There was once a time when Duffel bags were reserved for gyms and road trips. Today, it had moved beyond that and has become a preferred choice as travel bags as well. This is completely understandable and justifiable given the advantageous features of this bag like lightweight but extremely strong, plenty of storage space and features for organized packing, easy of carrying etc.

However, selecting a proper duffel bag is no easy task. It not only needs to be the right gear based on your travel itinerary but need to come with plenty of attitudes to get you travel personality right! Design, style and functionality need to be blended for a perfect finish!

Today, you have not only various types of luggage to choose from but also mindboggling choices in each category. Duffel bags are no exception! To make things easier for you, we would be explaining the different types of duffel bags and few vital guidelines to choose the best duffel bag for your traveling needs to any destination, right from the gym to roads to long vacations. Finally, you can browse through our top recommended best duffel bags to make your effort at selecting them a breeze. Stay hooked:

Adidas Defender II
Dimensions:
20.5L x 11.75W x 11H
Material:
Polyester
Rating:
4.4 Star Rating
Plambag Duffel Bag
Dimensions:
L20.8 x D9.8 x H11.8
Material:
Cotton Canvas
Rating:
4.3 Star Rating
Cargo Duffel Bag
Dimensions:
30 x 15 x 15
Material:
Synthetic
Rating:
4.4 Star Rating
Gonex Duffle Bag
Dimensions:
24 x 14 x 9
Material:
210D Nylon
Rating:
4.6 Star Rating
Bago Duffel Bag
Dimensions:
11 x 15 x 27
Material:
210D Nylon
Rating:
4.7 Star Rating
Large Duffle Bag
Dimensions:
21 x 11 x 11
Material:
Polyester
Rating:
4 Star Rating
Herschel Supply Duffle Bag
Dimensions:
11.5H x 20.5W x 11D
Material:
Polyester
Rating:
4.1 Star Rating
Under Armour Undeniable 3.0
Dimensions:
7.9 x 3.9 x 0.8
Material:
Polyester
Rating:
4.5 Star Rating
Samsonite Tote-A-Ton
Dimensions:
33 x 17 x 11.5
Material:
400 Denier Nylon
Rating:
4.5 Star Rating
Oflamn Duffel Bag
Dimensions:
21.3 x 7.5 x 13
Material:
Cotton Canvas
Rating:
4.5 Star Rating

Types of Duffel Bags

Very few know that duffel bags take its name from a city of Belgium where it was first used. From its basic type, today, these bags can be divided into two major types: The wheeled bags and the non-wheeled bags. The non-wheeled bags are again of two types- The barrel duffel and the square duffel. Let’s know a little bit more about them.

Non-Wheeled Duffel

  • Barrel Duffel

This is the original classic duffel. It is primarily a tube–shaped bag with straps that are made from a cloth. In its original design, these are open on the top and have a drawstring type closure. An all-in-one bag, they were often used for large equipment because of their large space. They were not only durable but could carry sizeable weight as well. This made them extremely popular with military men in war zones. Thus, they became popular as military bags and were made of thick canvas, often with military prints.

Its other variety was that which had a side zipper closure running alongside the length of the bag. While they were also predominantly made of canvas, they were also made of woven polyester which was backed by plastic. Usually smaller than the top closure varieties, they became more popular as gym bags and as sports bag for the athletes to carry smaller sports equipment.

Looking into the flip side, both varieties of the barrel duffel had one single compartment which made packing and unpacking items inside the bag disorganized and a mess.

  • Squared Duffel

The squared or the box-shaped duffel bag is a new adaptation of the traditional duffel bag. As obvious by the name, it has a rectangular box-shaped structure with a side zipper closure. A big advantage of this type of duffel bag is that it often comes with separate zippered compartments on the ends which keep your packing organized for transit. Meant for rugged travel; these bags pack more rigidity and structure owning to them being constructed of more rigid plastic backed woven polyester and its perimeter flaunting of plastic covered wire piping. Owning to its features; these bags are extremely popular with law enforcement. For them, the bag is also customized with foam padding and inserts to pack all weapons and ammunition safely.

Wheeled Duffel

These are the latest addition and essentially meant for travelers. It is an awesome choice for travelers who need to cover large distance walking with their bags in tow. The built-in wheels at the bottom relieve you of any back and shoulder pain and make it easy to carry even heavy loads. To keep the wheels, super efficient and in place, these bags have rigid bottoms. To enhance ease of packing, they have a wider opening created by a U-shaped zipper which runs along the length of the top side of the bag. They also boast of separate sections for organized packing. Some even come with options to expand it should you need any extra storage space.

