Reviews You Can Rely On

10 Best Travel Bags of 2024

We've tested the best bags for travel, from oversized duffel bags and suitcases to carry-on rollers and under-seat backpacks to fanny packs and sling bags to keep you organized on the go
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Best Travel Bag Review (That's a wrap: heading home after a long day of side by side testing. We put each bag through the same gauntlet of...)
That's a wrap: heading home after a long day of side by side testing. We put each bag through the same gauntlet of tests to see how they performed and which ones are the best. And somehow airport security didn't kick us out.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Our Top Picks

Friday April 5, 2024

Our team of expert testers has several decades of combined experience sightseeing, adventuring, and commuting all across the world. This team of well-versed travelers and globetrotters present to you the top GearLab-tested travel bags for whatever type of road lies ahead. We lashed gigantic duffel bags to the backs of alpacas and wheeled small carry on luggage for miles through airports and international cities. We stuffed backpacks and daypacks under airline seats and in car trunks. We checked suitcases and carried essentials in fanny packs. We've also slung bags on our backs and on bikes just to get to work in the morning. Through it all, we evaluated every nook and cranny to ensure they could withstand the rigors of traveling, packing, and keeping us organized while we commuted downtown or expeditioned across the globe. We put many miles on these bags, carrying them, wheeling them, flying them, driving them, and even throwing them. We evaluated how comfortable they are to get around, how well they store and protect your belongings, how easy they are to access, and how durable they are to the rigors of wherever you're going. From wallet-friendly laptop backpacks to luxury luggage and weather-resistant messenger bags, we've found the perfect travel bags for your journey and budget.

We've traveled thousands of miles testing gear for commuting, moving, and exploring the world. Whether you're looking for a great carry on bag, the best luggage for withstanding the abuse of airline travel, or a top-rated laptop backpack to use as your personal item on the plane, our reviews can help. We've also tested the best travel backpacks and outlined our favorite duffel bags for hitting the road.

Editor's Note: We updated our travel bag review on April 29, 2024. To include more detailed testing information and recommendations for our favorite carry on suitcases.

Related: Carry On Luggage Review
Related: Travel Backpack Review


Best Rolling Carry On Luggage


Travelpro Platinum Elite 21" Expandable Spinner


Weight: 8.1 lb | Dimensions: 9.0" x 14.3" x 23.5"
REASONS TO BUY
Durable
Smooth zippers
Wheels magnetically align
Grab handles on all edges for easy pickup
REASONS TO AVOID
Doesn't fit within carry on size limits
Weighs more than average

The Travelpro Platinum Elite has stolen our carry on luggage review team's hearts and for a good reason. It's like a treasure chest of organization, with exterior pockets galore and space-saving internal tricks that'll make you feel like a packing pro. This flip-top style bag opens up seamlessly with smooth gliding zippers. Inside, you'll find a detachable suit organizer, four pockets, and a removable toiletry case. The suitcase is built with both compression and extension capabilities, both of which provide great utility when a few extra souvenirs need to make their way home. It boasts several exterior pockets of various sizes, including a powerpack pocket to keep your devices charged up.

This may be stating the obvious, but a travel bag should be good at… well, traveling. The Travelpro Platinum hits that mark, earning a near-perfect score for ease of transport. This bag has features that allow it to disappear by your side as you make your way from one airport terminal to the next. It has an above-average 5 heights to choose from in the telescoping handle, making it easier to find a comfortable grip no matter your height. When it's time to lift your bag into the overhead bin or the trunk of a car, there always seems to be a grab handle right where you want it. In particular, our testers love the design of the roller wheels on this bag. A magnetized function keeps all the spinners locked in a forward position while walking, meaning you don't have to worry about a rogue wheel pulling your luggage away from you when you least expect it.

Magnets pull each spinner into alignment, helping the bag to roll straight and easing some of the steering effort.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

While it is on the higher end in terms of price, it also delivers higher-end features and is built with a level of quality that is meant to last. In our hands-on testing, it came out as one of the top-scoring pieces of carry on luggage for design and functionality, so not only will it stay with you through the long haul, but it will add an element of ease to your travels all along the way. Those who are often on the move will likely find that the investment is worth it for the convenience it will add to their travels.

This carry-on suitcase has almost everything you could want in a travel companion. It's built from high-density ballistic nylon fabric with a DuraGuard coating that resists stains and scratches. Its four wheels magnetically align and glide smoothly without much effort. However, the Platinum Elite 21" is technically a tad too large, according to US airline carry on requirements. But these rules are seldom enforced, and as long as you don't overstuff the front pockets, you should be smooth sailing with your bag in the cabin. Looking to check instead? Check out the larger, 29" Platinum Elite.

Read more: Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry On review

Our favorite carry-on, the Travelpro Platinum Elite, can take a beating.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Best Value Rolling Carry On Luggage


SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable 21-Inch


Weight: 7.3 lb | Dimensions: 10.0" x 14.1" x 23.0"
REASONS TO BUY
Great capacity
Four smooth wheels
Inexpensive
Reasonably durable
REASONS TO AVOID
Not within carry on standards
Feels heavy

It can be difficult to find a carry on travel bag that maximizes capacity and features without breaking the bank. However, the SwissGear Sion Softside does just that. This front flip-zipping suitcase includes variously sized compartments inside and out, including a front shallow pocket great for phones and a larger external pocket for documents or a tablet. Along the inside, mesh pockets, a waterproof toiletries bag, compression straps, and an expansion zipper can be found. Pushing this bag through the airport is a breeze thanks to its four smooth-riding wheels.

