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The Best Duffle Bags

By Kit Dillon
A person holding a black Herschel duffle bag.
Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Few bags are as simple, versatile, and satisfying to use as a duffle. Its utilitarian design—a soft, oblong bag with one zippered opening plus two handles and/or a shoulder strap—suits anything from a daily commute to a weekend away to a fishing trip. Though that basic form works in many situations, no single duffle bag (the word is also spelled duffel) can fit everyone’s taste or needs. A small, barrel-shaped duffle may be perfect for toting a couple of towels and lunch to the beach, for example, but it doesn’t offer the organization or space to pack for a three-day business trip. The seven bags we recommend—plus two alternates—are well made, comfortable to carry, and intended to fill a range of roles, including as a versatile adventure bag, a weekend-away duffle, a daily-carry bag, a lightweight convertible backpack, an ultra-packable duffle, a rolling duffle for checking, and a waterproof gear hauler.

I’ve reviewed bags for Wirecutter since 2014. In that time, I’ve interviewed countless bag designers, brand executives, fabric specialists, zipper zealots, and a host of bag hobbyists and satchel obsessives. These interviews and my own years of research have earned me at least something of a journeyman’s understanding of how a good bag should feel and what makes it work in a given situation.

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel (100L
Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Our pick

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 70L

A rugged, versatile bag to hold your gear

This bag is the most versatile gear duffle we’ve found. It’s tough, water resistant, and great for toting clothes and equipment in almost any travel or outdoor scenario.

Get this if: You need a sporty, water-resistant bag that can handle anything from toting sports gear to holding stuff for a two-day camping trip to going on a weeklong vacation.

Why it’s great: The Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 70L is a true jack-of-all-trades. The exterior is made of polyester ripstop that is laminated with thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) to protect against abrasion and has a water-resistant coating. Over the years, I’ve dragged, thrown, kicked, and carried these Patagonia bags across most of the country, and they’ve never failed. You can carry the Black Hole at your side using the two handles or over your shoulder using the strap, or you can wear it as a backpack with its two padded straps. The Black Hole is available in three other sizes, too: 40 liters, 55 liters, and 100 liters. (We originally tested a now-discontinued 120-liter version.) For all practical purposes, the bags are identical except for their increasing size, though the smaller sizes come in a wider range of colors—up to 13—than do the larger sizes. The Black Hole folds down into its own stuff sack, which turns into a storage pocket when you unfold the duffle. Patagonia has a highly regarded replacement and repair guarantee that we’ve tested many times without complaint.

Attaching the shoulder straps takes a little thought at first. Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Flaws but not dealbreakers: There’s little about the Black Hole to critique. It does what it needs to, and Patagonia’s reputation for high-quality materials and craftsmanship has set the standard for this type of bag for years. One small detail: The shoulder straps can take a moment to situate because of their unusual eyelet attachment, but once you figure them out, adjusting them is easy to do with one hand.

Dimensions: 28 by 13 by 17.5 inches (LWH)
Capacity: 70 liters
Other sizes: 40 liters, 55 liters, 100 liters

The Decathlon Forclaz Duffel 500 Extend duffle bag outside on gravel with a water bottle nearby.
Photo: Michael Hession

Also great

Decathlon Forclaz Duffel 500 Extend

If you need a versatile bag that expands

This expandable bag is an absolute bargain, considering the quality and strength of the materials. However, Decathlon is still a lesser-known brand in the US, and we haven’t tested this bag for as long as we have our other picks.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $70.

Get this if: You need a durable and water-resistant bag for travel, sports, or longer adventure trips. With its extra 20 liters of expandable space, it’s a particularly good pick if you tend to travel with a small load and return home with a larger one—so consider this bag if you anticipate receiving gifts or doing some shopping while you’re traveling.

Why it’s great: When we first compared the quality of the Decathlon Forclaz Duffel 500 Extend against its listed price, we thought there must have been some kind of mistake. We rarely see a bag with coated thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and polyester, both of which offer water resistance and durability, of this quality for less than a hundred dollars. In many respects, the Forclaz Duffel is similar in material quality to the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 70L, yet it’s one-third of the price. That said, we have some small concerns that we can’t address without further testing, namely the stitching at critical points (more on that below).

