Duffel Bag Guide: Migrate vs Cargo Hauler & More!

Duffels Buying Guide

Written by Eagle Creek on

Eagle Creek was established in 1975 by Steve and Nona Barker, a couple who revered the planet and explored it accordingly. In the process, they invented an entirely new product category: adventure travel gear. Half a century later, no one offers more expertly conceived and crafted gear for experiencing the earth in every hemisphere. Thoughtful, sustainable, function-forward solutions inspired by the belief that travel can be a force for good.

    Buying Guide: Duffels

    When your travel requires you to pack more than a standard backpack allows, a duffel bag is the right choice for you. When coupled with packing cubes, duffels become the most versatile piece of luggage you own.

    Choosing the right duffel bag is a very important consideration, so be sure to think of what features and qualities you’ll need it to have while traveling. As you review these bags, consider the following questions to determine which type of duffel matches your travel style:

    ● How long will I be traveling?

    ● Do I want a carry-on duffel?

    ● Do I plan on bringing back more items than I took with me?

    ● Does my bag need to have weather protection?

    ● Do I need to be able to lock my bag?

    ● How much organization do I want?

    What Size Duffel Bag Do You Need?

    Duffels are your best friend when it comes to packing a lot of bulky gear for a trip—many travelers are only accustomed to using duffels in this way. And while they excel in fitting your odd-sized sports gear and bulky winter clothes, the wide range of wheeled and backpack duffels on the market now mean it’s easier than ever to use a duffel rather than a traditional suitcase.

    When choosing a duffel size, consider the shape of the gear you need to back—you’ll want large, unstructured duffels to fit sports gear.

    Small duffels, however, excel at slipping into small spots in your car on a road trip and creating a great catch-all space when you’re frequently packing and unpacking your bags. Small duffels also work as a carry-on bag.

    A medium-sized wheeled duffel is your most versatile bag since it holds a lot, but still works as a standard-sized checked bag. When you select a duffel with wheels or backpack straps, you make the bag just as streamlined and easy-to-use as a standard suitcase.

    How to Choose a Duffel Bag

    Carry-On Duffels

    One of the biggest differentiators among duffel bags is, unsurprisingly, size. That’s why one of the most important questions to ask yourself before choosing a duffel is whether you will need to carry it on when you travel by air. If so, then you are in luck. Eagle Creek carries a number of carry-on size duffel bags, giving you the space of a duffel without the need to sacrifice convenience.

    ● For a professional-looking carry-on duffel that meets international carry-on specs, the Caldera Wheeled Duffelis a top choice. Made from premium, eco-conscious materials, this bag features a generous main compartment, large front compartment, and padded laptop sleeve to ensure safe places to store all of your things.

    ● For standard, non-wheeled duffels, the Migrate Duffel 40L is a great lightweight choice that’s not only carry-on size, it also can be carried as a backpack. It also folds down flat for easy storage when the trip is through.

    ● Check out the Gear Warrior Wheeled Duffel International Carry On if you enjoy unstructured packing space but still like the idea of wheels and handle. This bag is sized for international travel. It will, of course, work just as well for domestic and car travel, making it a great choice for your go-to bag. To organize this duffel, invest in a set of packing cubes.

    Regardless of which of our carry-on duffels you choose, you will be surprised by just how much they can hold. If you want something lightweight yet durable, a carry-on duffel may be the best choice for you.

    Wheeled Duffels

    The benefit of a rolling duffel is clear: Wheels. You have the ability to roll the bag whenever you need to, giving your back and shoulders a much-needed break. Most traditional duffels only have wheels once they exceed a certain size, which makes sense because you only truly need wheels once a bag exceeds a certain weight. Eagle Creek rolling wheeled duffel bags are able to withstand a beating, making them a great choice for rugged terrain and extended travel. Duffels are lightweight yet extremely durable, giving you the best bang for your buck.

    ● Take, for example, the Cargo Hauler Wheeled Duffel 130L. This bag is massive. And not only is it massive, but it also has massive wheels. And it’s built to the highest durability standard and earns the “No Matter What” Warranty title.

    ● You can also enjoy a wheeled duffel without the size thanks to the Gear Warrior Wheeled Duffel 65L or Caldera Wheeled Duffel 70L. These are perfect options for those planning to backpack the world, or even just take an extended vacation. You won’t sacrifice durability by going smaller, however, because Gear Warrior’s oversized treaded wheels with protective wheel housing and durable kick plate keep your bag rolling a lifetime of miles over curbs and cobblestones.

    Non-Wheeled Classic Duffels

    While wheels may be helpful in airports and on smooth ground, they are not always optimal. Sometimes you don’t want wheels because you just don’t need the weight. Besides, let’s face it–wheels are great, but sometimes you want something you can comfortably throw on your back or over your shoulder and hit the ground running. That is why we offer non-wheeled, classic duffels—many of which come with backpack straps.

    ● For example, our Migrate Duffels, including the Migrate Duffel 90L, are expertly constructed for an ultra-light, super durable carry, and built to haul all your gear. If you’re really on the fence about giving up wheels, the Migrate Duffel 130L not only offers those wheels, but backpack straps as well, for a best-of-both worlds solution.

    ● Consider a hybrid pack, like this Caldera Travel Pack 45L—a multi-carry bag with a lot of space as well as tuck-away backpack straps.

    Regardless of your travel needs, Eagle Creek has a duffel bag that is right for you. Whether you are looking for a duffel for a specific trip or a go-anywhere bag for last-minute adventures, the duffel bag is a perfect choice.