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The Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks

A person standing outside in a light blue short sleeve shirt wears the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L backpack, in black with a gray llama-head logo and aqua accents.

By Kit Dillon

Kit Dillon is a writer focused on bags and travel gear. He has worked for Wirecutter for a decade and lost count of the number of bags he has tested.

When you open up your favorite carry-on travel backpack, it should feel like you’re opening the door to a well-organized closet or sitting down at a clean desk, with everything in the right place and easy to reach.

This is your moment to center yourself, no matter how chaotic the journey.

What we considered

A 45-liter bag maximizes overhead space but can get heavy when fully packed; 35-liter bags tend to be more manageable.

A bag with a clamshell design opens like a book and is the easiest to pack, but a bag that opens traditionally tends to have more structure.

Ideally, a travel backpack has handles on all sides—especially the bottom—so you can pull it out of overhead bins or from under seats.

Some internal pockets are useful, but major organizing is better managed with packing cubes.

The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack and the larger Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L offer the best combination of features, quality, and durability. Both bags are exemplary carry-on travel backpacks that are designed for comfort, durability, and organization. Though these backpacks are great as companion bags for any trip, they’re designed to ultimately replace all of your other luggage and become your exclusive bag as you travel.

This style of packing is not for everyone, but once some people try it, they’re forever hooked. Finding the right bag is a personal choice, though, and no single bag will appeal to everyone. That’s why we also have picks that are great for people who travel for work , others that are designed to be carried over long distances , and a bag that’s basically luggage on your back .

The research

Why you should trust us, who this is for, best small carry-on bag for most situations: cotopaxi allpa 35l travel pack, best large bag for most situations: peak design travel backpack 45l, best mobile office: patagonia black hole mlc 45l, best bag for long journeys on foot: osprey farpoint 40 and fairview 40, best bag if you need a large suitcase on your back: tortuga travel backpack pro 40l, other good carry-on travel backpacks, how we picked and tested, the competition.

I’ve been covering aspects of luggage and travel bag design for Wirecutter for nearly a decade, and I have personally researched, tested, and compared hundreds of bags in that time. I personally try to do most of my travel with a single backpack, whenever possible. I spent nine months roaming around Hawaii with not much more than that, and I spent another six months nomadically couch-surfing in New York City.

I reached out to writers who specialize in traveling the world carrying everything they need in a single bag: Eytan Levy, the owner and operator of the Snarky Nomad travel website; James Feess, founder of The Savvy Backpacker ; and Sharon Gourlay, of the Where’s Sharon? travel website. I also spoke with moderators of Reddit’s r/onebag and r/heronebag forums, as well as with Chase Reeves, bag fanatic, reviewer, and owner of Matterful .

We researched and tested bags designed for those who want to travel light and stay flexible while flying, without the burden of checking luggage. For some people, the challenge of cutting down a packing list is intimidating. But if you can get past that initial hurdle, traveling with a single bag is a revelation. With fewer items, you have more time to concentrate on and appreciate the journey.

  • When you’re not loaded down by heavy luggage, it’s easy to remain more mobile. And it’s easier to adjust your plans mid-trip. If you’re willing to do laundry on the road, then one bag is all you need to travel indefinitely. At its heart, one-bag travel allows you to discover more—not just about the places you’re going but also about yourself and what you really need day to day.
  • Size and weight still matter. If you desire more creature comforts or more gear, or if you plan to be away for a long time across multiple climates, you’ll want a bigger travel backpack . These larger bags tend not to be carry-on-friendly, however, especially in Europe, so be prepared to check them.
  • No single backpack is perfect for everyone. Before you make any purchase, consider some basic points. How much can you carry? And where do you usually visit: the city or outback? Travel gear should feel like a welcome companion—there to support you when you need it but unobtrusive when you don’t.

45-liter bag vs. 35-liter bag

A graphic comparing the difference in capacity between a 45-liter and a 35-liter backpack.

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L

A versatile small pack for a week or a weekend.

This durable bag’s clamshell design makes it easy to organize your stuff. And due to its strap design, this bag can be worn on your back or carried in your hand while you’re on the move.

Buying Options

The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack is an easy-to-organize, comfortable-to-carry bag for getaways lasting just a few days or a whole week.

It’s one bag that can do it all. This is a great all-around bag for any traveler who’s dedicated to packing light, or for a smaller person who wants less to carry. There are handles on all four sides of this bag, so it’s easy to grab no matter where you’ve stowed it. It’s also protected by a full lifetime warranty, and it has the build quality to back that up. After more than four years of testing, this single backpack (plus a personal item ) has replaced nearly every travel bag or piece of luggage I use.

It comes in various sizes, but we think the middle-of-the-road version is the best. Cotopaxi also makes the Allpa in 28-liter and 42-liter sizes. But for us, the 35-liter bag is the best option. At 42 liters, this bag becomes heavy for most people to carry when it is fully packed, and we’d prefer that it had a more-robust hip belt. At 28 liters, the bag becomes a touch small for most people, and its internal organization feels fussy for shorter trips, such as an overnight. Cotopaxi also makes a hip pack , which is designed to fit snugly into the Allpa bag’s front top compartment. It’s a neat little addition to the bag, and it is worth getting if you like wearing fanny packs while you travel.

It’s organized, easy to pack, and easy to carry. The Allpa bag has a clamshell design, so it opens like a hard-sided suitcase—a large YKK zipper runs around three sides of the bag, allowing it to fall open into two halves when unzipped. On the right side is a deep compartment, spacious enough for two large packing cubes or half a suitcase’s worth of clothing (which you access through a mesh zippered flap). On the left, there’s space for one more medium-size packing cube behind a zippered flap. Above that there are two smaller pockets with high-visibility backing—useful when you’re looking for hard-to-differentiate personal items.

The packed Cotopaxi Allpa Travel Pack, shown fully open so that the contents are accessible.

It’s secure but still accessible. The Allpa pack has two side-access zippers—great for on-the-go access, especially when the bag is hanging from your shoulder. One of these reveals a flat computer pocket with a padded false bottom; so if you drop the bag, it won’t land on the corner of your computer. The other reveals a “secret” pocket with a hidden zipper and access to the main compartment. All of the main compartment zippers are protected by security loops, which you thread the zipper through at the end of its run. This prevents anyone from subtly or quickly grabbing a zipper and opening your bag when you aren’t paying attention.

It’s comfortable to carry. The Allpa bag’s hip belt—which can be removed while the bag is on your back—is substantial enough that it’s comfortable to wear when you need it. With or without the hip belt, the Allpa bag is comfortable to carry over long distances. However, folks who have longer torsos (over 19 inches) may find that the waist belt sits a little high off the hips, unless you fully extend the shoulder straps. Speaking of shoulder straps, unlike the ones on our other picks, the Allpa bag’s straps are contoured to fit people who have large or small chests. It’s not a specifically gendered design, but our female tester noticed the improvement right away.

The Allpa pack is made with 1680-denier ballistic nylon, similar to the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 . (Denier is a measure of a fabric’s fiber thickness.) It feels similar to a strong canvas, but it has a more prominent weave. This is the type of bag that’s as easy to toss into an overhead compartment as it is into the back of a rusty pickup truck. And it also includes a rainfly, which is unique in this category.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

  • Though this pack is well organized for packing, it’s less ideal as a mobile office. The Allpa pack has a minimal amount of administrative organization—places to keep pens and papers, spaces to hold tickets, and so forth. This is where a good personal item comes in handy. However, if you want to travel with just this one bag, there are a few nooks you can hide things in. The front organizer is deep enough that you can also fit several small organizing pouches, if you want, or the aforementioned fanny pack.
  • We prefer the model without the TPU front. Cotopaxi does enjoy playing around with fabrics and colors. Sometimes the company has released the Allpa pack without the TPU-lined front panel. The TPU panel improves water resistance, but after many years of traveling with our bag, we’ve found that the TPU layering can begin to flake in spots.

