“After this pandemic, let’s hang out and travel,” has been one of the most used lines with family and friends with whom we’ve been separated from due to the lockdowns and flight bans. Travel became something like a sweet food we’re craving and soon enough after the world is all healed, people will embrace the outside life to satisfy the craving and feel the freedom! But now that travel bans are still in place and we have some extra time on our hands, let’s invest instead of scoping out the best weekender bags for our travels. (Your travel gear can make or break your experience and should be something that you should invest conscious efforts into.)
Weekender bags is a 1920s catch-all term for a piece of luggage that has the flexibility of a bag and the spaciousness of a suitcase with sufficient capacity for an overnight, a weekend getaway, or 3-4 days worth of travel. These bags are designed to blend in style into functionality with spacious compartments that can store all your weekend needs from outfits to basic toiletries to skincare and some glam to digital devices. It’s made to be durable for a worthwhile investment and waterproof to keep your belongings protected and secured.
Since its conception, it has been continuously innovated by manufacturers to perfect the demands of its increasingly growing market.
Here are is our top recommendation:
CANWAY 65L Travel Duffel Bag, Foldable, Weekender Bag with Shoes Compartment for both Men and Women, Waterproof Tear Resistant
The CANWAY 65L Travel Duffel Bag checks off all of your needs for a weekender bag without making your wallet sweat. You can cop this multi-purpose, large capacity bag for just $25.99 which is considered very affordable for a bag that offers a full-packed arsenal of features.
First off on quite the long list is that it’s foldable which makes it very space-efficient. Though the weekender’s designs have been generally innovative, a foldable feature is not always on the list, especially for large capacity holding bags like this one. This feature enables it for easy storage and a just-in-case bag you can use if you need more room for your things like souvenirs for your way back home. And you would think that big bags are automatically heavy but this only weighs 1.74 lbs on its own which is 75% less of the average luggage weighs around 7-12 lbs. It’s also made of 600D polyester fabric, a common and durable material used to make travel bags. Polyester is built to secure your items as it is wind- and water-resistant. Additionally, the bag is equipped with rigid zippers designed for additional security. It’s also tear-resistant and can withstand repeated wash and wear without deteriorating the fabric’s color (resistant to fading). Also, polyester has excellent memory characteristics that help the bag stay in shape regardless if it’s filled or not.
It has one main spacious compartment along with 6 separate pockets that helps organize your things. Another of its attractive features is its side shoe pocket with air vents doubling as a dirty laundry compartment as well. It has rounded stitched grip handles made for a comfortable carry and detachable adjustable shoulder straps for a more heavyweight situation though reviews noted that the shoulder straps are not heavy duty.
The CANWAY 65L Travel Duffel Bag is available in 5 different colors and in another two size variants (85L and 115L) whose price differences are just around $2-$4, relatively cheap for the significant jump in liter capacity. It also has a 2-year warranty for any mechanical malfunctions.
Truly, this is a duffel bag you never thought you needed.
Bago Travel Duffel Bags for Men and Women, Lightweight Folding Duffel Bag
This travel duffel bag is offered in three size variants: 60L, 80L, 100L. Just like the CANWAY Travel Duffel, the price jumps across size variants range is just more or less the same. It’s another large capacity bag that boasts of its space of a suitcase minus the bulk and weight. It can be collapsed and folded into a flat bag perfect for space-saving. Ideally, weekender bags are made for light packing for an overnight or weekend (of course) and a 50L capacity is already enough which is why most consumers purchase the 60L capacity which is the brand’s medium-size.
It has a spacious and odor-proof main compartment with 2 side pockets for water bottles and other things you might want to be easily accessible to your person. Aside from that, it is also equipped with a laundry and shoe compartment. To keep your things safe and secure on your trip, the Bago Travel Duffel Bag has a high quality corded zipper and durable honeycomb ripstop that can endure harsh wear and tear. For ease of carrying, it has two handle straps and a removable shoulder strap. Additionally, it comes with a carrying strap to easily attach your yoga mats.
