Who should buy the Filson? To be sure, this bag belongs more on a weekend cabin getaway than on an Alaskan glacier. Not only that, but it lacks backpack straps, organizational compartments, haul handles for easy transport, and is pricier than most other options in its size range. This means that it’s not our first choice for an outdoor duffel, but it’s a super classy option for travel.
One travel tip I have is to pack two or three binder clips with you. They are small to pack but useful for securing hotel/hostel/accommodation curtains shut. This helps block out the light more and make it easier to sleep which is helpful when you are adjusting to a new schedule & overcoming jet lag. Another tip is to try to switch whatever toiletries you can to solids. There are great options for solid shampoo bars, body wash bars, face wash bars, lotion bars, etc.
I’ve traveled extensively and, honestly, I would never use most of these suggested bags with the exception of the PacSafe and Travelon. The bags must have security features like wire lined straps, hook latches, scan-protected pouches, etc. It’s fine to use a crossbody as long as you have the right strap that can’t be easily cut and place your hand across the bag at all times and inside your coat or sweater when in public places. Never ever consider using a backpack. It’s a sure fire way of getting ripped off….

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Drawing on the success of its soft-sided coolers, Yeti stripped out the insulation and used the thick, laminated nylon skin to create a highly puncture- and abrasion-resistant duffel called the Panga. Like many Yeti products, what appears run-of-the-mill is actually innovation genius. The Panga has easily removable backpack straps, lash points on all sides and haul handles on either end. Speaking of those ends, they’re sturdy enough to keep this bag standing upright, and the bottom is padded with EVA foam, similar to the stuff in running shoes, to keep things protected when you decide to give the bag a toss. The Panga is also fully submersible thanks to a TIZIP airtight zipper. One way to test it? Close it up when the bag is empty and stand on it — not even a gasp will escape.

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Many duffels on this list are made by big outdoor brands like Patagonia, The North Face, Osprey, and Marmot. Outdoor use can vary substantially, from throwing your bag in the back of a truck to hardcore expeditions (often tied to the side of a horse or in a sled). The good news is that versatility is a notable upside of these duffels: we’ll often use them for basic travel purposes as well, especially those with multiple carrying options and convenient organizational features like U-shaped openings and multiple pockets or compartments. For example, the Patagonia Black Hole, our top pick, can be used from anything from serious outdoor exploration to standard air travel (and it looks the part for both). In this category, look for robust fabrics with DWR coating, water-resistant zippers or storm-flaps, more comfortable backpack carrying straps, and lash points for grabbing the bag or attaching extra gear to the outside. And although outdoor duffels usually can keep your gear dry in a light rain, if you’re truly subjecting your bag to wet conditions, see the waterproof category below.


For travel scenarios where you’ll be moving around a lot—think backpacking through Europe—we prefer non-roller duffels. They’re easy to grab and throw on your back, and you don’t have to worry about the surface (if you’ve ever tried taking a roller duffel down a cobblestone street, you know what we’re talking about). If you’re primarily an air traveler and moving your bag long distances by vehicle, a roller duffel is a fine option, and you do get the added benefit of one hard side for protecting your belongings. For the purposes of this article and the picks above, we’ve included a handful of our favorite roller models, and some of the standard designs have wheeled versions available.

These recommendations are great! I need a travel bag for my upcoming trip to Italy, so this is super helpful. One travel tip I’ve heard over the years in the same vein that I think is really helpful is when you’re walking with a rolling suitcase to keep it either between you and your travel companion, or if you’re alone to keep the bag on the side of you closest to a wall. This applies to bags as well. That way it’s much harder for someone to swipe it as they go by, especially if they’re on a bike, Vespa, motorcycle, etc.

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For most travel where you will be checking a bag but won’t be bringing bulky outdoor gear, a medium duffel in the 50 to 75-liter range is a good match. For this reason, the 60-liter version often is the best seller of all: it’s perfect for most trips ranging from short weekend excursions to one week or more. Of course, the right choice also depends on how much stuff you like to bring, but we find ourselves reaching for our 60-liter Patagonia Black Hole more than any other duffel in our closet.