To quote our lead tester, the Sion Softsideis just SO darn packable.” The cavernous interior took on our 7-day summertime getaway packing test, as well as a bulky gear packing test, and passed both with flying colors. We were able to fit everything we needed, plus some extra, and never had to touch the expansion zipper. Aside from having a larger-than-average main packing compartment, the interior has accompanying organization features like a removable waterproof toiletry bag and multiple built-in pockets built with durable mesh. For a bag in this price range, we were pleasantly surprised.

travel bag - the swissgear sion softside rolls well on smooth surfaces like...
The SwissGear Sion Softside rolls well on smooth surfaces like sidewalk pavement, but the smaller wheels aren't ideal for offroading.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

As noted above, this bag will help you get all your stuff from point A to point B, and it even throws in some nice organizational features, all without costing an arm and a leg. It is a great option for people who don't travel enough to spend $300+ on a suitcase but don't want to sacrifice convenience entirely. The SwissGear Sion fits the bill as a featureful bag on a budget. Some aspects, such as smaller wheels and less-than-perfect tracking, make it less suited to roll with on a weekly or monthly basis, but if the whole of your travel schedule is twice-a-year trips to visit relatives, then you're unlikely to be bothered by these minor inconveniences.

The Sion Softside is a bit heavy for a carry on piece; however, we appreciate its three well-padded handles that help during loading and unloading. Additionally, it is just barely out of US carry on regulations. If you avoid overstuffing and utilize compression techniques, this bag should have no trouble making it onboard with you. When you're not traveling via air routes, the Sion's expandable zipper provides an impressive amount of extra space — just don't jam it full and expect it to fit in the airplane's overhead bin. If you like the Sion Softside's budget-friendly characteristic but prefer hardshell cases, we suggest taking a gander at the Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Spinner. It's lighter in weight, well-built, and offers about the same amount of storage volume. Rather have a backpack-style carry on? Check out the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag, which features 40 liters of space and should fit in even the smaller overhead bins.

Read more: SwissGear Sion Softside review

The Sion can easily transition from four wheels to two depending on your needs.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Best Premium Soft-Sided Luggage


Briggs & Riley Baseline Essential Spinner


Weight: 10.1 lb | Dimensions: 9.1" x 14.3" x 21.1"
REASONS TO BUY
Luxurious design
Conforms to US carry on dimensions
Impressive compression system
Very smooth wheels
Top-tier ballistic nylon shell
REASONS TO AVOID
Very pricey
Heavy for its size

The Briggs & Riley Baseline Essential is where luxury meets convenient airline travel. Its sleek design isn't just aesthetically pleasing. This travel bag is made to last with an exterior of ballistic nylon that can handle some wear and tear as you venture from destination to destination. We had no trouble gliding its large shock-absorbing wheels over various types of terrain, so you won't have to carry the suitcase when the sidewalk gets a bit bumpy. The Baseline Essential is packed with features, including an internal “envelope” that minimizes wrinkles in event attire. The bag has one of the most sophisticated compression systems we've seen to date. Additionally, the carry on is equipped with various external pockets that can hold a laptop, travel documents, and even charge a phone.

The Briggs & Riley Baseline has just about everything you could want in a carry on suitcase. It comfortably sits within TSA standards and effortlessly wheels around the airport. While the price might not be ideal for some, those frequent travelers are sure to get their money's worth. Additionally, this well-built suitcase is on the heavier side. However, we found the padded handles to be quite useful for unloading and loading. If you're in the market for a larger version of this premium pick, check out the large, checked suitcase version. If premium hardshell luggage suits your vibe better, we think the Rimowa Original Cabin is an excellent choice that stands out from the crowd — just be prepared to drop some serious cash.

Read more: Briggs & Riley Baseline review

Storage galore. This bag is covered in thoughtful compartments that are perfectly designed to store all of your essentials.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Best Hardside Large Suitcase


Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable 28"


Weight: 9.9 lb | Capacity: 145 L
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight for its size
Large capacity
Integrated TSA-approved lock
Decent wheels
Water-resistant
REASONS TO AVOID
Bulky even when under-packed
Very basic interior storage features
Spinners rattle at top speeds

The Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable 28" is the ultimate option for those who like to pack just about everything and know it's protected. This luggage offers ample room to haul various items, from wetsuits and climbing shoes to uniforms for a whole team. Its side expansion panel allows for additional storage space after a vacation full of souvenir collecting. This rolling travel bag smoothly navigates through crowds and corners with little effort, thanks to its four wheels and telescoping handle. Its polycarbonate construction is tough enough to hold up to airport tarmacs and concrete stairwells. The Omni is also lightweight for its large capacity, weighing just under ten pounds. The bag opens along the middle and separates into two shallower compartments equipped with mesh nets and straps to keep items secured on their designated sides. When zipped, this suitcase can be reliably secured with its incorporated TSA-approved lock.

