How to Choose a Duffel Bag for Your Travel Style

How to Choose a Duffel Bag for Your Travel Style

Written by Caroline Eubanks on

Caroline Eubanks is a freelance writer from Atlanta, Georgia whose work has been published by BBC Travel, Afar, Thrillist, and National Geographic Traveler and is the author of the book This Is My South: The Essential Travel Guide to the Southern States. You can follow her work at

Surf's Up! Pack up with the Migrate Duffel.


Having trouble deciding what type of duffel bag is right for you? These are the best duffel bag features that are sure to make your trip go smoothly. 


There are some trips where a duffel bag is simply the best luggage option. You might be going abroad with the Peace Corps (nicely done!), or planning a  mountain climbing expedition. Or perhaps you need a soft-sided bag for  sailing or overland travel through  Africa. Each of these adventures require bags that can be easily be thrown on top of a bus without getting damaged like a suitcase. 

But where do you begin choosing which duffel is best for you? 

There are many types that we will outline to make sure you have  the right duffel bag  for even the most epic adventurous trips you have on the horizon. 


Types of Duffels

Classic Duffels: These types of  duffel bags are what you picture when you think of a duffel—they feature two straps to go over your shoulder and an optional cross-body strap. The  60L Migrate duffel is a great example of this type of bag. It comes in a tough, water-resistant fabric in a variety of bright colors—there is zero chance you’ll overlook your bag at baggage claim!

Backpack Duffels : The  Cargo Hauler  series is made like the classic ones, but each  duffel has backpack straps  that can be used easy carrying. When you’re ready to drop the bag at the airport counter, the straps can be tucked in to avoid getting hung up in the machinery. The Migrate bags also have this handy feature. 

Rolling Duffels Expanse Gear Warrior, and the  large Migrate duffel bags all come in rolling versions. They can be carried like a standard duffel bag or pulled with ease. And like the other styles, some are  carry on duffels. The best rolling duffel bag for international travel is the  Expanse Wheeled Duffel in the international carry on size, which will fit into the overhead bin on any flight. 


Top Considerations When Picking a Duffel

Material: What makes a duffel bag different from other types of bags is the material. High quality Tarpaulin is ideal since it is water resistant and easy to wipe off to clean. If it’s not made of this type of material, it should be a fabric that is washing-machine compatible. The  Migrate series  even uses upcycled plastics for the coating. 

Size: Duffel bags can be anywhere from 40 liters to up to 120, meaning that some can act as  carry ons, while others can definitely not. It all depends on  your needs and your specific trip. Some are expandable, which is a great feature if you need a bit of extra space. The  packable duffel is also a great item to throw in another bag to help you bring back souvenirs. 


Other Duffel Features to Consider

Some last features that you should think about when it comes to your duffel bag are tough zippers, exterior pockets, and lightweight fabric. 

●     Quality zippers help you close your bag when it’s filled to the brim. 

●     An exterior pocket let you stuff those plane tickets and items you’ll need to access easily without dumping out your entire bag. 

●     The best duffel bags are able to fold flat when their empty for easy storage in your hotel room or home. Also, this type of bag is best paired with a  set of packing cubes, especially the  Pack-It Specter line, to keep organized. 


Now that you’ve picked out the best duffel for your next trip, check out expert advice on  how to pack an organized duffel!


Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):

Duffel Or Suitcase: Which Is Best For Your Next Trip?

Put to the Test: 7 Travel Situations That Call for a Migrate Duffel