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I love my bag!!! This is a beautiful bag with quality workmanship. It comes with a large inside zipper compartment trimmed in leather, leather luggage tag, brass feet and tasteful logo stamp at bottom front of bag. The hardware is sturdy as well a nice looking. It looks more expensive than it is so its a real bargain. I love the leather smell also. The description only mentioned the cellphone pockets, pen and card holder so I got more than expected. The outer zipper is metal YKK with leather tab. It's roomy with enough space for a weekend rendezvous. I'm very pleased!!

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The size is perfect for I'd say a two-to four-day trip, and it's absolutely the ideal carry-on. I just recently checked at the airport. It fits headlong or sideways into any larger plane's overhead bin — a major advantage — and will never rouse the contempt of flight attendants or gate checkers looking to cut down on carry on by forcing you to check your bag. At the same time, I was able to pack it for a week-long international trip recently (which is pushing it somewhat) but worth it all to skip the airport carrousels and keep all my important things close by.

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There really are no corners cut in the manufacture of this product, other than perhaps the plastic zipper (which is nevertheless sturdy and probably one reason this beautiful bag is such a steal). The hardware is better than basic, and strong, but not top of the line -- but it's a trifle. In searching for any other negatives, the strap is pretty basic and a little too thin and narrow, meaning it's not very comfortable if you've got 25 or 30 pounds in the bag, but it works. There are no outside pockets, but chances are if you stuff the bag to the gills, you wouldn't be able to fit anything in one anyhow.
Alex, thank you for the blog post and especially your FB group, I learn so much from TFG and fellow admirers! I love cross body bags for travel, I’ve wish listed some of the Travelon bags above for an upcoming trip later this year. One of my favorite travel tips are freezer-strength Ziplock bags – sandwich sizes for credit cards and another for foreign currency, medium size for TSA and larges for medicine, charging cords/headphones. I find it helps me locate exactly what I need immediately (and helps my husband, too).
As phones get smarter, and my travel experience grows, I find I really don’t need more than a wristlet most of the time. It’s lightweight and I grasp like a clutch while I’m walking but can let it dangle on my wrist for a moment if I need both hands. The amenity bags my husband gets on business class flight for work make great wristlets–ones from KLM look like leather, are generously sized (for a wristlet), unisex designs and have no logos on them.
Desperate for a new travel handbag! Have to admit, on my last few trips I’ve tried to go hands free and gone for a funky ‘bum-bag’ or money belt, but these look super cute!! I don’t travel an awful lot but I am addicted to this blog! The best tips I picked up were to pick a colour and go with it for my travel wardrobe… we applied this when we had 2 weeks glampling in the south of France last year and travelled hand luggage only! Amazing! I would never have thought this was possible! The tip that I would share with you all (that I don’t recall seeing) is possibly not necessarily space saving (!!!) but my husband and I NEVER travel without a pack of cards. Great entertainment and great for meeting new people.

The quality of the leather is much more impressive in person than is evident on the computer screen. I've shopped for similar bags and found them -- at almost twice the price. This bag is a bargain. I've used it once for a weekend trip, and it held everything I needed and some things that I did not turn out to need (I tend to over pack). My wife likes it so much that she has extracted a promise from me to buy her one just like it -- for her birthday in two months. Plan to do it too.

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Why do we have the SealLine ranked here? The YETI has more structure and is much easier to pack, not to mention the fully waterproof zipper system mitigates the common user error of creating a roll-top seal (SealLine also makes the Zip Duffel, which has a waterproof main zipper). Moreover, the YETI has backpack straps and therefore is easier to carry. And the cherry on top: the extra thickness of the YETI means that it’s much more durable in the long term. But for those looking for a waterproof duffel without breaking the bank, the SealLine WideMouth is a nice option.
To say that Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Dyneema Duffel is massive and indestructible borders on understatement. The narrow profile was designed specifically for harmonious integration with the Paris Expedition Sled, commonly used during longer trips to the world’s unreachable peaks. The primary material is right in the name. Dyneema, when taken at its strength-to-weight ratio, is the strongest fiber in the world — stronger than steel and Kevlar. It’s also waterproof and UV resistant. You could say the Dyneema Duffel is ultra-everything: ultralight, ultra large, ultra durable, ultra minimal.
I received the bag a little over a week ago and it looked great when I opened it. The only problem was the smell. The smell was like rancid oil on leather. To fix the smell, I conditioned it with Mothers leather conditioner. After letting it sit overnight the smell of clean leather came back. The quality seems great so far the leather feels nice and feels good. I took it on a four day trip and had no problems. I'm taking it on another weekend trip this weekend too.

