Gear Guides

Best Duffel Bag

Reviews: Best Duffel Bag

Finding the perfect duffel bag to meet your needs is key to hassle-free travel and organization. Duffel bags are versatile, spacious, and easy to pack – an essential piece of luggage. But with so many types, sizes, and features available, it can seem overwhelming to pick the ideal one.

This in-depth duffel bag buying guide will walk you through everything to consider, from capacity and dimensions to choosing between standard and rolling duffels.

Best Duffel Bag Filled with Towels and Swim Gear
Best Duffel Bag Filled with Towels and Swim Gear

Before buying any kind of duffle bag, make sure to explore the specialized features that enhance convenience, like shoe compartments, backpack straps, and luggage trolley pass-throughs. 

Whether you need a compact gym bag or a massive adventure duffel, these tips will help you identify the best duffel to fulfil your carrying needs. Let’s pick the perfect duffel companion for all of life’s journeys.

Selecting the Ideal Duffel Bag Capacity

Duffel bags commonly range from:

  • 25-50 litres – Great for 2-3 day trips or as an airline carry-on
  • 50-75 litres – Accommodates extended 4-7 day getaways
  • 75-120 litres – Maximizes packing for 1-2+ week trips
  • 120+ litres – Oversized capacity for expeditions and bulky gear

When choosing capacity:

  • Consider your typical packing needs and trip durations
  • Leave room for some souvenir shopping or gear purchases
  • Measure your current luggage’s capacity as a size reference
  • Opt for compact gym/work bags of around 25-40 litres

Matching duffel capacity to your general packing requirements prevents unused space while allowing room for all your essentials.

Assessing Ideal Duffel Bag Dimensions

Duffel bags are available in many different sizes and shapes depending on their usage. If you want duffel bags for a gym, they are available in different sizes. Similarly, if you want duffel bags for travelling, they are also available in many different sizes. 

Duffel dimensions depend on the intended use:

Carry-On Duffels

  • Look for bags around 50 x 30 x 25 cm to fit airline size restrictions
  • Models sized 56 x 36 x 23 cm maximize carry-on allowance

Checked Luggage Duffels

  • It can be oversized since size isn’t restricted for checked bags
  • Rolling duffels with long handles save effort in transporting large bags

Gym/Work Duffels

  • Compact 25 x 50 cm duffels easily store in lockers and shelves
  • Avoid oversized bags if you’ll be stuffing them into tight spaces

Measure your existing gear and consult airline rules when selecting the optimal duffel size.

Waterproof Duffel Bag on a Wet Floor
Waterproof Duffel Bag on a Wet Floor

Comparing Standard vs Rolling Duffel Bags

Standard Duffels

  • Typically lighter weight and more compact
  • Shoulder straps provide multiple carrying options
  • Versatile for hand carrying or stuffing into tight spaces
  • Ideal for shorter trips requiring minimal mobility

Rolling Duffels

  • Wheels minimize heavy lifting and dragging of bag
  • Allows quick transport through airports and hotels
  • Crucial for bulky 100+ litre expedition duffels
  • Telescoping handles accommodate users of different heights

Rolling duffels roll effortlessly over pavement, but standard duffels pack down smaller. Pick what best suits your trips.

Choosing Duffel Bag Materials: Pros and Cons


  • Durable and weatherproof
  • Vintage, rustic aesthetic
  • Heavier than other fabrics


  • Extremely durable yet lightweight
  • Water-resistant and quick-drying
  • Less stylish than leather or canvas


  • Lightweight while maintaining good durability
  • Affordable pricing
  • Less weatherproof than nylon or canvas


  • Very stylish and professional
  • Naturally water resistant
  • Expensive and heavier
  • Requires added care

Match duffel material to your preferences for weight, weatherproofing, and style.

Special Features That Enhance Duffel Bag Utility

Shoe Compartments

Separate dirty footwear from clothes and gear.

Laptop Sleeves

Protect devices and ensure checkpoint-friendly scans.

Luggage Trolley Pass-Through

Slip over luggage handles for easy transport.

RFID-Blocking Pockets

Guard personal data encoded on passports and cards.

