For the ease of a backpack and the black-hole space of a gym bag, look to these hybrid duffel backpacks that are a utilitarian traveler’s best friend.
Best Duffel Backpacks
Whether you’re slinging it over your back to get through rough terrain or want a rolling version for easier transport, you may never go back to a clunky suitcase.
YETI Panga Duffel Bags
Available in a 50L, 75L, and 100L size, there’s a YETI duffel backpack for every type of trip. Comfortable DryHaul straps can be worn backpack-style, carried by hand, or lashed to your transportation mode with six different points. Speaking of dry, a tough Thickskin Shell exterior and Hydrolock Zipper makes the Panga completely waterproof—even if you’re rafting it down a river.
The EVA molded bottom makes this bag easy to load, and two easy-access mesh pockets help you stay organized.
Eagle Creek’s Cargo Hauler Duffel Backpacks
This roomy duffel backpack will fit all your stuff, whether you want to carry it like a duffel bag or attach its removable straps and throw it on your back. Its water-repellant fabric and padded base make it a durable option for every adventure, and it folds up into itself so it can be stashed away at home. Eagle Creek’s Cargo Hauler Duffel comes in an array of sizes (45 to 120 liters) and colors.
The North Face Flyweight Duffel Backpack
Another way to ensure duffel backpacks won’t weigh you down is opting for a smaller ultralight duffel-bag backpack. The North Face Flyweight Duffel is a great choice for packing light on shorter trips, or for budget airlines that limit bag size. It can hold 32 liters and has external pockets for easy access to necessities. Its sleek unisex design blends in anywhere. Wear it on your back or sling its long carrying strap over your shoulder.
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Backpack
Packing everything you need for an adventure means you’ll need a roomy duffel-bag backpack—but preferably one that folds away for easy storage. Patagonia’s Black Hole Duffel does just that, as its name suggests, and comes in sizes ranging from 30 to 120 liters.
I relied on one to get around Sri Lanka for two weeks and loved its rip-stop waterproof material during the rainy season, plus its removable straps for when I wanted to quickly transition from a safari vehicle or train to walking on dirt roads. The Black Hole Duffel also comes in a wheeled version for those who won’t be encountering rough terrain.
Trendy Swedish bag maker Fjallraven offers the Splitpack, a unique take on duffel backpacks that splits in half to become two roomy, easy-to-pack compartments rather than one gravity-sensitive backpack slot. Fill both compartments and zip them together for a densely packed duffel-bag backpack, and keep your accessories in the easy-access outer pockets. The inner walls include mesh compartments to organize smaller items, and the bag can hold about 35 liters.
Osprey Packs Transporter 65L Duffel
Another option perfect for a weekend getaway is this 65L duffel with deployable backpack straps. The roomy central compartment is accessible through a u-shaped zip front and an internal mesh pocket allow you to store your smaller gadgets without leaving them loose inside the pack. A standout feature of this bag are its multiple handles and lash points, making it easy to get a sturdy grip from any angle. This bag is made from abrasion-resistant nylon and comes with a lifetime warranty, so you know it will see you through any travel adventure.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 7 Ultra Useful Carry-On Bags
- This $800 Robot Suitcase Will Never Leave Your Side
- 10 Essential Multipurpose Tools for Travel
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.
You Might Also Like:• The 15 Items You Need to Survive a Long-Haul Flight
• 7 Terrible Travel Presents, and What to Give Instead
• 13 Travel Totes That Do the Most
• 5 Embarrassing Travel Gadgets That Actually Work
• 10 Underseat Carry-On Bags You Can Take on Any Flight
We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.