Despite its advantages, the Omni PC has some drawbacks. The sheer size and depth of the bag can easily lead to exceeding the 50-pound airline weight limit, resulting in expensive overweight luggage charges. Moreover, when the bag is only packed halfway, the additional space allows items to shift inside. The suitcase is hindered when faced with rough terrains, as the small spinner wheels offer little support on rocks and curbsides. The bag's weight and lack of easy maneuverability when fully packed can also be a challenge, especially if any lifting is needed. If you don't need a bag this big, take a look at the smaller carry on version of the Omni PC that we tested. If you don't have a problem upping the travel budget, you may want to consider the Away The Large. It has an excellent packing system, a super durable shell, and a smooth ride.

Read more: Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable 28" review

A concrete staircase is no match for this bag's tough, micro-diamond, polycarbonate shell.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Best Rolling Duffel Bag


Osprey Sojourn Shuttle 100L


Weight: 8.7 lb | Capacity: 99 L
REASONS TO BUY
Extremely tough
Full-length metal frame
Wraps gear tightly
Massive go-anywhere wheels
Fairly lightweight
REASONS TO AVOID
A bit pricey
Lacks exterior bumper rails
Stubborn zippers

The Osprey Sojourn Shuttle 100L is no stranger to adventure. This bag, which has been updated from Osprey's previous Shuttle Wheeled 100L, is the ultimate gear hauler, and it boasts the capacity and toughness to transport your stuff to any corner of the globe you may be headed. A key distinguishing feature is the exterior straitjacket compression system, which bookends your payload between two padded, 500-denier, high-tenacity nylon flaps and then cinches everything into place with two thick strips of webbing. Other stand-out features are the Sojourn Shuttle's extra-large 4-inch wheels, full-length interior metal frame, balance-engineered grab handles, and water-tight shell. In terms of quality and function, this bag's comprehensive design is top-of-the-line and checks all our adventure boxes. Literally every inch of it was engineered with purpose. Beefy zippers and zipper pulls, an exterior muddy boot bin, an add-a-bag strap — everything just makes sense. The Sojourn Shuttle even has a built-in Travel Sentry luggage identification plate that allows your bag to be located anywhere in the world if you (or your airline) happen to lose it.

Top-performing fabrics, metal frames, and quality components don't just grow on trees, so expect to pay a little more if you want the construction quality that this bag affords. It has some of the best zippers on the market, so you don't have to worry about them splitting during a long-haul international flight; however, this extra strength makes them more stubborn and stiff. We also feel its 99-liter central cargo bay may not provide enough packing volume for the most extensive expedition travel, so for your largest expeditions, check out the Sojourn Shuttle's 130-liter big brother. If you prefer a more compartmentalized approach to packing your gear, the Eagle Creek ORV Trunk 30 is another excellent rolling duffel to consider.

Read more: Osprey Sojourn Shuttle 100L review

Over-sized 4-inch wheels allow the Sojourn to plow through dirt, gravel, and grass. It also can glide through city streets and airport terminals without skipping a beat.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Best Overall Duffel Bag


Patagonia Black Hole Duffel


Weight: 2.6 lb (55 L size) | Sizes Available: 40, 55, 70, 100 L
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight and tough material
Removable backpack straps
Sleek and rugged design
REASONS TO AVOID
Tedious button snaps on handles

The Patagonia Black Hole Duffel has years of high performance contributing to its design and overall excellence, and in our most recent duffel bag review, it proved itself to be our testing team's overall favorite model. The Black Hole is a versatile choice that comes in a variety of size options. No matter what size travel bag you need, you can be sure that it will do the job. There are a plethora of excellent features across the many sizes of Black Hole duffels, though they do vary slightly from size to size. Larger models like the 100-liter have multiple zippered pockets both inside and outside for storing small items and internal compression straps to secure gear. Smaller sizes, like the 55-liter, have fewer pockets and no compression system. All models have removable backpack straps, daisy chain attachments, and the same durable fabric. The 900-denier recycled polyester is both water and abrasion-resistant. A reinforced bottom panel helps protect your gear from damage while dragging and hauling.

We love this bag and only found minor shortcomings. We wish the closure wrap that secures the handles together were velcro, but Patagonia has chosen to use button snaps here, which take longer to attach. We'd also love to see more storage pockets inside the duffel for small items. Still, when looking at the overall performance and versatility of the Black Hole, these complaints are relatively minor. If you are after more pockets in your duffel, the Cotopaxi Allpa Duo is a great option for a large, rugged bag to keep you organized while traveling. We also love the HYC00 Travel for a smaller bag with excellent internal organization that's easy to access on the go.

Read more: Patagonia Black Hole review

The Black Hole is a versatile bag, at home in airports and on adventures everywhere, that is easy to pack, carry, and use.
Credit: Hale Milano

Great Value for a Duffel Bag


Gregory Alpaca


Weight: 2.7 lb (40L size) | Sizes Available: 40, 60, 80, 100, 120 L
REASONS TO BUY
High-end design features
Rugged 900-denier ripstop fabric
Internal wet-gear compartment
REASONS TO AVOID
Longer-than-average handles

The Gregory Alpaca is every bit as good as the top adventure duffel bags in our comparison and rings up for a more affordable price than many. This do-it-all duffel is packed with excellent user-friendly features, combining some of the best elements we've seen across a variety of bags. Available in multiple sizes, the Alpaca layout varies slightly between the smaller and larger versions. It has multiple storage pockets, daisy chain attachments, removable backpack straps, wet-gear pouches, and a durable 900-denier water-resistant ripstop polyester. The Alpaca blends a large storage volume with convenient carry options, rugged materials and straps, and a lower-than-average price.