Backpack Straps

Convert duffel into a backpack when needed for longer carries.

Exterior Lash Points

Secure items like coats and tripods to the outside of the duffel.

Waterproof Shells

Protect contents from wet ground, snow, or rain.

Purpose-built features tailor duffels to specific travel needs.

Sports Duffel Bag with Shoes, Towel, and Tumbler
Sports Duffel Bag with Shoes, Towel, and Tumbler

Choosing a Gym and Sports Duffel Bag

Ideal gym and sports duffel features include:

  • Separate ventilated compartment for sweaty shoes/gear
  • Durable abrasion-resistant fabrics that withstand daily use
  • Lightweight and compact 25-40L size for gym lockers
  • Shoulder and handle straps for versatile transport
  • Zippered exterior pockets for keys, cards, phones
  • Wet pocket that contains damp/sweaty contents
  • Water bottle sleeves to stash hydration on the go

The right gym duffel keeps your gear safely separated and organized.

Picking a Duffel Bag for Air Travel

Duffel bags have many advantages for travelling. They are spacious enough to hold multiple things, and they are made up of durable material like canvas. They are so portable that you can easily carry them with you without troubling yourself. When flying, choose a duffel with:

  • Dimensions complying with carry-on size restrictions
  • Lightweight design not exceeding airline weight limits
  • Multiple padded grab handles for lifting it into overhead bins
  • Interior straps and zippered pockets to secure contents
  • External pockets fitting essentials like passports, chargers, medications
  • Tough fabrics like nylon that resist abrasion in transit
  • Shoulder strap allowing you to transport it hands-free

The ideal air travel duffel maximizes carry-on allowances while simplifying airport transport.

Selecting a Checked Luggage Duffel Bag

For checked baggage, prioritize:

  • Heavy-duty construction to survive baggage handling
  • Burly zippers that won’t fail after repeated opening/closing
  • Internal cinch-down straps to immobilize contents
  • External compression straps to reduce bulk where needed
  • Reinforced bottoms that won’t rip when loaded fully
  • Large 100+ litre capacity for extensive packing
  • Wheeled models if traversing long airport terminals

When checked, duffels endure rough baggage transfers. Seek ultra-durable builds.

Choosing a Waterproof Adventure Duffel

For wet environments, look for:

  • Waterproof fabrics like vinyl or tarpaulin
  • Roll-top closures to seal out moisture from the top
  • Storm flaps covering zippers to shield rain ingress
  • Welded seams instead of stitching to eliminate needle holes
  • Mesh drain holes so water leaks out if submerged
  • Removable padded shoulder straps for back carrying
  • Daisy chains and lash points to attach gear externally

Waterproof duffels keep contents dry in oceans, rivers, or monsoons.

Picking a Fashionable Leather Duffel Bag

For stylish travel, seek:

  • Full-grain leather for supple, premium quality
  • Rich leather smell and appealing patina over time
  • Polished metal rivets and hardware
  • Removable shoulder strap and padded carry handles
  • Contrasting interior lining that accentuates the leather
  • Interior organizer pockets to corral smaller items
  • Classic silhouettes like doctor’s bags, satchels or cases

Luxurious materials like leather elevate duffels into fashion statements.

Best Travel Duffel Bag Review

The North Face Base Camp Small Duffel Bag Review

Combining ruggedness and versatility, The North Face Base Camp duffel toggles easily between a spacious bag and a fully functional backpack. Made from durable ballistic nylon and TPE, the 50L duffel packs ample capacity for extended travel in its 32.5 x 53 x 32.5 cm frame.

For organization, zippered end compartments keep shoes and dirty clothes separated, while an interior mesh pocket contains small essentials. Backpack straps tuck away when not needed. Multiple handles and haul loops enable easy lifting and transport.

With its rugged yet packable design and convertible carrying options, the Base Camp duffel brings flexibility and durability to adventures near and far. The North Face offers this best-selling bag in six sizes and four colours.