North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag
Over the years, North Face has built wide consumer confidence in its products because of dependability and durability. They have been at the forefront of top-of-the-line hiking and camping bags and tools and its Base Camp Duffel Bag is no exception to its superiority. Built with a 1000 denier Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) for its body coupled with an 840 denier reinforced ballistic nylon for the bottom, this duffel bag will never let you down no matter how rough things go. Its material is water-resistant and offers stiffness for security. Its oversized YKK zippers are robust enough to hold the bag safely to the rim, preventing your things from spilling out. This is also handy if you need to stuff more items into the bag than you expected. Although it’s not a foldable travel bag, it can be stored compactly which is already good enough considering its thick fabric.
This bag opens on a wide D-shape which helps you go through your belongings without having to pull them one by one. Its spacious compartment holds a minimum of 50L but is also available in 69L and 95L respectively. Most travelers recommend the 69L capacity which is perfect for a week of travel. It is further compartmentalized through an internal mesh organization.
Aside from the usual built-in straps, the North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag offers a game-changer. It is equipped with a detachable backpack strap, resolving the age-old issue of balanced weight support. Though shoulder straps are designed for the same purpose, it does not eliminate the problem with too heavy bags and can ultimately cause strain on your shoulder muscle. Compression straps are also available. It also introduced an external daisy chain most beneficial for smaller capacity bags for other attachments. Side grab handles are also installed for quick grabs and easy hauling.
If you’re still not convinced to get one of this, North Face also offers a lifetime warranty on its items including this one.
Lily & Drew Carry-On Weekender Overnight Travel Shoulder Bag for 15.6” Laptop for Women
For the workaholic ladies in the house who would like to go on a weekend trip looking stylish, you can choose over 8 design variants that Lily & Drew has to offer for its carry-on weekender bag. It has a padded zipper compartment for your laptop that can be accessed with its own zipper which makes going through airport security a breeze. Additionally, its PVC coated fabric ensures its water-resistance providing security over your laptop and other belongings. Laptop compartments are not original features of weekender bags but the demand for business-related travels as well as those who are always on-the-go has popularized this feature.
It’s also very generous with pockets with 2 large side zipper pockets where you can store your water bottles, a front zipper pocket for all your important belongings that should be easily accessible, and 5 mesh pockets inside the main compartment for organization. It has a removable padded shoulder strap and an integrated trolley sleeve which also doubles as an external back pocket. It’s best for a short personal or business trip. You can cop this stylish weekender bag for only $49.99 with a one-year warranty.
Kroser Laptop Backpack 15.6” Stylish School Computer Backpack Doctor Bag Water Repellent Casual Daypack with USB Port Travel Business Work Bag Men/Women
This style is definitely on the trend and perfectly dubs the merging of fashion into functionality. Aesthetic-wise offered only on black color gives it a sleek vibe though most consumers would also like to see this specific piece in different colors for personality. Nevertheless, it’s stylish. In terms of function and features, this Kroser backpack has multi compartments best for storing your devices like laptops and tablets. Equipped with reinforced edges and a steel frame, the bag retains its shape even when it’s not filled. These features also add to the durability of the bag.
It opens on a wide frame mouth enabling easy sifting through belongings in the main compartment wherein items could be a little disorganized. Aside from the multi compartments, this laptop backpack also provides 2 side pockets and a front pocket for small, important items. For easy carry, it has black leather pullers and a shoulder strap which you can use to interchange carrying styles.
It also pushes into a more innovative functionality by equipping a built-in USB port which makes charging your devices on-the-go easier and less hassle. Though there is no free power bank installed into the bag, bummer!
This laptop backpack is also available at a smaller size (14.1”).
Vera Bradley Women’s Microfiber Grand Weekender Traveller Bag
Vera Bradley is a popular bag brand and aside from this one, it also has other weekender styles in its collection. This grand weekender traveller bag is available in three distinct colors of black, mulled wine, and navy. Among the three, the mulled wine variant is the most expensive at $168.90 followed by the navy and then the black one though the price differences are not considered substantial.
