What Are the Best Duffel Bags for Travel? By New York Media - New York Magazine

by Alexander Dabagh

What Are the Best Duffel Bags for Travel?

Photo: JordinAlthaus/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty

Smaller than a suitcase but bigger than a tote, the classic duffel is a perfectly sized carryall for a long weekend. Peer out at a train platform full of city dwellers fleeing town on a Friday afternoon and you’ll see all varieties of duffels, from waxed-canvas bags hearkening back to the style’s military roots to luxe versions in buttery leather. To find the best duffel bags out there for travel, we asked frequent travelers, including writers, photographers, and a hotel exec, to recommend their favorites. Read on for their picks, which include duffels that convert to backpacks, duffels on wheels, and fancier leather styles that will only look better the more miles you clock with them.


Alex Weekender Cobalt Blue
Alex Weekender Cobalt Blue

Elyse Eisen, a travel blogger and the founder of the Chain Collective PR agency, loves this bright-blue bag that’s made in New York City by her friend and former client Alex Dabagh. “I really put all my bags to the test with the amount of travel I do, and I recently took this on a monthlong trip to Croatia, Montenegro, Italy, Istanbul, and Amman,” she says. Eisen likes that this duffel can be used as a carry-on when she flies and that it has a waterproof nylon lining for easy cleanup in the event of an unfortunate toiletry spill.