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 2023
- Best Overall Duffel Bag: Bach Dr. Duffel 70L
- Best Value Duffel Bag: Eagle Creek Migrate 60L
- Best Durable Duffel: The North Face Base Camp Voyager Duffel
- Best Waterproof Duffel: Ortlieb ATrack ST
- Best High-Capacity Duffel: Rab Kitbag Duffel 80L
Best Overall Duffel Bag
1. 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.
This was a contender for our pick of ‘most durable duffel’ as the fabric is super tough, but that accolade went to The North Face in this instance.
Also available in 20, 25, 30, 40 and 110-litre capacities.
Selected for the 2021/22 Outdoor 100 – Read our full Bach Dr Duffel 70 review.
|BUY NOW: BACH-EQUIPMENT.COM|
Best Waterproof Duffel Bag
2. Ortlieb ATrack ST
Best for: Hiking, active adventures, backpacking
Key attributes: Fully waterproof, excellent as a backpack
Every so often, along comes an item that seemingly makes a considerable slice of products from that same genre redundant overnight. The ISPO Award-winning, and critically-acclaimed, Atrack ST Backpack from Ortlieb is one such bit of kit. What we have here is a duffel bag that works just like a backpack, or a backpack that works just like a duffel. It’s super durable and fully waterproof. Even the main zip, which is located against your back, is 100% watertight.
The main opening is huge, so you can access kit easily without having to rummage around or fling items out and there’s loads of well paced padding that makes this comfortable even when you’re carrying around heavy loads.
One aspect we really liked during our tests was the amount of adjustment. You can really cinch this in if you’re carrying a light loads, or loosen things up if you’ve got a lot to lug around with you.
Who can we see this being useful for? First and foremost, we reckon photographers and filmers are going to really dig this. That’s because the waterproof material gives that peace of mind on rainy days and the big wide opening gives quick and convenient access to any kit you need to stop and grab quickly.
Read our full Ortlieb Atrack ST review.
|BUY NOW: ORTLIEB.COM|
Best High-Capacity Duffel Bag
3. 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.
The material feels quite thin and light for a duffel bag, but that’s not to say it’s flimsy and easy to tear either – quite the opposite in fact. This thing is built to withstand a lot of rough stuff.
Granted it’s not the most comfortable carry, but it’s excellent as something that can swallow a whole lot of kit and be slung in and out of the back of a car on any road trips.
Available in: 50, 80 & 120L.
Read our full Rab Kitbag 80L review.
|BUY NOW: RAB.EQUIPMENT|
Best Durable Duffel
4. The North Face Base Camp Voyager Duffel
Best for: Weekends away, day-to-day travel
Key attributes: Recycled fabrics, PFC- free water-repellant finish, very tough build
Stylish, practical and virtually indestructible, The North Face Voyager is a little lighter than their original base camp duffel, and has a few more useful pockets to store your essentials. But best of all is its use of a tough 300-denier recycled polyester tarpaulin and a PFC-free DWR treatment. The single material construction aids recyclability, while the recycled polyester also helps to reduce landfill waste and the use of virgin synthetics.
You can carry it as a backpack or a duffel, and it also has a padded 13” laptop sleeve and a removable divider in the main compartment. There’s now an external zipped pocket for your passport and phone, as well as a secure internal zip pocket, padded removable shoulder straps, multiple grab handles, and external webbing loops that can be used as lash points. The zipped D-shaped flap also opens up really wide to make rummaging around inside easy.
Selected for the Green Gear Guide 2021/22 – Read our full The North Face Base Camp Voyager Duffel review.
|BUY NOW: THENORTHFACE.CO.UK|
Best Value Duffel Bag
5. 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…
Read our full Eagle Creek Migrate 60L review.
|BUY NOW: EAGLECREEK.EU|
Best of the Rest
6. 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.
I’ve been using the older version of this duffel bag about twice a month for almost ten years now and it’s served me excellently. It’s come with many on countless flights and road trips and actually doesn’t even have that many scars from the mileage.
Available in: 55L, 70L and 100L.
Read our full Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 55 Review.
|BUY NOW: EU.PATAGONIA.COM|