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20 Best Carry-On Duffel Bags for Travel

If you toss your belongings into your open bag without any organization, a duffel might be right for you. You'll find your next carry-on duffel bag in this list!

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The duffel bag has been the tote of choice for travelers for decades. The right duffel is easily packable, easily squishable, and very robust. For some people, it’s an essential item that can be stuffed, tossed, and stored in just about any space.

Although I generally prefer carry-on backpacks for my travels, sometimes a carry-on duffel bag is just a better option⁠—especially if you’re the type of person to just toss your belongings into your open duffel bag without any kind of organization.

Or maybe you just prefer the style.

Top Pick
Matador SEG42

This duffel has it all: the ability to convert to a backpack, tons of organization, and incredible durability. You'll have this bag for years!

There are so many choices out there. Different sizes, materials, features, and quality levels create an overwhelming environment that can leave new travelers in indecision.

That’s why I’ve picked out the best of the best and compiled this list of top picks, so you’ll find the best duffel bag for your travels!

1. Matador SEG42: Best Overall Carry-On Duffel

Matador SEG42 Travel Pack

This backpack-duffel hybrid combines functionality and versatility to create one of the best bags on the market for travelers.

The Matador SEG42 is made of 840D nylon and 420D nylon (with waterproofing), as well as ultra-durable 100D Robic Dynatec for the interior, so this thing is tough. There are lots of handy storage pockets that are zippered for ultimate organization, plus the straps are stowable for easy travel.

The clamshell opening gives you easy access to the interior, which is an ideal place to store larger items or dirty laundry. It also comes with an external-access padded laptop sleeve that’ll keep your laptop or tablet safe from the elements.


  • Waterproof zipper and materials
  • Apocalypse-ready construction
  • Versatile enough for both urban and outdoor trips


  • Backpack straps don’t have much padding or comfort
  • The mostly-black interior makes it hard to find things inside
  • It’s expensive

Matador SEG42 Specs:

Dimensions22″ x 13.4″ x 10.3″
Weight2.8 lbs

2. Eddie Bauer Bygone 45L: Best Budget Carry-On Duffel

Eddie Bauer Bygone 45L Duffel

You may know Eddie Bauer for their technical gear for hikers, mountaineers, and other outdoor adventurers. They also make some great affordable carry-on luggage and duffel bags.

This vintage-style carry-on duffel bag is well-constructed and stylish, with leather handles and zipper pulls that add a classy touch.

External pockets with zippers add extra organization to the Eddie Bauer Bygone 45L, so you have easy access to smaller goods, while the main compartment is where you store your larger gear. There is also a U-shaped, dual-zip opening to the main area that makes it easy to stuff awkwardly shaped items.

Two internal zippered pockets give you even more space to stash anything you want to grab quickly, like toiletries or cash. Best of all, this is one of the most affordable options on this list, AND it’s stylish.


  • Classic design looks nice enough for work travel
  • Lower cost than other duffel bags on this list
  • External pockets with zippers


  • Seems smaller than the advertised size
  • Doesn’t have much structure or padding

Eddie Bauer Bygone 45L Specs:

Dimensions23″ x 14.4″ x 9″
Weight1.7 lbs

3. Peak Design Travel Duffel 35L: Best Duffel Bag for International Travel

Peak Design 35L Travel Duffel

For those that want to match functionality with style, the Peak Design Travel Duffel is one of the best carry-on duffel bags on the market. Peak Design is known for its specialized camera bags, but they aim to appeal to all travelers with this product.

Best of all, this duffel bag can be carried as a duffel, messenger bag, and backpack. The Cord Hook quick-connection system allows you to customize how each strap links to the bag.

Both the shoulder strap and top handles are padded, and the removable backpack straps increase the versatility of this duffel bag. The  400D nylon is extremely durable, but the added 800D nylon padding at the bottom is a thoughtful design feature that protects the most heavily-impacted part of the bag.

Style-wise, we love the color pairings and the touches of leather. The metal clasps and zippers also add to the sophisticated look of the bag!

If you’re interested in other Peak Design bags, check out our review for the Peak Design Travel Backpack.