Capacity: 35 liters Weight: 3 pounds 5 ounces Main compartment access: clamshell opening Style: adventurous Colors: assorted

A person stands by a wooden fence outdoors while wearing the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L, our larger pick for the best carry-on travel backpack.

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L

An easily customizable large bag for long trips and expensive gear.

This bag was built with photographers in mind. Yet most travelers will appreciate its easy accessibility, clever tuck-away straps, and the elegant way the bag expands and contracts. The accessory cubes cost extra, though.

The Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L is a good choice for those carrying more expensive gear—especially camera gear. It’s also great for those who prefer a large, backpack-based packing system.

One bag provides many configurations. Some bags in this category are built to do one thing extremely well—be carried on your back. But the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L is built to adapt. It’s the Swiss Army knife of backpacks: adjustable, customizable, and (if you spring for the extra cubes and organizers) an almost perfect system for a photographer or gearhead on the move. Most bags’ expanding mechanisms aren’t worth the extra zipper they’re built on, and they look about as attractive as a boiled ham splitting out of its plastic packaging. That’s not the case with the Peak Design: This bag looks just as good fully packed at 45 liters as it does compressed to a 30-liter daypack.

It’s expandable, with clever folds and zippers. You can access the bag through a back panel (which doubles as a computer and tablet pouch) as well as a front one (if you unzip the pass-through divider). You can also get into the main compartment via two wing-like trapezoidal flaps, which run along each side of the pack. In its natural shape, the Travel Backpack holds 35 liters, but an expansion zipper lets the bag swell to 45 liters. If you want to use the bag as a daypack, you fold in the top corners and snap them down, reducing the bag’s volume to a slim 30 liters. In this configuration, it will still feel larger than a normal daypack, but we think that’s a small compromise for being able to use one backpack as both your travel bag and your daily explorer. The bag itself consists of 400-denier nylon and polyester fabrics. It feels tough but not as tough as some other bags we’ve tested, such as the Cotopaxi Allpa.

It has fold-away straps, for easier storage. The Peak Design lets you tuck its shoulder and hip straps away when you’re not using them. But unlike any other bag we’ve ever tested, this pack has magnetic flaps on the back panel that open and close with an almost magical snap. Once you’ve played with them, you’ll wonder why every backpack doesn’t have something similar. A small, childish part of me still gets excited about tucking away the straps when I put the Peak Design into an overhead bin. Although the straps are thin, they’re still comfortable. The hip belt isn’t quite as plush as the one on the Tortuga pack; still, even when the Peak Design is fully loaded, the belt doesn’t pinch or dig into the body.

It’s great for carrying expensive gear. If you travel with a camera, you don’t have to use Peak Design’s camera cubes , but they do make carrying that gear a whole lot easier. The cubes come in five sizes. And if they’re situated properly in the bag with the provided clips, they line up with the Travel Backpack’s side-access flaps for quick access. Caleigh Waldman (a photographer for this piece and, full disclosure, my spouse) took this bag across the country for a wedding shoot. “I want this backpack,” she said after three weeks of travel. “I want to travel with it everywhere. With my cameras. Without my cameras. It doesn’t matter. I want to travel with it.”

  • It’s expensive—especially if you commit to the entire system of packing and camera cubes.
  • More complexity means more things that can break. The adjustable design and multiple zippers do add complexity, and complexity adds potential weaknesses. Peak Design covers all of its bags with a lifetime warranty , which should alleviate most people’s concerns. But if you’re particularly hard on your gear and still need to carry as much as possible, you might consider the Tortuga bag instead.

Capacity: 45 liters Weight: 4½ pounds Main compartment access: back-panel loader Style: minimalist and unobtrusive Color: black, sage

The Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L, our also-great pick for the best carry-on travel backpack, is held in midair by a person wearing a plaid shirt.

Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L

Combines more organization with a simple interior.

This bag’s split interior makes organizing easy. Those who travel for work will appreciate this bag’s dedicated panels for organizing tech, books, papers, and assorted miscellaneous items.

If you travel often for business and prefer a bag that’s much easier to work out of than most of our other picks, you may like the Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L . This bag has a front panel and assorted pockets that make it feel like a small traveling office.

It’s built like luggage but organized like your office. Of all the bags we recommend, the MLC (short for Maximum Legal Carry) comes closest to being a suitcase on your back, due to its large size, simple interior, and minimal external features. The MLC is also one of the simplest bags we tested, divided into two leaves (imagine a book with only one page), with a main compartment for packing and a second compartment for document organization and tech storage. The MLC has a built-in laptop compartment that fits 17-inch laptops and is situated close to your back; this protects the computer and keeps its weight closer to your body.

Despite its size, it’s comfortable enough to carry. Most carry-on backpacks of this size, without frames, become somewhat unwieldy when fully packed. Thankfully, the Black Hole MLC bag, like the Cotopaxi Allpa, is a welcome exception to this rule. The MLC has two shoulder straps, a hip belt, and an optional shoulder strap, for easy carrying. When they're not in use, or when you’re checking your bag, all of the straps can be stowed away easily. When fully loaded, the bag was pleasant to carry—not as comfortable as the Peak Design or the Osprey, but decent enough. I wouldn’t want to carry it all day across a city, but I wouldn’t mind carrying it through an airport to a car and to a hotel.

It’s built from high-quality materials, with durability in mind. This pack is made from recycled polyester, and the fabric is woven in a cross-weave that’s very similar to what Patagonia uses in its long-lasting Black Hole series of duffle bags . This is a material I’ve come across a bunch with Patagonia gear, and I’ve tested it thoroughly; it’s very tough. The front of the bag is coated in a weather-resistant TPU, for extra protection from the elements. The bag has large YKK zippers (the industry leader) and smaller YKK zippers throughout. Unlike the Cotopaxi Allpa pack, the Black Hole MLC bag has no security loops.

It comes with one of the best repair programs and a lifetime warranty. Similar to our other picks, the MLC is backed by an excellent lifetime warranty , and we’ve always found that Patagonia’s repair program goes above and beyond other comparable companies.

  • We wish the Maximum Legal Carry (despite the name) came in a few more sizes. The 45-liter capacity may be intimidating for some people, and there is no alternative.

Capacity: 45 liters Weight: 3 pounds 10 ounces Main compartment access: clamshell Style: retro Colors: tan, black, olive, green

The Osprey Farpoint/ Fairview 40 Travel Pack, one of our also-great picks for the best carry-on travel backpack, shown in black.

Osprey Farpoint 40

For long distances on foot.

A great starter option for one-bag travel, this bag is easy to pack, adaptable to most situations, and sturdy enough to take with you as you travel the world.

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Osprey Fairview 40

For long distances and smaller torsos.

A scaled-down version of the Farpoint, this bag has shoulder straps that are slightly lower, to keep the bag’s bulk more aligned with smaller torsos.

Updated in 2023, the Osprey Farpoint 40 and Fairview 40 packs are both built around a hiking backpack frame that’s easy to carry over long distances.

It’s built for travel but designed for hiking. The Farpoint 40 bag is well made, easy to pack, and comfortable to carry over most mid-length distances—such as walking across a city for an afternoon. (For simplicity’s sake, everything we say here about the Farpoint bag also applies to the Fairview bag.) Osprey makes excellent backpacks for hauling around, and its lifetime warranty is renowned within the industry . The Farpoint pack also has an optional messenger bag–style strap, which offers some flexibility when you’re maneuvering tight spaces like subways or crowded city centers.