The black shoulder attachments of a green Decathlon Forclaz Duffel 500 Extend, outside near plants and a water bottle.
The stitching on the Forclaz’s shoulder attachments doesn’t look as sturdy as the stitching on the Patagonia Black Hole. We’ll see how it lasts over time. Photo: Michael Hession

Beyond the price, the standout feature of the Forclaz bag is its Transformer-like ability to expand from a 40-liter backpack to a 60-liter bag with the adjustment of a few zippers and clips. The expansion process is a bit fiddly at first, but it’s well worth the effort if you find yourself frequently packing more than you expect during your trips.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Upon close examination of the Forclaz bag, we found that our biggest concern involved the stitching at certain critical points, such as at the shoulder attachments and along key seams; we’d prefer to see more double stitching and bar tack reinforcements, as we found on the Patagonia Black Hole. However, this bag has notably high review scores on the Decathlon website, and its sturdy materials lead us to anticipate that it will wear well. That said, Decathlon’s limited warranty does not look as rock solid as Patagonia’s. There’s really no way for us to address this bag’s potential flaws without spending a lot more time with it, which we plan to do.

Dimensions: 21.5 by 15.5 by 12.5 inches (LWH)
Capacity: 40 liters (expands to 60 liters)
Other sizes: none

Lands’ End Waxed Canvas Duffle Bag
Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Our pick

Lands’ End Waxed Canvas Travel Duffle Bag

A buy-it-for-life travel bag

The more you use this rugged weekender, the better it will look. The canvas body, leather reinforcements, and brass hardware all promise durability, though we’d prefer more waxing in the canvas.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $115.

Get this if: You want a bag with a heritage look, to carry on quick trips, that can take a few knocks and age well with the wear.

Why it’s great: The Lands’ End Waxed Canvas Travel Duffle Bag is the toughest bag we could find—it’s made of sturdy canvas, with leather trim and brass hardware—that is also consistently available. The shoulder strap comes off, which is useful if you prefer to carry your bags by their handles. A small internal pocket is convenient for tucking away, say, your wallet or your house keys. The waxed duffle fits a specific aesthetic: It’s maybe not the bag you’d take on a business trip but rather to a cabin in the mountains. That outdoorsy look, however, has practical benefits, as with a little care a duffle like this should last a long time. (We should note, however, that Lands’ End no longer offers a lifetime warranty—you now have recourse only within a 90-day return period.)

Unlike many of the bags we tested, the Lands’ End Waxed Canvas Travel Duffle Bag has all-metal hardware. Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Waxed canvas is heavier than most modern fabrics (such as nylon and polyester), and we noticed the extra heft of the Lands’ End bag in comparison with the weight of other duffles we tested. Although Lands’ End describes this duffle as waxed, we’d call it lightly waxed at best. The canvas is mildly water resistant, but liquids won’t roll off it in the way you might see with more heavily waxed items. If you do want more protection, you can add more wax to the canvas yourself. The bag comes in a (very) small range of colors: brown and navy.

Dimensions: 24 by 11 by 11 inches (LWH)
Capacity: 40 liters
Other sizes: none

A person carrying the Herschel Supply Sutton Duffle Mid-Volume bag with the strap over their shoulder.
Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Our pick

Herschel Supply Co. Sutton Duffle Mid-Volume

An affordable bag for daily use

This midsize bag is for anyone who wants a simple duffle to use during the day. It’s great for commuting, going to the gym, or toting supplies on a park or beach excursion.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $65.

Get this if: You need an inexpensive bag with a casual style for your day-to-day activities and hobbies.

Why it’s great: If you were to ask a random person on the street to picture a small, basic duffle, they’d probably imagine a bag like the Herschel Supply Co. Sutton Duffle Mid-Volume. It has the classic shape, look, and feel of a traditional barrel duffle. Like most of the duffles we looked at, it comes with a removable shoulder strap, but you can carry it comfortably by its top handles, too. This decently constructed polyester bag with a center zipper running down its length is small enough that you can’t really overpack it or make it too heavy; basically, it’s the perfect size for daily tasks. Herschel bags are backed by a limited lifetime warranty. One thing to note for anyone who likes internal organization: The Sutton Duffle Mid-Volume has no internal pockets, but the larger, just-plain Sutton Duffle has pockets built along its lid. The Mid-Volume version comes in a range of colors and a couple of patterns—eight in all.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: This Herschel duffle is not the best-made bag we’ve encountered—the fabric feels thin, and the stitching is a bit slapdash. However, it is one of the better-made bags we’ve seen that cost less than $75. Even with light daily use, the Sutton Duffle Mid-Volume should last a good amount of time. Oddly, Herschel placed six small grommets on the bottom of the bag to (we assume) let out moisture. Unfortunately, that placement also lets plenty of moisture in if you accidentally put the bag down on a wet spot or coffee spill, which is not an inconceivable scenario in a gym or office.