  • This duffel is the perfect blend of elegance and functionality
  • Removable backpack straps
  • The leather accents are a beautiful addition, especially on the sage green bag
  • For eco-conscious travelers, this bag is made entirely from recycled materials


  • The magnet clasps in the handles are pretty weak
  • Not as water-resistant as other duffle bags

Peak Design Travel Duffel 35L Specs:

Dimensions22″ x 14″ x 10″29.9″ x 13.4″ x 12.6″
Weight2 lbs2.9 lbs

4. North Face Rolling Thunder: Best Carry-On Duffel Bag with Wheels

The North Face Rolling Thunder 22

This 22″ rolling duffel fits around 40L worth of items and is the only one of two rolling duffel bags on this list. This design bridges the gap between a suitcase and a duffel bag. The soft yet durable nylon exterior is flexible enough to fit gear of all shapes without the restrictions of a hard-shelled suitcase, and the main compartment is simple, without pockets or padding.

The wheels on the Rolling Thunder are built for all conditions—they are larger with more tread than a traditional suitcase, so they can handle rougher terrains like cobblestone or unpaved paths. This rolling duffel bag is definitely built to go places you’d never dream of taking your shiny spinner suitcase.

Keep in mind that the wheel system makes this wheeled duffel bag heavier than a standard duffel. Although you won’t be carrying the Rolling Thunder, keep in mind that the weight of this bag with wheels could be an issue when it comes to airline weight restrictions.


  • Ultra-durable exterior material
  • Rugged, oversized wheels roll easily on rough surfaces
  • North Face products come with a lifetime guarantee


  • Expensive
  • No compression straps to secure the load
  • No padded pockets for laptops or other electronics
  • No removable shoulder strap

North Face Rolling Thunder Specs:

Dimensions22″ x 14″ x 8.5″
Weight7 lbs

5. Halfday Garment Duffel: Best Carry-On Garment Duffel Bag

Halfday Garment Duffle

If you need to travel with a suit, dress, or other formal hanging clothes, a dedicated garment bag is the best way to keep them looking fresh and unwrinkled. But what if you also want the carry-all functionality of a duffel bag?

That’s where the Halfday Garment Duffel comes in. This unique hybrid design combines a full-size garment bag for hanging clothes with the versatility of a duffel. In a world full of duffel bags that all look the same, this innovation really stands out!

So how does it work?

The entire bag unzips to lay fully flat and open. This makes it easy to pack in suits, dresses, or other formal wear without taking them off the hanger. A protective panel then zips over the top of your hanging clothes to keep them from shifting around.

Once the garment bag section is packed, you zip up the sides to transform it into a duffel. It has a super wide opening that makes it really easy to pack in all your stuff. Plus, there are dedicated shoe pockets on either side to keep shoes separate from all your clean clothes.

Once you see it in action, the design is actually pretty simple; it’s just totally different from anything else I’ve seen on the market. And it works!

Now, if you want a more general do-everything duffel, the Halfday Garment Duffel probably isn’t the best choice. You wouldn’t want to use it as a gym bag or gear hauler for adventurous travel, but for anyone needing a more versatile garment bag, this is an awesome choice.


  • Versatile 2-in-1 design
  • Hanging garment storage keeps suits, dress shirts, and dresses looking good
  • Plenty of room for 3+ days of clothes


  • Not as general-purpose as other duffel bags
  • Can’t access the hanging storage without unpacking everything else
  • Not-so-comfy shoulder straps don’t work well for long carries

Halfday Garment Duffel Specs:

Dimensions22″ x 12″ x 12″
Weight2.3 lbs

6. KÜHL Eskape 50 Kanvas: Best Men’s Carry-On Duffel Bag

KUHL Eskape Kanvas Duffel

When KÜHL decided to create the Eskape 50 Kanvas, they were going for the toughest, most durable duffel on the market—something that would hold up for years of adventuring while still being usable for weekend trips or as an overnight bag. They nailed it. The durability, features, and rugged styling make this one of the best duffel bags for men.

KÜHL uses an incredibly tough TPU-laminated nylon for superior weatherproofing, meaning you could get caught in an unexpected rainstorm or snowstorm and your belongings will stay safe and dry. Even the double zippers are water-resistant. The nylon is tough enough that you could drop this duffel out of a moving vehicle, and it’ll stand up just find.

