapt it to your needs. Depending on the size and regulations, some airlines will allow you to bring your duffel bag as hand luggage.
Duffel bags are designed to carry all kind of items, from clothes and climbing ropes to camping gear, so they must be resistant.
They are made from high-quality materials that last longer. Also, check the quality of the zippers and seams to be sure they are good.
There are different capacities and sizes, but duffel bags tend to be roomy and spacious. In addition to the external pockets, there is always a big compartment to keep your clothes organized.
Most models have several straps, so you can use hand straps to transport your bag, or you can hang it from your shoulders using a longer strap or shoulder straps. There are many options for wearing them in a comfortable way.
As I have mentioned, there are some situations in which I wouldn’t recommend a duffel bag. Basically, they are not comfortable if you must walk a lot. Even if your duffel bag has wheels, not all trails are asphalted, so you will need to carry your bag from time to time.
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
Think about what you need, compare features, sizes and prices, and find the one that best fits your needs!
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR BAG
Check the manufacturer’s instructions
Most manufacturers provide specific instructions for taking proper care of your bag. This way, you’ll know how to clean it, which products or soaps you can use, whether you can put it in the washing machine, etc.
Store it properly when you’re not using it
If you aren’t going to use the bag for a long time, it’s a good idea to place it in a dust bag. You can use a pillowcase, too. Place your bag in a cool, dry location away from the sun. This way your bag will last much longer, avoiding mold, sun discoloration and other problems.
Avoid getting your bag wet
Something complicated when you are outdoors, I know. It’s alright as long as it’s not wet when you store it. Moreover, most models are water resistant.
WHICH ARE THE BEST TRAVEL BAGS?
If you are looking for a great bag, no matter the price, the Patagonia Black Hole and the Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled are the best options. On the other hand, if you are looking for good quality while sticking to an affordable price, the Marmot Long Hauler might be your bag.
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Hi, I’m Miguel; Adventure traveler, scuba diver and hiking lover. I have been traveling the world for the last 10 years and I hope my experiences, photos and hiking routes inspire you to travel the world too.