View of the straps on the reverse of the Osprey travel backpack.

It’s simple to pack, but not as spacious as it seems. Opening the bag reveals a clamshell design; it’s deep enough to accommodate most large items, yet you won’t have to fumble awkwardly with zippers once it’s time to close up the bag. The feeling you get is not unlike when you’re packing a bit of sturdy luggage, and that’s something we love about bags like this one—especially when you use packing cubes . Osprey says this bag, when fully packed, can carry 40 liters. But after using the Farpoint bag for a few years, we’ve decided that its rounded shape seems to cut into that theoretical packable space more than other bags do. In practice, the Farpoint pack’s available space is closer to—but still less than—that of the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L .

It’s the easiest bag to carry among our picks. Like all Osprey bags, the Farpoint 40 has very comfortable shoulder straps. The years of design and consideration Osprey has put into its hiking backpacks are quite evident in the Farpoint 40. After more than seven years of long-term testing this bag, we’re still surprised by how great it feels to wear when fully packed. Crucially, the straps of the Farpoint 40 stow away neatly behind a zippered panel. However, when you’re using the shoulder straps, the design forces you to also use the hip straps. Though this isn’t a huge issue, if you prefer a sleeker look or would rather have the option of using shoulder straps without hip straps, the Cotopaxi Allpa pack is more flexible, and it lets you hide the waist straps while the bag is on your back.

The Fairview 40 has the same features, in a scaled-down size. The Farpoint 40 and the Fairview 40 packs basically have the same design, but the Fairview pack is made for someone with a more-diminutive torso. It’s also slightly lighter. However, it has the features and durability of the Farpoint bag. It also has the same hip belt and adjustability. On both, the chest-strap clip is also equipped with a small security whistle that’s surprisingly loud. It’s a handy feature for anyone traveling in unfamiliar environments.

  • For a smaller carry-on travel backpack, this one has little to not like. However, we do wish Osprey would trade some of the sleeker contours for a little more interior space.

Capacity: 35 liters Weight (Farpoint): 3 pounds 3 ounces Weight (Fairview): 3 pounds 2 ounces Main compartment access: front-panel loader Style: active Colors (Farpoint): green (Gopher), gray (Tunnel Vision), blue (Muted Space), black Colors (Fairview): blue (Winter Night), red (Zircon), blue (Night Jungle), black

The Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L, our also-great pick for the best carry-on travel backpack.

Tortuga Travel Backpack Pro 40L

A suitcase to carry on your back.

For dedicated single-bag travelers, this water-resistant, durable bag is easy to pack and to travel with. And it’s comfortable to wear over endless miles—as long as you don’t mind the heavier weight.

The Tortuga Travel Backpack Pro 40L maximizes packing space in a bag that’s durable, water-resistant, and customizable to fit most torso lengths (there’s also a 30L version ), with plenty of organizational features to suit any digital nomad.

It’s like a suitcase, with backpack straps. The Tortuga Travel Backpack Pro 40L is built to occupy the maximum carry-on space available. It’s a nearly perfect blend of backpack and luggage. On the outside, its tear-resistant sailcloth and sealed zippers provide ample protection from sharp objects and the elements. Opening the main clamshell zipper reveals a cavernous interior and a few organizational features that make the bag a cinch to pack. The front panel is a particular standout, great for keeping track of electronics and chargers. Of all the bags we tested, the Tortuga strikes the closest balance between the carrying comfort of a hiking backpack and the space and organization of a piece of luggage.

The Tortuga Backpack Pro shown with the front clamshell lid in the open position.

It’s as easy to pack as luggage. When it comes to packing, the Tortuga pack has a soothingly minimal interior, as any good suitcase should. In addition to the bag’s cavernous main pocket, its interior lid has a large vented panel. The panel is too narrow to hold additional packing cubes, but it’s great for holding light jackets or doubling as a dirty-laundry bag (if you’re really committed to one-bag travel). The Tortuga is available as a 40-liter pack (the maximum space for a carry-on bag), which we tested; there is also a 30-liter version, which is compliant with some intra-European flights. The more-diminutive version is a decent choice for weekend travel or for minimalist travelers—but for those uses, we prefer the space-saving profile and extra internal organization of the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L bag.

It’s very customizable. The Tortuga pack is the most adjustable model we tested, thanks to its adjustable torso length, shoulder straps, and waist-belt system. The adjustable strap system lets you manipulate the location of the shoulder straps (video) to fit a wider variety of body sizes, in both the 30- and 40-liter versions. Of the packs we’ve tested, this one (with its included load-adjuster straps at the top, to prevent the bag’s weight from sagging toward your lumbar region) is the best at distributing its weight (4½ pounds when empty—roughly 1½ pounds more than most of our other picks, except the Peak Design ). The hip straps are removable if you need, but the shoulder straps are not stowable.

  • Its straps don’t stow away. Some people, especially those who are hard on their gear, may consider not being able to remove or stow the shoulder straps (as they can with our other picks, like the Cotopaxi Allpa ) a disqualifying factor. But after years of testing, traveling with, and occasionally checking our bag, we haven’t had an issue. However, if these mysteries beneath the airport also make you nervous, you might prefer our picks with easy-to-stow straps, such as the Peak Design.
  • It's heavy. We’ve also fielded complaints from some testers who said that older models of this bag were too heavy for them to carry, even with the padded hip belt and adjustable straps. The additional padding does add weight. At 4½ pounds, this latest Tortuga bag is more than half a pound lighter than it used to be—the difference is noticeable—and it weighs the same as the equally large Peak Design pack. But if you think you would struggle carrying this model, we strenuously encourage you to consider one of our more-manageable picks, like the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L.

Capacity: 40 liters Weight: 4½ pounds Main compartment access: clamshell opening Style: minimal, with a rigid construction Color: black

If you want to travel like a backpacker but also fit in at a board meeting (and you have the budget for it): Consider the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 . This bag’s reputation for durability, adaptability, and a low-key aesthetic make it a favorite among many dedicated one-bag travelers. And after testing it, we think it’s a great bag too. That said, for the bag to really stand out against other backpacks—and to take full advantage of its carrying adaptability—you need to buy the internal frame , the hip belt , and (if you’re traveling with a suit or jacket) the shoulder strap . On a bag that already costs $330, all of this adds up. Everything about the Tom Bihn bag (the fabric, the zippers, the quality of construction) feels like an upgrade from other bags, but it’s simply too pricey, and its design is too rarified and specific for most people. The biggest flaw, from our perspective—apart from the price—is that the Tom Bihn bag lacks a dedicated laptop pocket. In its place, the company sells laptop sleeves (a fine version if you don’t have one) that clip into the bag’s central compartment. Not everyone needs a dedicated laptop pocket, but we prefer the more secure feeling of bags that do.

If you want a budget pick (but only when it’s on sale): The eBags Mother Lode Travel Backpack (our former budget pick) is still your best budget option, if you can catch it on sale for at least half off the list price. It’s not comfortable enough for trekking long distances on foot, but there are plenty of external pockets for organization, a laptop sleeve (which holds the weight of your computer high up on your shoulders), and an easy-to-access main compartment. This pack also has the largest capacity of any bags we tested, expanding to 65 liters—well beyond any airline’s regulated 45-liter limit. However, the bag’s casual-to-basic looks might not be to everyone’s taste. In 2024, eBags raised the price of the Mother Lode to $200. We have seen it on sale for $100, and in our opinion it’s worth getting only at the sale price.