The Alpaca scored above average in the majority of our testing metrics and presented very few noteworthy flaws. One drawback is that the briefcase-style handles are oddly long, especially on the smaller 40-liter version. They're easy to carry, but they can get caught on other objects when they're not secured. Overall, the Alpaca is one of our favorite bags and offers excellent value. If you don't need to carry your duffel far but want a high-volume bag that can keep your stuff together on road trips, the REI Roadtripper lives up to its name, with a low cost but convenient cavernous design to pack any gear. If you're just taking trips to the gym or soccer practice across town, the Adidas Defender is our favorite low-cost, reasonably-sized carry-all option.

Read more: Gregory Alpaca review

The Alpaca has all of the best-in-class features you'd expect in a duffel bag, and is slightly less expensive than other high scoring models.
Credit: Hale Milano

Best Carry On Travel Backpack


Osprey Sojourn Porter 46L


Available Sizes: 30L, 46L, 65L | Externally Accessible Pockets: 5
REASONS TO BUY
Dual compression straps maximize gear storage
Durable fabrics hold shape well
Great external pockets and internal organization
Comfortable even with heavy loads
REASONS TO AVOID
Bulky design
Doesn't lay flat when empty

When your trip goes off the beaten path, you'll want a bag that can keep up. That is exactly what the Osprey Sojourn Porter 46 is built for. If rolling a suitcase is impractical and lugging a duffel bag takes too much effort, then this comfortable carry on backpack is likely what you're looking for. Its 46-liter volume will easily stow all the gear you need, but internal and external compression straps secure items and cinch down to reduce the size of the bag. The 100% recycled ripstop nylon is well-padded and protects your bag from bumps, bruises, and the occasional rain shower. There is also a large and well-cushioned laptop sleeve. But the best part, and likely why you might choose a travel backpack, is that it is incredibly comfortable to carry, even when fully loaded up.

Despite the many things we liked about the Sojourn Porter, there are a few cons to both this bag and travel backpacks in general. To keep the size and weight of a travel backpack manageable, you'll likely have to pack light or bring additional pieces of luggage. The Porter is beefy enough that you can fit plenty of gear, but that also makes it easy to overload the bag, sometimes making it heavy and bulky. The Porter fits comfortably in airplane overhead bins; however, its rounded design makes it a bit awkward to fit under seats or in tight places. Likewise, when walking around a crowded area, it feels like you're wearing an obtrusive and bulky turtle shell. All in all, the Porter is a great option for those who prefer to keep all their belongings close and want to ditch the roller bag. Another very comfortable travel backpack to consider is the Osprey Farpoint 40; it has a robust harness and strap system reminiscent of a hiking backpack. It is also quite easy to live out of.

Read more: Osprey Sojourn Porter 46L review

The Sojourn Porter blends the best features of different kinds of carry-ons. It has a large internal storage volume like a duffle, is easy to live out of like a suitcase, and is comfortable to travel with -- like a travel backpack!
Credit: Hale Milano

Top Travel Backpack for Internal Organization and Livability


Cotopaxi Allpa 35L


Available Sizes: 28L, 35L, 42L | Externally Accessible Pockets: 4
REASONS TO BUY
Built-in mesh organizer pockets
Comfortable to wear
Removable waist belt
Less-than-ideal laptop sleeve
REASONS TO AVOID
Pocket design limits packing large bulky items

One of the hallmarks of life on the go is living out of your luggage. Achieving the perfect packing job is somewhere between art and science, with the goal being the ability to access any item you might need without completely unpacking or ruining your careful organization. The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L is a bag that excels at livability and one that our testers agree they will reach for if they ever need to live out of their luggage. While travelers with suitcases and duffel bags have resorted to packing cubes, a great invention that also adds another item to your packing list, the Cotopaxi has integrated the benefits of packing cubes into its design. The system of mesh pockets divides up the main compartment, securing socks, essentials, and larger clothes in dedicated spaces. You can fully unzip the main compartment and not worry that any of your gear will fall out. The Cotopaxi is also quite comfortable to wear for a long duration, thanks to its comfortable shoulder and waist straps and its supportive back panel. The waist strap is completely removable, which is great if you don't frequently use it and would prefer it not to get caught as you move through crowds and down aisles.

In this day and age, almost every traveler brings some electronics, whether a tablet or laptop. The laptop sleeve of the Cotopaxi was a bit lackluster. The zipper is difficult to use when the bag is packed full, and it lacks internal padding. Another downside to the Cotopaxi Allpa is also a result of its best features. The internal mesh pockets are great for organizing gear, but they inhibit “shove-it-all-in” style packing. We found the Cotopaxi Allpa to be a pleasant backpack to travel with and live out of, and we recommend it for travelers seeking organization on the go. An alternative consideration that is quite sleek and packed with features is the Peak Design Travel 45. It has an internal mesh pocket that can be accessed from both sides of the backpack and a large open compartment that will fit all your bulky gear and then some.

