Best Duffel Bags

Best Duffel Bags

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We always tell our Wildland guests to bring a durable and reliable duffel bag if they’re joining us for an international hiking vacation. But what, exactly, do we mean by that? Well, it’s time to answer that question with this roundup of the Best Duffel Bags for Adventure Travel. We’ll discuss our favorite duffels on the market, what makes them ideal for adventurous travel, and the pros and cons of each option so you can make the best decision for yourself. So, no matter if you’re joining Wildland on a Norway Hiking Tour or exploring the Andes on a Peru Hiking Trip, or planning you’re own adventure that needs some extra luggage, you have all the information and options available to find the perfect duffel for your travels!

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Honorable Mentions

KEY CONSIDERATIONS for the best Duffel Bag for Adventure Travel

What is an “Adventure Duffel”?

Most of us are familiar with the basic premise of the classic duffel. It’s a soft-sided travel bag that often comes with handles and a shoulder sling and has a capacity of 30 to 60+ liters. The overall shape is also noticeably more rounded than that of the classic suitcase, making duffels easier to squeeze into tight places like airplanes, cars, and trains. But when we add the word “adventure” to the mix, it gives this workhorse of a travel bag a whole new complexion.

First off, adventure travel duffels typically take their material choices to a whole new level with extra durability and – typically – some type of water repellency. But the most important difference is that a good adventure duffel typically includes shoulder straps so that the bag can be worn as a backpack. In some cases, these straps are removable, but they’re the fixture of the best travel duffels – in our opinion – as they open the door to more adventures and mobility with your luggage. Therefore, every recommendation we’re going to cover in this guide will include some form of backpack straps.

Capacity and Dimensions

Your duffel’s overall capacity will depend very much on what you’re looking for. However, we typically see options ranging anywhere from 30 to 90+ liters of storage – giving us flexibility for anything from a weekend trip to months of travel.

So think about the length of your travels, along with what type of packer you tend to be. Minimalists can err on the smaller side in order to travel light, while folks who know they want more should perhaps opt for a larger capacity bag. Generally speaking, duffel bags in the 40 to 70-liter range tend to be the most common sight. Any smaller and you may run out of room for longer trips, and any larger is heading towards an intense piece of luggage that may be a pain to lug around.

Internal Storage

This is an important point for most travelers! Do you want built-in storage pockets/compartments, or do you prefer a vast, untarnished space for your packing?

All duffel bags have the main packing compartment, but some also include several smaller pockets, sleeves, and compartments where you can organize your gear and keep things separated. This may be especially useful for folks who tend to travel with a computer or multiple electronics or simply enjoy keeping everything in their own space.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are duffels that forgo this extra organization and simply provide a single, large open space for you to pack any way you like. This variation can be especially attractive for travelers who like to use packing cubes to do their own organization. Conversely, folks who scoff at the idea of over-separating their clothes and gear may love this stuff-it approach where they can just put all their stuff in a single compartment.

For our part, we tend to like a balance between these two options: a nice large space for packing the primary clothes combined with one or two additional pockets that, for example, can be used for shoes, electronics, or toiletries. But think about what you need out of your luggage and packing style, and you’re sure to find the best adventure travel duffel for you.

Weatherproofing and Durability

Solid weatherproofing is a common feature on the best duffel bags. These bags are designed to withstand more elements than regular luggage and should protect your gear as you travel to more remote, adventurous, and wild places. However, if this feature matters to you, it’s very important to note whether your perspective bag is entirely waterproof or just water resistant.

Water-resistant bags often include heavy-duty fabric combined with a DWR treatment that helps the bag shed water. However, prolonged exposure to rain or moisture may allow some water intrusion. But for many travel scenarios, a solid weather-resistant coating should serve you well—unless you plan on using your adventure travel duffel as a dual-purpose hiking bag or you anticipate encountering a lot of rain on your travels. If the latter scenarios sound more like you or you simply prefer to be on the safe side, then look for 100% waterproof bags.