There are also a bunch of fun additional features, like two compressible dirty item pouches so you can keep your smelly laundry and shoes separate from the clean stuff. Lots of pockets add extra organization and stowable backpack straps will help you to avoid any snags while in transit.


  • Superior laminated nylon and other weatherproofing features keep your belongings super safe.
  • It comes with a side pocket that converts to a water bottle pocket.
  • Surprisingly comfortable shoulder straps


  • Expensive (but it’ll last for ages
  • Too big to be comfortable for smaller folks

HL Eskape 50 Kanvas Specs:

Dimensions25″ x 14″ x 11″

7. Monos Metro Duffel: Best Women’s Carry-On Duffel Bag

Monos Metro Duffel

The streamlined, sleek Monos Metro Duffel is made with ethically sourced, ultra-microfibre vegan leather. At 23L it’s one of the smaller duffels on this list, but it’s truly a duffel bag you can take with you from the office to the gym, or from your co-working space to a weekend trip (or wherever you please, really).

There’s an internal sleeve that fits up to a 15″ laptop, and inner pockets for a water bottle or other valuables. This duffel also has a pass-through sleeve to secure to your main bag. The best thing about this duffel? It’s designed to work with the signature QuickSnap Modular Kit System so you can easily snap off and on the Classic Kit with all your essentials.

Finally, it comes in a handful of different colors. The Mahogany is particularly drool-worthy.


  • Works with the nifty QuickSnap Modular Kit System
  • Comes in a wide range of colors
  • The trolley sleeve turns into an extra pocket when not in use. Who doesn’t love extra pockets?
  • Fits up to a 15″ laptop


  • This duffel is one of the more expensive on this list.
  • This small duffle bag won’t work for trips longer than 3 days or so

Monos Metro Duffel Specs:

Dimensions16.3″ x 11.2″ x 7.2″
Weight3 lbs

8. Timbuk2 Impulse Travel Backpack Duffel: Best Duffel Bag Backpack

Timbuk2 Impulse Travel Backpack Duffel

Is it a travel backpack or a duffel? The Timbuk2 Impsulve Travel Duffel serves as both, with adjustable backpack straps that tuck away so you can convert it into a duffel bag.

This hybrid bag comes equipped with several features that many standard duffel bags lack: namely, internal compression straps, a water bottle pocket, and a padded laptop compartment.

Zippered mesh pockets on the U-shaped lid keep your small items in separate compartments from the main compartment, while external zipper pockets allow you to stow wet or dirty gear.

The harness system on this duffel backpack is more extensive than anything else on this list. Not only does it have shoulder straps, but it also has a hip belt complete with mini pockets to store your chapstick or a snack. The back panel is made of breathable polyethylene foam, and the sternum strap distributes weight so that carrying this duffel on long walks is a breeze. This is one of the best duffel bags if you prefer a backpack-style carry.


  • Laptop compartment fits 17-inch devices
  • Great lifetime warranty
  • Easy-to-clean material keeps this pack looking new for longer
  • Comfortable padded shoulder straps make it easier to carry long distances


  • Zippers tend to be sticky and hard to maneuver, but they seem to ease up with time
  • No traditional over-the-shoulder strap option
  • It’s only available in one color—black.

Timbuk2 Impulse Travel Backpack Duffel Specs:

Dimensions22.4″ x 13.4″ x 6.2″
Weight3.7 lbs

9. Aer Travel Duffel: Best Duffel for Digital Nomads

Aer Travel Duffel

This Aer Travel Duffel is minimalistic, spacious, and carry-on compatible. The clamshell opening provides suitcase-like access for easy packing rather than the U-shape opening that’s so common in this list.

However, this travel duffel bag looks incredibly professional—in fact, it looks almost more like a briefcase. You can easily transition from a work trip to a weekend adventure with this duffel bag in tow.

The interior pockets are intuitive, with a front organizational pocket, a padded sleeve for laptops up to 15.6 inches, and a mesh pocket in the main storage compartment. There are top compression straps and lockable zippers for extra security at the airport and even a pocket for your water bottle. The functionality of such a minimalistic bag is seriously impressive, and it’s perfect for digital nomads.


  • Comes with a laptop pocket for devices up to 15.6 inches.
  • Plenty of external pockets
  • Easy-to-pack clamshell opening
  • Lockable zippers make this bag super secure.