Read more: Cotopaxi Allpa 35L review

The Cotopaxi takes organization to the next level with integrated packing pockets to keep gear packed neatly no matter what your travels throw at you.
Credit: Hale Milano

Best Overall Laptop Backpack


Timbuk2 Authority Deluxe


Weight: 2.3 lb | Capacity: 20 L
REASONS TO BUY
Dedicated 17" laptop pocket
Useful array of pockets
Waterproof bottom
REASONS TO AVOID
Small water bottle pocket
Narrow dimensions

The Timbuk2 Authority Deluxe is our favorite laptop backpack. It's a useful pack for toting electronics on a work trip. It has a padded pocket at the back meant exclusively for a computer as well as a secondary sleeve inside the main compartment for another device. We also really like the auxiliary pockets for other supplies like pens, keys, chargers, or a wireless mouse. Though it's not waterproof, its thick fabric beads water well, and it has a waterproof bottom if you have to place it on wet ground.

Though it performs well overall, this pack has relatively small dimensions. Though it can hold folders, notebooks, and files, it's not quite large enough to be a true overnight bag. It does have a water bottle pocket, but it's pretty small and meant for a specific, skinny style of bottle. Those two things aside, we love this pack for traveling with a lot of tech and think it's the best option for most people. If you're ready to invest in a backpack with a bunch of useful organizational features, we also love the Incase Icon. On the other hand, if you're looking to save some cash and are interested in a laptop backpack that's versatile enough to transition from town to trail, The North Face Borealis is a fantastic, high-value option.

Read more: Timbuk2 Authority Deluxe review

The Timbuk2 Authority Deluxe is an all-around excellent laptop bag with a variety of pockets for on-the-go organization.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Best High-Capacity Laptop Backpack


Yorepek Travel Extra Large


Weight: 2.2 lb | Capacity: 50 L
REASONS TO BUY
Exceptional capacity for work trips
Inexpensive
Zippers glide smoothly
REASONS TO AVOID
Long-term quality questions
Not enough padding for high-capacity

The Yorepek Travel Extra Large is a high-capacity laptop-capable travel bag that is great for work trips and weekend getaways alike. Its 50 liters blows away the volume of every other pack in our review of the best laptop backpacks. It has a padded laptop sleeve and a solid collection of other pockets. Its main compartment is large enough for lunch, chargers, a change or two of clothes, and toiletries if you are spending a night away from home. It also has the advantage of being one of the more affordable bags in the category.

This pack is so large that it doesn't always have the padding to back up its capacity. The shoulder straps are wide, but if you are really intent on stuffing this one full for a work week or long weekend away, it can get uncomfortable if you have to carry it for extended periods. And though it held up great during testing, if this is going to be a main workhorse pack day in and day out, we would expect it not to last as long as the very top-performing packs. Having said that, this is our recommendation for those who need to tote not only their laptops but a lot of extra stuff as well. If the price point and organization are right for you, the Matein Travel is another solid option with less overall volume but similar organizational features.

Read more: Yorepek Travel Extra Large review

travel bag - the yorepek travel extra large is an air travel all-star. even with...
The Yorepek Travel Extra Large is an air travel all-star. Even with its large capacity, it still (mostly) fits underneath an airplane seat.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Best Go-Anywhere Travel Backpack


Osprey Nebula 32


Weight: 1.8 lb | Volume: 32 L
REASONS TO BUY
Versatile multipurpose design
17" TSA-approved laptop compartment
Deeply padded, adjustable suspension system
Hydration bladder port & bike light clip loop
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Outdoor-inspired style

There are few places where the versatile, high-performance, go-everywhere Osprey Nebula 32 won't be the perfect accessory. At 32L in capacity and jam-packed with thoughtfully arranged, well-sized pockets, it's a top choice for students as well as anyone who needs a smart, capable carry-all. Travelers with a heavy haul will appreciate the deeply padded frame, water-resistant exterior, and outdoor-adventure-inspired suspension system that delivers all-day comfort and protection no matter what configuration of bus, train, or plane lies ahead. They will also celebrate the large webbed grab handle and TSA-approved clamshell laptop compartment that are sure to make airport security a breeze. Tall, easy-access mesh side pockets, a soft-sided accessory pouch, and a heavy mesh front pocket provide easy stash-and-track options for water bottles, phones, travel documents, snacks, and sweaters. And, once arrived, it's a quick swap to replace the laptop with a hydration pack before heading out to explore.

Osprey is a brand that knows a thing or two about building a top-quality backcountry pack, and in the Nebula 32, we see that expert design knowledge channeled into a lifestyle bag that's up to nearly any everyday challenge. Where it may disappoint for some is in cost. Such superior quality does not come cheap, and many travelers won't have the budget for such high-end hand luggage, no matter how reliably functional it may be. In these cases, we'd point you to the Patagonia Refugio 26L, which boasts a fairly comparable set of features at a lower cost, or the The North Face Jester, which excels in comfort and stability and comes at an attractive mid-range price point.

travel bag - keep everything you need at your fingertips all day long with the...
Keep everything you need at your fingertips all day long with the Osprey Nebula 32, no matter where you are headed and how many methods of transportation it'll take to get you there.
Credit: Marshall Palmer

Best Messenger Bag


Chrome Buran III


Weight: 2.7 lb | Capacity: 22 L
REASONS TO BUY
Durable construction
Large laptop pocket
Comfortable and ambidextrous
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Laptop compartment lacks watertight zipper

The versatile Chrome Buran III is one of the top-rated messenger bags in our test, and ready for anything that your commute can throw at you, whether it's by foot, bike, bus, train, or plane. Its rugged and weatherproof features are more than up to anything that you are. The bag's 1050-denier nylon fabric and 500D TPE tarp liner make it one of the most durable options available. It offers an oversized main compartment that boasts an intuitive pocket system for easy organization, including a large laptop pocket on the back that can hold up to a 17-inch laptop. The bag is comfortable to wear, even when fully loaded, despite lacking any dedicated padding on it. The cross-body stabilizing strap ensures a secure and ambidextrous fit while biking or walking, helpful for holding things securely when you're dodging and weaving traffic in the bike lane or the tube tunnel. The plethora of pockets on both the exterior and interior provide easy access to essentials like a phone, wallet, and keys without being too overwhelming.

