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 60 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!
Best Duffel Bags Reviewed 2018
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 60L: £66-90 / 1,106g
“The main fabric used is a tough 900 denier ripstop polyester and there’s reinforcement and slight padding at the base to provide an extra bit of protection to the contents.”
This isn’t an overly technical duffel bag but it’s durable and water resistant enough, and it carries very comfortably. The internal compression straps are a very handy feature for when you need to really squeeze in a big load and there are a few handy zipped pockets. Best of all, it all folds up into its own pocket.
Available in: 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120L
Rab Kitbag Duffel 80L: £95 / 1480g
“The two shoulder straps are comfortable thanks to their very generous padding, they’re also easy to adjust and they can both be removed and stowed away…”
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