Not every trip requires a wheeled carry-on or a tote bag — a reliable duffel bag is a great in-between option for daily commutes with room for a change of clothes and your devices, a weekend of camping at a music festival, flying through the airport and any other adventure you have on your itinerary.
Want a more versatile travel pack? Here’s everything you need to know when shopping for a new duffel bag, along with some of our top picks.
More from Rolling Stone
Duffel Bag Buying Guide
Ready to pack and hit the road? These things might make it easier to choose your new piece of luggage when shopping for the best duffel bag online.
Size and Storage: For this guide, we stuck with duffels in the 46- to 65-liter range, which will allow you to pack for most situations, from the gym to quick weekend getaways or short flights.
Carrying Straps and Handles: Hauling your clothes all day calls for padded carrying handles or straps. They’re easy and common to find in most of today’s new duffels (sometimes also spelled as “duffles”). While you used to be able to just carry your duffel in your hands like a bag of groceries, most of the the newest pieces also incorporate backpack straps so you can free up your hands to grab your I.D., use your phone or access your earbuds.
Pockets: Not every duffel bag comes with exterior pockets or zipped-up sections for important (and easy-to-lose) things like your keys or a credit card. For this buying guide, we prioritized bags that included storage with zippered closures and compartments to keep your things protected when you’re traveling.
Material: From strong nylon and polyester ripstop to versatile, classic twill, the best duffel bags are made with travel-friendly fabrics that make sure they can haul all your gear while protecting what’s inside all in one fell swoop.
What Are the Best Duffel Bags?
Below, we’ve chosen a few of the best duffel bags for every situation, that come with enough room for your clothes, durable fabrics and a ton of storage space and pockets for your headphones, wallet, clothing, shoes and more.
1. Everlane The Twill Weekender Bag
You can take this duffel absolutely everywhere, from work to the airport, thanks to its minimal look and easy-to-carry handles. That’s part of the reason we own it ourselves and have used it for years. No matter which of the three designs you choose — denim, black or navy — every bag features tasteful leather straps that are long enough to slide over your shoulder or carry on their own, along with a sleek exterior pocket. It’s big enough to hold a weekend’s worth of clothes and can work as your carry-on item when you’re boarding a flight. On the inside, you can zip up smaller pieces inside a pocket so it doesn’t get mixed in with your clothes.
2. Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 55L
While it’s not a hard-sided piece of luggage, this durable duffel from Patagonia is made to hold up to drops and all the miles that come with frequent traveling. With a rain-ready outer layer made of rugged polyester ripstop material, it’s one of the best duffel bags to protect all your stuff, from waiting in lines in the rain and anything else you might encounter along the way.
Unlike some duffels, it has a U-shaped opening so you can fully open up the bag to easily pack and unpack without anything in your way. You won’t have any trouble finding a pocket to stash all your gear thanks to both exterior and interior storage. With two extra padded shoulder straps, it can even work as your backpack when you have to run to your terminal.
3. Peak Design Travel Duffel Backpack 65L
This versatile Peak Design duffel pack has your storage needs covered with 65 liters of space, so you can comfortably fit headphones, a studio mic or a laptop next to the rest of your gear without having to leave something at home. Built-in waist and chest strap help keep everything comfortable when you’re commuting, even on long travel days, hikes or when backpacking. There are multiple padded handles on the bag, and you can use the backpack straps as your duffel handles, too.
4. Filson Ballistic Nylon Duffel Backpack Hybrid
Carrying around your devices can be a bit nerve-wracking, especially if you’re throwing your bag in with other gear in a trunk or in the overhead bins on a plane. You never know if something will fall on you bag or if something in your bag might damage your gear. Luckily, Filson kept that in mind with this dual-use bag that you can use as both a duffel bag or a backpack. There’s a dedicated, padded laptop pocket that can store a 15-inch laptop. There’s even a separate “mud” pocket so you can use it as your go-to gym bag and pack your clothes when you’re done. Filson used heavy-duty ballistic nylon here, which means that, like Filson’s other bags, you should be using this one for a long time, no rips in sight.
5. The North Face Base Camp Voyager 62L Duffel Bag
When you’re packing for a trip, one of the hardest things to find a place for is a pair of shoes. The North Face cut a pocket with a zipper on the side of this roomy, water-resistant 62-liter duffel, so you can easily stow your sneakers without storing them right next to your Dopp kit and face masks in the main compartment. When you unzip the Base Camp Voyager, you can find a few extra secure pockets on the inside for things like your passport or earbuds. It comes with multiple handles and straps, and it’s also easy to clip things like a water bottle or other items to the outside of the bag so you don’t have to open up your luggage.
See where your favorite artists and songs rank on the Rolling Stone Charts.
Sign up for Rolling Stone’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.