Luggage comes in all shapes and sizes, from lightweight hiking backpacks to big, heavy-duty suitcases: there’s a solution for every kind of travel scenario. However, there’s one piece of luggage that we think matches every scenario, whether you’re hitting the trails on a backcountry getaway, or simply taking a business trip for a weekend: the classic duffel bag.
Spacious, easy-to-load, and easy-to-carry, a travel duffel is a great addition to your luggage collection. Duffels come in a variety of styles and designs. From soft-shell duffels that can easily be stuffed in overhead bins on an airplane or train, to heavy-duty waterproof duffels ideal for canoeing and boating. There’s a perfect fit for every kind of traveler!
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
And here’s an overview of the best travel duffle bags on the market today:
To help you save time and money when shopping for this essential piece of luggage, we’ve created our Best Travel Duffel Bag Overview. In it, we’re highlighting some of our favorite duffel bags on the market. These travel bags tick all the boxes: great value, great quality, and plenty of space for your personal belongings. We’ve ensured to include something for every type of travel gear scenario: from basic carry-on bags that are ideal for airplane travel to fully-submersible waterproof duffels for adventures that are traveling via sea or lakes. We’ve got your luggage needs covered!
We’ve divided this overview in our Top 3 (our top-picks on the market), and a ‘Best of the Rest’ section. Do note that our Top 3 section is based on personal preferences, and contains premium and best-selling duffles that we think are most suited for hiking, backpacking, and outdoor adventures. However, we know you could be looking for a more casual weekend bag or a budget-friendly sports bag. Which is why we chose to also include 7 other options we think tick all the boxes. In total, this overview represents 10 top-rated duffles on the market, ranging from waterproof heavy-duty bags to stylish, all-leather duffles for business trips.
Our Top 3 Best Travel Duffel Bags are:
- YETI Panga Waterproof Submersible Duffel Bag
- The North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag
- Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Ultra-Light Duffel Bag
Discover the best travel duffel bag for your next trip in our comprehensive overview below, and upgrade your luggage collection with this versatile, easily packable, and reliable choice in travel bags:
Best Travel Duffel Bag – Our Top 3
YETI Panga Waterproof Submersible Duffel Bag
- A 100% dry duffel. But definitely not a cooler. Hydrolok zipper makes sure water stays out so your gear stays bone-dry, no matter how torrential it gets.
The YETI Panga Waterproof Submersible Duffel Bag is available in 3 sizes: 50-liters, 75-liters, and a 100-liters. We favor the 50-liter variety, as listed in this product overview, as we think it’s most versatile for both leisurely weekend trips and multi-day hiking adventures. The 10” x 23 1/2” duffel is spacious enough to hold plenty of clothes, gear, and other belongings – whilst still being lightweight and ergonomic enough to carry it with ease.
EVA molded foam bottom
The YETI Panga Waterproof Submersible Duffel Bag is packed with high-end features and design elements. These include an EVA molded bottom, which provides a sturdy and waterproof landing pad for the Panga duffel. A sturdy HydroLok™ Zipper and Metallock hardware, which are heavy-duty, 100% waterproof, and more than capable of taking a beating.
The YETI Panga Waterproof Submersible Duffel Bag comes with two, easy-to-access mesh pockets that keep your valuables safely tucked away and one large main compartment. The design also offers multiple carrying options, including removable backpack straps, six lash points, and grab handles both ends.
Granted, this is not a cheap duffel, but for its outstanding weather-resistant appeal, durability, premium construction, and 100% waterproof design – it’s the ultimate choice for heavy-duty outdoor adventures. No matter where you venture off-road, the Panga is more than capable of keeping your gear dry, protected, and secured!
- 100% waterproof
- HydroLok™ zipper
- EVA molded bottom
- 6 lash points
- Removable backpack strap
- Grab handles
- Laminated TPU finish
- Tear-resistant nylon shell
- Smallest sizing 50-liter
- Too heavy-duty for casual trips
The North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag
The medium-model, the most popular choice in the line-up, has a 71-liter capacity. Offering plenty of space for your clothes, gear, and smaller items. The medium-sized Base Camp Duffel Bag by The North Face is also surprisingly lightweight compared to its generous 71-liter capacity, weighing just 3 lbs 8 oz when empty.