Though we love this travel bag, it has some minor drawbacks. The bag is one of the heaviest messenger bags we tested. However, with how comfortable this bag is, you likely won't notice the weight. The zipper on the laptop pouch isn't waterproof — though it has a substantial weather-resistant flap over the top and will likely be covered by the rest of the bag when on your back. Although it is great for speedy donning and doffing of the bag, the seatbelt buckle clasp on the main strap is quite large and has a tendency to bang into painful places when not securely snug on the body. Lastly, the Buran III is on the expensive side, making it quite an investment for a relatively single-purpose bag. That said, this bag is built to last through years of school, work, and commuting. If you can't quite swing the price, you might also like the durable and functional Timbuk2 Classic, with plenty of great features at a much more tolerable price point.

Read more: Chrome Buran III review

The Buran is spacious, rugged, and easy to put on; a triple threat and one of our favorite messenger bags.
Credit: Hale Milano

A Great Versatile High-Value Daypack


REI Co-op Flash 22


Weight: 14 oz | Capacity: 22 L
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight
Inexpensive
Versatile use and fit
REASONS TO AVOID
Lacks rigidity
Subpar ventilation

The REI Co-op Flash 22 is a versatile one-size-fits-most pack with a lightweight, minimalist design that can be packed within suitcases or stowed comfortably under airplane seats as a personal item. The pack's organization, including multiple pockets and attachment points, is practical for travel, daily use, and outdoor activities. Each pocket is easily accessible and accommodates the essentials. Capable of fitting a 14-inch laptop, this minimalist day bag can also tackle work commutes or schooldays. If you want a little more room for your goods, we also like the slightly larger Trail 25 and even the more rugged backpacking-style Traverse 32.

One drawback of the Flash 22 is its subpar ventilation system compared to the best hiking-specific daypacks. The mesh back lacks structural rigidity and overall padding. This, along with the lack of built-in compression straps, limits its ability to compress and hold a bulky load. All things considered, the REI Flash is quite inexpensive while boasting the features needed for a solid travel day bag. If you're looking for a dedicated laptop sleeve, you might like the 20L Osprey Daylite Plus, which has mesh water bottle pockets and enough organizational features to work as a daily pack or a personal item for air travel.

Read more: REI Co-op Flash 22 review

travel bag - the lightweight rei flash 22 has multiple clip points for extra...
The lightweight REI Flash 22 has multiple clip points for extra gear, though we wouldn't trust it with anything too heavy.
Credit: Jacob Clark

Excellent for Daily Essentials


REI Co-op Trail 2 Waist


Weight: 4.3 oz | Capacity: 2 L
REASONS TO BUY
Comfortable and converts to sling bag
Quality construction and design
Useful storage and organization features
REASONS TO AVOID
Strap is not very soft on skin
Few color options

A solid fanny pack or top-rated sling bag is great for just about any travel, and we think the REI Trail 2 Waist is the best one for the job. This fanny pack pairs nicely with a backpack or suitcase for easy access to travel documents or a phone without adding to your airline bag allowance. It has a bucket-style main compartment that allows easy access to your items and an anti-theft back zippered pocket to protect important documents, a passport, or cash. Once you have arrived at your destination, this convenient little pack easily transitions into a sling bag, holding all your daily essentials as you explore. With five pockets in total — plus a key clip — you can stay organized and be prepared for the day of travel ahead.

It's hard to find anything wrong with the REI Co-op Trail 2 Waist Pack. If you're into flashy patterned bags, you might find this pack too boring. The fabric on this is also not as comfy as some of the other bags out there, but its DWR finish will at least keep your items dry. Time and time again, we return to this handy fanny pack (or sling bag!) to keep our basics close by on busy travel days. If you're looking for a little extra flare, the JanSport Fifth Ave comes in some seriously fun colors and patterns, though it won't keep your items nearly as organized.

travel bag - this fanny pack is great for keeping all your travel essentials...
This fanny pack is great for keeping all your travel essentials close at hand.
Credit: Whitney Clark

Excellent for Keeping Organized


Peak Design Everyday 6L


Weight: 27.5 oz | Capacity: 6 L
REASONS TO BUY
Great construction quality
Well-thought-out, adjustable features
Multiple pockets for storage and organization
REASONS TO AVOID
Pricey
Only three color options

The Peak Design Everyday 6L is a versatile and functional sling-style crossbody travel bag for when you're on the go and need to carry your essentials. Although it's specifically designed with photographers in mind, the bag can be used in many different ways and has a bunch of hidden features to familiarize yourself with. The cushioned cross-body strap has a quick adjuster that you can loosen when casually walking around and tighten when actively biking or hiking. This sling bag can also be worn as a fanny pack by simply storing extra strap material in its designated sleeve and re-attaching the clasp. A removable divider can be adjusted to either side of the interior, and multiple pockets for small items like a passport, lip balm, or keys. It also pairs nicely with a backpack or rolling luggage bag for airport travel and comes in three different sizes.