Dimensions: 20.25 by 10.25 by 10.25 inches (LWH)
Capacity: 28 liters
Other sizes: Sutton Duffle (46.5 L), Sutton Duffle Studio (46.5 L, water resistant)

A bright blue Cotopaxi duffle bag resting on the ground with the logo on its side and a water bottle next to it.
Photo: Michael Hession

Also great

Cotopaxi Mariveles 32L Duffel Bag Del Día

A daily-use bag made of upcycled material

Similar in size to the Herschel bag, this duffle is strongly constructed out of upcycled materials. But it lacks a shoulder strap, and the color-block appearance may not be to everyone’s taste.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $45.

Get this if: You need a durable but inexpensive bag for simple daily use, but you also want a duffle made of sustainable materials, from a B Corporation.

Why it’s great: This kind of barrel-shaped 30-liter bag is something of a platonic ideal among duffle designs. Like the Herschel bag, the Cotopaxi Mariveles 32L Duffel Bag Del Día has the classic shape and feel of a barrel duffle. In contrast, however, it’s made of repurposed ripstop nylon that’s of a higher quality than the Herschel’s polyester, and it’s available for a lower price (though it lacks the Herschel bag’s included shoulder strap). We also continue to be impressed by Cotopaxi’s overall transparency and social mission. It’s a listed B Corp, and it takes pains to be as sustainable in its bags’ construction as possible, with a particular focus on labor practices. Like many of the company’s bags (indicated by the Del Día name), the Mariveles duffle is made from discarded material otherwise destined for the cutting-room floor, left over from other companies’ larger production runs. This is why each run of the Mariveles is distinct—the precise colors vary depending on what’s available.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: We’d love to see a shoulder strap included. Although the Mariveles does have loops so you can add your own shoulder strap, even a simple nylon one provided with the bag would go a long way toward making it one of our best overall picks. (There’s also a better likelihood that an included strap would coordinate with the motley colors of the bag.)

Dimensions: 17.5 by 10 by 10.5 inches (LWH)
Capacity: 32 liters
Other sizes: none

The multi-colored Cotopaxi Chumpi 35L Duffel Del Día duffle bag on a stone wall, near plants and with a water bottle nearby.
Photo: Michael Hession

Our pick

Cotopaxi Chumpi 35L Duffel Del Día

A duffle that’s also a backpack

This bag can be a backpack or a duffle—and it works well as either. If you plan on walking long distances and want multiple ways to carry your gear comfortably, this is a great option.

Buying Options

Get this if: You expect to walk a lot on your trips—touring cities, say, or doing some light adventuring—and need a comfortable way to carry your stuff, but you don’t require an extra-tough gear bag. Also, this bag is a good choice if you want to support a B Corp and its social and sustainable missions.

Why it’s great: The Cotopaxi Chumpi 35L Duffel Del Día has dedicated backpack straps built into the top that hide away behind two flaps secured by metal clasps when not in use. Many combo backpack-and-duffle designs rely on the handles serving double duty as backpack straps, which usually means they aren’t very good as either. The Chumpi’s dedicated straps allow it to perform as an actually comfortable backpack. When you’re finished wearing it, converting it back into a duffle is simple: Just tuck the backpack straps away and grab the bag by its handles. Unlike several other backpack duffles we tested, this Cotopaxi bag positions its zipper against your back while you’re using it as a backpack. It’s a simple, seemingly obvious (but rare) design choice that lends more peace of mind when you’re walking down a busy street or absentmindedly taking in the sights.