Consideration for Selecting the Best Duffel Bag

Now that you know the basic types of duffel bags, you have to focus on its various other aspects so that you can choose the best duffel bag that meets all your requirements.  These will cater to your various journey needs like whether you need a carry-on, the amount of luggage, the level of organization required, the extra space that you might be requiring because of shopping, need of a weather protection and need to lock the bag. Answering to these queries would help you land the right variety of bag. To choose the best duffel bag, worthy of being hauled around, choose them with a certain level of selectivity by following the below mentioned guiding tips.

Wheeled vs. non-wheeled

This is your first decision choice. For a day or two getaways, you can easily choose the non-wheeled variety but for trips exceeding two to three days, the wheeled variety is a better option. The decision here is majorly based on the duration of the trip and the amount of luggage you need to carry. However, you must realize that the non-wheeled duffel bags are lighter but the wheeled one have a significant weight. With most airlines having weight limit, this might be a setback as you would need to pack less. Additionally, there can be a situation where you need to carry them. The extra weight might hurt you there.

Dimensions

The size of the duffel bag for any kind of travel is perhaps the top consideration. This is because most airlines have specific requirements for it. If you are opting for checked duffel bag, you need not worry much as most airlines are quite flexible with any size, provided it is not extra-large. However, there can be some strict restrictions on dimensions of a carry-on duffel bag. As a baseline, you should stick to a bag less than or maximum twenty- two inches including the height added by handles and wheels. Its width should also remain within ten to fifteen inches.

Capacity

This is obviously categorized by the length of your trip and the amount of packing you need to do. The travel duffel bags can be categorized as:

  • Small – Usually of a 40 to 45-liter capacity, they are ideal for an overnight or a weekend trip. They can easily pack a pair of shoes along with some clothing and even a camera.
  • Medium- With a capacity of around 50-85 liters; these bags look deceptively compact but facilitates easy packing of clothes and accessories for few days or a short vacation.
  • Large- They are ideal for a week-long holiday or trip. They have a packing capacity of 90-120 liters and can allow seamless packing for even over a week for smart packers.
  • Extra-large- Needless to say, this is meant for people who do not believe in traveling light and need to carry just about everything with them. Looking into airline restrictions is highly important with this. The size vs. weight ratio becomes crucial here.

Size vs. Weight ratio

This is again very important to clear the airlines check. Normally, duffel bags are extremely light-weight but they grow more massive with increasing size. Heavier bags also mean that would need to pack less. Thus, you need to strike a proper balance.

Purpose of Duffel bag

Duffel bags are available in a plethora of designs, style, shape and size. Thus, you need to pick one which complements your travel purpose. For instance, if you are going for a business trip, you would need a professional looking medium-sized duffel bag, made of leather or canvas. In contrast, it can be in vibrant, bold colors and wonderful prints to match your holiday mood. The fabric of the bag needs to be in accordance as well. For instance, you might prefer a weather-resistant and waterproof material if going for hiking or other expeditions. Likewise, the weight consideration is also done.

Durability and Weatherproofing

This is directly related to the material from which the duffel bag is crafted. Duffel bags crafted from nylon and polyester are extremely light-weight and cost-efficient. They are quite tough as well to a reasonable degree though their durability is a little compromised.  However, if you need a bag that needs to withstand travel abuse, wear and tear and rough conditions, then leather and canvas are better options. To make them water-proof, they are constructed from water proof material or given a water proof coating. Similarly, they are given a UV-resistant coating to protect them from other weather abuse like extreme sun. The way these bags, especially the large ones are stitched also decides how durable these bags will be.

Organization features

Initially, duffle bags had just one compartment which led to disorganized packing. Today, they are available with numerous organizational features like internal and external pockets, adjustable dividers, built-in pull out dividers etc. Some even boast of special pouches and compartments for your shoes.

Best Duffel Bags to Opt For

Now that we have our basics in place, let’s look at our top recommended duffel bags based on the criteria’s given above to meet all your traveling needs.

Adidas Defender II Duffel Bag

This is the ultimate bag to carry to your gym, to the poolside or even for a weekend and overnight trip. With top opening zip and internal pockets, it helps you stay organized. Keeping the gym-goers in mind; the bag has a freshPAK™ endcap so that you can store away your dirty laundry and air them for drying and keeping away the stink. Crafted from reinforced ripstop polyester and available in numerous vibrant colors, it is an ideal choice for both sexes to throw over the shoulders and carry around. The ripstop polyester material ensures that the bag can withstand reasonable wear and tear. The bag is available in small, medium and big sizes to cover a vast range of your needs. The straps of all bags except small are padded for extra comfort.   With a rating of 4.7/5 on Amazon and available at prices ranging from $25 to $80, it keeps you covered for all your daily and travel needs.