Manufacturers will often deploy their own proprietary waterproofing technology for their bags, but TPU coatings are often a key layer of protection as they do an excellent job of blocking out moisture. Additionally, for complete protection, it’s worth checking for waterproof zippers to provide all-encompassing protection from water.


A hallmark trait of the duffel is the soft-sided construction that makes it easy to pack and store. However, some adventure travel duffels take this a step further by adopting a minimalist approach combined with lightweight materials to make an extra collapsible duffel that can be stashed in other luggage until you need it. This can be handy if you plan on coming home with more items than you left with – souvenirs galore! – or if having a second, deployable bag for your travels will help you stay organized or perhaps keep dirty gear separate from the clean.

Common Features

In addition to what we’ve talked about already, a few common features to be on the lookout for on the best adventure travel duffels are:

  • Removable Backpack Straps–Being able to remove the backpack straps completely from the bag can be incredibly useful if you need to check your duffel on a plane. Alternatively, look for straps that can be tucked in a sleeve to keep them out of the way when you’re not using them.
  • Compression Straps—These allow you to cinch down your gear within the duffel to keep everything tight, organized, and compressed for easy transport. Additionally, some duffels may include external compression straps that allow you to cinch down the entire bag, also allowing for more space-efficient transport.
  • Removable Divider—Often zippered into place, a divider can help keep dirty clothes, a shower towel, or camp shoes separate from clean and pristine clothes. But also making it removable gives you the option to include it or not, adding versatility to the duffel design.


Ah, yes, the pivotal question: “How much?” In the arena of duffel bags, we can see a vast range from $100 all the way up to almost $300. Of course, this depends heavily on the duffel capacity you choose, along with the amount of features and weatherproofing. So the takeaway here is that there’s wiggle room. If you’re looking for a basic travel duffel and don’t want to spend an arm and a leg for it, then there are options out there that will work well if you’re willing to forgo some higher-end features or materials. Conversely, if you know you travel often and want a bombproof duffel that will stay with you for years and years, then there are many options out there that will fit the bill if you’re open to a larger investment.

Patagonia Black Hole

Best Duffel Bag Overall 

  • best duffel bags patagonia black hole
  • CAPACITY: 40 liters55 liters70 liters 
  • MSRP:
    • 40 L – $159.00
    • 55 L – $169.00
    • 70 L – $199.00
  • WEATHER PROOFING: Water Resistant – TPU Laminate
  • MATERIAL: 900-denier polyester ripstop (100% postconsumer recycled)
    • 40 L – 2 lbs 7.5 oz
    • 55 L – 3 lbs 1.4 oz
    • 70 L – 3 lbs 11.6 oz

PROS: Very durable – Recycled material – Fully removable backpack straps – Trim, easy-t0-use design

CONS: Expensive – Not 100% waterproof

LOOKING CLOSER: When it comes to adventurous travel, you can’t go wrong with choosing the Patagonia Black Hole duffel for your luggage. The overall design is sleek and unencumbered, with one externally accessible pocket along with one or two internal mesh pockets (depending on which size you choose), leaving a very large and uncluttered main compartment for all your packing needs. We especially like that the backpack straps are 100% removable, making it easy to convert the Black Hole into a classic duffel when you need it – this is especially useful if you need to check it for flying. With 900-Denier ripstop polyester, this bag is essentially bombproof and we’re always pleased with Patagonia’s focus on sustainability by using 100% recycled materials for this bag. Keep in mind, however, that this bag is not 100% waterproof – the TPU coating deflects a good amount of water and provides decent weather resistance for most scenarios, but your items won’t be completely sealed against the elements.

For such a premium-level bag, you can expect to pay premium prices, and the Patagonia Black Hole is one of the more expensive options on our list. But for performance, comfort, and reliability wherever your adventures take you, this is easily one of the best adventure travel duffels on the market today.