The back and shoulder straps of the Cotopaxi Chumpi 35L Duffel Del Día duffle bag, near plants and a water bottle.
Like most backpack duffles, the Cotopaxi Chumpi has no internal structure—which means it will slouch off the shoulders more than a traditional backpack does. Photo: Michael Hession

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Is a duffle with shoulder straps as good as a backpack? No. Like most backpack duffles, the Chumpi has a tendency to slouch a bit when it’s on the shoulders. That said, I carried the Chumpi fully packed for several miles while on a trip, and I found that using its backpack straps was a nice alternative to shifting a single shoulder strap from side to side. Note that when we tested the Chumpi, it was available in a range of solid colors. Since then, Cotopaxi has switched to making the duffle using a patchwork of remnant fabrics, which is what the Del Día name refers to. This means that each bag will be one of a kind—but also possibly more boldly colored than some people may like.

Dimensions: 20 by 10.5 by 10.5 inches (LWH)
Capacity: 35 liters
Other sizes: none

A black duffle bag with two snap buckles and a mesh bottom resting on the ground.
Photo: Michael Hession

Our pick

Matador Freefly Packable Duffle

Lightweight and packable

This ultralight duffle folds away into its own front pocket or compresses further into a cinch sack. The weatherproof material is paired with sealed zippers, which should keep everything inside dry in moderate rain.

Buying Options

$85 from Moosejaw

May be out of stock

$85 from Matador

May be out of stock

Get this if: You want a lightweight alternative bag for emergencies, a day bag when you travel, or a last-second hauler for going around town.

The Matador Freefly duffle bag packed into a small, fist-sized mesh bag in someone's hand.
The Matador Freefly Packable Duffle packs down to about the size of a mango. Photo: Michael Hession

Why it’s great: Unlike many packable or ultralight bags, which tend to behave like unruly sacks unless they’re filled to the hilt, the 30-liter Matador Freefly Packable Duffle manages to keep its shape whether it’s empty, partially packed, or stuffed like a sausage. It doesn’t pack down quite as small as some bags we’ve tested in the past, but it comes close enough—shrinking to about the size of a mango—and it’s much more pleasant to use as an actual bag once it’s on your shoulder. Where this Matador duffle truly excels, though, is in the high quality of its materials. With reinforced, treated nylon and sealed zippers, the Freefly is especially robust for a lightweight packable. Matador added a few compression straps on the side, too, though personally I find them more trouble than they’re worth on most bags.

If all that seems like too much for what you need, Matador also makes the 25-liter On-Grid Packable Duffle, which typically costs about $30 less. However, with unsealed zippers, it’s not as waterproof, and it doesn’t appear to be as durable. We’ve concluded that having something that should endure years of use and abuse is well worth spending a little more.

All Matador products are backed by a decently trustworthy three-year warranty.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: One glaring flaw is the shoulder strap. Although the strap is adjustable, it’s nothing more than an inch-wide strip of nylon. Even for a pared-down packable bag, that’s pretty meager considering the bag’s 30-liter carrying capacity. For shorter-term carries, this bag does just fine, but if you need a duffle to constantly haul around town, one of our other picks is likely to keep you (and your shoulders) happier. However, if you need a spare bag to tuck into your suitcase, an extra gym bag while traveling, or a way to carry purchases you pick up on a trip, this bag is a great choice. This duffle comes in only one color, black.

Dimensions: 22 by 11 by 8 inches (LWH)
Capacity: 30 liters
Other sizes: none

a man standing with a blue suticase
Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Our pick

Dakine Split Roller 110L Bag

A rolling duffle to check

This bag offers the space and easy-to-maneuver wheels of a good suitcase in the flexible shape of a duffle bag. Multiple interior and exterior compartments let you easily organize and separate all of your gear, too.

Buying Options

$265* from Amazon

price may vary by color or style

$212 from Backcountry

price may vary by color or style

*At the time of publishing, the price was $212.

Get this if: You want a rolling duffle that’s well organized. Also, this is a good choice if you need a bag that’s great for checked-luggage excursions and other types of long-distance travel but want something a little more pliable and easy to maneuver than a traditional wheeled suitcase.