  • Converts from duffel to backpack
  • Tough ballistic nylon/TPE construction
  • End compartments for organization
  • Available in 50L up to XXL


  • Expensive for a 50L bag

Caribee Expedition 120L Duffel Bag Review

Built for hardcore expeditions, the Caribee Expedition duffel provides a cavernous 120L capacity and waterproof protection. The abrasion-resistant PVC tarpaulin exterior withstands rugged handling while the roll-top closure and storm flap seal out moisture.

Multiple compression and carry straps grant easy transport and cinching. Inside, two zippered mesh pockets organize accessories. With its huge capacity and indestructible construction, this duffel transports extensive gear anywhere weather or rough terrain threatens.

For adventurers and anglers seeking maximum durability and space, the Expedition duffel has you covered in the harshest environments. Just avoid checking this oversized bag when flying.


  • Made from waterproof PVC tarpaulin
  • Roll-top closure for weather protection
  • Haul handles and compression straps
  • 120L capacity


  • Too large for carry-on travel

Read more: Best Air Mattress

Marmot Long Hauler Small 35L Duffel Review

Ideal for short trips and the gym, the Long Hauler Small duffel provides a 35L capacity in a compact, lightweight package. The weather-shedding 1000D nylon protects contents from the elements, while the large D-shaped zipper grants easy access.

Multiple internal and external pockets keep belongings organized. Padded side handles and a removable shoulder strap ensures comfortable carrying. At just 0.9 kg, the Long Hauler works great as a daily commuter or weekend getaway bag.

For those seeking a durable yet portable mid-sized duffel, this Marmot bag delivers ample utility without unnecessary bulk. The budget-friendly price makes it even more appealing.


  • Durable, weather-resistant nylon
  • Multiple internal/external pockets
  • Padded side handles
  • Compact 35L capacity


  • Lacks side pocket of larger models

BlackWolf Duffelpak 50L Duffel Bag Review

Offering versatility and convenience, the BlackWolf Duffelpak duffel stows away into its pocket for compact storage when not in use. The durable polyester construction withstands the rigours of travel, while lockable zippers deter tampering.

A front zippered pocket grants extra organization while side and end handles enable easy carrying. Available in capacities from 30L to 150L, the versatile Duffelpak works great for the gym, overnight trips, or extended travel.

For a collapsible duffel bag providing security and packability, the value-focused Duffelpak makes quick work of packing tasks. Just avoid overfilling since the thin fabric lacks structure when packed to the seams.


  • Folds into own pocket for storage
  • Tough 600D polyester exterior
  • Multiple handles for carrying
  • Available from 30L to 150L


  • Lacks rigid structure when overpacked

The North Face Berkeley 35L Duffel Review

With its eco-conscious recycled fabrication and water-repellent finish, The North Face Berkeley duffel provides a durable, sustainably crafted 35L travel bag. The 600D recycled polyester exterior resists abrasion and moisture while keeping unused bags from landfills.

For organization, exterior zippered end pockets separate damp, dirty, or loose items from the main compartment. Padded side handles ensure comfortable lifting and carrying.

Environmentally minded travellers will love Berkeley’s durability and quality paired with its sustainable production, reducing discarded plastics. The 35L capacity works ideally for weekend or gym trips.


  • Constructed from recycled fabric
  • Water-repellent durable finish
  • External end pockets for organization
  • Padded side handles


  • Limited capacity for extended travel

Eagle Creek Flashpoint Medium 59L Duffel Bag Review

Designed for adventure, the Eagle Creek Flashpoint duffel packs an ample 59L capacity into a lightweight, collapsible bag. When not in use, the duffel folds into its integrated stuff pouch for easy storage. The weatherproof Bi-Tech fabric resists abrasion and moisture, while lockable zippers deter theft.

For versatility, the Flashpoint works in backpack mode with hideaway shoulder straps or hand carries using the padded side handles. Front daisy chains allow lashing extra gear. This durable duffel accompanies globetrotters anywhere, then vanishes into its pocket afterwards.


  • Collapses into included stuff pouch
  • Tough, weatherproof Bi-Tech fabric
  • Lockable zippers for security
  • Converts to a backpack when needed


  • No rigid structure when fully packed

Olympia 26′′ Pocket Rolling Duffel Bag Review

Olympia’s budget-friendly 26” rolling duffel provides the convenience of wheels without the premium price tag. The durable 1200D polyester exterior withstands travel, while eight external pockets grant extensive organization.