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Outdoor Research CarryOut

Runner Up: Best Duffel Bag

  • best duffel bags outdoor research carryoutCAPACITY: 40 liters65 liters80 liters 
  • MSRP:
    • 40 L – $135.00
    • 65 L – $155.00
    • 80 L – $175.00
  • WEATHER PROOFING: VERY Water Resistant – PU Coating
  • MATERIAL: 420 Denier Ripstop Nylon
    • 40 L – 1 lbs 14.5 oz
    • 65 L – 2 lbs 3.5 oz
    • 80 L – 2 lbs 6.4 oz

PROS: External compression straps – Internal dirty clothes pocket – Competitive pricing – Highly water resistant

CONS: Minimal internal organization

LOOKING CLOSER: Outdoor Research provides a very compelling adventure-focused duffel with their CarryOut line. First off, we love the exterior compression straps – allowing you to cinch down loads for trim and space-efficient travel. This can be particularly useful if you’re trying to bring the 40L version on a plane as a carry-on bag. Zooming out, the PU-coated ripstop nylon is durable and does an excellent job of shedding rain and moisture to protect your belongings. Our only wish here is that Outdoor Research went one step further and included waterproof zippers to complete this protection from moisture. Regardless, an intuitive layout – complete with an internal dirty clothes pocket and external convenience pocket – combined with removable backpack straps, along with a competitive price and relatively low weight, make the Outdoor Research CarryOut a phenomenal option and definitely one of the best duffel bags out there.

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The North Face Base Camp Voyager

Best Duffel Bag for Organization

  • best duffel bags the north face base camp voyagerCAPACITY: 32 liters42 liters62 liters 
  • MSRP:
    • 32 L – $125.00
    • 42 L – $135.00
    • 62 L – $155.00
  • WEATHER PROOFING: Water Resistant – TPU Laminate
  • MATERIAL: 300 Denier recycled Polyester
    • 32 L – 2 lbs
    • 42 L – 2 lbs 5 oz
    • 62 L – 2 lbs 13 oz

PROS: Adjustable internal divider – Padded laptop sleeve – Decent price – Handy 32L version available for quick trips

CONS: Modular divider may be overkill for some – Slightly boxier shape than other options

LOOKING CLOSER: The Base Camp Voyager duffel bag from The North Face has a lot to offer in the realm of organization. First off, the main compartment features a unique series of loops that the modular divider attaches to – allowing you to customize the divider’s position to suit your needs. Maybe you want the main compartment split 50-50 for packing, or perhaps you only want a small separated section for some electronics – it’s all possible with this design. While we’re talking electronics, the Base Camp Voyager also has a dedicated, padded laptop sleeve, which is a fairly unique feature among duffel bags. However, if you’re not traveling with a laptop, this may feel like unused packing space that’s hard to utilize. Continuing on the theme of organization, The North Face also includes a separate shoe/dirty clothes pocket along with a general-purpose item sleeve for documents, tickets, passports, and so on.

So overall, the Base Camp Voyager offers outstanding organization that sets it apart from much of the competition. The bag itself also comes for a solid, mid-range price and weight, making it one of the best duffel bags for your future travels.

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REI Big Haul

Best Duffel Bag for Overall Value

  • best duffel bags rei big haul
  • CAPACITY: 40 liters60 liters90 liters 
  • MSRP:
    • 40 L – $119.00
    • 60 L – $139.00
    • 90 L – $159.00
  • MATERIAL: 400 Denier Ripstop Nylon
    • 40 L – 2 lbs 2.5 oz
    • 60 L – 2 lbs 9 oz
    • 90 L – 2 lbs 15 oz

PROS: Competitively priced – External compression straps – Vast and uncluttered internal compartment for packing

CONS: Minimal weatherproofing – Few pockets

LOOKING CLOSER: Sneaking in slightly cheaper than comparable competitors, the REI Big Haul offers excellent value for a well-rounded product that can hold its own wherever your adventures take you. Specifically, the Big Haul includes handy compression straps to cinch down your packing, along with a tough ripstop nylon build and removable duffel handles. Inside, we have a minimalist approach with a vast space in the main compartment for your packing – no dividers or additional compartments – combined with a mesh pocket on the underside of the lid. The uncluttered approach may be a benefit or drawback depending on your packing style, but overall, the Big Haul is a very solid performer and, of course, includes backpack straps that can be stashed into a sleeve if you’re not using them.

