Top 5 Best Travel Duffel Bags 2018

Top 5 Best Travel Duffel Bags

Going travelling or backpacking often means having to pack more than the bare essentials with you, preferably in a spacious and durable bag. Here are 5 of our best travel duffel bags of 2017 that’ll please you with their generous size, strength and cool adventurous style.

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The North Face
Base Camp

Helly Hansen
Travel Duffel

Travel Duffel

90L Folding

Helly Hansen

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Available ColoursBlack / Red / YellowBlack / White
Red / Orange
Black / Azure / YellowBlackBlack
Available SizesXS / S / L / XL30L / 50L / 90L40L / 90L90LS / M / L
MaterialBallistic NylonNylon TarpaulinN/ACrinkle NylonPolyester Canvas
Water Resistant
Convert to Backpack

How is a Travel Duffel Bag Different?

Some of the best duffel bags are pretty versatile too as they can carried on both shoulders like a backpack, slung over one shoulder or carried by the handles.

Duffel bags shouldn’t be mistaken as overnight bags, weekend bags or hiking backpacks since they differ in a few different ways including:

  • A long cylindrical or oblong shape.
  • A wide main compartment with zip closure and some with a drawstring as well.
  • Padded shoulder strap and carry handles.
  • A more adventurous sporty look.

Most people prefer to travel with this type of bag because it offers a lot more space than a backpack or weekend bag would and some designs offer different sizes from 30 to 90 litres.

Large duffel bags can hold enough essentials and clothing for people travelling for long periods of time whereas weekend bags can hold no more than 2-3 days worth of stuff. There are duffels bags with wheels to make carrying them around a lot easier too.

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Factors to Consider When Buying a Travel Duffel

Durability Of Materials

As duffel bags can hold a lot of items and will get quite heavy, the material used is one of the most important factors. Ballistic nylon and thick polyurethane materials tend to be the preferred choices as they are strong and tear resistant which is ideal for expedition trips. You may want to consider a waterproof duffel bag if you are backpacking, camping or hiking.

However, it’s not just material that needs to be strong, the stitching on the seams need to be up to par as well. Additionally, the zips should be checked out to ensure they are strong and heavy duty to keep the tough material together.

Are There Enough Compartments?

Having a large travel duffel bag is great but it’s no good if there’s barely any compartments which comes in handy to separate items and store your small things such as toothbrush or toiletries.

The best travel duffel bags tend to have many compartments inside the main compartment as well as external pockets. This makes it ideal to store quick access items such as travel documents, water bottle or mobile phone.

Available Sizes

To decide which size travel duffel bag you will need for your trip, check what you will be packing into it. You can get a carry-on size if you don’t plan on checking your luggage in. Some models will have the same bag available in several sizes too.

How Easy Is It To Pack?

Having a small opening in a bag can make packing difficult and hard to get to items especially if it’s at the bottom of a vertical duffel bag.

To make this easier, look for one with a wide D-shaped opening in the main compartment. If you plan on bringing large sports or camping gear, make sure this can be packed into the main compartment and taken out easily.

Ease Of Portability

Some duffel bags will have a few different ways to carry – by the carry handles, slung on the shoulder, across the body or like a backpack on both shoulders. Look for one with padded shoulder straps which will help to make it more comfortable to carry whether you’re going exploring or carrying it at the airport.

Wheeled duffel bags are ideal too if you plan on bringing odd or bulky travel gear. Many people looking to play sports or go camping typically use this type as it gets pretty heavy carrying all their gear on their shoulders. If you’re unable to find one with wheels in the right size for you, most bags will have grab loops to enable you to drag it along instead.


Generally duffel bags are fairly lightweight which is why it’s the preferred choice over other types of bags. If you need every kilogram you can get, then avoid ones with a firm board base. Ones that can be rolled up are really light.

Our Top 5 Best Travel Duffel Bags 2018 Reviewed

North Face Base Camp Travel Duffel Bag

1. The North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag

Buy the The North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag - Price not available

Made from tough laminated ballistic nylon, the North Face Base Camp Travel Duffel Bag is one of the popular bags on the market. Its double stitching and extra bartacks makes this bag more durable and able to withstand rough usage.

There are useful features such as grab loops to enable you to pull your bag along or quickly grab it and compression straps to help keep your stuff from moving about inside when you’re on the move.

