This definitive guide to the best durable duffel bags for travel and adventure provides information on the 12 top duffels based on rigorous testing. In it, we break down each bag's key features, covering elements such as volume, durability, support, features, weight and more.
More Great Travel Duffels
- Black Diamond StoneHauler ($160+)
- Yeti Panga ($300+)
- Thule Chasm Wheeled Duffel ($330)
- Matador Seg42 ($190)
- SDR Traveller D3 Traveller ($745)
- Mystery Ranch Mission Duffel ($150+)
- Ortlieb Atrack ($265+)
- Fjällräven Duffel No. 6 (
- Hyperlite Mountain Gear Duffel Bag ($525)
Features have gotten out of hand. No matter what the product is — be it as simple as a knife or as complex as a camera — we’ve come to expect that it’s jammed with as many bells and whistles (sometimes literally) as possible. Outdoor products are among the most egregious culprits here, fooling would-be adventurers into thinking that they simply cannot embark on a trip without bringing the multifunctional-jacket-pant-parachute-vest complete with eighteen camp-stove-dongle-ready removable pocket pouches (and it packs into its own hood!). It’s maddening.
Thankfully, the duffel has remained immune to the feature-packing epidemic. The design hasn’t deviated too far from the canvas sacks travelers used to throw over their shoulders before heading off to lands unknown. Improvements like weatherproof zippers and padded backpack straps are utilitarian, not gimmicky. Materials technology has made duffels all but bomb-proof, which is ideal for poor-weather adventures, but canvas has not been forgotten. Oftentimes the only feature is an interior pocket. And that’s the way it should be. You already have enough stuff to bring with you; you shouldn’t have to worry about the bag that carries it all.
These duffels run the gamut of sizes and materials, but one thing is uniform in every case: resiliency is favored over contrivance. These are bags capable of withstanding countless well-planned weekends to a favorite hideaway, as well as expeditions to corners of the map that still contain question marks.
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel
Patagonia hit the nail on the head with the name of its line of heavy-duty carry-alls: Black Hole. That's what a duffel should be — a bottomless pit into which you can toss anything and everything you might need for a day at the crag or an entire week in the opposite hemisphere. The bag's D-shaped zipper opening makes it easier to see all of what's inside than end-to-end designs, and the lid includes a large mesh pocket for stashing odds and ends you don't want to dig for.
To that end, there's another small essentials pocket that you can access from inside or out. Daisy chains and removable backpack straps count for the rest of the bag's features, but it's the durability of Patagonia's Black Hole fabric, which it makes using a water-repellant, TPU-laminated 100-percent recycled polyester ripstop, that makes this duffel great for any imaginable itinerary.
Available Volumes: 40L, 55L, 70L, 100L
Weight: 2 lbs 9.09 oz (55L)
Peak Design Travel Duffelpack
Best Full-Featured Duffel
The main element that sets Peak Design's Duffelpack apart from the rest is its opening. Its zipper is straight instead of D-shaped, but because it's extra-long and complimented by internal aluminum stays that help it open fully. But thoughtful design is present in every element of this bag: its backpack and waist straps tuck neatly behind magnetic flaps, its 600-denier fabric is waterproof but doesn't necessarily look like it, and an extra zipper can expand its volume from 45 to 65 liters. It integrates perfectly with Peak Design's packing cubes — which Gear Patrol highly recommends — and is one of the most comfortable duffels we've tested.
Available Volumes: flexible 45-65L
Weight: 3 lbs 14 oz
Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler
Best Affordable Duffel
Perhaps $109 isn't your idea of "budget-friendly." There are cheaper duffels available, but none that are water-repellent, super-durable or have features like stow-away backpack straps or a padded bottom. Eagle Creek didn't stop there, though. It gave this duffel an internal removable divider and end pockets — one of which you can pack the whole bag into — for gear organization. Compared to the other bags on this list, the Cargo Hauler is cheaper, but that doesn't mean it's any less rich in features.
Available Volumes: 40L, 60L
Weight: 2 lbs 3 oz (60L)
Black Diamond StoneHauler
Best Alternative to Our Top Pick
It's easy to compare the StoneHauler Duffel to Patagonia's Black Hole. The bags share features like backpack straps and a perimeter of lash loops, as well as a D-shaped opening. There are, however, a few key differences. First is a padding layer that adds to the StoneHauler's durability and comfort when holding pointy gear (like climbing equipment). The second is an internal compression system that prevents contents from moving around. But the most notable feature is something Black Diamond calls DirtBag Internal Storage, which refers to a sack with a cinch closure that's integrated into its interior. It's perfect for keeping dirty hiking boots or laundry away from clean items, and you can smush it to the side when you don't need it.
Available Volumes: 30L, 45L, 60L, 90L, 120L
Weight: 2 lbs 12 oz
Best Waterproof Duffel
Drawing on the success of its soft-sided coolers, Yeti stripped out the insulation and used the thick, laminated nylon skin to create a highly puncture- and abrasion-resistant duffel called the Panga. Like many Yeti products, what appears run-of-the-mill is actually innovation genius. The Panga has easily removable backpack straps, lash points on all sides and haul handles on either end. Speaking of those ends, they’re sturdy enough to keep this bag standing upright, and the bottom is padded with EVA foam, similar to the stuff in running shoes, to keep things protected when you decide to give the bag a toss. The Panga is also fully submersible thanks to a TIZIP airtight zipper (it's super-tough, don't let your sweater get caught in it). One way to test it? Close it up when the bag is empty and stand on it — not even a gasp will escape.