It’s worth noting that the Big Haul lacks the more burly weather-proofing or durability of other duffel bags. Therefore, if you envision encountering wet weather while traveling with this bag, or you simply want the added reassurance of significant weather protection, then the Big Haul may not be your top choice. Nevertheless, for a very accessible price and solid features, the Big Haul is easily one of the best duffel bags out there.

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Mystery Ranch Mission Stuffel

Best Duffel Bag for Packability and low weight

  • best duffel bags mystery ranch mission stuffelCAPACITY: 30 liters45 liters60 liters 
  • MSRP:
    • 30 L – $109.00
    • 45 L – $119.00
    • 60 L – $129.00
  • MATERIAL: 330 Denier Hitra Robic nylon
    • 30 L – 1 lbs 3 oz
    • 45 L – 1 lbs 6 oz
    • 60 L – 1 lbs 8 oz

PROS: Super lightweight – Stuffs down very small – Very durable design – Great price

CONS: No weatherproofing – Backpack straps are not padded – Very basic/minimal design

LOOKING CLOSER: If you’re looking for the type of duffel that can simply disappear into a bag when you’re not using it, look no further than the Mystery Ranch Mission Stuffel. This bag weighs significantly less than the competition and disappears into its own boot compartment to take up minimal space in your other bag/luggage. Of course, it’s a bit of a niche bag and would work well for folks who tend to pick up a lot of souvenirs while traveling or anticipate needing to split their gear between two bags (maybe if you’re hiking and have a shuttle service take some of your luggage ahead). Additionally, be aware that the Stuffel is a minimalist-focused bag (in order to keep the weight/bulk low), but we still have a separate boot/dirty clothes compartment and two internal mesh pockets. But overall, don’t expect all the same features, gear loops, sleeves, dividers, or carrying comfort that we see on other bags. However, the Stuffel is available for noticeably less than the competition and still gets the job done, cementing its spot as one of the best duffel bags for travelers looking for an entry-level option or needing a very stash-able bag.

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Honorable Mentions

Best Duffel Bags

Black Diamond Stonehauler Pro

  • best duffel bags black diamond stonehaulerCAPACITY: 30 liters45 liters60 liters 
  • MSRP:
    • 30 L – $179.95
    • 45 L – $199.95
    • 60 L – $189.95
  • MATERIAL: 600 Denier Recycled Polyester
    • 30 L – 2 lbs 5 oz
    • 45 L – 2 lbs 8 oz
    • 60 L – 2 lbs 10 oz

PROS: Laptop sleeve – Isolated and cinch-able internal stash pocket – Burly design – Removable backpack straps

CONS: Expensive – Features may be overkill for some

LOOKING CLOSER: If you want a duffel that can seamlessly blend technical outdoor adventures with travel, then the StoneHauler from Black Diamond may be the perfect option. Black Diamond designed this duffel with rock climbing in mind; So we have bombproof materials, accessible gear loops, and a large internal skirt that can be cinched closed to separate dirty gear. This skirt – called the DirtBag – works well for climbing ropes, chalk bags, and other technical gear, but it also works perfectly for dirty clothes and shoes that need to be separated from your clean clothes. Additionally, Black Diamond gave another nod to general travel by including a fully-padded laptop sleeve in the design. So, as far as bombproof and feature-rich duffel bags go, the StoneHauler is a phenomenal choice. However, be aware that the high price reflects these premium features, but the extra investment may be worth it for one of the best duffel bags for adventuring.