Why it’s great: The Dakine Split Roller 110L Bag combines the best parts of checked luggage—internal organization, wheels, and a cavernous interior—with the soft, flexible frame of a duffle bag. The Split Roller opens like a clamshell; one side of the “shell” is divided into top and bottom compartments, and the other consists of one large main compartment. Mesh dividers separate all three compartments to keep everything in place. When you expand this duffle, it holds about 110 liters—nearly 20 liters more than our top pick for checked luggage. But the Split Roller can also adjust to carrying lighter loads, as it works similarly to an expansion case: The bag has a collapsible brace in the front section that can either fold out for extra space or fold back to let the top of the bag lie flat. Two external pockets let you easily access your everyday things and travel items without opening the bag itself. (The duffle also comes in an 85-liter version.)

a suitcase unzipped and being packed
The internal organization of the Split Roller mimics that of most clamshell luggage designs. The pockets are great for keeping clothes, gear, and other items separated. Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Similar to many of the rolling duffle models we tested, the Split Roller has dependable #10 YKK zippers and 8 cm urethane wheels. Both features are good enough for a bag of this design and price. Dakine also uses a variety of polyester and Cordura nylon materials for various versions of the Split Roller, ranging from 600-denier polyester (good for most people) to 1,000-denier Cordura blend with DWR coating (useful if you abuse your gear or travel through tough or wet conditions). We tested the 600-denier polyester fabric in the black color, and it seemed plenty durable for a travel duffle. It’s also the least expensive fabric option that Dakine offers; if you instead opt for one of the tougher, water-resistant options, you pay a little more. Dakine covers its products with a limited lifetime warranty.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: If the Split Roller is not packed properly—with the heaviest items toward the wheels—the bag can lean and even tilt over when left upright. More often than not, the Split Roller stays upright, but it isn’t as stable as the Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel Bag 100L. However, the bag’s well-thought-out organization and durable construction more than make up for this small frustration.

Dimensions: 32 by 17 by 13 inches (LWH)
Capacity: 110 liters
Other sizes: 85 liters

A person carrying the Yeti Panga 50 duffle bag on their back. The bag is structured in a cylindrical tube shape.
Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Our pick

Yeti Panga 50L Waterproof Duffel

A tough bag for wet adventures

If you want the toughest possible duffle, this is our choice. It’s comfortable to carry, waterproof, and close to indestructible. However, it typically costs nearly twice as much as the 55-liter version of the Patagonia Black Hole.

Get this if: You want the absolute toughest, most durable waterproof duffle for your adventures—particularly if those adventures leave you wading with your gear through streams or torrential rains.

The hardware on the Panga’s straps is a solid piece of metal that feels sturdy. Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Why it’s great: A waterproof nylon shell and zipper keep your stuff dry even if you submerge the Yeti Panga 50L Waterproof Duffel completely. I didn’t quite believe it until I tested the duffle several times, carrying it fully packed into the beach breaks of Oahu’s North Shore, where its impermeable barrier held in enough air to easily float my 220-pound frame and still kept the towels, clothes, and sneakers inside bone-dry. If you’re on a trip where your bag might end up in the water, you’re sure to appreciate this feature. Like the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel, the Yeti Panga Waterproof Duffel comes with a plethora of lash points that you can use to secure your bag on your adventures. Thanks to its rigidity, the Panga is also surprisingly comfortable to use as a backpack. (Its handles serve as the backpack straps.) The Panga comes in two larger sizes, as well: 75 liters and 100 liters.

A person wading into the ocean with the Yeti duffle bag. There are several surfers riding the waves nearby.
Taking the Panga into the shore break on Oahu’s North Shore. Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The price of the Yeti Panga is nearly double what you pay for a similarly sized Patagonia Black Hole. All that weatherproofing isn’t light, either—the Panga is the heaviest bag we tested, weighing more than 5 pounds when empty. If you need a waterproof bag as tough as the Panga that also includes wheels for load assistance, the Ortlieb Duffle RS is a good option. However, wheels are just one more thing to break on a bag, and the necessary skid plates and axles tend to make rolling duffle bags like the Ortlieb a bit less flexible than the Panga. The Panga comes in two colors: gray and tan.

The writer struggling to submerge the Yeti duffle bag in the ocean.
We did our best to submerge the surprisingly buoyant bag. Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Dimensions: 23.5 by 10 by 14 inches (LWH)
Capacity: 50 liters
Other sizes: 75 liters, 100 liters

If you don’t mind a stylized look for your everyday-carry bag: Previously we listed the Topo Designs Classic Duffel 20″ in the Competition section, but we now believe that you should consider it if you like its look. This is a great 27.5-liter duffle with Cordura nylon and rucksack details, but it has a specific style that many people may not like. Topo has a reputation for making excellent gear, though, and if you find this bag appealing, you won’t go wrong with it.