This travel bag by Vera Bradley unlike other of its weekender bags is made specifically of microfiber. Microfibers are usually materials used for cleaning agents but are also good fabric material for bags as it’s lightweight, water repellent, hygienic, and can be treated with antibacterial chemicals. It can also be a bit sensitive in terms of laundering but the product description declares this suitable for machine-wash.
It’s a stylish piece with 5 internal mesh pockets for organization and external pockets – 1 slip pocket and 2 zip pockets. It also has a trolley sleeve used to attach it to a rolling suitcase.
Amazonbasics Leather Canvas
Amazonbasics provides a wide range of item collection and has recently ventured into weekender bags. According to a review, this brand usually sells its items for less than $50 but this specific item has gone off a bit which is priced at $53.13.
This travel bag is a cotton-nylon combination with polyester lining which provides a mix of the durability staple for a weekend travel bag, water-resistance for the security of items, abrasion resistance, and weatherproof. It’s an easy to clean material that can last long with proper care.
Unlike polyester-based bags that have excellent memory characteristics allowing bags to stay in shape, cotton and nylon do not have a specific affinity for this thus the bag is not rigidly framed. In contrast to most compact ideas of the original weekender design or concept, the configurable and not-so-stiff is reminiscent of the first weekender bags. Its durable canvas with leather trimming gives it a sharp two-tone look that is perfect for business travels. It has 2 loop handles and a heavy-duty shoulder strap that clips to the bottom of the bag which makes it easy to carry. This feature also allows support and frame for the bag when it’s not full avoiding a lopsided look.
The most attractive feature of the Amazonbasics Leather Canvas is its roomy main compartment and variety of pockets that have different purposes efficiently placed externally and internally. The pockets enable the efficient organization of belongings providing you the ease of travel knowing things are segregated properly.
The major downsides of this bag though as pointed out by some reviews is that it’s already heavy without nothing in it and there also is the questioned durability of the leather strap closures but luckily Amazonbasics is providing a 1-year limited warranty for it.
Herschel Novel Duffle Bag
If you’re in for a travel bag that offers you a wide array of color choices, the Herschel Novel Duffle Bag got you easily covered. It also has two size variants both on the mid-range, the mid-volume 33L, and the classic 42.5L.
Despite the downsides of simplicity that this Novel Duffle Bag provides, it always emerges as a classic on the list as one of the best weekender bags (although it’s also further down our list for the same reason). Herschel is a premium brand on the bag line and became a household backpack brand with its retro “hipster” vibe concept. And aside from this nostalgic and revolutionary design, Herschel also assures customers of its premium quality materials which are also environmental-friendly. So whatever you’re buying from them is definitely made to last long. This specific item is made out of polyester, a material that is popular for its durability and ability to retain shape even when a bag is not full.
Unlike many other weekender bags we’ve reviewed so far, the Herschel Novel Duffle bag does not have a compartmentalization concept with only a small single side pocket good enough to carry a tablet or laptop and a shoe compartment. The main compartment is very spacious though since it’s larger than most gym bags which can fit 25 to 30 liters maximum only. The trick used by most consumers of this product is to take advantage of packing cubes that can maximize the space of its single compartment making it still an easy travel partner. Its shoe compartment also has a thick lining and can double as a laundry compartment or storage for any wet items. Design-wise, the Herschel Novel Duffle Bag features a signature striped lining that protects the outer material of the bag, a feature not often found on a below $100 price range just like this one.
Additionally, it has a two-way waterproof zipper, grab handles that are either polyester or faux leather and a wide padded shoulder strap.
Samsonite Andante 2 Drop Bottom Wheeled Rolling Duffel Bag
Rolling duffels are your duffels on a wheel which essentially give them their main feature: easy transport. Though they’re like your regular luggage suitcases, this removes the box-like feature that cannot be allowed as a carry-on since it wouldn’t fit the overhead cabin. This is one of the best-selling duffel bags on Amazon but is met with several negative reviews as well which puts it as number 9 on our list.
