6 Ways to Use a Packable Duffel as Your Travel Multitool

Carrying Duffels in snow
Carrying Duffels in snow


Packable travel duffels are the multitool of luggage. Part backpack and part gear organizer, packable duffels should go with you on every trip. Bought too many souvenirs to fit in your luggage? No problem, you have a duffel. Need to take a short weekend trip from your hotel? Leave your bigger suitcase and go with your packable duffel for travel. 


As a travel multitool, a packable duffel works on every trip either within your luggage waiting to be deployed, or as your first choice of luggage when you’re traveling ultralight. Here are six ways you can rely on packable travel duffels to ensure you have the right packing solution for any situation.   


1. Travel Ultralight with a Packable Duffel

If you’re traveling fast and light, maybe for a business meeting one day and then a bit of play on another day, a backpack/camera bag and packable duffel is the perfect combination. The intent is going all carry-on, though if a commuter airplane requires gate checking one bag, the duffel is durable enough and lockable, so you're prepared for that contingency. Computer, electronics, and a camera with lenses goes into the backpack (organized with packing cubes) while clothes, hiking shoes, and other adventure/business meeting essentials go in the duffel—preferably one with a bit of expansion room should you come home with more than you departed with. 


2. Use a Packable Duffel as a Shopping Tote

During many of our travel adventures, you may decide to travel to a place where you can stock a refrigerator and pantry with a few local items—bread, cheese, wine, milk, cereal, fruit to name but a few. And that means shopping. Increasingly around the world—and most certainly in Europe—that also means providing your own shopping bag. Here again, a packable duffel with backpack straps makes a perfect shopping tote.  


3. Store Travel Laundry in a Packable Duffel 

While you’ll certainly want to organize luggage with packable cubes of all shapes and sizes, having a packable duffel in your luggage also means you can use it as a laundry bag when it’s inside your suitcase, too. Clean clothes in the cubes, dirty clothing in the duffel. When doing laundry on a long trip, you just grab that duffel and head to the local laundromat. For shorter trips, just take that duffel and empty clothes directly into the washing machine the minute you get home.  


4. Enjoy Shorter Adventures While Traveling

There are times when that luggage you've been living out of for weeks is just too big for a side adventure you want to take. Perhaps you’re visiting a remote national park in Argentina and the only way in is by four-wheel drive with limited space (true story). Your luggage will then stay in the hotel, and your packable duffel becomes the perfect packable, stowable, easily portable adventure suitcase for days exploration and adventure


5. Reach Road Trip Perfection

Packable duffels are, frankly, the perfectly-sized luggage for any road trip. Because of the 40-liter size, a duffel like the Cargo Hauler Duffel will tuck perfectly into almost any trunk or under seat space. Of course, just because you can fill your vehicle with numerous duffels doesn't mean you should. Take only what you need. Three-to-four duffels can handle anything from clothing to gear (climbing, paddling, hiking, running, biking) and more. 


6. Protect Yourself from Overweight Baggage

There will certainly be times when—either because of the generosity of friends who may insist on giving you gifts, or because of meaningful souvenirs you have acquired (artwork, local food or wine) during your travels—your luggage heads into that "overweight" category. But do you need to worry? Never. Simply deploy your packable duffel, remove enough items to ensure the luggage is now the proper weight, and then carry-on that duffel as your personal item—or check it as an additional bag if your bag allowance permits. 

Ready to pack your bags? The Ultimate Packing Checklist has you covered.


Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):

Here's How to Pack an Organized Duffel Bag

How to Choose a Duffel Bag for Your Travel Style

10 Road Trip Essentials You Should Always Pack