Six different sizes are available so you could choose a small carry-on size or a large one for backpacking adventures. With a wide main compartment, it makes packing easier and you can even pack bulky items in if you plan on buying the bigger size. There’s a lot of compartments including one underneath the zip flap and internal mesh pockets.

Although it’s priced at the higher end, it’s one of the best travel duffel bags around and has been on the market for a very long time. Every penny is worth it since this bag was designed for expedition trips which means it will last and endure many trips whether it’s a rough and wild one or a relaxing one.


Helly Hansen Travel Duffel

2. Helly Hansen Travel Duffel

Buy the Helly Hansen Travel Duffel - Price not available

Being fairly versatile, the classic hard wearing Helly Hansen Duffel Bag can be easily converted from a sporty looking bag to a travel duffel bag with its hideaway shoulder straps. It’s made with tough and durable nylon tarpaulin which can handle rigorous usage and easy to clean with its wipeable surface. Not only that, this duffel bag is waterproof and can withstand heavy rainfall or water journeys.

The easy access zip opening enables easy packing and searching for items. Additionally there are separate pockets to organise your belongings and compression straps to keep things in place. With the weight being less than 1 kg and 3 different sizes, the bag is ideal for trips abroad when weight is an issue. For the price it’s selling at, it’s inexpensive and good value for money since it will last you a good few years.


Karrimor Travel Duffel

3. Karrimor Travel Duffel

Buy the Karrimor Travel Duffel - Price not available

If you’re planning to travel somewhere that’s raining or going on some sort of water expedition, then you’re probably going to need a waterproof duffel bag.

Fairly priced, the Karrimor 40L Duffel Bag is just perfect for this with its water resistant N1000D tarpaulin fabric. Even moisture is unable to seep inside the bag because of the design of the zip flaps where it folds over the zip closures.

The flap of the main compartment opens up quite wide to enable ease of packing and it can be locked with a padlock if needed. There’s also two external pockets on each side for quick access items which are also zippable.

Although there’s no shoulder strap, the bag can be comfortably carried by the detachable padded shoulder straps or by the padded carry handles. You can’t go wrong with this waterproof bag at this price.


Skypak Folding Duffel

4. Skypak 90L Folding Travel Bag

Buy the Skypak 90L Folding Travel Bag - £27.57

The Skypak 90L Folding Travel Bag is one of the best folding duffel bags due to the low price, generous size and light weight. Fully opened, the bag measures 75 x 30 x 40 cm with a volume of 90 litres, Despite being a large duffel bag, it folds in on itself and zips up into a small pocket measuring 25 x 30 x 3 cm which can be tucked away into your main bag.

Made from light nylon, the fabric is surprisingly durable and it’s sewn together very well making it very unlikely for the bag to tear easily. Despite the plastic zippers, these are actually quite strong and hardwearing. This travel duffel bag is ideal for anyone who tends to buy a lot on holiday so will need the extra storage space (that’s probably most people then!) without breaking the bank.


Helly Hansen Packable Duffel

5. Helly Hansen Packable Duffel

Buy the Helly Hansen Packable Duffel - Price not available

Taking along a spare bag for your travels can come in handy when you need the extra storage space which is what makes the Helly Hansen Packable Duffel Bag an ideal asset.

It folds away neatly into its own side pocket which is fairly small and won’t take up much space in your luggage. When opened up, this folding travel duffel bag is very roomy with a large main compartment and 2 pockets.

It comes in 3 different sizes and the smallest size can be used as hand luggage on some airlines. It’s even small enough to fit under most airline seats.

Don’t be fooled by the thin looking material, it’s actually pretty tough as it’s made from a strong polyester canvas fabric that’s also a very light weight at 200 grams only. This make it comfortable to carry with the padded grab handles or by the detachable shoulder strap. For a packable travel bag, it’s a fairly reasonable price especially since it’s sturdier and can handle more weight than other foldaway bags that are priced a lot cheaper but are poorly made.

Final Word | Best Travel Duffel Bags

Choosing the best travel duffel bag for your requirements will make it easier for you to carry your essentials around on your travel adventures. Ideally wheeled duffel bags makes things easier but there’s not as many of these available on the market.

It’s a good idea to test your new travel duffel bag before actually setting out on your travels by packing it with your stuff and walking around your home and up and down the stairs to test the weight and comfort levels.

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