Let’s start with the selling features of this bag aside from it is easy to transport. First, it’s available in two size variants, the 22-inch, and 28-inch respectively. It has a large U-shaped opening which is very helpful in sifting through your belongings. It’s also accessible through a top and side zipper closures with multiple internal and external pockets for organization and a separate shoe compartment. It’s also built with a drop bottom construction for vertical arrangements. It also has corner protector guards to provide additional durability from rough handling.
Now, the downsides of this as noted by reviews is that it is a soft side polyester which means it cannot stand upright which can be a major blow for some since it’s one of the advantages of a rolling duffel. At rest, you need to lay it flat on the floor. And although there are a multitude of pockets enabling you to organize your things, it can also be quite confusing if you’re not familiar with how to use it. Another disadvantage is that it doesn’t have the built-in duffel style handles putting all of the weight on one handle.
RED SEASONS Extra Large Duffel Bag Lightweight 96L Travel Duffle Bag Foldable
This is actually quite a catch: a large capacity, lightweight, and foldable travel duffel bag which sounds just like our top pick CANWAY 65L Travel Duffel Bag but only at a bargain price of $9.99. It caps off our list banking on the 4.4-star ratings out of the 112 ratings it received on Amazon.
Most positive reviews on the bag note the durability of its 300D Oxford PU450 fabric and its foldability definitely defines it as an asset. One reviewer noted that it’s large enough to stuff in some pillows for long road travels. But there’s just about it with all the goodness. It only has a single and big space for a compartment and has no other pockets. It’s big (actually, too big) and lightweight but not your heavy-duty type so it needs to be handled with care. Nevertheless, it looks very promising as a travel duffel bag you can use with the family!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
How much should you usually invest in a good weekender bag?
Weekender bags usually range from $100 to $1000. There are budget-friendly finds under $100 and can get as low as $10 – remember though that you do not want to compromise quality over price since weekender bags should be your reliable travel partner. Not to mention that if you actually compute the risks, you will find yourself spending more if you purchase a cheap one and end up changing over time than splurging on an expensive yet long-lasting one. Trust me or you can do the math yourself. Nevertheless, splurging doesn’t mean purchasing an item for more than $1000 – that’s not practical especially when you have high-quality bags under a thousand dollars. If you do have the money, I won’t be on your way but again, remember, that an expensive price tag does not necessarily equate to superior quality. You’re just paying off the luxurious brand name more for the style and less for the functionality.
There is a lot of mid-range to high-quality bags equipped with a lot of features between $50 to $250, that’s a safe investment. Just make sure you put a healthy weight on both quality and price before choosing.
How big should I get for my weekender bag?
This is largely dependent on a lot of factors but one standard note on this is whether you’re traveling by air or on land. By air, you would have to check on the different airline regulations regarding the maximum size for overhead cabins. Generally, a carry-on luggage should measure around 22” x 14” x 9” to fit into the overhead compartment. Nevertheless, most weekender bags are sized perfectly for overhead cabins and it’s usually noted on the product description or details. The compression strap feature is also good to have so that you can compact your belongings since space tends to be occupied and this excess space can cause your bag to not fit in. For land travel, the size can be bigger and more flexible since there’s no prescribed restriction.
This can also depend on the use whether you would want to get different size variants. Personally, I would recommend packing light and getting a size that is just enough to fit in all your needs or with a little allowable space for unexpected belongings you’d need to stuff later on. It’s a weekend or a week of travel so don’t burden yourself with too many things!
Are weekender bags the same as duffel bags? I’m confused.
Yes and no. Weekender bag is a general term used in reference to any type of bag designed for short trips or weekend getaways and one type of bag used as a weekender bag. You can look at a weekender bag as an umbrella term while a duffel bag is a specific type under it. Though some sources point out that a weekender bag is a name created for a duffel bag of the same purpose.