Plambag Unisex's Canvas Duffel Bag Oversized Travel Tote Luggage Bag

If you are looking for a stylish bag with high strength and superb functionality; look no further than this duffel bag. Crafted from high-quality cotton canvas with classical bronze tone hardware; the bag oozes style beside you while traveling, hiking, camping or even to a gym. The bag boasts of a bounty of features like two-way zipper closures, inner and outer pockets, expansion capability, high quality plastic cushions at the bottom for extra protection etc. The size and trendy look make the bag ideal for a wide variety of use by both sexes, right from packing your laptop to traveling. Costing just around $30 and enjoying a customer satisfaction score of 4.3/5, it is understandable why this bag is so popular.

Heavy Duty Cargo Duffel Large Sport Gear Drum Set Equipment Hardware Travel Bag Rooftop Rack Bag

Even though these bags are available from 21 inches to 42 inches, they are quite large and spacious when compared to similar size other duffel bags. Thus, they are an ideal choice to store your sports equipment into or to use as a cargo bag, gear bag etc. This bag is extremely strong and is water resistant as well. Go on a road trip with this bag. It will pack quite a bit and seamlessly sit outside your car leaving space inside for added comfort. Able to withstand both weather and travel abuse, it will always prove a loyal travel friend. It has both super thick and padded handles for a firm and comfortable grip as well as an adjustable shoulder strap with pad for convenient carry. It comes with no wheels and should not be dragged. With a one-year manufacturer warranty and costing less between $18 and $30; it is an excellent duffel bag to go for. Customer satisfaction is apparent with its 4.4 rating out of 5.

 

Gonex 60L Packable Travel Duffle Bag, Lightweight Water& Tear Resistant

An eclectic mix of style and functionality, this bag of 60 liters capacity has you covered for a wide variety of uses from travel to everyday gym and office needs. It is lightweight and crafted from honeycomb rip stop fabric to withstand travel abuse of all kinds. Available in all kinds of bold and bright colors like rose red, purple, gold, etc.; it keeps your fashionable style quotient elevated. Extremely lightweight and comfortable to carry, the bag facilitates organized packing. Costing just around $20 and enjoying a rating of 4.6/5, you are sure to end up buying more than one of this duffel bag.    

                    

Bago Travel Duffel Bag For Women & Men

With an 85 liter capacity, this bag is a more stylish and lightweight alternative to many suitcases. Wholly foldable and occupying little space, it can be tucked away in any luggage and opened in style to cover your surplus baggage needs. Crafted from high-quality material for strength and durability, it packs a commendable space to take in a glorious amount of luggage. With pockets, you can stay organized. The plethora of trendy colors ensures that you remain stylish while on the go. Giving you a money-back guarantee and costing just about $27, you can never regret buying this duffel bag. The customer rating of 4.7/5 on Amazon stands as a testimony of that.

Other Best Duffle Bags On Amazon

21" Large Duffle Bag with Adjustable Strap

Herschel Supply Co. Novel Duffle Bag

Under Armour Undeniable 3.0 Medium Duffle Bag

Samsonite Tote-A-Ton 32.5 inch Duffel

Oflamn Large Duffel Bag Canvas Leather Weekender Overnight Travel Carry On Bag

Benefits of Duffel Bags

A bag is an essential accessory for both males and females to carry. Whether you are looking for a gym bag or a travel bag, a duffel bag is the best choice that you can make. There are various benefits of a duffel bag that make it an ideal choice for multipurpose needs. Few of them are:-

  • Spacious- Even the smallest of the duffel bag is quite spacious and can pack an incredible amount of clothes and accessories. Thus, it keeps you covered for all kinds of luggage needs.
  • Strong and robust- Not only is the bag spacious but it is extremely sturdy as well. Even if the packed bag assumes a sizeable weight, it can easily withstand it and does not give in easily. Most of them have handles all around so that the bag takes in the weight well.
  • Durable and versatile- In their own niches, these bags are surprisingly durable. The fact that these bags cover your multipurpose need, be it gym, pool, office or travel shows how versatile they are.
  • Organized- Modern duffel bags come with plenty of pockets and compartment options. Thus, a female can stack numerous small items without getting lost. Likewise, a male can store all accessories and small items to be available handy when required.

Conclusion

A duffel bag is one of the most convenient bags to own. It not only gives you plenty of flexibility and versatility for your luggage needs of any variety but their stylish and trendy options ensure that your fashion quotient is not compromised at any point. It is the ultimate bag to choose to travel in style and meet all your packing needs to perfection. Do let us know which of our best duffel bags recommendation suited you the best. Chime in below!