We love this sling bag, but it has a high price tag. However, for your investment, you're getting a high-quality product. The Peak Design Everyday's features take some time to familiarize with, and we admittedly watched a YouTube video to learn how to use all of its unique components. These two things aside, this bag is classy, stylish, and a finely tuned organizational pack that may be perfect for your travel needs. If you'd prefer a sling bag with a little more versatility to take you through bustling airports and along backcountry trails, the high-capacity Cotopaxi 13L Chasqui is a superb choice, as is the six-liter The North Face Borealis Sling.

travel bag - the peak designs everyday has a slot that stores extra strap...
The Peak Designs Everyday has a slot that stores extra strap material when not in use.
Credit: Luka Krajnc

How We Test the Best Travel Bags


Over many years, our many travel enthusiasts and bag aficionados have been researching, traveling with, and testing the top travel bags, packs, and luggage available. Over the years, we have spent hundreds of hours scouring the market for the most promising, most interesting, and most popular products we can find. We've bought over 400 pieces of travel gear and brought them on adventures around the globe to evaluate their performance in the real world. We've wheeled bags through security, checked them on international flights, strapped them to pack animals in remote mountains, worn them trekking foreign cities, and commuted to school and work with them.

In addition to testing them on our own adventures, we've put each bag we tested through standardized and rigorous testing to draw out the nuances in performance and capabilities. We've put them in our showers, cycled through rainstorms, carried them in the snow, and jammed them full of as much as they could hold. In our carry on testing and large luggage testing, we drop each one of our suitcases from unnerving heights and push them down a flight of concrete stairs to see which ones will hold up to rough cargo baggage handling or accidental mishaps. Year after year, no matter the situation, we do our best to push these travel bags to their limits to learn which ones are best for what types of travel.

travel bag - we packed our bags and headed to the airport to see how well each...
We packed our bags and headed to the airport to see how well each travel pack held up to the rigors of conveyor belts, tight corners, and crowded terminals.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Why You Should Trust Us


In the pursuit of finding bags for travel, we've assembled a team of bag geeks and travel experts to test everything from daypacks to duffel bags to roller suitcases. Jason Wanlass heads our rolling suitcase reviews, testing both carry on and checked sizes. Jason has spent decades wandering the globe in search of adventure with his family. He's traversed continents and taken more airplane trips than he cares to count and needs great luggage that can get him there. He is assisted by Myrha Colt, who has spent time living and long-term traveling on six continents. She's a true packing specialist, keeping overall functionality in mind. On top of larger-style suitcases, Myrha rarely leaves home without a smaller day bag in tow, and she uses her experience to inform our backpack reviews.

Ensuring the carry on bags fit within airline requirements.
Ensuring the carry on bags fit within airline requirements.
We've put dozens of pieces of luggage through their paces in...
We've put dozens of pieces of luggage through their paces in airports and airplanes across the world.
Setting off on a big journey? A big suitcase or an oversized duffel...
Setting off on a big journey? A big suitcase or an oversized duffel might just be your best friend along the way.
We've tested hundreds of travel bags over the years, heading to far corners of the globe as well as the office up the road.

Leading the team on the hunt for the best duffel bags and travel backpacks for your journey is Hale Milano, along with a few other fellow gear testers. Hale has traversed the globe several times over, living out of everything from Army-issued duffel bags to rolling suitcases for business trips and ultra-light backpacks for adventure. Whether it's for work or play, Hale is never one to let his gear hold him back from enjoying his trip. Sifting through the many options of backpack shapes, sizes, and styles, this team has loaded up dozens to find the best that work for a weekend trip, business travel, or living out of long term. Ben Applebaum-Bauch is no stranger to long days and lengthy commutes, and he uses his experience to test the best laptop bags. After spending years venturing hours a day to and from school and work, he values a good day bag to hold the daily essentials, whether it be a lunch, textbook, or laptop. Together, this team has come far and wide, working tirelessly to bring you this list of top-notch travel bags.

Many duffel bags we tested have a backpack carry option, which we appreciate when we have to lug our belongings through the airport or down the street.
Credit: Hale Milano

How to Choose the Best Travel Bag for You


Choosing the right type of bag is often a matter of determining what type of travel or adventure you're doing, and working backwards. After all, the best bag for an overnight trip to a concert is probably not the same bag that will work for an Arctic expedition. If you're headed out on lengthy journeys abroad, you might value space and portability, or maybe one over the other. While these often don't go hand in hand, there are hybrid options like travel backpacks that meet somewhere in the middle. On the other hand, heavy packers who like having multiple outfit options for every day might opt for a large bag like a traditional suitcase, which will likely not be the most portable. Before choosing a bag, it's important to first consider what your intentions are with your travels, how long you'll be away, and how you plan to get around.

We punished our travel bags to see which ones can handle some seriously challenging trips.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

How Long Will You Be Gone?