NOMATIC was born and raised on Kickstarter. We have successfully funded and delivered 5 projects through crowdfunding. In 2014 we launched the BASICS Wallet, in 2015 the BASICS Notebook, in 2016 The NOMATIC Travel Bag, in 2017 The NOMATIC Backpack and Travel Pack, and the beginning of this year The NOMATIC Messenger and Laptop bag. All of these past products are available at www.nomatic.com

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This duffel has two front pockets to keep your valuable on-hand, as well as an expanding side pocket for storing dirty laundry or shoes while traveling. There are two hand straps and a detachable shoulder strap so you can configure it for easy carrying. It's available in seven different colors. Overall, the Hexin duffel is a large and versatile bag for a low price. 

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Cenzo listened to their customers and is now fitting brass zippers. That was the tipping point for me. Italy is known for leather goods, but the quality of this weekend bag is exceptional. The vegetable tanning process must have improved the suppleness of the hides, because Cenzo leather feels fantastic. The canvas has stripes inside and I found that admissible, but not great. I'd have gone with a natural canvas color. Stripes were the only feature I didn't understand, but that may be a matter of taste. I highly recommend the Cenzo duffle, it's the best travel bag I've found.

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The Gregory Alpaca Duffel is premium-quality duffel that can withstand the elements and is well worth the higher price tag. With a 45-liter capacity, the weatherproof bag can take the wear and tear from the airport and is ideal for outdoor adventures. In addition to carry handles, the duffel features removable padded backpack straps for easy transportation – great for hiking. The water-resistant bag has reinforced threads for high performance and has a small exterior zippered pouch for quick access items, a “U-shaped” main compartment, as well as a large mesh interior pocket. There’s also a slot for IDs and plenty of exterior loops for attaching carabiners. It is available in bright blue or black. 
"I've tried other hard-shell suitcases, but Samsonite's are by far my favorite. I have two in different sizes! They're super lightweight and extremely durable, but most of all I like the way the interiors are organized. With other brands, you'll find the handle casing intrudes upon your packing space; not so with Samsonite. It's just a zip-up compartment for clothes on one side, and straps to hold shoes, toiletry bags, etc. in place on the other." — Flora Stubbs, Features Director

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One simple pull expands it, and one simple push compresses it back down. The cavernous main compartment is big enough for two solid weeks’ worth of travel garb, and increases from to 122-liter capacity with B&R’s patented one-touch compression/expansion technology. Four double-swivel wheels provide 360-degree mobility, while YKK zippers and lockable, ergonomic pulls provide durability, comfort, and security. The ballistic nylon is abrasion resistant, water repellent, and colorfast. At 26”H x 20”L x 10”D, it’s massive; it weighs 12 pounds.
A.P.C.adidas OriginalsAerAlexander McQueenAnthropologieArc'teryxAwayBagguBallyBao Bao Issey MiyakeBarbourBEISBest Made Co.BluntBoarding PassBobbi BrownBoconiBoscaBrahminBric'sBriggs & RileyBurberryCALPAKCATHY'S CONCEPTSChampionCharlotte TilburyCHROMEClub GloveCole HaanCOTOPAXIDAGNE DOVERDAN300EastpakEleventyEstella BartlettEzra ArthurFEEDFilsonFjällrävenFLIGHT 001FossilFryeGucciHARVEST LABELHelly HansenHerschel Supply Co.HIDEO WAKAMATSUHobohook + ALBERTIncase DesignsJ.CREWJansportJaokate spade new yorkkikki.KKNOMO LondonLässigLevtexLongchampLuxieMarniMartin DingmanMCMMezlanmimaMiu MiuMONOCLEMoore & Gilesmountain buggyMZ WallaceNikeNordstromNordstrom Men's ShopOAD New YorkOMGOOHLALAPatagoniaPenfieldPradaProenza SchoulerRAINSRawlingsRebecca MinkoffRed WingRIMOWARodd & GunnSaint LaurentSalvatore FerragamoSaturdays NYCSerapian MilanoSherpaniShinolaSkinnydipSkip HopSnow PeakSole SocietySTATE BagsStella McCartneyStephanie JohnsonStephen JosephStokkeStoney Clover LaneStorksakTed Baker LondonThe North FaceThuleTimberlandTopo DesignsTory BurchTraskTroubadourTumiTYPOUnder One SkyUnited By BlueUrban OriginalsVACAVALIENTEVesselVictorinox Swiss Army®VOORAYWANDER BEAUTYWOLF
The Cenzo Duffle Bag is the perfect 1-3 night weekender. It is made in Italy using Italian calfskin leather, brass zipper, smart contrast stitching, durable 8 oz cotton duck canvas lining, and brass hardware. The vegetable tanned leather looks better as it ages. One characteristic of our vegetable leather is that it has large pores and absorbs smell - so you might detect a sweet nail polish scent when you remove it from the plastic for the first time. Please take note of this characteristic. This new leather smell is the result of the leather edge paint and clear stain coating - it fades after 24 hours in fresh air. Weight is 4.5 pounds