  • Gets uncomfortable to carry when it’s fully loaded
  • It looks a bit too briefcase-y

Aer Travel Duffel Specs:

Dimensions21.3″ x 12.6″ x 9.1″
Weight2.5 lbs

10. Patagonia Black Hole 40L: Best Adventure Duffel Bag

Patagonia Black Hole 40L Duffel Bag

The Patagonia Black Hole Duffel may be one of the most highly regarded options out there. It’s burly yet lightweight, and it has an impressive water-repellant finish. It has two straps for backpack-style carry, so you can throw in all your gear without worrying about it being too heavy. The reinforced bottom makes this duffel bag extra durable, so you never have to worry about your equipment.

This duffel backpack has just the right amount of pockets: the large compartment has a U-shaped lid, where zippered mesh pockets allow you to store small gear on the underside. Exterior pockets provide easy access to all your travel essentials, so you don’t have to search through the black hole for your boarding passes in the security line.

And true to its name, the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag is deceptively large. For the light-packer or one-bag traveler, you can fit enough stuff for a multi-week trip. And for those that bring a lot of stuff, the external daisy-chain links let you add other attachments.

This duffel bag comes in multiple forms: from various sizes to an array of colors (and even a rolling duffel option), there’s sure to be a version that fits any traveler’s needs.

The Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag has a bit of a cult following, and for good reason. If bomb-proof durability and straightforward functionality are what you’re after, this is one of the best duffel bags out there.


  • The padded backpack straps make this comfortable for heavy loads of gear
  • Lots of awesome colors
  • Versatile design goes from camping trips to overseas travel
  • Removable toiletry bag makes it easy to pull out liquids for TSA


  • Pricey (but it’s built to last)
  • Traditionalists may miss the standard over-the-shoulder strap
  • More internal pockets would be great

Patagonia Black Hole 40L Specs:

Dimensions21″ x 13.7″ x 10.6″
Weight2 lbs

11. Rains Hilo Weekend Bag: Best Waterproof Carry-On Duffel Bag

Rains Hilo Weekender Bag

Rains is a modern outerwear brand that specializes in waterproof jackets and bags. They combine minimalist Scandinavian design with durable waterproof materials. Take a look through their website and you’ll find some really unique styles, plus products that are just straight-up functional.

If you get caught in a rainstorm while traveling, you don’t want to have to worry that your bag is going to soak through and leave you with a sopping wet pile of clothes. The Rains Hilo Weekend Bag uses the same signature PU-coated fabric as their rain jackets, making a waterproof duffel bag that will keep your personal belongings dry in wet weather.

Rains gives this bag a W3 on their “Water Performance Level” rating (their own rating system). Essentially that means it’s designed to stand up to light-to-moderate rain. It’s perfect for getting caught out in a storm, but you definitely wouldn’t want to take it on a rafting trip or leave it out all day in a monsoon.

Beyond the waterproof performance, the design is very simple. There are no exterior pockets, extra zippers, or random features to get in the way. Just one big main compartment, a carry handle, and a removable shoulder strap. Really, I wish they had added at least one external zippered pocket for things you want quick access to.

If you like lots of features, this isn’t the bag for you. There’s definitely something appealing about it’s simplicity though.


  • Waterproof protection from rain and snow
  • Sleek, stylish look
  • Simple, easy-to-pack design
  • Durable materials
  • One of the lightest bags on this list


  • No pockets or organization features
  • The adjustable shoulder strap doesn’t offer much padding

RAINS Hilo Weekend Bag Specs:

Dimensions20.5″ x 10.6″ x 10.2″
Weight1.8 lbs

12. Everlane ReNew Transit Weekender: Most Stylish Duffel Bag

The Everlane ReNew Transit Weekender is perfect for city traveling, as it’s small enough to navigate the busy subway and light enough to sling over your shoulder as you walk down the street. This intelligently-designed minimalist travel bag comes with two top straps to grab and go and a longer shoulder sling.

The bag’s main pocket is roomy and zippered, and there are two exterior pockets, one with a zipper and one without. The zipper pocket also doubles as a luggage handle pass-through when fully unzipped!