Available Volumes: 50L, 75L, 100L
Weight: 5 lbs 3 oz (50L)
Thule Chasm Wheeled Duffel
Best Durable Duffel with Wheels
Even backpack straps can't make carrying the biggest bags comfortable, and that's when wheels come in. Thule's are oversized to roll over rough terrain and have a sturdy telescoping handle to keep them going. The bag itself opens like other duffels on this list: wide, thanks to a D-shaped zipper, so you can easily access everything inside its cavernous 110-liter compartment. For essentials, its lid has two zippered mesh pockets, and there's a small exterior pocket too. A laminated weather-resistant fabric protects everything, and Thule included a molded polycarbonate shell on the bottom.
Available Volumes: 110L
Weight: 12 lbs 3 oz
Best Duffel for Organization
Instead of the single large opening that defines most duffels, Matador's Seg42 has six. Five of them are on its lid, each opening into separate variably sized compartments that call to mind packing cubes that add up to the bag's 42-liter capacity. When such organization isn't necessary, these tuck away behind a zippered panel, leaving the Seg42's full volume available as a sixth option for dump-it-all-in packing. Alternatively, you can use a few of those pockets and collapse the others, making it easy to separate clean stuff from dirty stuff.
The Seg42 also has backpack straps that tuck away when you don't need them, two end pockets for small items and a separate zippered laptop pocket. All are protected by durable and water-repellent ripstop fabric.
Available Volumes: 30L, 42L
Weight: 2 lbs 4 oz (42L)
SDR Traveller D3 Traveller
Best Discreet Duffel
The D3 Traveller is made to take a beating and go unnoticed. Why? Because when you're traveling across borders where officers are more likely to request a bribe than a visa application, discretion is as important as durability. To the untrained eye, there's nothing special about the unbranded black carry-all, but that's the point. The bag is made from two layers of ultra-strong Dyneema composite fabric, allowing it to maintain a slackened look even when packed full. The D3's detailing is in the same vein; the shoulder strap slider is machined from solid aircraft-grade aluminum, YKK zips are reinforced with water-resistant Uretrek. And, just to underline the brand's thesis, the D3's zipper pulls are accented with river stones from the Pamir Mountains, a vast and remote range located in a region where borders and laws are less tangible.
Of course, $745 is remarkably pricey for a duffel. If you're looking for something similar but cheaper, Hyperlite Mountain Gear's Approach Bag comes in a similar volume (33.5 liters) and is also made of Dyneema composite fabric for $159.
Available Volumes: 39L
Weight: 1 lb 2 oz
Mystery Ranch Mission Duffel
Best Backpack Carry System
The Mission Duffel sits firmly in between backpack and duffel. As such, its shoulder straps aren’t an afterthought but a fully fleshed-out component that draws on the brand’s success with everyday and expedition packs. The straps are padded for comfort and equipped with a sternum harness. They also stow away neatly into a flap on the bottom of the bag. In addition to that, the Mission contains a main compartment that feels bigger than it looks and is home to multiple mesh organizing pockets. Like the Base Camp duffel, the Mission offers a separate section at one end for wet, dirty, or bulky items.
Available Volumes: 40L, 55L, 90L
Weight: 4 lbs 3 oz (55L)
Best Adventure Duffel
Of all the strap-equipped bags on this list, Ortlieb’s Atrack is the only one that’s a backpack first. Ortlieb previously made waterproof and rugged duffels with backpack straps on them, and it pulled many of those features over to the Atrack — including a tear-resistant fabric and an impregnable TIZIP zipper — which is designed less for hauling huge loads than for facilitating lots of different adventures. Its pack straps are padded, and they have an accompanying hipbelt. Plus, it uses a simple modular strap system that allows for the carrying of skis, snowboards, snowshoes, trekking poles, helmets and whatever else you might think to strap to it.
Available Volumes: 25L, 35L, 45L
Weight: 3 lbs 2.4 oz (25L)
Fjällräven Duffel No.6
Best Canvas Duffel
Fjällräven’s Duffel No.6 looks a lot like the standard-issue bag you might find hanging on the wall at a military surplus store. It’s not. The Swedish outdoor brand started with its proprietary G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco fabric, a canvas-like blend of recycled polyester and organic cotton that’s incredibly tough, windproof and water-resistant (especially after treatment with Greenland Wax ($10)). Then the bottom was reinforced with padded waterproof, PU-coated, polyamide fabric, and double handles were added at the ends along with stowaway backpack straps on top. There’s also a nice padded top panel, to cushion your back from the bag’s contents when you’re carrying it backpack-style.
Available Volumes: 70L, 110L
Weight: 3 lbs 5 oz (70L)
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Duffel Bag
Best Ultralight Bag for Big Loads
To say that Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Dyneema Duffel is massive and indestructible borders on understatement. The narrow profile was designed specifically for harmonious integration with the Paris Expedition Sled, commonly used during longer trips to the world’s unreachable peaks. The primary material is right in the name. Dyneema, when taken at its strength-to-weight ratio, is the strongest fiber in the world — stronger than steel and Kevlar. It’s also waterproof and UV resistant. You could say the Dyneema Duffel is ultra-everything: ultralight, ultra large, ultra durable, ultra minimal.
Available Volumes: 140L
Weight: 2 lbs 10 oz