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A small percentage of people want waterproof protection from their duffel (think rafters, fisherman, and backcountry winter adventurers). The market is limited, but two bags on the list are waterproof: the YETI Panga and SealLine WideMouth. The Panga is a beast of a bag, with the shape of a traditional duffel but with extra thick materials and a fully waterproof zipper. The SealLine, on the other hand, is a roll-top bag that more closely resembles a dry bag. Given their over-built nature, we wouldn’t want a waterproof duffel for anything but the harshest and wettest of environments. They simply are too heavy, expensive, and technically-oriented (minimal organization and straps) for everyday use. And it's worth mentioning that the Arc’teryx Carrier and Hyperlite Dyneema Duffel can also be used for some scenarios in which a waterproof duffel is being considered. They won’t handle submersion, but should be able to keep out rain or snow with similar waterproof fabrics, taped seams, and water-resistant zippers as a rain jacket.
"I cram as much as possible into my checked luggage when I fly so that I can carry on something lighter (and more stylish). My go-to is the Dante backpack, a handsome roll-top sack with leather detailing from Swedish outfitter Sandqvist. It’s compact enough to fit handily underneath the seat, roomy enough to hold all my in-flight essentials, and dapper enough to usually earn a compliment from my seat mate. Dante comes in various colors, but the olive green is kind of my thing, so maybe choose a different one." — CB Owens, Copy & Research Editor

If you know coolers, chances are you know the YETI brand. And it’s no surprise that the company entered the duffel market with a splash. Many models on this list are water resistant—they can withstand wet ground and the occasional rain shower—but the Panga is fully waterproof. You’ll often spot this thick and submergible duffel on rafts, fishing boats, and pretty much anywhere people want the ultimate level of protection for their gear. Made with laminated high-density nylon that feels like rubber, a burly EVA bottom, and a waterproof zipper that locks firmly into place, this duffel is as water-ready and air-tight as you’ll find.
The size is perfect for I'd say a two-to four-day trip, and it's absolutely the ideal carry-on. I just recently checked at the airport. It fits headlong or sideways into any larger plane's overhead bin — a major advantage — and will never rouse the contempt of flight attendants or gate checkers looking to cut down on carry on by forcing you to check your bag. At the same time, I was able to pack it for a week-long international trip recently (which is pushing it somewhat) but worth it all to skip the airport carrousels and keep all my important things close by.

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This is more of a 'purse backpack – a sleek, frills-free anti theft backpack that will fit everything you need for a day trip and comes in red, teal and black. It features a couple of pockets and a padded electronic sleeve: just be aware that laptops larger than 13” likely won’t fit inside it. It’s not particularly stylish, but you’d be able to wear it around both urban and rural areas without raising eyebrows. 

