The Best Duffel Bags

Review by: Craig Delger, April 2014




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I evaluated the current offering of duffel bags for features, durability, weight and usability. Based on those evaluations I selected 5 duffel bags to present to you. Over the years my collection of duffel bags get more use than any other gear in my possession. My duffel bags are used when hauling gear to ski races, keeping things organized during multi-day river raft trips, and pulling duty as carry on travel luggage.

For my own collection of duffel bags I have two primary use cases for them.

I have the duffel bags that get placed up in the roof rack, along with numerous race skis, ski poles, etc. Those duffel bags need to be very durable, and have some pretty good water resistance, but they don't need to be waterproof

I look for long narrow shapes in those bags, and prefer bags that don't have a lot of external straps or lash points that can get hung up on things while trying to get them into and out of the roof rack.

The second type of duffel bags I use are ones that I stack in the back of our Toyota Sequoia during our trips, and that we can also travel with on airplanes... some we carry on, some we check in.

For those I like a rectangle shape vs. a round shape... and that is simply because I feel I can pack them more effectively, and stack them more effectively in our vehicle.

I don't worry as much about water resistance for those duffel bags, preferring to use bags with a softer, more flexible ballistic fabric than the more durable, but less forgiving poly eurethane coated duffel bags.

I do like at least 1 internal pocket, and for my travel duffel bags, I prefer a pocket on each end.

When it comes to duffel bags with backpack straps, I prefer to have them, and prefer to have the option to remove them... or store them away when I am not using them just so they don't catch on ski brakes, or get tangled with other bags I am taking.... and you don't want lose straps if you are checking bags in when traveling on an airplane because they get snagged in conveyor belts.

The last thing I want to talk about is the type of opening in a bag. I prefer a "D" shaped opening so that I can open the lid up nice and wide and get it out of my way.

If I am looking for a more water resistant or waterproof duffel bag, I like the roll top enclosure like on this Dry Creek™ Duffel over a waterproof zipper, because they are more durable and easier to operate.

In addition to the top 5 duffel bags displayed in the grid below, you may also want to consider the SealLine Zip Duffle, Hummingbird Carousel Water Proof Travel Bag, and the Simms Dry Creek Duffel if you are after a waterproof duffel.

Other bags we liked but did not include in our Top 5 are the Big Agnes Road Tripper Duffle and the Montane Transition Duffle.

View our video on duffel bags, and look over our product comparison grid to help you make an informed buying decision.

Product Review Videos
Mammut Cargon Duffel Review
Mammut Cargon Duffel Review

The Mammut Cargon Duffel was awarded the Editor's Choice Award in the The Best Duffel Bags review for it well thought out features and quality construction. The standout feature is that the backpack shoulder straps have quick disconnect buckles and store into an external pocket. That along with external pockets at either end of the bag make it ideal for travel. Read Full Review

The North Face Base Camp Duffel Review
The North Face Base Camp Duffel Review

The North Face Base Camp Duffel is the most popular bag we tested in The Best Duffel Bags review, selling far better than the second best selling bag which is the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel. While it is the best selling duffel bag, it is far from being the best duffel bag we reviewed. The North Face has not updated this bag for at least 12 years, and it is time they did as other bags are much better. Read Full Review

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Review
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Review

The Patagonia Black Hole Duffel came in a very close second place to the Mammut Cargon Duffel in The Best Duffel Bags review. We really liked the style of the bag, and its features. The fabric and color options were the most popular with the reviewers. The external pocket and size options makes the Black Hole Duffel an excellent choice for travel, and the padded bottom helps protect the bags contents. Read Full Review



Ranking #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Product Name
Mammut Cargon Duffle
The North Face Base Camp Duffel
The North Face Base Camp Duffel

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel

Mountain Hardwear Expedition Duffel

Osprey Transporter
Price $129.95 - $179.95
(Find Best Price)
$95.96 - $170.00
(Find Best Price)
$69.00 - $159.00
(Find Best Price)
$84.95 - $169.95
(Find Best Price)
$99.00 - $100.00
(Find Best Price)
Awards Editors' Choice Most Popular Most Popular
Customer Rating
GearBuyer Rating Meter Meter Meter Meter Meter
Features
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
8
Packability
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
Durability
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Weight
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
Weather Resistance
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
7
Pros Rectangle shape "stacks" better than round shape. Softer upper material makes it easier to "stuff" into cramped areas in a vehicle or on an airplane. Good all around feature rich duffel that is durable. Good balance of lightweight and durable. Variety of storage pockets, durable, water resistant. Lightweight and great for travel.
Cons Not as durable or water resistant due to its lighter weight fabric that is not urethane coated. Round shape does not "stack" into the back of a truck as well as rectangle shape bags do. Not as durable or water resistant due to its lighter weight fabric that is not urethane coated.
Size Options (Liters) 40L, 60L, 90L, 110L, 140L 25L, 42L, 70L, 90L, 140L, 155L 45L, 60L, 90L, 100L, 120L 45L, 90L, 131L
Back Pack Straps YES YES YES YES YES
Number Of Pockets 4 2 4 5 4

Other Duffel Bags To Consider



Backpack Straps Storage Pocket on the Mammut Cargon

Backpack Straps Storage Pocket on the Mammut Cargon



Backpack Straps Quick Disconnect on the Mammut Cargon

Backpack Straps Quick Disconnect on the Mammut Cargon



Durability of The North Face Base Camp Duffel fabric

Durability of The North Face Base Camp Duffel fabric. After 12 years of use it is starting to get some holes.