This versatile duffle comes with many perks. For example, unlike regular travel duffles that only come with one large main compartment, this design features a separate zippered end-cap compartment. This zippered compartment enables you to easily separate dirty clothing, wet shoes, etc, from your clean and unused items – without compromising on packing volume. A separate mesh sleeve pocket in this end-cap compartment even provides additional organization options.
Multiple carrying options
The North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag also offers multiple carrying options. The duffle bag features detachable and adjustable shoulder straps, allowing you to carry it as a backpack. The padded, reinforced side handles additionally serve as carrying handles or haul handles, handy for when storing the duffle in an overhead bin. This best-selling duffel bag is not just easy to carry, but also easy to pack, thanks to its D-zip opening with a weather-resistant zipper flap which opens wide for quick packing.
When it comes to durability and weather-resistant properties, the Base Camp Duffle Bag also ticks the box. The high-quality bag is made of premium materials such as 840-denier ‘ballistic nylon’, known for its toughness and tear-resistance. The bag also features 1000-denier TPE Fabric Laminate; a waterproof material that acts as an impenetrable moisture barrier to guarantee dryness. The rugged construction of the water-resistant Base Camp duffle is further enhanced by double-stitching throughout. Another perk is that the bag comes with a water-resistant ID-pocket on the top.
Premium quality, waterproof, spacious, lightweight, durable, and available in a whole range of trendy colors and sizes: there’s a perfect Base Camp Duffel Bag for every traveler. Yes, it’s not the cheapest duffel bag on the market, but we think it’s worth the investment. Whether you’re hiking, boating, or simply going on a business trip: this easy-packable, easy-to-carry duffel is a great investment to set up base camp anywhere, anytime.
- 100% waterproof
- D-zip opening with a weatherproof flap
- Water-resistant ID-pocket
- 840-denier ballistic nylon
- 1000-denier TPE fabric laminate
- Zippered end-cap compartment
- Lightweight yet heavy-duty construction
- Detachable shoulder straps
- Padded side handles
- Available in wide range of sizes
- Available in trendy colors
- Not the cheapest
Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Ultra-Light Duffel Bag
- ULTRA LIGHT. This large duffel has a capacity of 60 liters but only weighs 1 pound 12 ounces. Made of durable, water repellent coated Bi-Tech Armor Lite fabric with bartack reinforcement on stress...
The medium-sized version of the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel Bag has a packing capacity of 60-liters, yet only weighs 1 lbs 12 oz. Though ultralight, the duffle is very durable. The shell of the design is made of abrasion-proof Bi-Tech™ Armor Lite water-resistant fabric. The silhouette is further enhanced with bartack reinforcements on high-stress points, adding durability and wear-resistance.
Shoulder straps, grab handles, lash points, and more
The Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel Bag offers multiple carrying options. You can choose to carry it as a backpack by using the removable shoulder straps. These backpack straps are padded and adjustable, adding to your carrying comfort when lugging the duffel over long distances. You can also use the side grab handle and/or padded top haul handles to move it by hand over short distances. This travel duffle also features 6 heavy-duty lash points, allowing you to securely attach it to a car’s roof rack for secure transport to/from your destination.
The main compartment of the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel Bag comes with a large U-shaped lid and opens wide to give you easy access for packing. The duffle is also enhanced with spacious end pockets with heavy-duty zippers for extra gear organization. Furthermore, the bottom of the bag is foam-padded for extra protection of your belongings and gear, whilst the exterior features reflective detailing for improved nighttime visibility.
All exterior zippers on this Eagle Creek travel duffel bag are lockable. The exterior zippers also feature reflective finger loop pulls for easy access even while wearing gloves. The zippers additionally come with storm flaps, shielding them from rain and moisture. Ensuring no water gets inside.
