Which travel duffel bags are best?
Whether you’re headed to the gym or the airport, a quality duffel bag can make packing and traveling so much simpler. From sports equipment to clothing, these spacious and versatile bags have you covered.
But with so many variations in both materials and designs, knowing which duffel bag is right for you can be tough. That’s why we’ve broken down everything you need to know in our shopping guide below. We’ve even added some bag recommendations at the end, including our top pick, the versatile Adidas Team Issue Duffel Bag, which includes plenty of pockets to stash your gear in.
What to considerations before choosing a duffel bag
Duffel bags are available in a variety of sizes with interior capacities ranging from about 25-75 liters.
A smaller duffel bag may be used as a gym bag, carry-on luggage, or just a simple everyday bag for work and school. Large duffel bags, on the other hand, are ideal when packing for long vacations or transporting team sports equipment.
Having a zipper that always gets stuck or cheap material that wears and tears easily can be beyond frustrating when you’re on the go. Look for a bag with quality stitching around the seams and handles to avoid tears. Self-repairing zippers and tough materials, such as leather, thick vinyl, or sturdy nylon will, also indicate a durable bag.
Regular vs. wheeled
Generally speaking, there are two main types of duffel bags: those with wheels and those without.
- Regular duffel bags are usually simple in design. You can expect some type of crossbody or shoulder strap, a handle, and a large zippered interior. These types of duffel bags are flexible and can be easily stored in a gym locker or overhead storage compartment, making them ideal for daily, multi-purpose use.
- Wheeled duffel bags make traveling with a heavy load significantly easier. Keep in mind that for all of the convenience they offer, wheeled duffel bags may be more difficult to store in tight spaces.
Duffel bag features
Straps and handles
While simpler duffel bags may only feature one crossbody strap, others often feature a variety of straps and handles to make carrying your bag as easy as possible in any situation. Smaller handles on the top can come in handy when lifting your bag out of the car. Duffel bags with wheels often include an extendable luggage handle as well.
Compartments and pockets
A spacious interior is great for storing lots of items, but without additional compartments and pockets, your bag can quickly turn into an unorganized mess. If you plan on packing numerous smaller items into your bag like headphones, water bottles, etc, look for a bag that offers plenty of interior organization.
Duffel bags on the higher end of the price spectrum may even come with special ventilated compartments that are perfect for separating damp gym clothes or shoes from the rest of the contents of the bag.
Color and design
When choosing the perfect duffel bag, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to sacrifice style for functionality. Whether you’re looking for vibrant neon colors or something more professional made from luxurious leather, there’s a bag design out there for everyone.
More modestly priced duffel bags are typically constructed from materials that offer at least a little water resistance. This means you can likely run from the gym to your car in a rain shower without soaking the contents of your bag. However, if you plan on taking your duffel on a longer outdoor adventure, look for a bag that’s constructed from a water-repellent material such as vinyl. Some bags have a water-resistant coating and reinforced seams as well, which will further protect your belongings from getting wet.
Duffel bag price
You can expect to pay anywhere from $10-$150 or more for a duffel bag. Materials, design, size, and special features are all factors that will determine how much or how little you will pay. Typically, you can find high-quality, spacious bags with plenty of compartments in the $20-$40 range, while luxury and brand-name bags can cost from $50-$150.
Duffel bag FAQ
Q. How do I wash my duffel bag?
A. This will vary from bag to bag based on construction and materials. For the best results, always consult the manufacturer’s washing instructions.
Q. What are daisy chains?
A. Daisy chains, often found on duffel bags and backpacks, are a string of webbing loops. These loops, while not a necessity, allow you to clip extra gear to the outside of your bag.
Duffel bags we recommend
Best of the best
Our take: A versatile duffel bag from a trusted brand. Ideal for going to the gym or traveling.
What we like: Features a water-resistant bottom and ventilated sides to help air out wet clothes or shoes. The spacious interior with many pockets is perfect for staying organized. Available in a wide range of colors.
What we dislike: Pockets are a little on the small side.
Where to buy: Sold by Adidas
Best bang for your buck
Our take: An affordable option that offers a large capacity and convenient storage options.
What we like: Bag is large and lightweight. Folds into itself for easy storage. Made from nylon and available in a variety of bright colors.
What we dislike: Has fewer pockets than most.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Our take: A well-structured duffel bag that has a range of features ideal for those who frequent the gym.
What we like: A spacious interior that could fit a week’s worth of outfits. Plenty of additional compartments for organization of smaller items. Features a separate space to store dirty gym clothes or shoes. Water-resistant base.
What we dislike: Bag might be too large to use as a carry-on when traveling.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Amber Van Wort writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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