Nearly all the duffels with backpack straps were reasonably comfortable to carry, and because all of our reviews find this such a valuable feature, it was a design focus during our model selection process. A couple of standouts were The North Face Base Camp and the Patagonia Black Hole, which were exceptionally comfortable and even still reasonable. When we say reasonable, we mean the blood circulation to your arms wouldn't be cut off, something that was the case with many models with poorly designed shoulder straps (even when worn for short durations when loaded with 50+ pounds).
I absolutely love my Travelon mini crossbody. I use it as my everyday purse. As for my number one travel tip, I think it’s to always carry a snack in your bag like RX bars which I love. When I’m starting to lag, eating an snack helps keep me going and makes me feel better mentally and physically. Plus eating something I know that my body tolerates well and not some random thing picked up off the street makes me feel better. Oh, and carry a bit of toilet paper folded up into a ziploc bag. Both come in handy way more often than you’d think!
This Knomo bag marries form and function, with a rectangular shape made for comfortably toting around laptops sized up to 15.6 inches. There's also a trolley slip sleeve that fits over the handle of your wheeled luggage for easy carrying. Plus, travel without worry: The RFID-blocking liner will protect your credit cards and passport from wireless identity theft.
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Larger than a camera bag or waistpack - yet smaller than a briefcase or laptop bag - it'll hold whatever you need, wherever your travels take you. A book, readers, an iPad®, cell phone, calculator, pens, pencils - and more! Gusseted zip-front organizer has pen and cell phone slots, a zippered pocket and organizational sleeves. Middle zip section has organizational sleeves, and gusseted rear-zip section has a neoprene sleeve to hold an e-reader or iPad®. Rear exterior pocket with snap-down security strap, two-way zippers with large zipper pulls, leather reinforcements and a detachable padded shoulder strap.
Keep in mind that the YETI Panga is overkill for most non-outdoor use. The bag is very pricey at $350, heavy at over 6 pounds for the 75-liter version, and has a thick, rubbery feel. In addition, YETI branding is strong with logos on each side and a very prominent imprint that runs the length of the bottom of the bag. All in all, this isn’t the optimal duffel for the average traveler or light outdoor use, but it’s hard to beat when you need waterproof protection for your gear (think water sports or protecting important belongings that can’t get wet). For a cheaper waterproof duffel option, see the SealLine WideMouth below.
Durability. Frequent travel requires a bag that will withstand all sorts of wear and tear. It doesn’t have to be leather, but it does need to be made with strong material and sturdy fasteners. Beware of shoddily made purses that can fall apart after a single trip. The best handbags for travelling abroad should last and last and last – first, because they're well made but second, because the style is perennial and never becomes old.
In our Ease of Packing category, we compared how easy it was to load each bag with both typical travel items as well as oddly shaped things that many people might want to include. We also compared how simple it was stay organized using smaller pockets and compartments and how much of a hassle it was to search both in these pockets as well as the main compartment and then the difficulty of zipping everything shut again when we were finished.
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Photographer Nicole Franzen loves her Voyager 2 bag, which stands out both aesthetically and functionally. “I like good pockets for organization, and tend to go leather and black because it’s effortless, goes with anything, and ages well,” she said. Made from soft Italian leather, this sleek bag features a front pocket with compartments for storing your phone, passport, pens, cords, and other items you’d like to have easily accessible — and even more pockets inside.
I’ve traveled extensively and, honestly, I would never use most of these suggested bags with the exception of the PacSafe and Travelon. The bags must have security features like wire lined straps, hook latches, scan-protected pouches, etc. It’s fine to use a crossbody as long as you have the right strap that can’t be easily cut and place your hand across the bag at all times and inside your coat or sweater when in public places. Never ever consider using a backpack. It’s a sure fire way of getting ripped off….
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Pros Easy to pack, comfortable shoulder straps, excellent pockets, super durable Highly weather resistant, easy to pack, dual mesh zippered pockets under the lid, comfortable shoulder straps Durable, waterproof, comfortable backpack straps Easy to pack, bomber construction, burly frame, internal dual-zippered mesh pockets, very maneuverable, highly water resistant Good pockets for organization and access, lightweight, comfortable to carry as a briefcase
A small percentage of people want waterproof protection from their duffel (think rafters, fisherman, and backcountry winter adventurers). The market is limited, but two bags on the list are waterproof: the YETI Panga and SealLine WideMouth. The Panga is a beast of a bag, with the shape of a traditional duffel but with extra thick materials and a fully waterproof zipper. The SealLine, on the other hand, is a roll-top bag that more closely resembles a dry bag. And it’s worth mentioning the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dyneema Duffel, which is not waterproof but highly water resistant and surprisingly tough.
After using the newer Base Camp model on just a few trips, our testing team unanimously gave the thumbs up to this additional pocket, which added just enough organizational options. The same could be said for the Long Hauler. Other organizational features that our testers appreciated were the dual inner, zippered mesh pockets featured on the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel and Black Hole Wheeled Duffel, Gregory Alpaca, and The North Face Rolling Thunder.
The Gregory Alpaca Duffel is premium-quality duffel that can withstand the elements and is well worth the higher price tag. With a 45-liter capacity, the weatherproof bag can take the wear and tear from the airport and is ideal for outdoor adventures. In addition to carry handles, the duffel features removable padded backpack straps for easy transportation – great for hiking. The water-resistant bag has reinforced threads for high performance and has a small exterior zippered pouch for quick access items, a “U-shaped” main compartment, as well as a large mesh interior pocket. There’s also a slot for IDs and plenty of exterior loops for attaching carabiners. It is available in bright blue or black.
Our team of travel experts will teach you how to optimize your packing experience, and get the most bang out of your luggage set. Using tricks like the “roll-up squeeze,” or the layer cake technique, find out what packing style makes the most sense for which trip. Our packing shortcuts and hacks will amaze you when it comes time to pack, making the whole process go more smoothly.
While I really like the stylishness of the Travelon handbags, they are very poorly made with poor quality materials, at least in the interior. I purchased a hobo style bag from Travelon about 3 years ago and sadly the lining ripped apart within 3 months. I was NOT impressed. The lining material was of a very inferior quality and the stitching was subpar. I’ve since switched to PacSafe, while not nearly as stylish, the material used for the entire bag is sturdier and more durable. I’ve been using my PacSafe citysafe 100 bag for 2 years now and it still looks like new.
This is the best crossbody/shoulder bag ever! I got it for a trip to disneyworld as I needed a day bag that could be plane carry-on and suitable for theme park that was big enough to hold my bits plus stuff for my 3 yr old. But didn’t feel like I was dragging round a body bag. This was perfect! Tardis holding capacity! Loads of safety zips. But I found 2 big bonuses….first that the canvas was tough and handled being thrown into the footwell of rides for a week sooo well it never seemed to look dirty! And second, the neutral colour scheme meant the hubs was happy to do his stint of bag carrying too! With more feminine colour/design I get lumbered with bag duty, but this is so non-offensive. It’s stylish and durable and I love it! The best bag I’ve ever travelled with!
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