For jet-setters going from a business meeting to a client dinner straight to a flight, this bag will keep everything in its proper place. The interior features padded slots for a tablet and a 14-inch laptop, plus dedicated pockets sized perfectly for your phone, wallet, subway card, sunglasses, water bottle, and even loops for your pens and lip balm. When you get home, find your keys in a cinch at the end of the built-in key leash.
We recently featured Away in a round-up of smart luggage, and would be remiss not to include it here as well. Available in ten distinct colors, Away offers a ton of a la carte accessories, including compartment inserts, monograms, and garment bags. The wheels are smooth and the handle sturdy, although the exterior is prone to scuffs. But the benefits outweigh the risks; the shell is “unbreakable,” the removable Li-ion battery is TSA-approved, and Tile provides the Bluetooth-connected GPS, so you always know where your luggage is -- even if the airline doesn’t.
I’m a crossbody bag fan for sure, because I really like having my hands free. That said, there are times my shoulders begin to beg for a little relief. I’m seriously considering the Henri Bendel Jetsetter Convertible Backpack for my upcoming trip through the Czech Republic, because it can be worn so many ways…and I won’t have to transfer the contents from bag to bag!

It loads from the top, but it also has a reinforced bottom compartment with bumper guards and ballistic nylon fabric to protect your delicate possessions. You can also access the bottom of the main compartment through the zippered curtain divider. The Alpha 2 Split Duffel also comes with two front U-zip pockets, a telescoping handle, and an adjustable shoulder strap.

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Thanks for a great article and reviews. I travel a lot to Africa and tend to keep it simple, never leave valuables lying around in plain sight, always carry bags across body, and keep it small. I have however been burgled at night while asleep and lost many digital devices (family trip) which were scattered around the house we were sleeping in. Since then I sleep with my cell phone under the mattrass and travel hand bag with passports and wallet tucked under the bed!
Great for a trip to the gym, this sturdy duffel from Elite Sports keeps all your gear in one place. The bag is composed of a heavy-duty material called Cordura, a high-grade ballistic 1200 denier that’s used in military gear, so it’s super durable and can handle being thrown in the trunk. The Warrior Series has plenty of storage, including a waterproof beverage pocket, a jacket strap, a secure internal pocket for valuables and an exterior pocket for shoes that keeps dirt off the rest of your gear. Plus, it has a ventilated mesh compartment for dirty gym clothes. But what really takes this bag to the next level is its convertibility — a pair of retractable shoulder straps transform the Warrior Series into a backpack in seconds. It is available in both medium (20 x 9 x 11 inches) and large (11 x 23 x 12 inches) sizes, and comes in six different colors, from neutral black and gray to bright pink and red.

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If you know coolers, chances are you know the YETI brand. And it’s no surprise that the company entered the duffel market with a splash. Many models on this list are water resistant—they can withstand wet ground and the occasional rain shower—but the Panga is fully waterproof. You’ll often spot this thick and submergible duffel on rafts, fishing boats, and pretty much anywhere people want the ultimate level of protection for their gear. Made with laminated high-density nylon that feels like rubber, a burly EVA bottom, and a waterproof zipper that locks firmly into place, this duffel is as water-ready and air-tight as you’ll find.
I think the the tip that revolutionized my packing was being told I did not have to pack a new outfit for each day. I knew how to mix different pieces at home, with a wash and and a week in between re-wears, but realizing I could bring only three bottoms and four tops for a week (or more) by simply mixing and matching and planning ahead transformed the way I pack.
"I cram as much as possible into my checked luggage when I fly so that I can carry on something lighter (and more stylish). My go-to is the Dante backpack, a handsome roll-top sack with leather detailing from Swedish outfitter Sandqvist. It’s compact enough to fit handily underneath the seat, roomy enough to hold all my in-flight essentials, and dapper enough to usually earn a compliment from my seat mate. Dante comes in various colors, but the olive green is kind of my thing, so maybe choose a different one." — CB Owens, Copy & Research Editor