The interior features a protective laptop sleeve, two water bottle holders, and a spacious main compartment.

This bag comes in four sleek neutral colors—its exterior is 100% recycled polyester with a water-resistant finish. It’s super lightweight, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t durable! If you want to keep it simple and classy, this is the duffel.


  • This duffel bag is one of the most affordable on this list!
  • Great for balancing style and functionality
  • Multiple ways to carry: in hand, cross-body, or over the shoulder


  • Lacking in interior organization—could use smaller pockets
  • I’d prefer more comfortable shoulder straps

Everlane ReNew Transit Weekender Specs:

Dimensions19.5″ x 14.2″ x 7.3″

13. MAHI Classic Duffel: Best Leather Carry-On Duffel Bag

MAHI Classic Duffel

MAHI started as a premium leatherworking factory in India in the 1800’s. They employ expert craftspeople and emphasize durability and quality in everything they make. Not to mention their products look amazing.

While not everyone will be interested in a leather duffel, for anyone who loves the timeless style and craftsmanship of well-made leather products, the MAHI Classic Duffel is a great choice. No, it doesn’t have the high-tech materials and nifty features of many other duffel bags, but it’s well-made and looks great.

The biggest advantage of this duffel is that the high-quality leather used means it will last a long time. You could easily be handing this down to your grandkids. Of course, leather does require a bit more care than synthetic materials (I recommend using Nikwax Leather Restorer).

My biggest complaint is that it doesn’t open very wide, which can make it a bit harder to pack if you’re stuffing it to the brim.


  • Timeless genuine leather style
  • Durable materials and construction that will last a lifetime
  • Amazing value for the price you pay
  • External pocket is great for quick-access items


  • Smaller main opening zipper
  • Shoulder strap isn’t very comfy

MAHI Classic Duffel Specs:

Dimensions21″ x 11″ x 11″
Weight2.8 lbs

14. WANDRD HEXAD Access Duffel: Best Duffel for Photographers

WANDRD HEXAD Access Duffel Bag

This backpack-duffel hybrid combines functionality and versatility to create one of the best bags on the market for photographers.

The WANDRD HEXAD is made of 1680D nylon and waterproof tarpaulin with WR army coating, so this thing is tough. There are lots of handy storage pockets, and the multiple access points make it super easy for you to quickly grab your camera when you need it. These features are pretty similar to the ones reviewed for the WANDRD PRVKE.

The clamshell opening gives you easy access to the interior, which is designed to be compatible with the WANDRD camera cubes. This heavy-duty pack will keep your camera gear and laptop safe from the elements.

For more information about this bag, check out my full review of the WANDRD HEXAD Access Duffel.


  • Tons of organization
  • This waterproof duffel will keep your stuff dry
  • Burly materials and construction
  • Works well as a laptop duffel


  • The backpack straps aren’t the best
  • It’s very heavy
  • The all-black interior makes it hard to see inside
  • The laptop pocket is inconvenient to access

WANDRD HEXAD Access Duffel Specs:

Dimensions22″ x 14″ x 9″
Weight3.9 lbs

15. Thule Subterra 45L: Best Minimalist Duffel Bag

Thule Subterra Duffel Bag 45L

The Thule Subterra Duffel bag has a simple design with an almost geometric shape. Its slim profile is accentuated by the lack of external handles or attachment points. Corner flaps fold up and down so you can decide how you carry it, as a tote-style duffel bag or sleek duffel.

Thick, magnetic handles in the middle help to keep this pack balanced as you carry it through the airport. The extra-padded shoulder strap is comfortable to carry, and straps cinch down the bag, so you can pack extra gear while keeping the duffel carry-on compliant.

It comes in three colors: dark shadow, ember, and mineral. They’re neutral enough to be professional, but the geometric design also makes the Thule Subterra one of the most unique bags on this list.


  • Sleek and modern design
  • Great structure and padding
  • Internal mesh pocket for organization


  • Magnetic handle feature doesn’t work well
  • Not very water-resistant

Thule Subterra 45L Specs:

Dimensions22″ x 13.8″ x 9.9″
Weight1.9 lbs

16. Osprey Transporter Duffel 40: Most Durable Duffel Bag

Osprey’s Transporter Duffel 40 is the ideal pack for adventurers who need a pack as rugged and tough as they are, especially in those wetter climates.