- 100% waterproof
- Bi-Tech™ Armor Lite fabric
- Reinforced on high-stress points
- Lockable zippers
- Padded and adjustable backpack straps
- Side handles for short-distance transport
- Reflective details for nighttime visibility
- Ergonomic finger loop pulls
- 6 lash points
- Storm flaps on zippers
- Foam-padded bottom
- Large U-shaped lid
- Zippered end-pockets for separate storage
- Not the most heavy-duty out of the 3 styles in this overview
- Ultralight can feel a bit flimsy
Best Travel Duffel Bag – Best of the Rest
Mercury Tactical Gear Mini Monster Wheeled Duffel Bag
- 600 Denier Polyester Construction, Dimension : 13 x 17 x 33 inches
Thule Chasm Duffel Bag
- Can be carried in two different ways: as a backpack and as a duffel (all straps tuck away when not in use)
Navis Marine Waterproof Duffel Bag
- 100% Nylon Oxford, Deluxe Water-Resistant PVC Backing.
Gonex Water Repellent Heavy Duty Duffle Bag
- 【Water Resistant PVC Fabric】Well-made of high density 1200D PVC, this heavy-duty duffle is strongly wear-resistant and lightweight. TIPS: LINING INSIDE AND ZIPPERS ARE NOT WATERPROOF. PLEASE DO...
XWLSPORT Weekend Travel Duffle
- 【Stylish design】—There are two model of this gym bag,model A and model B,model B will add the "B" after the color,like "TAN-B". the military duffel bag with 24”*12”*10” for model A. the...
Genuine Leather Weekender Bag
- New Gbag (T) genuine leather Duffel bag / Travel Bag handcrafted with vintage style
Gonex 100L Foldable Travel Duffle Bag
- LARGE FOLDABLE DUFFLE-It extends to 31.89 x 16.93 x 11.81 inch with 100 Liters capacity and 1.65 pound. Folded Size:14.56 x 11.8 x 1.77 inch, easy to store. Feature with a spacious main compartment...
Every duffel bag on this overview could be ‘the best’ for your traveling needs. Which is the perfect match depends on where and when you plan to use the duffel, and how much you’re willing to spend.
Heavy-duty and waterproof
For example, if you plan to take your duffel bag on hardcore off-the-grid adventures, investing in a heavy-duty, fully waterproof style with outstanding durability is key. For this, the YETI Panga stands out. This 100% dry bag is superb in water-resistance and can even be fully submerged without letting in water. Ideal for when your trails involve wading through streams, heavy rain, or other muddy and wet scenarios.
That said, for casual weekend trips, the style may be a bit too heavy-duty. If you only intend to take your duffel bag on city breaks or business trips, a more casual style such as the Genuine Leather Weekender Bag or XWLSPORT Weekend Travel Duffle may be a better fit. Do check whether the size of the bag matches the carry-on requirements of airlines if you plan a trip by plane – as some are easier to stuff in overhead bins than others.
Also, take into consideration how you wish you carry the duffel. Do you want a style featuring the classic shoulder strap, or would you prefer a design with wheels for easy transportation, such as the Mercury Tactical Gear Mini Monster Wheeled Duffel Bag? Alternatively, some duffels offer multiple carrying options in one, including a shoulder strap, backpack straps, grab handles, and carry handles – ideal for both short-distance and long-distance travel; like the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Ultra-Light Duffel Bag.
The budget is also a buying factor to take into consideration. As you’ll see in our overview, travel duffle bags come at all price-points. From high-end bags that cost a pretty penny, to budget-friendly options with great affordability. Do keep in mind that the cheaper bags often equal less durability, making them more prone to wear and tear. If you have a bit more to spend, consider upgrading to a duffle by a premium brand, such as The North Face, Eagle Creek, Thule, and YETI. Though these cost more, they will also last you longer – making them a cost-effective investment for the long-term. Plus, most expert outdoor brands also offer a product warranty on their bags, guaranteeing that they adhere to a high-quality standard – or issuing you with a refund or replacement. Which in turn makes the duffles a risk-free purchase.
Getting the best deal
That said, we’re confident that every style on this Best Travel Duffel Bags overview is worthy of your time, attention, and money. Each has its specific appeal, yet all score highly in Amazon customer reviews. Every duffle comes recommended by other travelers, and rates top-marks on value-for-money and ease-of-use. So, whichever you choose, you know you’re making a well-informed choice in travel luggage!