We’ve narrowed our specifications for a great bag to the following list of features, ordered from most relevant to least:

  • Front- or back-panel loader or clamshell opening, for the main compartment: As with any good piece of luggage, with this type of bag, you should be able to open it and see everything you’ve packed. When you have a bag with a panel-loading or clamshell design—rather than a traditional, top-opening design—you can pack and unpack it just as you would a suitcase.

A graphic illustrating a clamshell bag opening

  • Backpack strap comfort and design: You never know when you’ll be walking farther with your bag than you’d intended. The more comfortable and well designed the straps are, the easier traveling will be. “Ideally, you want a bag’s shoulder straps to adjust to the angle of your shoulders,” said Eytan Levy of Snarky Nomad. “Good shoulder straps are the difference between an easy trip and a hard trip.”
  • Hip-belt comfort and design: A hip belt transfers heavy loads from your back and shoulders onto your hips, letting your legs—not your back—bear the brunt of the weight. Just having a waist belt is a plus, but having a padded and sculpted one—especially on bags with over 40 liters of volume—makes a world of difference.
  • Material quality: Durability is critical for any type of luggage, but especially for a backpack that will be your only bag. Most bags worth considering are made of nylon, which resists abrasion more than polyester fabrics of similar density. Spending more, however, can get you exotic, light, and strong materials, such as Dyneema or sailcloth.
  • Weight: Once the bags arrived, we weighed each one ourselves. Most of the bags weighed within a few pounds of one another. But unless you’re very strict with yourself, by the time you’re packed for a two-week journey, all bags are going to feel equally massive, even if one is just 2 pounds heavier than another when empty.
  • Stowable straps: These are nice to have, but they aren’t absolutely necessary. “The more often you need to check a bag, the more often you need to hide away the straps,” Levy said. “But if the straps are tough enough, it doesn’t matter.”
  • Accessory pocket layout and design: Some people will love an accessory pocket that has a specific space for everything; others may find that feature constricting and unadaptable. We prioritized bags with simple designs that guided our packing without constraining us.
  • Style: This is purely subjective. We preferred bags that had a minimalist exterior style, but not all of our picks will please everyone. Most of the people we spoke with, however, preferred not to stick out like a tourist wearing a large, colorful backpack, if they could avoid it.

During testing, we flew across the country with these bags, took weekend trips to nearby cities, lived out of them on extended trips, and tried them locally in our daily routines. We also packed and unpacked each bag, using a standardized set of weeklong travel necessities and accessories, to see how well the internal organizational features (or lack thereof) aided or got in the way of efficient packing.

This is not a comprehensive list of all of the carry-on travel backpacks we have tested. We have removed any models that have been discontinued or that no longer meet our criteria.

The Away Outdoor Convertible Backpack 45L is a rare miss from the Away team. This bag is resoundingly average for the price. Although it’s made from excellent materials, the bag is let down by its overall design, which lacks any kind of structure or attention to comfort. There are better options.

The cheap, no-frills Cabin Max Metz bag is intriguing for the price. Any bag at this price should almost be considered disposable. That said, if you need a simple bag that costs less than a seat upgrade, this might be the way to go—unless you can pick up the eBags Motherlode bag for under $100, which we think is a better deal at that price.

The GeniusPack Travel Backpack is the only model we came across that tried to fit a suit into a travel backpack. Though some people might need that, we think those who have to travel with a suit (or clothes that require pressing) would be better off with a piece of carry-on luggage . GeniusPack now offers a second version of this bag, but our conclusion hasn’t changed.

For certain people, the GoRuck GR3 is almost worth the cost. It’s strong and simple and covered by an iron-clad repair guarantee. The removable hip belt is comfortable to wear, and it’s good at displacing the weight of a 45-liter backpack. This is a decent bag. After testing it, however, we weren’t thrilled with the internal Velcro lining for compatible Velcro packing cubes. Velcro isn’t great: It wears out, it’s difficult to keep clean, and it clings to dirt. That might seem like a small thing, but for the price, this bag should feel perfect.

The Minaal Carry-On 2.0 was designed to be a backpack for business people. But if you’re carrying it for business, you’re probably wearing at least a blazer, so you wouldn’t use a backpack in any case. If you’re a business traveler who falls more on the casual end of the business-casual spectrum, and you’re not on a budget, this is a well-thought-out pack. But we think our picks are more versatile for world travel, and they come at a better price. Minaal has since introduced a 3.0 version of this bag ; our thoughts about it remain the same.

The Osprey Sojourn Porter 46L is a slightly larger sibling of the Farpoint pack. The Sojourn Porter bag is about 2 inches longer, and it pushes right up to most airline limits. If you don’t mind possibly having to check your bag at the last minute, this would be an excellent alternative to the Farpoint pack.

This article was edited by Ria Misra and Christine Ryan.

Chase Reeves, Matterful.co , phone interview , October 10, 2018

Addison Ryan, moderator, r/onebag , email interview , September 8, 2018

Lindsay Lorraine Calderón, moderator, r/heronebag , phone interview , September 28, 2018

Meet your guide

party travel bag

Kit Dillon is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter. He was previously an app developer, oil derrick inspector, public-radio archivist, and sandwich shop owner. He has written for Popular Science, The Awl, and the New York Observer, among others. When called on, he can still make a mean sandwich.

Further reading

Four Osprey travel backpacks, two blue, two green, sitting next to each other.

The Best Travel Backpack

by Geoffrey Morrison

For trips ranging from a week to multiple months, the Osprey Farpoint 55 and Fairview 55 carried everything we needed comfortably.

A person in an outdoor environment wearing one of our picks for best buy it for life backpack with a minimalist look, the GoRuck GR1.

The Best Buy It for Life Backpack (Please Don’t Call It Tactical)

by Kit Dillon

A buy-it-for-a-lifetime backpack should last you for years of heavy use. But as with all investments, you need to decide if it makes sense for you.

Three of our favorite backpacks, totes and duffle bags on display

Wirecutter’s Favorite Bags, Totes, Backpacks and Carryalls

by Truth Headlam

Whether you’re going to school, work, the gym, the store, or on vacay, you need a bag. Here’s the Wirecutter-recommended carrying gear we love most.

Our picks for best laptop backpack pictured with school supplies.

The Best Laptop Backpacks

by Zoe Vanderweide

A great laptop backpack protects your tech, is comfortable to carry, and looks good, too. These five bags are our favorites for wrangling your workday gear.

party travel bag

  • Destinations
  • Mexico Travel News

party travel bag

What to bring to a bachelor party? – Ultimate STAG DO Plan & Ideas

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From bare necessities to legendary pranks; your bachelor party (stag do) travel bag should pack it all!

Planning a stag do isn’t all about fun! You need to book the travel tickets, hotel stays, tickets for attractions and activities, and also make sure you pack them all in. A stag weekend is supposed to be full of adventure, fun, and wild experiences, so make sure you pack light.

There are a variety of things that you should not forget to pack, and similarly, a bunch that needs to be left behind. The right way to packing essentials is to know what they are. Read further to understand what needs to go in and what needs to be thrown out of the bag:

Stag Do Costumes – Funny bachelor ideas! For Man & Woman

From swimming costumes to fancy dress; be prepared for all the fun that may come your way.  

Simply! Crazy costumes have to take part in your bachelor party packing list. Renting a costume will be an unnecessary expense, so if it already planned, then why not keep it in your travel bag? Sounds reasonable, right?

