Duffel bags are useful for anyone who leads an active lifestyle, especially one that involves plenty of travelling. The best duffel bags will be lightweight but durable, and able to stand up to the rigours of travel. They’ll be able to support heavy loads and still be comfortable and easy to carry over short to medium-length distances, and they also won’t be too rigid and bulky so that they can be kept out of the way when not needed.
Duffel bags come in all shapes, weights and sizes. The ones we have reviewed here all range from 600g to 1670g and from 55 litres to 90. We’ve also only looked at duffel bags that have shoulder straps that mean they can be carried like a backpack, however there are also plenty of models on the market that can only be carried like a briefcase, or that have just one sling strap that’s worn over one shoulder.
The best duffel bags will offer full waterproof protection but the majority tend to only be rated as water resistant – this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re unlikely to need the bag for any water-based adventures.
One final point: we’ve gone for duffel rather than duffle, for the sake of consistency and also because it seems to be the form that most brands go for. Apparently there’s no set way!
The Best Duffel Bags 2021
- Bach Dr. Duffel 70L – Best Duffel Bag
- Eagle Creek Migrate 60L
- Peak Design Travel Duffelpack 65L
- Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 55L
- Ortlieb ATrack ST
- Rab Kitbag Duffel 80L
- Ortlieb Duffle 60L
- The North Face Basecamp Duffel Medium
- Mountain Equipment Wet & Dry 70L
- Osprey Transporter Duffel
- Arc’teryx Carrier Duffel 55L
BEST BUY: Bach Dr. Duffel 70L
Best for: Travel
Key attributes: Classic design, modern twist, reliable 1000-denier fabric
The Bach Dr. Duffel is a modern take on an old-school doctor’s bag design – one of those things that’s able to swallow more than you’d believe is possible.
It has a huge opening, giving you access to all corners of the pack, and It’s chock-a-block full of organisation pockets. It’s also made from a 1000-denier strong Cordura which is ‘air textured’, giving it a more sophisticated and matte textured appearance than your average duffel.
The storage compartments are made from mesh whilst the side and back panel of the bag are padded to protect your valuables and provide carrying comfort. It also comes with two shoulder straps that can be tucked away or completely removed when they’re not required.
Other features include a padded laptop sleeve, zips with padlock loops and two compression straps on each side, allowing you to expand/compress storage as required.
Selected for the 2021/22 Outdoor 100 – Read our full Bach Dr Duffel 70 review.
Eagle Creek Migrate 60L
Best for: Travel
Key attributes: Well-priced, durable, water-repellent, good eco credentials
The 60-litre Eagle Creek Migrate duffel has plenty of qualities to recommend it as a good travel companion. It’s the perfect size to take as carry-on, and slings easily over your shoulder or on your back thanks to the dual haul and pack straps. It’s also tough and durable, utilising a water-repellent 900-denier heavy-duty TPU fabric. This is a better alternative to PVC, which can leak toxins into the environment. The TPU is made from Bluesign-approved material, while the duffel’s water repellent coating was developed by harvesting windscreen plastics from landfill sites in Asia. Talk about junk in your trunk…
Peak Design Travel Duffelpack 65L
Best for: Expeditions, overseas travel, backpacking
Key attributes: Durable materials, weatherproof, stylish, fully-featured
As rugged as it is stylish, this capacious gear-hauler is an ISPO gold award winner – and it’s easy to see why. Constructed of a weatherproof, 100% recycled 600-denier nylon canvas, the Travel Duffelpack 65L has a generous internal cavity with two pockets (for kit organisation) and a weatherproof main zip. Six padded grab handles allow for convenient grab-and-go scenarios while shoulder and waist straps enable you to carry it like a backpack. Ingeniously the shoulder straps deploy and stowaway beneath magnetically sealed flaps for added neatness, and if you don’t need the full 65L capacity the duffel instantly contracts to 45L via external zips. Clever stuff.
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 55L
Best for: Expeditions, overseas travel
Key attributes: Recycled materials, durable, water resistant
This isn’t an overly technical duffel bag but it’s durable and water resistant enough, and it carries very comfortably. The shoulder straps are quick and easy to remove if you want to use this as just a holdall or if you ever want to lash it down to, say, your car roof. It also all folds up into its own pocket, down to about the size of a loaf of bread – pretty handy. Best of all, however, is the fact that all of the fabrics used here are made from recycled materials and they’re recyclable as well. Available in: 55L, 70L and 100L.
Read our full Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 55 Review
Ortlieb ATrack ST
Best for: Hiking, active adventures, backpacking
Key attributes: Fully waterproof, excellent as a backpack
Every so often, along comes an outdoor product that seemingly makes a considerable slice of products from that same product genre redundant overnight. The ISPO Award-winning, and critically-acclaimed, Atrack ST Backpack from Ortlieb is one such product. What we have here is a duffel back that works like a backpack, or a backpack that works like a duffel. It’s super durable and fully waterproof. Even the main zip, which is located against your back, is 100% watertight.
Read our full Ortlieb Atrack ST review
Rab Kitbag Duffel 80L
Best for: Adventures that require a lot of kit and equipment
Key attributes: Large capacity, padded shoulder straps
The biggest duffel reviewed in this group test, the Rab Kitbag is one of those that will be able to swallow everything you need for your next big trip. There’s good padding on the shoulder straps which makes for a comfortable carry, and there are two zipped mesh pockets in the lid – useful for storing things like travel documents and house keys. Available in: 50, 80 & 120L.
Read our full Rab Kitbag 80L review