If you transport heavy stuff that can’t get wet: Consider the 85-liter Ortlieb Duffle RS, which is a decent waterproof alternative to the Yeti Panga 50L Waterproof Duffel, especially if you prefer built-in wheels to assist with the load. The Ortlieb bag, which is made with PVC-coated polyester fabric, has a rigid aluminum floor plate; this piece protects the base of the bag without taking up a significant amount of space (an issue with other rolling duffle bags). Note that all the extra parts mean more complexity and more things to break. Our biggest complaint, though, is that when the bag is left upright, it has a tendency to tip over because of its narrow wheelbase. (The bag also comes in 110- and 140-liter sizes.)

a person dragging a duffle bag behind them
The Ortlieb Duffle RS is a tough bag for heavy gear and specific situations. Photo: Caleigh Waldman

We began our research by poring through brand websites, reading bag blogs, and surveying a multitude of review sites. We divided the field into several broad categories: duffles for everyday use plus weekend trips and longer travel, backpack duffles, packable duffles, and duffles meant to haul adventure gear. Working from an initial list of 88 possible contenders, we considered each duffle’s design, accessibility, size, features, organization, materials, price, and brand warranty. Using those criteria, we narrowed the list down to 33 bags that we called in for hands-on evaluation.

To test the duffles, I packed and unpacked each one and used them as much as possible in my day-to-day life. With every bag I tested, I asked myself, “Would I live with this bag? Could it replace something I already have?” Specifically, I looked at the following:

Ease of use and accessibility: How easy is the bag to pack, unpack, and otherwise use in everyday situations? Does it have enough pockets? Are they well organized and well placed? I also kept a close eye on zippers and how they acted, tugging them from different angles. It was especially important to me that the zippers on our picks were easy to open on the go, even when the bag was hanging from a shoulder.

Carrying comfort: A great bag is pretty useless if it isn’t comfortable to heft and cart around. After I loaded up each bag with as much gear, clothes, sneakers, books, and usual ephemera of life as I could, I carried it around. I spend a lot of my time on the move, so each of our potential picks became—at least for a short while—something of an everyday-carry companion in my life until I understood the bag’s character.

Quality of the materials: Most bags are made from one of a handful of fabrics (nylon, waxed canvas, polyester). I paid special attention to the material’s weight, heft, and weave, as well as any special tech like TPU coatings.

Weight: Duffles should be light enough to carry easily but not so light that they feel flimsy or about to tear. Most of our picks weigh less than 3.5 pounds.

Cost: We eliminated any duffles that we determined were overpriced for what they were. You do get what you pay for in this category, though, and better quality and materials are often worth spending just a little more.

Guarantee or warranty: Not all company policies are equal. We favored bags that came with a warranty of two years or more.

Versatile/adventure duffles

Marmot Long Hauler Duffel Bag Medium: This model is a decent, middle-of-the-road adventure duffle. But the better access and build quality of the Patagonia Black Hole makes it a more obvious choice for most people.

Sea to Summit Duffle Bag: Although this heavy, water-resistant adventure duffle is good for the price, we were more impressed by the consistent performance and simplicity of the Patagonia Black Hole (our pick among versatile duffles) and the sturdier construction of the Yeti Panga (our pick among waterproof duffles).

The North Face Base Camp Duffel L: This duffle is similar to the Sea to Summit Duffle Bag, except it lacks that bag’s rigidity and attention to detail.


Lo & Sons The Catalina Deluxe: We liked the separate compartment at the bottom of the bag that allows you to pack a few pairs of shoes, say, or to separate out dirty laundry as you travel. But the materials of this duffle weren’t as good as those of other picks, and it didn’t carry as comfortably.

Thule Subterra Duffel 45L: This is a solid, middle-of-the-pack duffle, but we found its shape a little strange and awkward to carry. Our top picks are better made and more comfortable to use. (This bag appears to have been discontinued.)

Tortuga Homebase Duffle Case: Made from a notably light sailcloth, this bag was for the person who didn’t mind exchanging structure within their duffle for a large, cavernous space. Some people do like to pack this way, and the Homebase would have been a decent bag for them, but we concluded that most travelers would find it frustrating. (Tortuga has since discontinued it.)