Captain Hat (Amazon US, CANADA) 

Captain Hat (Amazon UK)

You definitely need this for at least a night! To take some fun pictures..

party travel bag

Cheerleader dress for bachelor party

Under management t-shirt (us, uk, cad, sp, it, ge).

party travel bag

Partybob Stag Party Groom Costume

Superman costume for bachelor party (us, canada), inflatable penis costume funny party hats (us, cad, uk).

party travel bag

Stag Do Party Vest (UK)

Trip itinerary.

party travel bag

What will you do the next day? Isn’t it better to plan in advance to make sure the trip goes as smoothly as the party the previous night? Find out the attractions and fun-filled activities in those places and allocate a time & day to each one of them.

You can even book them beforehand to ensure the availability of all the experiences. Don’t forget to make copies and keep them in the top pocket of your travel bag.

The fact that you wish to pack light means fewer clothes whatsoever. So, a few pairs of socks, boxers, and shorts along with a variety of t-shirts and shirts. You can repeat your denim and trousers, so don’t pack one for each day.

Moreover, you have to be a fashion expert to mix and match whenever required. Pack one warm jacket and a suit if you think you might need one. The clothes can only be planned appropriately when your itinerary is finalized.

A pair of smart shoes, casual shoes, and formal shoes will be enough for a stag weekend trip. The art of making anything fashionable will make your packing comfortable and light.

Deck of cards and board games

This may come as a shock to you, but packing a deck of cards and some board games might be the best decision of your life because stag dos can be pretty tiring, which results in resting all day in your hotel rooms.

These will come in handy when you are getting bored during the day or after an all-night party when no one wants to sleep anymore.

Amazon bachelor party games bestsellers  

party travel bag

Mobile phone and charger

People don’t usually forget to pack their mobile phones, but keeping the plug charger and portable battery pack is what they often forget.

At first, it might not be an issue because one always leaves the hotel room with a 100% charge on their phones, but what about the night? When you are clicking pictures all day, won’t it drain out the battery? You cannot go back to your hotel room after every attraction you visit, so isn’t it better if you keep a portable pack in your backpack to avoid such situations? Think about it.

Money and cards

Keeping international bank cards is not advisable because it will spike up your budget, as there are massive charges on international usage.

Local bank cards and currency are advisable to avoid unnecessary charges.

Re-hydration packs

When you have already planned of getting wasted every night of the trip, then keep a box of rehydration sachets is the right way to go because it will not only keep your headaches at bay, it will also keep you energised and ready for another adventure planned the following day.

IDs and documents

DON’t FORGET! Your passport and all the other essential documents need to be on you at all times because not only is there a penalty if you get caught, but there are high chances of deportation.

In any case, why risk wasting hours with the authorities when you can party all day and night. Get a small fanny bag for such small items because it won’t take up much space and will also be convenient to carry around.

Toiletries and cosmetics

Purchasing an all-in-one shower gel is the right approach, i.e. shampoo, face wash and body wash. It will reduce your luggage space significantly. In addition to that, you should keep deodorants and an aftershave.

The most essential items in your kit are a toothbrush and paste. Other items that you can keep are wet wipes, moisturiser, sun-tan lotion (to avoid sunburns) and hand sanitiser.

Keeping a map of all the finalised locations is a wise decision. Although you must have a smartphone which is integrated with maps, what will you do when there is no network or when your battery has drained out?

A pocket-size map can be handy in such situations!

European Health Insurance Card

When the plan is finalized, apply for a European Health Insurance Card. It is a free card, and the benefits are quite amazing.

What will you do if you fall ill or get wounded during an adventure activity or something? This card will help you with the medical formalities and prevent unnecessary medical bills, which can be excessive at times.

Camera and memory cards

You cannot get the same picture clarity from a mobile phone as compared with a DSLR.

If you want to treasure your stag do memories in high-quality, then don’t forget to pack your camera and a few extra memory chips to avoid transferring data to your laptop every night.

Tickets and insurance details

Booking tickets and hotel stays in advance is wise because as already mentioned above, it ensures availability.

However, most often people forget to pack them which can be pretty devastating. Not only is it too expensive to buy another one, but the possibility of them being available is low as well. Keep such documents in your fanny bag to make sure you don’t forget them anywhere.

This is also important because you might not find the right medicines everywhere that you travel to.

If you have a specific medical condition, so it is always advisable to carry your drugs and required documentation to avoid issues at the airport. Apart from the particular medicines, keep a few bandages, painkillers, eye drops, and vitamin tablets, and have them on you at all times.

Partying all night and day do invite certain consequences, and its best to push them away wisely (hangovers, slips, and headaches). Shove the tablet in to shut that moaner out!

List of stag do dares

Make up a list of stag do activities and dares which can be performed at different locations on your stag weekend.

It can include anything; from drinking a full bottle of vodka in one go to dancing on the main road topless.

You have to be naughty and creative while planning these dares because you want them to be hilarious for you all while difficult and shaming to the one performing them.

Snacks and water

Keep a few protein bars, chips and a bottle of water in your backpack always to have something to fill yourself up.

It will also help you avoid spending huge amounts on local food when you don’t need to.

At times, you might find yourself in a deserted place with no access to food or water, what will you do then? It might increase your luggage weight, but it is worth it!

Single life send-off gift

As the best man, apart from planning the stag do, preparing best man speeches and being the support system of the groom, you need to give him a single life send-off gift also.

It should be something personal, customised and unique because he has been your best mate for years and he does deserve something special from you.

So, while he gave you the most important job of the wedding, you can gift him a signed copy of his favourite book, a special edition Mont Blanc pen or platinum dog tags. You know him the best, so gift him something that blows his mind off.

BONUS: some ideas for STAG DO trip 

Choice of the activity for stag party can be quite challenging but if you know your friends well enough, it won’t be an issue. Most of the guys fly to Barcelona, Budapest or Prague for the “last” and wildest party of the MAN! But there are also guys that prefer different kind of trips and get few drinks while doing them. Here are some ideas for your stag party:

  • Football match getaway – there are plenty of international games, such as qualifications for EURO or WorldCup, Nations Cup, etc. that can be seen in some exotic country along with awesome stag party.
  • Adventure Activities – take your mates for hiking, rafting, zip-lining or hunting. You will have an unforgettable experience (without hangovers).
  • Sailing trip – this can be a super relaxing experience with a lot of parties as well. You can hop different islands in Croatia, Greece or Italy and have the best time of your life!
  • Driving experiences – enjoy the adrenaline and riding with your mates on the circuit.
  • Road trip – rent a car and drive the coast around some foreign country. But make sure to not drink & drive.
  • Camping – Go out in nature, mountains and spend a great time with mates! Cook food, have drinks, sing and go on trips.
  • Surf trip – Are your mates into surfing? Go to some new exotic surfing destination, such as Morrocco or Canary Islands.
  • Festival – in the summer you find festivals all over Europe, why not to make one the best festivals your stag party!

If you have packed all the essential items mentioned above, then all you have to get excited for are the strip shows, nightclubs, and adventure activities.

Stag parties can get pretty wild, especially when they’re put together by www.stagweekends.co.uk , so make sure you only work with the best for your stag do. After all, it is a once-in-a-lifetime event.

As any experienced traveler will tell you that you can never be 100% prepared for every situation. So, tell us if you think any other item should be added to our list.

What else is left to say?

Ready! Stag! Go !

Featured image credit:  https://herzhamburg.com/en/stag-do/

If have any feedback, suggestions, or ideas on bachelor party planning or checklist and what to add to the article, feel free to comment below. We would appreciate it.

Simply Full of Delight

Simply Full of Delight

Practical Help For Parents

29 Incredible Ideas for a Party Bag (Unique Party Favors!)

Planning a birthday party? Here’s 29 Incredible Ideas for a Party Bag!

It’s always fun to send something home with your birthday party guests to say thank you for coming to celebrate with us!