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Updated 7/8/17: After my original review i was contacted by seller and asked if i wanted a full refund or a replacement bag. I wanted the replacement bag, as i really liked the bag. I did not ask them or enquire for them to do this. They did it on their own. Really impressed with the way they handled this issue. Customer service awesomeness ! I recieved several followup emails, as i dont check my email everyday. The new bag arrived and upon checking out the new bag, it appears there has been some quality upgrades made to make the bag a better product. Very happy customer, i changed my review to 5 stars because of the customer service. Unprevoked responce, ... full review
Pack like a pro for your next wedding/business trip with a sleek garment weekender from Hook & Albert, or head to Paris in style with the latest monogram keepall from Luis Vuitton. For those who want to rough it, there’s hardly a better option than The North Face’s kick-ass adventure duffel, while for everyone else, there’s always a sublimely versatile leather travel bag that screams both cozy countryside getaway and luxurious city escape.

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When choosing a duffel, consider how much you’ll want access to your belongings as you travel. The most streamlined models feature one large compartment with no internal organization (the REI Roadtripper, for example), while more fully-featured designs include handy external pockets for small items or padded compartments for a tablet or computer. Rolling duffels such as the Osprey Shuttle are downright luxurious, with numerous external pockets and internal dividers to help you organize your clothing inside (the Shuttle even includes an expandable external pocket so you can separate dirty clothes or hiking shoes from the rest of your belongings). For travelers, we think that at least one external pocket is nice to separate out your smaller essentials.


I have been using PacSafe travel bags for over 10 years. Travelling the world for work as I do, and travelling to some areas where personal safety is not to be underestimated, I suggest only the smallest sized cross body you can find. Wear it under your jacket if necessary and keep the colours dull or in line with your wardrobes. No red or bright coloured bags. Don’t take it off to eat, go to bathroom, or sit in cabs/cars. etc.
“I look for a bag that can sit on top of my carry-on, fit a lot of items, and that’s easy to store when not in use,” said Daniela Velasco, creative director of Drift and Ambrosia magazines. She likes Longchamp’s Le Pliage totes because they carry her camera, laptop, chargers, and more, and are water-resistant, so she doesn’t have to worry about rain damaging her expensive gear. This duffel version is made of the same durable nylon and fits everything you’ll need for a few days away.

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As mentioned above, a few duffels on this list take it a step further. The YETI Panga and SealLine WideMouth are waterproof, and the YETI can even be submerged (no guarantees, but your stuff should stay dry). In addition, the Dyneema fabric used on the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Duffel is naturally water resistant and does a really nice job in this regard. All things considered, a waterproof duffel is essential for water sports but overkill for travelers who stick to land.
Backpacks are a tourist’s best friend because you can carry all of the items you need for the day on your back as you wander around town and explore exciting new destinations and historical sites. Cushioned pockets protect your electronics so you can travel with your laptop or tablet and keep all those delicate electronics protected. Small pockets in the front hold your wallet, keys and other important items. Personalized backpacks feature your name or initials, making it easy to distinguish your bag from others’ things.

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The “black hole” duffel bag lives up to its name for travel writer and photographer Michaela Trimble, who has toted it all over the world, most recently to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Madagascar. “It fit everything I needed for a nearly two-month trip with room to spare,” she said, “and it barely came back with a scratch.” Laminated fabric and water-repellent coating protect the bag from the elements and any damage that may occur in transit, while keeping it lightweight (under three pounds). Trimble also likes that it “comes with padded straps, so it can easily and comfortably be carried as a backpack.”

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There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination to find that all of your dress clothes are wrinkled. A garment bag is a top choice for business travelers or those heading across the country for a wedding. Lay your black tie attire in the garment bag, zip it up and arrive at your destination with wrinkle-free clothes that are ready for wear. Our waxed canvas garment bag has leather accents that add elegant touches to its style. These personalized overnight bags feature foil debossed monograms that sit subtly on the leather details, adding a bit of shine and spark.
Photographer Nicole Franzen loves her Voyager 2 bag, which stands out both aesthetically and functionally. “I like good pockets for organization, and tend to go leather and black because it’s effortless, goes with anything, and ages well,” she said. Made from soft Italian leather, this sleek bag features a front pocket with compartments for storing your phone, passport, pens, cords, and other items you’d like to have easily accessible — and even more pockets inside.
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