Every duffel bag in this overview could be ‘the winner’, depending on your buying requirements. Therefore, picking a winner to highlight is more a matter of personal preference. If we could only choose one duffle to add to our luggage collection, we’d settle on the Base Camp Duffel Bag by The North Face. Why? Because we think this versatile design lends itself to any kind of travel scenario and can handle both the great outdoors, as the great urban jungle, with ease. From nature to city, this high-quality and functional duffel bag allows you to set up base camp anywhere, anytime.
The Base Camp Duffel Bag by The North Face is available in a wide range of sizes/capacities, ensuring there’s a match for every preference. The best-selling duffle bag comes in a variety of sizes. For short breaks, weekend breaks, and day trips, a smaller option such as the XS (31-liter) or S (50-liter) is a great choice. For longer trips or to bring lots of outdoor gear, the L (95-liter) or XL (132-liter) offer ample storage space. And for those travelers who need maximum packing capacity, the XXL (150-liter) gives all the storage space you’ve dreamed of, and then some.
We prefer the medium-sized, 71-liter Base Camp Duffle by The North Face, as we think it’s most versatile. Though spacious enough for weeklong trips, it’s still compact enough in dimension to carry without doing your back in. That said, for travelers who plan to take their duffle on a plane, the XS- or S-sized Base Camp may be a better match – as they’re easier to stuff in overhead bins when used as carry-on luggage.
The Base Camp Travel Duffle by The North Face is packed with premium features and perks. The versatile and lightweight duffle includes a separate zippered end-cap compartment: ideal for storing dirty clothes or wet gear. The design also includes a separate mesh pocket in the end-cap compartment and a waterproof ID-tag pocket on the exterior. Another perk is the duffle’s multiple carrying options. The bag comes with detachable, adjustable shoulder strap and padded side handles.
The Base Camp Duffel Bag also rates highly on durability and weatherproof appeal. The heavy-duty duffle is made of high-quality materials such as 840-denier ‘ballistic nylon’, known for its toughness and tear-resistance. The bag also features 1000-denier TPE Fabric Laminate; a waterproof material that acts as an impenetrable moisture barrier to guarantee dryness.
High-quality materials, lightweight yet heavy-duty construction, easy-to-pack and easy-to-carry: for us this duffle ticks all the boxes. Granted, it’s slightly more expensive than the average duffel on Amazon, but for its outstanding quality standard – we think it’s no doubt worth the investment. Plus, it’s limited product warranty guarantees the bag lives up to the high-quality standard you’d expect from The North Face: making this a risk-free choice in luggage that’s guaranteed to deliver!
Best Travel Duffel Bag – Buying Guide
Duffel bags can vary quite a lot in capacity/size, which is why it’s important to determine how much packing space you’ll actually need before you buy. The packing capacity is expressed in liters. Small duffel bags, designed for solo trips or short weekend breaks, tend to measure between 20-liter and 40-liter in packing capacity. Medium-sized ruffled, which are spacious enough for longer backpacking trips and camping adventures, vary between 40-liter and 75-liter. Large duffle bags, designed to hold a plethora of outdoor gear, clothes, and equipment, can be anywhere from 75-liters to a whopping 150-liters.
The sweet spot for most campers, outdoor enthusiasts, and travelers is a duffel bag with a 60-liter capacity. This sizing is most popular, as it’s spacious enough for multi-day trips, yet still compact enough to keep its portability.
If you’re looking for a duffel bag to use as carry-on luggage on flights, stick to a smaller capacity option in the 20-liter to 40-liter range. Though there isn’t a universal rule regarding the dimensions of carry-on luggage to fit in overhead bins, most airlines (including American Airlines, United, and Delta) have a maximum size restriction of 22″ x 14″ x 9″. That is why we recommend picking a travel duffle bag that measures 22″ x 14″ x 9″ or smaller if you want to use it as luggage for airplane travel.