Everyday duffles

American Apparel Cotton Canvas Gym Bag: This bag might be worth buying at half the price. The basic construction and design make it tempting, but the Herschel Supply Co. Sutton Mid-Volume, which is made with stronger materials and a bit more care, is a better deal.

Mission Workshop Transit Duffle: We aren’t sure who this laptop duffle is for. The bag was so divided up and over-organized that we had trouble carrying much of anything in it. In addition, the main zipper was too short, which made it hard for us to open the center of the bag all the way.

Tortuga Setout Duffle Bag: This former laptop-duffle pick has been discontinued, and Tortuga has not yet replaced it with an updated model. If you can find the Setout, either used or refurbished, it’s still a stylish, multipurpose travel companion.

Bellroy Lite Duffel: Made from recycled plastic bottles, the Lite Duffel is surprisingly handsome and easy to carry. We very nearly made it one of our picks except for the odd design of its top zipper closure. That zipper extends out past the edges of the bag’s main compartment, which makes it easier to access the interior but also leaves two large openings on either end of the bag when it’s closed. The extra length of zipper does fold down, but the bag doesn’t have buttons or clasps to keep it shut. The Bellroy Lite Duffel would work as a gym bag, perhaps, but the gap feels like a large oversight, especially given the duffle’s price.

Backpack duffles

Osprey Transporter Duffel 40: Despite Osprey’s well-earned reputation for comfortable backpacks, this duffle bag wasn’t great to pack or carry in our tests. The materials felt thin, and the straps didn’t sit well on our shoulders when the duffle was fully packed.

Piorama A10: An adjustable duffle bag that’s both a day bag and an extra-large backpack? Seems like it should be great, but in practice the design felt fiddly, and the cinched sphincter-like ends were unsettling.

Topo Designs Mountain Duffel: The one flaw of this Topo backpack duffle is that the shoulder straps are placed on the bottom of the bag, which means that as you wear it, the zipper is worryingly exposed to the world.

Packable duffles

Osprey Ultralight Stuff Duffel: Our former pick among packable duffles, this 30-liter Osprey bag managed to keep its shape whether empty, partially filled, or stuffed, and it was pleasant to carry as an actual bag once it was on a shoulder. Unfortunately, Osprey discontinued it.

Rolling duffles

a man wearing flip flops standing beside a rolling duffle bag
Some people may like the open interior and well-balanced design of the Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel Bag, but we prefer the organization of the Dakine Split Roller. Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel Bag 100L: The rolling Black Hole’s design is identical to that of the non-rolling version that we like, except for the addition of wheels, a reinforced base, and haul handles. Those additions do make it heavier and less flexible than the non-rolling bag. The best part of the design is that it stands upright unassisted, even when empty. But most travelers are better served by the organization and extra pockets in the Dakine Split Roller.

Amazon Basics Ripstop Wheeled Duffel 30″: Inexpensive and well organized, this Amazon Basics duffle could almost qualify as a budget pick. However, you get what you pay for in this case, and we found that most of the internal materials, such as the pocket dividers, weren’t especially durable. Most people are better served spending a bit more for quality materials.

eBags Mother Lode 29″ Checked Rolling Duffel: The Mother Lode is more of a hybrid piece of checked luggage than a true rolling duffle. Most of the bag is shaped around a hard-shell bottom, which seems to take away from the flexibility of a rolling duffle. You’re likely to be happier choosing one of our other duffle picks or one of our checked-luggage picks.

Incase Tracto Roller Duffel: If you prefer a sleek and minimal exterior design rather than the exterior pockets of the Dakine Split Roller, this durable, well-constructed rolling duffle is a very good option. In the end, though, we preferred more external and internal organization. (Also, this bag appears to have been discontinued.)

Osprey Transporter Wheeled Duffel 90: This Osprey model is a large, cavernous bag on wheels similar to the Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel Bag. But the Patagonia duffle has a sturdier frame and tougher materials than the Osprey, which needs a bit more structural reinforcement to compete. Again, however, we ultimately preferred the organization and split interior of the Dakine Split Roller in this category.

This article was edited by Ria Misra and Christine Ryan.

About your guide

Kit Dillon

Kit Dillon is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter. He was previously an app developer, oil derrick inspector, public-radio archivist, and sandwich shop owner. He has written for Popular Science, The Awl, and the New York Observer, among others. When called on, he can still make a mean sandwich.

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