the best. really.

What Are the Best Weekender Bags?

Seasoned travelers all have different opinions on the best bags for weekend trips. Photo: courtesy of retailers

If the dismal weather has you dreaming about your next vacation or itching for a weekend getaway, we’ve got you covered — at least from a weekend-luggage perspective. To find the best weekender for every type of traveler, we reached out to globetrotters who travel for a living. Below, the 13 best weekend bags — everything from a $74 canvas tote to the Patagonia duffel favored by travel photographers (if you’re interested, we’ve done the same with rolling luggage, too).

The Italian leather bag

Bric’s LIFEpelle 18” cargo duffle

“My favorite, go-to travel bag has a long zipper that allows the bag to open all the way up, so it’s easy to pack and to find things inside. The small, outside zipped pocket is perfect for your passport. The bag actually came to me by chance: My old standby carry-on broke while I was walking through the Malpensa airport, and I happened to find this one. I bought it, transferred my things to it, and never looked back.” — Umber Ahmad, founder of Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery

Unfortunately this is sold out, but here’s another cargo duffle in a chic, textured grey.

The bag that ages well

Filson Pullman Bag

“I travel all the time, and I love that my bag is just super-rugged. In fact, it looks better and better as I abuse it more and more. Filson obviously has that outdoor heritage going for it, and I’ve found that it never lets me down. I’m almost embarrassed I love it so much.” — Rob Howard, photographer

Note: This is currently sold out, but Amazon more Filson options here and here.

The design-y bag

T. Anthony Weekender Duffle

“I’ve used T. Anthony bags for as long as I can remember. From a design perspective, the stuff just always looks smart with the contrast leather trim. In fact, in person, the luggage looks even better. It’s also nice and roomy without being too heavy like those overly accessorized bags.” —Liz O’Brien, designer and owner of Liz O’Brien

The featherlight bag

Patagonia Lightweight Black Hole Duffel 30L

“The Black Hole Duffel is great for weekends because they’re weather- and waterproof and incredibly lightweight. They also have one without wheels and handles. On my last trip, I had 41 bags checked to Brazil for an NG Wild jaguar film and NG Magazine shoot — all Patagonia Black Holes packed with my photo equipment. I also just appreciate that Patagonia is 100 percent guaranteed — anything you’re dissatisfied with, you can return —and they also donate money to terrific environmental causes.” — Steve Winter, National Geographic photographer

The laptop carrier

Tortuga Backpack

“This has been designed to be the most spacious bag possible, while still being within the carry-on guidelines of airplanes. Plus, the fact that there is a dedicated laptop sleeve (a must for digital nomads like myself), which makes it easy to remove on its own, makes it the perfect travel backpack.” — Travis Sherry, travel blogger, Extra Pack of Peanuts

The gear carryall

Fox Racing 180 Duffle Sports Gear Bag

“I ride dirt bikes, and, in the riding season, I go out riding every weekend with this duffle. It fits all my riding gear and some more, and even has a ventilated compartment for my smelly riding boots. I have to bring my helmet, body armor, gloves, and it all fits. When I’m not riding, I use it as my main travel bag. Oh, and it has wheels. Very important!” — Eilon Paz, travel photographer and founder of Dust & Grooves

Note: This is currently sold out, but a similar Fox Racing Shuttle Gearbag is available.

The lightweight bag

Peg & Awl Journey Bag

“The bag is handmade in Philadelphia and is superlight — the cotton canvas really isn’t adding to what I’m hauling around at all. I like that I can abuse it, too, and it gets even better looking. The bag’s also unisex, so my husband and I share it. It’s actually more than big enough for the two of us.” — Michele Varian, designer, Michele Varian

The short-trip backpack

The North Face Refractor Bag

“This bag is perfect for short trips, with all the convenience of a backpack, but with the easy packing benefits of a traditional suitcase, thanks to the clam-shell opening design. A dedicated laptop compartment makes this bag perfect for work or holiday trips. It’s actually the piece of ‘luggage’ that gets used the most by far.” — Rebecca Warren, managing editor, Lonely Planet

The fashion bag

Longchamp Boxford Duffle Bag

“I’m an exuberant packer, so I need a bag that can handle the bulk while maintaining a level of chic simplicity. This bag is a real workhorse — durable and completely adaptable to all environments, whether it’s your boss’s country home or a beach holiday with your girls. It’s basically the luggage version of a good, cheap, and cheerful LBD.” — Kathleen Hyppolite, owner and creative director, Kat Flower

The all-black bag

Kenneth Cole Reaction Colombian Leather Duffle Bag

“I’m constantly traveling and need a bag that is not only functional but stylish. I feel like the color gives this bag a certain timeless quality, and it fits everything I need to pack with me, too. It’s an investment I’m going to be using for years to come.” — Natalie Amrossi, photographer

Note: This is currently sold out from eBags, but available from Amazon.

The durable bag

Baggu Canvas Weekender

“I have owned a couple of duffle bags in my life, but my go-to for the past few years has been this bag, which can take a beating without consequences. I personally discovered this by repeatedly squeezing and shoving the bag with gusto into tiny overhead bins and cluttered car trunks. But quality doesn’t mean high cost! When I was searching around for a new bag, this one seemed to be the most reasonably priced. Now, three years of abusing this bag, it still holds up.” — Zachary Wampler, gallery assistant, Maccarone Gallery

The bright backpack

Topo Designs Mountain Backpack

“I take this bag everywhere. It’s sturdy and flexible — if I pack a lot, it all fits, and if I don’t pack a lot, it isn’t this giant backpack filled with air. There’s a great scalable functionality to it. When I go on multiday trips, though, I always find it impressive how much I can pack in.” — Mike Perry, artist/animator

The gym-slash-weekend bag

Sweaty Betty Luxe Gym Bag

“I was in desperate need of a gym bag, so my husband very sweetly got me one for Christmas from British athleisure line Sweaty Betty. Thing is: while extremely nice, it was way too big for me to take to the gym. Every time I brought it into the office, someone would ask, “where are you off to?” thinking it was a weekend bag. So … I “pivoted,” as they say, and began using it as a weekend bag. Turns out, it’s just big enough to carry a weekend’s worth of clothes, and the zip-around pocket at the base meant for dirty gym clothes is perfect for storing sneakers. It’s not going to hold seven sweaters and four pairs of boots, but it’s lightweight without being flimsy — the pillowy fabric can handle an overhead bin or a full-to-the-brim ZipCar trunk — and has a zillion different internal pockets. Now, I just need to find a gym bag…” — Alexis Swerdloff, Strategist editor

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What Are the Best Weekender Bags?