However, party favors tend to lean towards one of two things. Either they are full of sugar or they are cheaply made and junky. Nobody wants that!

As a mom of 4, I’ve both hosted and went to a lot of birthday parties. So, today I’m sharing the very best ideas for birthday party goody bags!

best ever birthday party favors - kids shown at a birthday party with balloons, party hats and drinks

I hope you find some fun ideas that are perfect for your party theme and some unique party bag ideas that make planning your party a little easier!

***Disclaimer: As an Etsy affiliate and an Amazon.com associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases made by readers clicking my links at no additional cost to you.

1) Large Foam Airplane Gliders

foam airplane gliders

These Large Foam Airplane Gliders are super cool. My kids have these and they are incredible. These foam airplanes are fairly large and can fly really high outside just by being thrown. You can adjust the tail of the plane to make it fly straight or do a loop.

These are so much fun and guaranteed to be a hit at your party!

They are definitely one of the best party favors out there and are great for outdoor parties!

2) Kinetic Sand

kinetic sand

Did you know you can find individual jars of kinetic sand that are perfect for party favors? These are so much fun! Perfect for promoting sensory play for kids!

3) Dinosaur Egg Dig Kit

dinosaur egg excavation set

These fun Dinosaur Egg Dig Kits would be great for a dinosaur themed party. You get 12 different dinosaur eggs with 12 excavation tools.

Kids can excavate their dinosaur at the party and take home the little mini dinosaur and it’s matching information card. What fun! You can also find other creatures to excavate too here .

4) Play Dough Kits

ice cream play dough kit for kids by Art of Dough

These playdough kits by Art of Dough make the perfect party favors for kids! You can pick a theme that goes with your party. This particular shop even has 3D printed custom cookie cutters. AMAZING!

5) Solar Printing Kits

solar printing kits by elemental leaf on etsy

Looking for something incredibly unique? These Solar Printing Kits by Elemental Leaf are super cool! Kids can take home their very own DIY solar printing kit. What an amazing ideas for a party bag alternatives!

6) Mini Play Dough Mats

printable Birthday play dough mats

These Printable Birthday Play Dough Mats from my Etsy shop make fun party favors! You can print pink or blue cakes for each child and there’s 3 different sizes to choose from!

What a fun party bag idea to pair with some store bought or homemade play dough.

7) Play-Doh

party favor play doh

Play Doh is a classic idea for your party favor bags. It pairs well with printable play dough mats , a cute cookie cutter , or just some fun dough toy items to spark imagination for dough play!

bubble wands

Bubble wands are a classic item that spans multiple age groups. Little ones love bubbles, but so do the older kids! This is often our go-to last-minute party favor idea!

9) Make A Face Sticker Pages

make a face sticker set

These Make A Face Sticker Pages are perfect for adding to your party favours bag! These would pair nicely with a few smaller items or candy.

10) Punch Balloons

neon punch balloons

Here’s a blast from the past…these Neon Punch Balloons are an oldie but a goodie… for your goodie bags! Kids will enjoy bopping along with these large balloons that are perfect for play. What fun classic party bag fillers!

best ever birthday party favors - birthday cake shown with gifts

11) Custom Crayons

custom crayons for birthdays

These cute Custom Crayon Packs are by Velvet Suds on Etsy. There’s so many choices for the shape of crayons and you can choose the letter as well! Such a cool custom item for your party favors!

12) Sidewalk Chalk

melissa and doug cake and ice cream chalk

As a parent, we love it when our kids get items that are 100% usable! Sidewalk chalk makes are great birthday party favor idea.

You can find chalk in lots of different shapes and colors. We LOVE this Melissa and Doug Ice Cream and Cake Chalk Set . It’s so much fun!

13) Parachute Toy

parachute toy

These Parachute Toys are the perfect size for goodie bags! I love that these promote outdoor play and get kids moving.

My kids like to take theirs outside to run and even have fun launching them down from the top of our playground. So much fun!

14) Glow Sticks

glow stick party pack

Glow Sticks are always a hit with kids. Grab a huge set (or 2) for plenty of glow in the dark fun!

15) Children’s Books

curious george book set

Share your love of reading with friends by giving each of them a book! This Curious George book set contains 6 paperback books that your little one could share with friends.

We did this party favor for my daughter’s 4th birthday. What fun!

16) Scratch Art Pads

scratch art pad set

Kids LOVE Scratch Art! You can grab a large set of scratch art pads to pop in your goodie bags and delight kids of all ages.

17) Bath Bomb Favors

heart bath bombs by snazzy bombs

Bath Bombs are a fun surprise for kids party favors! These awesome Bath Bomb Favors are by Snazzy Bombs on Etsy.

These come in their own little cute gift bag and I love how these are such unique party favors!

18) Paint Your Own Dinosaur Kit

party travel bag

Looking for something super crafty? Grab a Paint Your Own Dinosaur Kit by Snazzy Dazzy Crayons on Etsy for each of your party goers!

Each kit contains everything you need to paint a fun little dinosaur. What great goody bag ideas for your child’s birthday party!

Be sure to check out all the different themes. You’ll find plenty of options!

19) Fidget Pop Toys

fidget pop toys with personalized printable by Artistry by amanda

These Fidget Pop toys from Artistry by Amanda are so cute with the personalized printable. Fidget pop toys are great for a variety of ages.

I love that you can get your child’s name on the loot bags with these cool key chains inside! What perfect birthday party favors for your child’s party!

slime

Slime is all the rage right now, so you can count on the kids being totally overjoyed by receiving slime in their party bag!

21) Scrunchies

tie dye scrunchies

Hosting a girl birthday party? Scrunchies and other hair accessories make a great party favor! Check out these awesome velvet scrunchies that have rave reviews.

22) Multicolor Ballpoint Pen

multicolor ballpoint pens

These Multicolor Ballpoint Pens will be a hit with kids of all ages! 6 colors of ink in one pen make this a super fun item for kids!

23) Octopus Keychain Pop Fidget

octopus keychain fidget popper

These Octopus Pop Fidget Keychains are great for kids’ backpacks. I love that they are fun and a great way to give kids something to play with on the go.

24) Ribbon Wands

ribbon wands for kids

We have given out these Ribbon Wands a few times at my kids’ parties. They are always the biggest hit!

Perfect for your backyard birthday parties or kid’s party outdoors!

25) Mini Magnetic Drawing Board

mini magnetic drawing boards

These Mini Magnetic Drawing Boards are always fun! These are great for kids to play with on the go and encourage fine motor skill development.

Perfect for your younger children.

26) Beach Towels

beach towel

Having a pool party? The perfect party favor is a fun beach towel !

You can find adorable patterns for each child. (Keep in mind this item probably is cheaper to buy locally).

27) Personalized Flashlight

personalized flashlight

How fun is this! You could get each child their own Personalized Flashlight from Purple Crush Creations on Etsy.

What fun they would have with this party favor!

28) Mini Fairy Garden Kit

mini fairy garden kits by partyn with plants

Kids would go crazy over these amazing Mini Fairy Garden Kits! These are from Partyn With Plants on Etsy.

Such a neat take home gift…. but kids would also have a blast assembling them together making it a fun party activity!

29) Card Games

card game pack for kids

These Kid Card Games make great party favor ideas! These mini games are a great option for 6 year olds and older. This pack has an assortment of games including Old Maid, Go FIsh, and Hearts. Such a great idea for your party bags!

Alright! That’s it! I hope you found some great party bag fillers! Drop a comment below if you have a fun idea to share for birthday party goodie bag ideas!

More Birthday Party Planning Ideas

If you are looking for more party ideas be sure to check out these Birthday Party Games for Kids . There’s tons of ideas and inspiration to help you plan your birthday games!