Inline skate wheels ensure effortless transport of the bag’s hefty 79L capacity. For flexibility, a hideaway zippered pocket lets you conceal the retractable handle when you’d rather hand carry using the padded top handle.

Frequent fliers needing an affordable wheeled duffel will appreciate the ample storage and multiple pockets of Olympia’s thoughtfully designed 26” model. The bag checks all the boxes at a reasonable price point.


  • Extremely affordable for a wheeled duffel
  • Durable 1200D polyester exterior
  • Eight external pockets for organization
  • Hideaway zipper pocket for handle


  • Heavier than non-wheeled duffels at 2.6kg

Samsonite Rewind Wheeled 113L Duffle Bag Review

The Samsonite Rewind wheeled duffel takes the stress out of transporting heavy loads using its ultra-smooth rolling design. At a cavernous 113L, the bag offers ample packing room while staying under airline weight limits thanks to its lightweight yet durable ripstop polyester construction.

Recessed in-line skate wheels ensure stability when loaded. Multiple handles and adjustable compression straps provide carrying options and cinch-down contents. The Rewind duffel makes light work of moving substantial loads through airports and beyond.


  • Lightweight but gigantic 113L capacity
  • High-quality in-line skate wheels
  • Multiple grab handles and compression straps
  • Corner guards and kick plates protect the bag


  • Expensive for a non-premium travel brand
  • Bulky and heavy when fully packed

Osprey Transporter 65L Duffel Bag Review

Osprey’s Transporter duffel provides hardcore durability and versatility in a lightweight, weatherproof package ready for adventure. The abrasion-resistant nylon construction protects against rough handling while a DWR finish repels moisture.

Padded sides allow carrying in hand while hideaway shoulder and hip straps convert the duffel into a comfortable backpack. Integrated lash points allow for securing extras to the exterior. Top and end grab handles facilitate lifting and maneuvering the bag.

Made for backcountry pursuits yet stylish enough for everyday use, the Transporter duffel combines ruggedness and flexibility in a premium adventure bag. Osprey’s reputation for quality construction gives the 65L Transporter strong appeal.


  • Durable, weatherproof nylon construction
  • Hideaway straps convert to backpack
  • Multiple grab handles and lash points
  • Trusted quality from premium brand Osprey


  • Expensive for smaller 65L size

OZtrail Canvas 100L Duffle Bag Review

For a budget-friendly duffel that can handle rough treatment, OZtrail’s heavy-duty canvas bag fits the bill. With reinforced seams and thick canvas construction, the 100L duffel provides ample, uncomplicated storage at a wallet-friendly price point.

Oversized U-shaped zippers grant easy access to the cavernous main compartment. Webbed top and side haul handles make transporting heavy loads manageable. Though not waterproof, the durable canvas construction gives this bag a long service life for the cost.

Adventurers seeking a high-capacity duffel without premium frills will appreciate the utilitarian value of OZtrail’s rugged canvas duffel. It provides inexpensive, hardworking performance for hauling heaps of gear.


  • Extremely budget-friendly cost
  • Durable 14oz canvas construction
  • 100L capacity with wide U zipper
  • Available in three large sizes


  • Not waterproof


With this comprehensive duffel bag buying guide’s advice, finding the ideal bag for your needs is simple. Keep capacity, dimensions, carrying style, and specialized features in mind. Choose ultra-durable builds for checked luggage and sleek, compact designs for the gym.

Add elements like wheels or backpack straps based on the intended transport mode. Whatever your combination of requirements, a perfect duffel match exists to satisfy your travel needs.

But with so many bag styles, sizes, and features available, it can be daunting to pick the ideal duffel bag for your needs. Firstly, you should get familiar with the types and features that duffel bags have.

And then identify why you need a duffle bag, whether you need a duffle bag for traveling or for like gym. So explore the options armed with this knowledge, then get ready to pack up your new companion for a lifetime of seamless journeys!

Related Articles

Back to top button