Osprey hails this pack as great for short gear-intensive trips. It is built from recycled polyester with dual-sided TPU coating inside and out, sturdy hardware, overlapping zipper, and a DWR coating that protects your gear from the elements.

The main compartment features a YKK zipper with an overlapping rain flap for extra protection against weather. The pack can carry up to 40L, which is the perfect weekender size to fit all your gear and be able to carry onto an airplane.

A deployable harness with a sternum strap allows you to backpack carry when desired and offers a sleek, classic duffel carry design when tucked away.


  • Extremely durable and weather-resistant
  • The main compartment is large and zippered
  • Comfortable backpack straps


  • A heavier option due to the durable materials.

Osprey Transporter Duffel 40 Specs:

Dimensions21.7″ x 14.6″ x 10.2″
Weight2.5 lbs

17. Monarc Settra: Most Eco-Friendly Duffel Bag

Monarc Settra Duffel

Monarc is a new brand on the block, and they’ve taken a unique approach by building their entire brand around reducing plastic waste. In fact, they are certified plastic-negative, which means they remove more plastic from the environment than they use in their products.

The Monarc Settra Duffel Backpack is made using ocean-bound plastic, and Monarc is clearly proud of that. The main zipper has a lanyard proudly proclaiming that it’s “made with 50 recycled plastic bottles.” With this bag, you’ll be making a statement that sustainability matters to you.

It’s not just about sustainability, though. This duffel bag is also really well-built and well-thought-out. The materials feel very burly and tough. I haven’t put it through long-term use yet, but it definitely feels like it will last a long time. The tradeoff is that it’s heavy; at almost 5 lbs it’s one of the heaviest on this list.

My favorite feature is that the Monarc Settra can convert into a backpack for longer carries. It has nicely padded shoulder straps and even a hip belt, which isn’t common. I’ve been impressed with the comfort and load-carrying ability in backpack mode. Is it as good as a dedicated backpack? No. But it works really well for what it is. The backpack straps also stash away neatly when not in use.

Finally, this duffel is absolutely packed with features and pockets. There’s a removable shoe pocket, stash pockets inside and out, a long admin-type pocket on the side, a deep pocket for water bottles, and a padded laptop sleeve that fits up to 17-inch devices. Honestly, I think there are too many pockets—more than I’d ever use, anyway.

It’s probably a bit overkill for many people, but the Monarc Settra Duffel Backpack is awesome if you want a solid duffel bag while also doing good for the planet.


  • Made from recycled ocean-bound plastic
  • Burly, high-quality materials and construction
  • Tons of organization and pockets
  • Surprisingly comfortable in backpack mode
  • Works as a laptop duffle, travel bag, or outdoor adventure bag


  • Features are a bit over-complicated
  • Heavy

Monarc Settra Duffel Backpack Specs:

Dimensions24″ x 13″ x 11″
Weight4.5 lbs

18. Osprey Ozone 2 Wheel Carry-On: Best Lightweight Rolling Duffel Bag

The Osprey Ozone 2 Wheel Carry-On is one of the lightest rolling bags on the market, clocking in at just 4.5 pounds. It carries up to 40 liters and is under 22″ high, meeting most airline carry-on requirements. Osprey bags are built for adventure, and their wheels are designed to take a beating, so you’ll be able to wheel this duffel everywhere—across train platforms and over cobbled roads—with little hassle.

This bag with wheels also has tons of organization, including a main compartment with a giant opening for easy packing/unpacking. There’s a separate zippered panel area for your dirty clothes, and other pockets to keep things sorted.

The lightness of the bag is key here, especially when you’re trying to shove this duffel into an overhead bin. The durable fabrics match those of Osprey’s alpine packs, ensuring this duffel will last you forever.


  • Despite only weighing 4.5 lbs, this duffel carries 40L
  • The durability of this duffel means you can haul it just about anywhere
  • Great alternative to standard carry-on luggage
  • Separate compartment for your laptop


  • The handle locks at one height
  • Less protective than hardside carry-on bags
  • Not an inexpensive bag

Osprey Ozone 2-Wheel Carry-On Specs:

Dimensions21.5″ x 14″ x 10″
Weight4.5 lbs

19. Boundary Supply Errant Duffel: Most Versatile Duffel Bag

Boundary Supply Errant Duffel

Boundary Supply certainly loves giving their customers lots of options, and the Errant Duffel is no exception. It doesn’t just convert from side-carry to backpack carry, you can even wear it crossbody like a messenger bag. This makes it ideal for all types of usage, whether it’s going to the gym or taking a quick trip out of town.