Planning a first birthday? Check out all the best First Birthday Themes here. So many cute ideas!

Need Birthday Gift ideas? You can find cool Birthday gifts for Kids here.

There’s First Birthday Gift ideas here. And you can find tons of other gift ideas here as well!

Want to save these ideas for a party bag for later? Pin the image below to your Birthday Party Ideas board on Pinterest!

best party favor for kids - shown: bath bombs, fairy garden, ice cream shaped crayons, and playdough rainbow

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Protect Your Trip »

The 13 best weekender bags for women in 2024, tested & reviewed.

Despite its name, the weekender bag is ideal for a variety of trips.

The Best Weekender Bags for Women

BÉIS The Weekender in gray/green.

Amanda Norcross | U.S. News

Although they're available in traditional duffel styles, weekender bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making them a luggage category of their own. Designed for overnight trips or a few days away, they can also be used as a personal item or carry-on bag depending on airline size restrictions.

Based on recent consumer reviews and our own testing, we've determined the best weekender bags for women – perfect for business, solo travel , girls trips , romantic weekend getaways and more.

Best Overall: BÉIS The Weekender

  • Jump to features and expert insights ↓

Best Leather: Monos Metro Carry-All Duffel

Best with shoe compartment: calpak luka duffel.

  • Best Quilted: Vera Bradley Large Travel Duffel Bag

Best Duffel: Dagne Dover Landon Neoprene Carryall Bag – XL

  • Best With Laptop Compartment: July Carry All Weekender Plus

Best Rolling: CALPAK Luka Soft-Sided Mini Carry-On Luggage

Best organization: pakt one travel duffel – 28l, best for business: tumi voyageur contine weekender, best affordable: steve madden quilted weekender bag, best luxury: mz wallace nik duffel.

  • Best Large: Lo & Sons The Catalina Supreme

Best Foldable: LOJEL Niru – 24H Overnighter

(Note: Prices and availability were accurate at the time of publication; they may fluctuate due to demand and other factors).

BÉIS The Weekender in gray/green.

Price: $108 or less

What started as a trendy bag is now a travel staple. The Weekender by BÉIS combines the right amount of style and efficiency, with features including a bottom compartment for shoes or other large items, a padded laptop compartment that can accommodate 13- and 15-inch devices, and a trolley sleeve. There's also a zippered exterior pocket, plus three additional pockets and a key leash inside. Largely made of poly canvas, The Weekender is structured yet provides just the right amount of "give" for squeezing those last-minute items in. The Weekender is available in a variety of colors and comes with a detachable strap.

What our editors say:

This is the weekender bag I didn't know I needed. To say it lives up to the hype is an understatement. – Amanda Norcross, Senior Content & SEO Strategist

Monos Metro Carry-All Duffel in brown.

Rachael Hood | U.S. News

Monos Metro Carry-All Duffel in brown.

Price: $260 or less

This vegan leather duffel has a classic look and is available in four colors, plus it provides numerous built-in organizational details. The exterior has a front slip pocket, and each end has a pocket with a magnetic snap closure. Inside, the bag features a soft cotton twill lining, a 16-inch laptop sleeve, a spacious zippered pocket and a slip pocket on each end of the bag.

For carrying, use the two top handles, the trolley sleeve, or the removable and adjustable padded strap. Made of ultra microfiber vegan leather, this structured bag resists scratches and abrasions, making it a standout choice for a leather weekender bag.

This vegan leather duffel exudes timeless luxury. Its structure makes it easy to pack, all of the pockets help keep you organized, and its polished look makes it appropriate for any getaway. – Rachael Hood, Senior Editor

CALPAK Luka Duffel in gold.

Price: $128 or less

While you can find several bags with specific shoe compartments, the unique design of the CALPAK Luka Duffel stands out. The exterior zippered compartment makes it easy to reach your spare pair whether you're ready to put your walking shoes on or you need to access that pair of flats after a business meeting. When not needed, the shoe compartment lays flat on the interior of the bag to give you more room for your weekend getaway essentials.

Constructed with a lightweight polyester, the bag is structured but not bulky. There are nine pockets (including the shoe pocket), along with a trolley sleeve, two shoulder-length handles and a removable carrying strap.

To say I love this bag is an understatement. I bought it a couple of years ago for my wedding, and it's been a go-to ever since. I adore the shoe compartment, which works well for flats or sneakers, and it lays flat if I don't need an extra pair of shoes. There's tons of organizational pockets, it has a trolley sleeve, it works as a personal item on a flight, and it's cute! – Rachael Hood

Best Quilted: Vera Bradley Large Travel Duffel Bag in Cotton

Price: $120 or less

Vera Bradley's Large Travel Duffel Bag remains a classic choice for weekender bags. Available in a variety of patterns and solid colors, the latest cotton version of this bag includes four exterior pockets (one zipped, three slip) for easy access to the essentials, plus three elastic mesh pockets inside. The quilted material makes it especially lightweight as well as washable. Note that this same style in performance twill is slightly smaller, at 20 x 12.5 x 11.5 inches.

I love the simplicity of this bag. It holds everything I need, and after more than a decade of use (and several trips through the washing machine), it's still in excellent condition. – Amanda Norcross

Dagne Dover Landon Neoprene Carryall Bag – XL in green.

Leilani Osmundson | U.S. News

Dagne Dover Landon Neoprene Carryall Bag – XL in green.

Price: $245 or less

The stylish yet durable Dagne Dover Landon Neoprene Carryall Bag in the extra-large size stores 35 liters of belongings and comes with a shoe bag, a detachable mesh pouch and a crossbody strap. If that's not enough, you'll find several mesh pockets inside for organization, including a zippered laptop sleeve that can fit most 16-inch laptops. On the exterior of the bag, the neoprene luggage sleeve is perfect for attaching the duffel to a rolling suitcase, and a small pocket above the handle can securely hold your phone or ID.

Plus, this duffel is a great choice when it comes to sustainable travel . The lining is made from recycled plastic water bottles, and the bag is 100% vegan. This weekender also comes in air mesh material.

I love the zippered shoe bag – which is big enough to fit a pair of small boots or a couple pairs of sandals – as well as buttons on the sides that allow the bag to be clipped down for more streamlined travel. Additionally, this weekender duffel is surprisingly lightweight for how durable it is. – Leilani Osmundson, Senior Digital Producer

Best with Laptop Compartment: July Carry All Weekender Plus

July Carry All Weekender Plus in black.

Price: $295 or less

Featuring a clamshell design, this waterproof nylon bag opens flat for easy packing. There are two separate zippered interior compartments as well as an internal padded 16-inch laptop compartment. The thoughtfully designed weekender makes it easy to separate your travel essentials while maximizing packing space. On the exterior, there's a large front zippered pocket for reading materials, and the back features a hidden pocket behind the trolley sleeve for small items like your boarding pass or passport. For added versatility, the bag has two leather carrying handles and a removable shoulder strap.

This bag was a wow from the moment I opened it. The clamshell design makes packing a breeze. You can separate your clothes from other essentials and stow your laptop in its designated sleeve that is protected in the center of your bag. Since everything is divided, you can easily reach in to get your laptop out without spilling anything from your bag. – Rachael Hood

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Tips on Trips and Expert Picks

Travel tips, vacation ideas and more to make your next vacation stellar.

The CALPAK Luka Soft-Sided Mini Carry-On Luggage in black.

