Tough, lightweight, adventure-ready duffels are a key piece in any traveler’s luggage lineup.
1) The stand-up leather straps of WP Standard’s Weekender are designed to comfortably slip an arm through. It’s carry-on compliant when full, with pockets on either end; a detachable, adjustable shoulder strap; and all-leather construction that includes a reinforced bottom and hand-hammered copper rivets.
2) Velomacchi creates luggage dedicated to motorcycling. Its barrel-shaped Speedway Hybrid Travel Duffle, with a 50-liter capacity, features what it calls a travel harness (aka backpack straps) and a design that prevents the compression straps from flapping on the highway. Even if you don’t ride, it makes for a tidy setup: The shoulder straps fold away when not in use, and the entire bag is watertight; it’s ideal for developing-world travel. One note: There’s no interior organizing system, so plan to use packing cubes.
3) National Geographic’s new collaboration with Eagle Creek has yielded some incredibly versatile and rugged bags. The All Purpose Duffel 60L has backpack straps for easy hauling, is made of waterproof PVC-coated nylon (so you can lash it to the roof of a Land Rover without fear of damage), and has beefy compression straps to cinch contents for less shifting in transit. A clamshell design with a see-through mesh interior lining means less fishing around in the duffel void for the right clothing.
4) Patagonia uses an environmentally sustainable process to waterproof its square Black Hole Duffel Bag 45L, which slides easily into overhead compartments. You can carry it as a shoulder bag, a backpack (the straps tuck away when not in use), or a briefcase, and there’s an external space for magazines and a laptop, plus multiple pockets for pens, a passport, a phone, and other necessities. Its clamshell opening style and interior mesh barriers let you view contents and divide smaller items such as socks and underwear among individual compartments.
5) Filson’s USA-made bags come with a lifetime warranty and gain a patina over time. Crafted from waxed cotton that you can re-treat when needed for water resistance, the Medium Tin Cloth Field Duffle’s 68-liter capacity is big enough for a long-weekend escape, and it’s fully lined, with two interior pockets to keep contents organized.
Top photo: Courtesy of Chris Plavidal