This duffel bag comes with a ventilated wet/dry compartment, a luggage pass-through, quick-access pockets, and two exterior lash straps to attach other Boundary Supply items to your bag. Like the brand’s other products, this duffel bag is made of incredibly durable 500D Cordura, YKK StormGuard zippers, and magnetic hardware to keep your things safe and dry.

At 35L, you can do a lot with this duffel bag, but it’s simpler than Boundary Supply’s other modular gear. You’ll get the usual awesome quality product, but without overcomplicating it.


  • You can side-carry this duffel, wear it like a backpack, or carry it crossbody
  • Very stylish
  • The padded straps are great for heavy loads
  • Water-resistant materials


  • Small-ish capacity
  • The shoulder strap may get uncomfortable when packed with heavy gear.
  • Expensive

Boundary Supply Errant Duffel Specs:

Dimensions20″ x 12″ x 9″
Weight2.6 lbs

20. The North Face Base Camp Duffel: Best Large Carry-On Duffel Bag

The North Face Base Camp Duffel

As you might have guessed from its name, the North Face Base Camp Duffel is built for expeditions and holds up perfectly in some incredibly challenging terrains, including winter trips. It’s literally a base camp duffel.

The Base Camp Duffel is made up of 840D Recycled Ballistic Nylon designed to withstand the roughest elements you’ll encounter on your travels. The extra bartacks and double stitching are nice durability features, too.

Keep in mind that this bag ranges in size small to quite large—some even hold over 100L. Make sure you’re going for the size small if you want to keep it carry-on-friendly. Otherwise, this thing (and its haul loops) can really haul some gear.


  • Great internal organization pockets
  • Built with durable and water-resistant fabric
  • Ideal for outdoor expeditions, including winter trips
  • The alpine-cut straps are detachable and adjustable for a perfect ergonomic fit
  • Padded handles are comfortable to carry


  • May be too big for a carry-on with some airlines
  • A lightweight duffel for the size

The North Face Base Camp Duffel Specs:

Dimensions25″ x 14″ x 14″
Weight3.9 lbs

What is a Carry-On Duffel Bag?

Duffel bags are simple, soft-sided packs that maximize useable space by keeping design features to a minimum. Depending on their size and build, they make great weekend or carry on duffel bags or extended travel packs for a variety of terrain.

Duffle bags come in multiple forms. There’s no such thing as a traditional duffel bag anymore. Some are waterproof, while others double as travel backpacks. Some are made of leather (or leather accents), or heavy-duty nylon, or cotton. Some are sleek city companions, while others are built for carrying your climbing gear around rugged mountain environments.

man carrying a Peak Design Travel Duffel
This Peak Design Travel Duffel is one of the duffel bags on this list!

As travelers realize the joy of traveling without checked luggage, companies are beginning to make duffel bags that are intentionally carry-on friendly.

Major airlines generally allow carry-ons to be  22 x 14 x 9 inches, while budget airlines have a restriction of 22 x 16 x 8 inches. However, each airline has its own carry-on size restrictions, so check before you go! Generally, most 40L or 45L duffel bags will fall within these airline regulations.

For other options, be sure to read our post about the best carry-on luggage for every kind of adventure.

The Ultimate Question: Duffel Bag vs. Suitcase?

Duffels aren’t inherently better than suitcases, but they are often more versatile. They offer ease of travel as you hop from train to plane to bus. They can be carried in a variety of ways, picked up and heaved into the back of a car, and then thrown over your shoulder as you rush to catch your flight.

You can avoid the hassle of roller wheels when you’re walking on cobblestone streets in Europe or across snowy trails on your next ski trip. They are often more waterproof and tougher than their suitcase counterparts, so they’re better suited for more adventurous travels. Additionally, the soft exterior shell makes these bags perfect for bulky or oddly-shaped items that may not fit in hard-shelled rolling luggage.