Others argue that duffel bags are larger and more spacious items that fit more than just a weekend trip that weekender bags are for. Conflict in terms can somehow be rooted in the innovation of weekender bags extending to more than just a weekend (because we all want weekends to be longer, right?) and adding of wheels from previously hand-held carry-on luggage.
What accessories can I use to complement and maximize my weekender bag?
Pack light and pack efficiently. To maximize the spacious main compartments of your bag, make use of organizational travel pieces like packing cubes. They can tremendously help you out in outfit organization and offer hassle-free travel. If there are not many pockets, you can also purchase a toiletry bag that you can also easily hang over as well as an electronic cord organizer if you’re traveling with a lot of devices.
For additional security, you can also purchase identification cards for your items and covers that can either camouflage your bag or stand out from the crowd (depend on your preference).
I can’t pick! Should I go with style or functionality?
This is a bump because this definitely is upon your preference. After all, you will be the one using it though you shouldn’t have much of a problem here since weekender bags merge style and function and have since innovated to suit its consumer demands. But if the question still ends up to this, I’d say functionality trump style. Basically, you would want to invest in a long-lasting bag, and pinching on style as a decision-maker will not make your purchase a practical one.
TIPS | Buyer’s guide on how to pick YOUR weekender bag
Recommendations should not be your primary basis for picking the right weekender bag for your trip. Take a look at what factors you should consider before purchasing one.
Whenever I’m looking to purchase an item that would be an investment, I try to put it into a step by step question. Hopefully, this helps you as well.
SUITABILITY TO NEEDS AND PREFERENCES
The first question to ask is what kind of trip are you going to. Are you going for a personal and casual weekend trip with friends or family? An adventurous hike? Or a business trip? The next question is how long would your trip be or if you’re a frequent weekend traveler – what is the average length of your trips?
There are different types of weekender bags to suit these needs.
These are your best travel partner for a 2-3 day-long trip. It’s spacious enough to fit all your outfits and a bit of extra plus your other necessities. These are made from different materials and are commonly available in 40-60 liter capacity which is just enough since ideally, a short trip should only cost you 50L of space. It’s also offered in different designs and styles depending on your preference. Most men go for the classy type of duffels while women opt for a more comfortable look. Note that there are also rolling duffels that make it easier to transport.
More often than not, backpacks are more associated with school but have evolved into space-efficient travel bags. It can work as a personal casual 3-day trip gear but is also designed for adventurous trips like hiking and camping. The backpack strap feature which generously distributes the weight is easily one of its main assets. These are also generally used to carry devices like laptops and tablets instead of purchasing a separate laptop bag. And recently, it often comes with technological innovations such as USB ports for easy device charging.
Basically these are bags strapped onto suitcases or can be fitted with wheels as well importing the concept of a suitcase on a smaller and more flexible case that can fit on overhead cabins of an airplane. These are also developing to become more compartmentalized with padded spaces fitted for laptops. Like duffel bags, these can be carried by hand using grip handles or a shoulder strap to even out the weight of the load throughout the body.
Other factors to consider are the color, style, and design of your bag. Manufacturers of weekender bags have stood with the style and functionality motto and you will always have a wide range of options of stylish bags for your weekend getaways.
After getting an idea of what type of weekender bag is suited for you, the very next thing you should look at is the material used. Regardless of the kind of trip, length, or frequency, you should look out for a high quality material for it to last long. There’s no trade-off for this, only added specification for specific types of trips. For the material, you would want it to be:
- Durable and in extension resistant to abrasion which prevents your bag from deteriorating from a few rough handling and repeated wash and wears.
- Water-Resistant/Water Repellent since we don’t want our belongings to be accidentally wet especially gadgets. But it would be best to have a waterproof material (note that there is a difference between water-resistant and waterproof).
- Compact and stays in shape. Its ability to be compact will make it space-efficient and while it’s not a requirement to pick a bag that retains its shape even when not full, it’s a good characteristic to have.
