The Best Carry-on Duffel Bags, According to Travelers
Named for a town in Belgium where the coarse woolen cloth used for the original duffel bag was made, duffels are ideal for long weekend trips that don’t merit a full suitcase, expeditions where your bags may get tossed around, or bumpy cobblestone and transit-packed cities where you prefer to carry your bag rather than wheel it. They also make for especially good carry-on bags, since you can use them on their own or slide them on top of a rolling luggage handle, and they easily squeeze into overhead bins without any wheel interference.
Size restrictions vary by airline, but you’ll most likely be safe if you stick to the international standard of around 21 x 14 x 9 inches. Duffel bag dimensions are a bit, well, squishier than hardside luggage, so you do have more wiggle room to shove your bag into a bin but also more potential to accidentally overstuff it to the point where it doesn’t fit anymore.
When you’re shopping for a duffel, consider how many pockets you want, what kind of exterior material you prefer, and how you like to carry it. Since we’re specifically focusing on carry-ons here, remember you will be carrying it through the airport and potentially onto a train or bus, so more strap options are better to help you find your best carrying posture. Some bags can get caught up in micro-organizations, with specific pockets designed for everything down to your sunglasses, while others are closer to the classic fabric tube style.
Regardless of your aesthetic preferences, the most important thing is solid construction. You don’t want to have to carry your bag through the airport in your arms like a child if you bust a strap, no matter how much you may love it.
Stylish Carry-on Duffel Bags
Dagne Dover Landon Carry-all
The popular Landon series includes four different-sized bags to suit any carry-on mood that’s struck you, and the neoprene fabric is flexible, durable, and easy to clean — and it comes in a range of fun colors.
To buy: dagnedover.com, starting at $95
Filson Medium Rugged Twill Duffel
Filson’s best-seller is a rugged twill duffel, complete with the brand's hallmark bridle leather accents and a flap to cover the main compartment zipper for extra water resistance.
To buy: ebags.com, $395
Plambag Oversized Canvas Duffel
Amazon’s No. 2 best-selling duffel bag offers a canvas, multi-pocket aesthetic to travelers on a budget.
To buy: amazon.com, $33
Lo & Sons Catalina Weekender Deluxe
Carry-on Duffels With Laptop Sleeves
Tortuga Setout Duffel Bag
This bag has just the right level of organization, including an extra convenient padded side pocket for your laptop.
To buy: tortugabackpacks.com, $149
Nomad Lane Bento Bag
The Bento Bag is designed to fit snugly under the seat in front of you, so it can qualify as a personal item rather than your full carry-on for those who are averse to checked baggage and very into organizational pockets.
To buy: indiegogo.com
Adventure Carry-on Duffel Bags
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 45L
Yeti Panga 50
If you’re traveling during monsoon season or just carrying gear you need to keep dry at all costs, the waterproof Yeti Panga is fully submersible and overhead-bin-friendly.
To buy: dickssportinggoods.com, $300
Samsonite SXK Amped Duffel
If you expect your duffel to be enduring some damage, the SXK collection is reinforced with Kevlar fiber — but still manages to look sleek.
To buy: ebags.com, $350
Eddie Bauer Bygone 45L
I’ve personally been beating up an Eddie Bauer duffel for years and it still looks the same as the day I bought it. The Bygone duffel adds a heritage twist to the company’s duffel design.
To buy: eddiebauer.com, $99
Best Convertible and Packable Carry-on Duffel Bags
Everlane Mover Pack
We always enjoy Everlane’s simple, responsibly sourced designs. The water-resistant Mover can be carried as a backpack or a duffel.
To buy: everlane.com, $78
Hook & Albert Garment Weekender
The ballistic nylon Garment Weekender opens up to a full-size garment bag, then folds to create a main pocket for the rest of your belongings, complete with interior shoe pockets and exterior zip pockets. It also comes in leather and a women’s version with a sleeker design but without the exterior pockets.
To buy: amazon.com, $395
Briggs & Riley Suiter Duffel
Briggs & Riley’s solid reputation backs up the transforming Suiter duffel, which also morphs from garment bag to duffel with an interior compartment and special shoe pocket.
To buy: ebags.com, $329
Matador Transit30 Duffel 2.0
If you want to have an extra bag on hand for a souvenir shopping spree, this recently updated packable duffel stuffs down into a small sack about the size of a pair of hiking socks and opens up into a minimalist 30-liter duffel that can also be carried as a backpack.
To buy: matadorup.com, $50
Paravel Fold-up Bag
Paravel's fold-up duffel is compact but roomy, and it has an ever-convenient trolley sleeve for slipping over top of your suitcase handle.
To buy: tourparavel.com, $65
Carry-on Duffel Bags With Wheels
Tumi Wheeled Duffel Carry-on
Wheel your duffel in style with this Tumi option, with plenty of external pockets for easy access to anything you may need to grab in-flight.
To buy: tumi.com, $750
Bric Life Carry-on Rolling Duffel
L.L.Bean Rolling Adventure Duffel
Capitalize on L.L.Bean’s durable construction with the rolling version of their popular Adventure bag.
To buy: llbean.com, $119
Luxury Carry-on Duffel Bags
Moore & Giles Cabin Duffel
Moore & Giles makes leather for many uses — including private jet seating — so expect their Cabin duffel to feel just as luxurious.
To buy: nordstrom.com, $630
Coach Metropolitan Duffel 52
Orox Leather Ryoko Duffel
Go artisanal with the unique folds of Portland-based Orox Leather’s leather and wool duffel.
To buy: oroxleather.com, $1,200
Looptworks In Flight Luv Weekender Duffel
Find a sustainable look with these clever duffels made with leather from upcycled airline seat covers. They all come with a lifetime guarantee.
To buy: looptworks.com, $349