Baggage weight limits when checking in for travel are unarguably a nuisance for anyone doing the actual travelling, and sometimes the luggage of choice is part of the problem. Heavy-duty suitcases, especially if they’re hard-sided luggage, or soft-sided luggage with high denier ratings, eat into a fraction of the allowed weight you can carry, while sometimes compromising on the space available inside.
The solution? Duffel bags. Fitted out with a robust set of wheels and telescopic handles, the right duffel bag packs the endurance of a hard-sided suitcase without slacking off on available space or adding too much to your baggage’s overall weight. Here are our top picks for the best duffel bags to take with you for international travel.
Samsonite Luggage Ripstop Wheeled Duffel
Don’t be fooled – just because this is a duffel bag does not mean it can’t be huge, and certainly not in a negative way. With dimensions of 16” by 16”, this bag is perfectly ideal for transporting long items, be it electronic piano keyboards, camera stands and tripods or work equipment – and all the rest of your luggage to boot.
Built out of nylon, a highly resilient microfiber that is stubbornly resistant to abrasions and tears, the bag is fitted with multiple handles to let you carry it in both the upright and on-side positions. It is also equipped with a pair of sleek rolling wheels and a telescopic handle you can adjust to your preferences, letting you maneuver luggage that leans a bit on the heavier side with ease.
The interior is highly roomy, letting you pack everything you need for week-long trips and then some, with adjustable straps to secure everything in place and pockets to help compartmentalize. External pockets let you tuck away last minute belongings you’d forgotten to pack or to keep things you’ll need to access immediately handy, such as your passport or travel documents.
STAR BUDGET PICK
Olympia Luggage 8 Pocket Rolling Duffel Bag
Made out of the tough but light microfiber of Supreme “Protecflon” polyester, the material of this bag clocks in at 1,200 denier, a perfect degree of thickness for hardy luggage to protect everything inside. With a spacious main compartment and 8 roomy pockets to let you sort out your belongings, you get to travel organised and stress-free.
Offering you plenty of room with dimensions of 12” by 22” and plenty of flexibility when it comes to movement thanks to its smooth in-line skate wheels and telescopic handle, this duffel bag also comes with sturdy carry handles to let you easily heft it up into overhead lockers or belts during check-in. The bag comes with a U-shaped, zippered opening, to let you quickly and easily access the main compartment, and is available in 12 color variations.
Eagle Creek No Matter What Rolling Duffel
The patented Bi-Tech fabric of this duffel bag makes it completely water-resistant, the perfect travel companion to take with you come rain or shine with the high benchmark it sets for durability and longevity. The collapsible design makes for a compact, easy to maneuver case, which can be expanded for more space should you require it, while still letting you fold it up into its own carry case for storage.
Armed with reinforced webbing, sturdy D-rings for bag straps, and #10 lockable zippers, this extra large duffel bag lets you steer well clear of the overweight limitations while still giving you plenty of room to pack your clothing, gear, gifts and other belongings comfortably. About 15 inches high, the bag has a tough pull handle and oversized wheels to let it withstand harsh bumps with ease, available in 6 standard but sophisticated colors.
Pathfinder Gear 22 Inch Rolling Drop Bottom Duffel
Structured with honeycomb rip-stop nylon, this durable duffel bag is water- and tear-resistant, with a main compartment accessible through a zippered opening at the top, and separated from the bottom compartment by a zip-up panel. The bottom compartment comes with a strap-down system to let you secure your belongings in place, while the top section is segmented off into two, allowing you to be thoroughly organised and clutter-free as you travel.
This heavy-duty bag comes with self-repairing, sturdy zippers, and a telescopic handle with an ergonomic fit to easily let you pull the bag around without having to haul it. A pair of oversized wheels reinforce the bag’s ability to be steered over bumpy or harsh terrain without necessitating you carry it, preventing damage to the bag or its contents. With multiple carry handles fitted around the sides and top of the case to let you easily lift it up and carry it, you can choose to both check this bag in at the airport or use it as a carry-on alternative for in-flight baggage.
Choosing the Best Rolling Duffel Bag for International Travel
Resilience, space and convenience are three of the main criteria to look for in a good rolling duffel bag. To endure the strains of bumping around in cargo-holds, getting tossed down luggage chutes and thrown onto the baggage claim conveyor belts, an ideal duffel bag should be constructed of material promising durability and longevity.
Nylon and polyester are both popular options, as with soft-sided luggage cases, because of their extreme resistance to harsh external conditions, allowing the bags to remain both lightweight while at the same time capable of protecting their contents from damage or exposure. Generally, for microfiber-based duffel bags, options which fall between the denier rating range of 500 to 2,000 are ideal, as they are thick enough to withstand damage but not so heavy that they add on extra weight to your luggage.
The best duffel bags offer a great trade-off between the bag’s original weight and available space, compared to harder plastic suitcases. Bags with roomy main compartments and options to let you compartmentalize your belongings, for instance with tie-down straps, pockets or paneled off sections, are also handy features in a good duffel bag you intend to use when travelling.
Since the type of duffel bags in question are rolling ones, it’s of course important to pick options with strong, durable wheels built to move smoothly without snagging or catching on uneven surfaces. While some come with pull handles to let you steer your rolling duffel bags, we recommend picking an option with a retractable or telescopic handle, as this lets you adjust it to your height and preference for maximum ease of movement.