- Lightweight for comfortable carrying or handling.
- Easily cleaned.
Here are the five common materials used for bags:
This is the most common type of fabric used in the textile industry and is chemically organic meaning it does not contain any synthetic compounds. Cotton is a soft fabric popular for its lightness and breathability. It’s also durable but can be prone to pilling, rips, and tears nonetheless it has high tensile strength. It’s also very absorbent and dries quickly. You can also wash it under medium to high temperatures. The drawbacks of this fabric are easy discoloration, wrinkling, and shrinking.
This is purely synthetic fiber, unlike cotton. It presents a wide array of potentially good attributes as textiles but was discovered to be highly susceptible to runs and tears. It also lacks the essential moisture-wicking properties which are a valuable characteristic for travels. Although this fabric can be used in combination with other fabrics such as polyester or cotton. One major downside for nylon fabrics is that it’s produced mainly from petroleum oil – a nonrenewable source – which makes it non-biodegradable.
It’s a popular fabric that can be used in different consumer and industrial applications. Like nylon, polyester is also manufactured from petroleum oil which draws its setbacks. Nevertheless, its setbacks do not tip off polyester as a top contender in material for bags. Its long list of characteristics includes wind and water resistance, weatherproof, durable and can withstand repeated cycles of washing and wearing, resistance to fading and less susceptibility to stains, and excellent memory characteristics enabling shape retainment.
This is a more common fabric used in bags which is the plain-woven fabric usually made from cotton and linen. It’s durable, sturdy, and heavy-duty and when blended with synthetic fibers, it also becomes water-resistant. It’s a recommended material for outdoor bags.
This is a common material for the more classy weekender pieces and while it’s elegant, it also comes in with an expensive price tag as leather fabrics are tricky to sew. But the money’s really worth it with leather fabric as these are made to last and quality does not deteriorate over time. It’s resistant to dry abrasion, fire if it is treated for it, dust mites, and fungal attacks. This fabric is also partly waterproof.
Aside from the material, there are certain features that you should look out for in picking the right weekender bag for you.
Most weekenders have built-in handles that are usually clasped with velcro, side handles, and shoulder straps. It’s best to get padded shoulder straps to cushion the weight. They should also be adjustable to make it flexible to any type of need and user. It’s optional to have these straps as detachable. The straps enable easy to grab and haul and provide alternative ways of carrying it. Compressional straps are also good features as it compacts your belongings especially when it’s not full to the brim.
Pockets and Compartments
As much as there are a lot of organizational accessories such as packing cubes, electronic cord organizer, toiletry bags, pockets are essential in any weekender bag. It provides additional organization and keeps important items secure. Compartments are also very useful especially shoe and laundry spaces which avoids additional bags for keeping.
This might not be one of your primary concerns but it should be. No matter how durable your material is, without robust zippers to keep it properly closed, it’s useless. Though rigid zippers are kind of bulky and would require more effort to close, it also means that your items are more secure.
With the innovation of weekender bags, you can also look at other bonus features such as foldability which makes the bag space-efficient, transparent ID feature where you can fill out personal details in any case that the bag goes missing, and USB ports for the tech-savvy who can’t go out on a journey without bringing an arsenal of devices.
The only reminder when it comes to the budget is not to compromise quality for the price because it will never be worth your while. Invest in quality because travel bags are items that you will use long term. At the same time, you don’t need to splurge on high-quality items because there are a lot of these under a budget-friendly range.
This is optional but a good note to keep in mind. Usually, we just concern ourselves with the above-mentioned factors and completely rule this one out. Our planet is facing a lot of environmental issues and we should be actively a part of the change in this system to prevent further damage. By supporting sustainable fashion, we say yes to a conscious effort on researching the brands and materials that we purchase. Let’s not be a part of a system that exploits the labor of women and children and uses materials that can potentially harm the environment. Many brands have been switching to recyclable materials but still providing quality so please let’s support them!