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Osprey Transporter

  • best duffel bags osprey transporterCAPACITY: 40 liters65 liters95 liters 
  • MSRP:
    • 40 L – $160.00
    • 65 L – $180.00
    • 95 L – $200.00
  • WEATHER PROOFING: Basic weather resistance with TPU coating (Waterproof Version Available) 
  • MATERIAL: 900 Denier Recycled Polyester
    • 40 L – 2 lbs 8 oz
    • 65 L – 3 lbs
    • 95 L – 3 lbs 6 oz

PROS: Very comfortable backpack straps – Incredibly durable material – Excellent design and premium materials

CONS: Expensive – Feels slightly heavier and bulkier than other options

LOOKING CLOSER: Osprey has created a well-deserved reputation for quality products in the adventure industry over the years, and the Transporter Duffel follows that trend. The overall build quality is outstanding, and the thick 900 Denier material is exceptionally rugged and can stand up to just about anything. Zooming in, the backpack strap system is among the finest among duffel bags and almost feels like you’re carrying a purpose-built hiking backpack instead of a duffel. The beefy construction adds some weight to the Transporter, however, and this is among the heaviest duffels on our list. But overall, it’s an outstanding product that (to us) is a no-brainer to include among the best duffel bags for adventure travel.

In conclusion, the 100% waterproof version of the Transporter is extremely impressive and will certainly protect your gear from absolutely everything the weather can throw at you. But be aware that the price tag certainly reflects this monumental jump in water repellency.

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Mystery Ranch Misson Duffel

  • best duffel bags mystery ranch missionCAPACITY: 40 liters55 liters90 liters 
  • MSRP:
    • 40 L – $199.00
    • 55 L – $229.00
    • 90 L – $299.00
  • WEATHER PROOFING: Weather resistant – TPU-coating option will be best
  • MATERIAL: Varies – waxed nylon, Cordura, or TPU-coated nylon (See bag specs)
    • 40 L – 3 lbs 1.6 oz
    • 55 L – 3 lbs 6.4 oz
    • 90 L – 4 lbs 3.2 oz

PROS: Well-designed backpack straps with load lifters – Deployable shoulder sling/strap for more carrying options – Multiple external and internal pockets for maximum organization

CONS: Very expensive

LOOKING CLOSER: Mystery Ranch didn’t pull any punches with their Mission Duffel, and went to great lengths to make sure it has almost every feature we could ask for. First, the removable shoulder sling combined with stash-able backpack straps offers plenty of carrying options depending on what you want. The backpack straps themselves are well-padded and include load lifters that provide more of a hiking pack feel in terms of support and comfort. We also have a ton of pockets to choose from: A large shoe or dirty clothes pocket and a small item pocket accessible from the outside, along with four interior mesh pockets for optimal organization. All these features bump up the price to make the Mission Duffel one of the most expensive on our list, but overall, it may certainly be worth it for the premium features it offers.

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Why Trust Us?

Choosing the right outdoor gear and apparel can be difficult. But at Wildland Trekking, we live and work with hiking gear every single day. It’s an integral part of what we do, and we understand better than anyone how important it is to have the right equipment. In addition to our vast knowledge of backpacking gear, we also offer:

  • Independence – our recommendations are not influenced by partnerships or sponsorships with outdoor gear and apparel manufacturers.
  • Experience – as one of America’s top guide companies, we take 8,000-10,000 people on hiking and backpacking tours annually. Since our inception in 2005, we have guided more than 75,000 people into the wilderness.
  • Cutting Edge Knowledge – we regularly attend trade shows and pay close attention to the leading edge of new developments.
  • Up To Date Recommendations – we update our recommendations regularly as new products are developed and released.
  • Dedication to our Readers – we know that the gear we select as our top picks will end up in the field with our readers, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We view our readers as guests on our guided trips, just without the guides. We are committed to helping you be as well-outfitted and prepared as possible for your adventures.

*Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. At no cost to you, we earn a commission on any products purchased through these links. Any proceeds go to supporting our blog and operations. These affiliate links do not influence the products that we include in our gear round-ups. We only recommend products that we 100% support and that we have used in the field.