However, duffel bags aren’t known for being exceptionally comfortable or secure. But they have come a long way in the last few years, and many of the models offer the same secure storage features as suitcases. Also, companies have been paying more attention to the carrying comfort of these bags, and many now incorporate backpack straps or well-padded straps. for your shoulders.

Also, these bags are remarkably simple. We love them for their lightweight nature, versatility, and ease of transport.

What Makes A Carry-On Duffel Great?

So now we know which luggage items are on the radar, but what features truly set the best duffel bags apart from the rest? Well, let’s dive in and take a look at some of the most essential buying considerations for when you want to travel the world with a carry-on only.


Your travels may take you from the airport to public transit to your hostel and any number of places where your duffel bag could be scuffed, scratched, or damaged. Durability is important! Keep a sharp eye out for sturdy materials like double ripstop nylon, leather, and tarpaulin.

Also, remember that the ‘D’ for material thicknesses (such as 400D) stands for Denier), and the higher that number, the thicker and more robust your material.


Carry-on duffels should have a less rigid construction. Bulky or oddly-shaped parcels slide right in while the duffel bag itself is easy to heave, shove, squeeze, or pack into just about any space imaginable – including overhead compartments on airlines. So don’t underestimate the importance of less-rigid sides, and look twice at hybrid items that try to incorporate rigid sides into what’s marketed as a duffel.


Luggage is built on organization, but many duffels shine by not overcomplicating the process. We love quick access to one large packing space without being overwhelmed by a plethora of pockets, mesh, and zipper that could just as easily hinder a search for a particular item. That said, several of the ultimate duffel bags will include a handy shoe compartment or a laptop pocket. Keep an eye out for these organizational aids, and consider your personal travel preferences when you begin your search for new travel luggage.


Don’t let nasty weather ruin your clothing and travel gear! The best duffel will incorporate at least some level of weatherproofing to help protect your gear, including reinforced seams. This may be a basic Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish or a Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) coating. To make the leap from water-resistant to waterproof, keep an eye open for leather and tarpaulin on the material list as both of these are both rugged and waterproof.

There you have it! We’ve covered the very best carry-on duffel bags for travel along with essential buying advice. From classic city jaunts to rugged adventure-ready luggage, we have you covered. So go ahead, take your carry-on bag pick, and travel like a champ.

Carry-On Duffel Bag FAQs

What size duffle bag is good for carry-on?

In general, look for a duffel bag that is less than 22 x 13 x 9 inches.

Is a duffel bag OK for carry-on?

A duffel bag makes a great carry-on as long as it fits the size requirements.

Who makes the best travel duffle bag?

Matador makes one of the best duffel bags for travel.

Is a backpack better than a duffle for carry-on?

Backpacks are better for comfort, but duffel bags often have more space and are easier to pack.

Can you carry-on a 24 inch duffel bag?

A 24-inch duffel bag may work as a domestic carry-on, but it will be too big for international flights.

Jeremy Scott Foster
Jeremy Scott Foster
Jeremy Scott Foster is an adventure-junkie, gear expert and travel photographer based in Southern California. Previously nomadic, he’s been to ~50 countries and loves spending time outdoors. You can usually find him on the trail, on the road, jumping from bridges or hustling on his laptop working to produce the best travel and outdoors content today.

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2 Responses

  1. Hi – Your review includes a product by Boundary Supply, so I thought I’d drop a comment on the off chance you’re being sponsored by them for this post.

    Right now they are having significant issues in shipping and customer communication, resulting in a range of tweets, trustpilot reviews and facebook comments about them operating as a scam business… taking money but not actually delivering anything.

    If you have a sponsorship agreement with them then I’d recommend getting in touch with them to see what’s going on.

    1. Hi Jay,

      Thanks for the heads up. I don’t have any sponsorship agreement with any companies here—these are my honest opinions, reviewed as a third party. However, I do personally own multiple products from Boundary Supply, so can attest that the company is not a scam.

      I haven’t spoken with anyone from Boundary Supply, but since I do have industry insight, I can at least say that, worldwide, there are supply chain issues and product shortages, and I’m seeing it a lot with backpack manufacturers in particular since most are made in countries like Vietnam.

      Good to be aware of, so thanks for letting us know!


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