Price: $165 or less

From the laptop pocket to the trolley sleeve, this mini bag packs a punch. There's an exterior front pocket for reading material or your boarding pass, an interior compartment with room for two to three outfits, and a small exterior zippered compartment that works well for a phone charger or earbuds. This rolling bag fits perfectly under the seat on most planes (even the small regional jets) and can be trolleyed with a larger carry-on or checked bag for added convenience.

For a weekend getaway or quick business trip, this is my go-to bag. I can maximize the packing space with compression packing cubes , put my laptop in the interior sleeve and fit all the essentials in this compact rolling style. It works well as an underseater or it easily fits in the overhead bin. I'm on and off flights with ease! – Rachael Hood

Pakt One Travel Duffel – 28L in blue.

Catriona Kendall | U.S. News

Pakt One Travel Duffel – 28L in blue.

Price: $285 or less

This 2.0 version of the crowdfunded Pakt One is beloved for good reason, with a variety of useful organizational features. This carry-on duffel opens clamshell-style for easy packing, and a 16-inch padded laptop pocket separates the two main compartments. The 28L size of this bag may be able to fit under the seat on certain airlines if it's not fully packed, but at full capacity it is better suited to the overhead bin. If you want a bit more space, consider the 35L, which also fits carry-on size guidelines .

On one side of the exterior, a zippered pocket doubles as a luggage sleeve for attaching it to a suitcase; on the other side you'll find two zippered pockets, one of which has multiple smaller pockets and a key clip inside. Built-in accessory straps on top of the duffel allow you to secure bulkier items such as a jacket or tripod. There's also a hideaway side pocket for your water bottle that can be stashed when not in use. The duffel is made of recycled nylon with a water-resistant coating, and the company is committed to eco-conscious production, which includes plastic-free packaging.

I am super impressed by the thoughtful design of this weekender duffel. The organization is top-notch, and it folds up when not in use so it doesn't take up too much room. I've been able to fit around three to four days' worth of clothing, plus my toiletries, my laptop and a pair of shoes. The adjustable padded shoulder strap is pretty comfortable too. – Catriona Kendall, Editor

TUMI Voyageur Contine Weekender in black.

Price: $575 or less

This sophisticated style works well for business trips, weekend getaways and everything in between. This TUMI weekender is separated into two compartments. The upper compartment has a laptop sleeve (for an up to 13-inch PC or 14-inch MacBook), a removable interior water bottle holder, a large zippered pocket, a slip pocket and a key leash. The lower section is ideal for shoes or business documents; it can be reached through a zipper at the base of the upper compartment or accessed on the outside through a zipper. The exterior nylon shell has a front zippered pocket, a phone slip pocket and a trolley sleeve.

From the sleek exterior with contrasting metal hardware details, genuine leather accents, monogrammable leather charm and all the interior features, this bag perfectly blends function and elegance. It's rather lightweight, yet still holds a shape, and it can even be used as a work bag if needed. – Rachael Hood

Steve Madden Quilted Weekender Bag in black.

Erin Evans | U.S. News

Steve Madden Quilted Weekender Bag in black.

Price: From $59.98

For less than $60, the Steve Madden Quilted Weekender Bag is a steal. The lightweight bag has a quilted exterior and a spacious interior, which makes this weekender option an ideal carryall for travel, work or the gym. It includes a medium interior zippered pocket and two small open pockets, plus 9-inch handles and a removable 25-inch crossbody strap. It's easy to wipe down when dirty, or you can even throw it in the washer. What's more, this bag can easily be used as a personal item, neatly fitting under the seat on most planes.

I've had this bag for six years and it's still in great shape. It fits a surprising amount of clothing and accessories, and its straps are plenty long enough so even when it's filled to the brim, it's comfortable to carry around. – Erin Evans, Managing Editor

MZ Wallace Nik Duffel in black.

Price: $325 or less

This understated quilted duffel has a lightweight construction, a hidden back slip pocket, a trolley sleeve, a phone slip pocket and two large zippered front pockets on the outside. There's also a pocket on each end for water or other items. The interior of the MZ Wallace Nik Duffel has a padded 16-inch laptop sleeve, four slip pockets, a zippered pocket and a removable zippered pouch. The sleek quilted bag has Italian leather accents and provides a chic look for work or leisure trips. It also folds relatively flat for easy storage when you're not out exploring.

I've seen a lot of travelers with these bags over the years, and I can see why. I love the feel of this bag; it feels luxurious, yet it's not flashy or over the top – truly quiet luxury at its finest. I especially love the two large front zippered pockets, as you can put your 3-1-1 bag and other items you need to reach while traveling so you don't have to rifle through your whole bag in the security line. – Rachael Hood

Best Large: Lo & Sons The Catalina Supreme

Lo & Sons The Catalina Supreme in black.

Price: $350 or less

Flexible with a very large top opening design, this weekender bag works well for packing clothing and gear that may not fit well within a structured bag. The expandable bottom compartment has a removable divider for shoes or other items, and it can be accessed inside the bag or from the outside. There's a trolley sleeve, a removable shoulder strap and top carry handles depending on your needs. This large bag is great for weekend ski trips or bringing along your pillow . It can be a carry-on bag on most airlines, but it will need to go in the overhead compartment because of its size.

This bag works well for car trips, and it has space to pack for two people going on a weekend getaway. I really like the pliability of this bag, and I think it is a good choice for when I need to pack a pillow, a winter coat, cowboy boots, wrapped gifts or other larger items that don't necessarily fit in a small duffel. – Rachael Hood

LOJEL Niru – 24H Overnighter in green.

Price: $155 or less

Constructed with 100% recycled nylon, this bag is ideal for travelers who are short on storage space. It folds flat into its storage pouch – which can be used for organization within the bag when traveling. The interior has a spacious zippered pocket for small items. The size of this bag is ideal for an overnight trip with room for toiletries, essentials and a full change of clothes. For a longer weekend trip, there's also the Niru 48H Weekender .

The size and quality of this bag are superior to other folding totes I've tried. It's very sturdy, the handles are comfortable to carry, the front slip pocket is convenient, and the leather details are a nice touch. – Rachael Hood

Also Recommended

LeSportsac Deluxe Large Weekender: Many travelers (our team included) love this bag. It's durable, offers several exterior and interior pockets, and folds down compactly when not in use.

Nomad Lane Bento Bag: This bag has exceptional organizational features (including a toiletry pouch and an electronics organizer), but it may be a little small for a weekender. If you want a personal item that fits under the plane seat, the Bento Bag is an excellent option for short trips or light packers.

Carl Friedrik Compact Weekender: Sophisticated yet understated, this nylon weekender bag with Italian leather trim is a classic travel bag. It is spacious and looks appropriate regardless of the setting. However, it does lack a luggage trolley sleeve, which makes it a bit limited in terms of carrying options.

Samsonite Virtuosa Weekender: This sleek and simple bag from the well-respected luggage brand is a solid choice, if slightly small for a weekend's worth of belongings. The Virtuosa Weekender has some convenient storage pockets and a luggage sleeve, but the strap can be a little uncomfortable when the bag is heavy.

How We Tested

Our team packed and tested more than 25 weekender bags from a variety of brands at a range of price points. We tested to see if you can pack for a weekend getaway in each bag, along with the durability, details and overall functionality. After taking these weekender bags on an array of car, plane and train trips, we've selected these weekender bags the best for 2024.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Best Walking Shoes for Travel
  • The Best Carry-on Luggage
  • The Best Travel Purses
  • The Top Cheap Weekend Getaways in the U.S.

The Best Places to Travel Alone

Young woman overlooking beautiful valley, Molladalen, Norway.

Tags: Travel , Travel Gear , Weekend Getaways

World's Best Places To Visit

  • # 1 South Island, New Zealand
  • # 4 Bora Bora

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