When shopping for a new duffel bag, another important buying factor to consider is the bag’s carrying options. Or, in other words, where you want a duffel bag with backpack straps, a wheeled duffel bag, a shoulder strap, and additional grab handles. Keep in mind that the larger the capacity of the duffle bag, the heavier it will be when packed. For a 20-liter duffle bag, a single shoulder strap may offer enough support to comfortable carry-on the bag on a plane, but for a 75-liter travel bag, you’ll need more support such as wheels, reinforced backpack straps, and more. The most common carrying options of duffel bags are:
The classic duffel silhouette features a single shoulder strap, allowing you to sling the duffel over your shoulder for easy carrying. Though functional for short distances and smaller ruffled, a single shoulder strap or removable shoulder strap isn’t the most ergonomic. Once your duffel is heavier or bigger, a single strap may dig into your shoulder, cause chafing, and put extra strain on your shoulder. So, as a general rule of thumb: shoulder straps are fine for smaller duffles or travel bags, but upgrading to a style with multiple carrying options (such as grab handles, backpack straps, and/or wheels) is a smart idea if you plan on buying a bigger capacity duffle.
If you plan to carry your duffel bag over long distances or carry a lot of gear, choosing a model with backpack straps is recommended. Some duffles come with backpack straps that can be zipped away in a separate compartment, whilst others feature backpack straps that can be attached/detached completely. If a duffel bag has padded backstrap straps, it’s even better. As these will minimize chafing and make it more comfortable to carry the load. Another pro is if the backpack straps are adjustable in length, as this enables you to create a custom fit – adding to the carrying comfort.
Carry Handles/Grab Handles
Carrying handles and/or grab handles on the duffel are great for lifting it and moving it over small distances, but aren’t ideal for long transport. A carry handle or grabs handle is mostly functional for quickly storing a duffle in an overhead bin when used as a carry-on, or moving it from your car to a campsite. However, a carry handle or grab handle should be an additional feature, not the main feature. For example, a bag with a shoulder strap can come with grab handles for easy lifting, but if the bag only has grab handles – transporting it will be quite a hassle.
For large duffels with an equally big capacity (exceeding 60-liters), upgrading to a rolling duffel with wheels is a great idea. Though of course wheels will not help you out in nature, they can come in very handy in the urban landscape. A wheeled duffle bag usually features retractable and/or lockable wheels, allowing you to secure them in place when you need to store the bag in an overhead compartment, car, or other location.
When choosing a duffle bag, it’s also handy to consider how many pockets you’ll need. Whilst most designs come with a main compartment and separate zippered pockets, some are more equipped than others. Storage pocket options can include expandable pockets (increasing your packing space), zippered pockets, external pockets, side pockets, shoe compartment pockets (ideal for storing dirty hiking shoes and hiking boots) and even secure pockets with a travel-lock option. If you only plan on using the duffel to carry camping gear, a big main compartment may already tick the box. However, if you want to keep your belongings and small items neatly organized, pick a duffle with multiple compartments, zip pockets and/or exterior pockets to keep your stuff separated and easy to find.
Travel duffel bags can be made of a variety of fabrics and materials, such as nylon, leather, cotton canvas, and more. Which is the right fabric for you, depends on where and when you plan to use the duffel bag. For example, for business trips and adventures in the urban landscape, a quality leather duffle bag may be a perfect fit. Not only is real leather highly-durable, but it also looks the part for more formal occasions. That said, for those planning to take their duffel bag into the great outdoors, leather isn’t the best choice. Hikers and backpackers are better off choosing a waterproof, heavy-duty and tear-resistant fabric such as ripstop nylon. Look for a duffel bag with higher denier nylon to guarantee its durability: as the denier-indication refers to the strength of the fabric.
How many deniers?
As a general rule of thumb: the higher the number of deniers, the tougher the fabric. For example, 60-denier nylon is more puncture-proof and durable than 20-denier nylon, etc. Though not a guarantee, the number of deniers is often a great indication of the quality of the fabric. That said, if you want to be certain the duffle bag is made of high-quality materials, check what Amazon reviewers are saying. Often the best way to gauge whether a product is durable, waterproof, water-resistant, tear-resistant, weather-resistance, etc, is by browsing Amazon reviews and evaluating other campers’ comments.
Finding the Best Deal
Don’t fancy investing the time and effort in researching all the different styles, materials, carrying options, and bag features? Then simply use our Best Travel Duffel Bag Overview, where we’ve already done all the research for you. Each style in our overview rates highly in Amazon reviews and is confirmed by other outdoor enthusiasts and travelers as a great addition to your luggage collection. So, what are you waiting for? Check out our comparison table and find your perfect, high-quality match today!