In many cases, what bag size you need comes down to is how long you'll be away and how much you plan to take; packing for a weekend trip will look quite a bit different than packing for a month-long journey. Heavy packers or those headed away for an extended time should prioritize internal space, which can be achieved with a traditional suitcase or an oversized duffel bag. Those headed on a weekend getaway will likely be fine with a carry on backpack or smaller luggage. Ideally, it's best to fill the space in your bag so that contents don't shift around much during transit. Choosing the right size bag helps keep things packed neatly.

travel bag - heavy packer? choose a large suitcase you can easily check to your...
Heavy packer? Choose a large suitcase you can easily check to your final destination.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

If you're traveling via air, you'll need to pay particular attention to your bag's size. It's worth understanding the difference between a carry on, a personal item, and full-sized luggage. Carry on bags fit in the overhead bins and within the size requirements put out by each airline. This varies slightly by company but is generally around the 22 x 14 x 9-inch range. Additionally, most airlines allow you to have a personal item, which is a smaller bag that can fit under the seat in front of you. This means you might actually be able to bring two bags on board with you as long as they fit within the size requirements. If you're headed out on a short trip or you pack light, you'll probably be just fine with these two bags. Beyond the airport, the same rings true. However, if you're headed on a fairly long journey or you need to pack your bulky winter gear, you might need to size up to a larger duffel or checked suitcase.

Duffel bags are a versatile option for whatever type of traveler you are. Often, these bags are available in a large selection of sizes, and many even double as a backpack, making them easier to carry through airports, on public transportation, or up long flights of stairs. Some of the smaller ones even fit under the airplane seat, allowing them to act as your personal item.

travel bag - most airports have these checkpoints to ensure your bag is carry-on...
Most airports have these checkpoints to ensure your bag is carry-on sized. Though, you can always look up the airlines specific requirements prior to the flight.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

When considering size, most bags are measured in liters, which may get a bit confusing when trying to choose the right size for air travel that's defined in inches. In general, most day bags tend to be between 20-30 liters, which typically can be squeezed under an airline seat. This size fits typical travel needs like a laptop, an extra layer, a snack and drink, a book to read, and other carry on essentials. These work great as personal items, as they almost always fit under the seat. Medium-sized bags are within the 30 to 50-liter range and are typically considered carry on bags. They usually fall within airline size restrictions and can be stuffed into most overhead bins. Large bags, like suitcases and some duffels, are generally around 60 liters in volume and can sometimes be more than 100 liters. If you're a heavy packer, you'll want one of these huge packs — though be wary of your bag's weight if you plan to check it, as most airlines charge high fees for heavy bags.

You might be in the market for a bag that gets you across Europe, or you might simply need something small for your daily commute. Regardless, it's important to ask yourself these questions to ensure you get the most out of your bag. No matter how much other stuff you need to bring, you can never go wrong by adding a fanny pack or small sling bag to keep ahold of those smaller items.

travel bag - simple and low-profile, you can't go wrong with a fanny pack on your...
Simple and low-profile, you can't go wrong with a fanny pack on your travels.
Credit: Jane Jackson

How Are You Getting to Your Destination?


Working hand in hand with how long you'll be gone is how you'll get around: plane, train, bus, car? Choosing the open air? Be sure to look into your airline's bag specifications. Some let you fly free with a carry on and checked luggage, while others charge you for just about everything you plan to take. If you plan to check your bag, you won't need to worry much about it until you land.

Trains and buses have varying rules about luggage quantity and size. However, you should consider how often you'll be changing from one to another. Getting off and on constantly will be a challenge if you've packed heavy and bulky. Often, on buses and trains, you need to keep your luggage with you, which can get cramped. Consider an option that will be a bit easier to lug around if the rails or bus will be your primary form of transportation. Taking a road trip? Portability might not be worth stressing over. Instead, you'll want to consider how much space your bag will take up, especially after everyone has piled into the car. Soft-bodied options that compress down are often a great way to conserve space. Those walking or biking will need to prioritize their comfort and consider the size of the bag. Bulky bags with items jostling around are the last thing you need when navigating busy sidewalks and bike routes.

travel bag - headed for our gate with our sion softside at our side. this bag has...
Headed for our gate with our Sion Softside at our side. This bag has basic spinners, but it rolls well on flat surfaces.
Credit: Jason Wanlass


You'll also want to consider how mobile you need to be during your travel. If you're hopping from town to city to oceanside villa, you'll want a bag that's easy to get around. For example, travel backpacks and duffel bags are both going to be highly portable and comfortable to wear. On the other hand, you might be headed to a single destination where you can leave your belongings back at the hotel. In that case, you won't need to be as picky about the bag's style or versatility and can focus on what it fits and how well it travels to get there. Even for travelers who plan on migrating around their destination via trains or cars, consider how far you might be walking from your accommodation to the station; wheeled luggage and cobblestone or dirt streets don't mix well.

travel bag - setting off on a big journey? a big suitcase or an oversized duffel...
Setting off on a big journey? A big suitcase or an oversized duffel might just be your best friend along the way.
Credit: Nick Bruckbauer

Where and Why Are You Traveling?


Next, consider what you'll need to bring along. Your destination and travel goals will dictate which bag suits you best. If you're headed to a cold climate or on a trip where lots of gear is needed, you'll obviously need more space in your pack than someone heading to the Caribbean with a swimsuit and snorkeling mask only. Some bags have one large compartment, while others have pockets galore. If you prefer to stay organized, look for a bag with plenty of storage options and internal pockets. Some of the travel bags in our lineup have great organization features with a pocket for everything. On the other hand, if you're the type of traveler to “throw-and-go,” a single-compartment bag will be best.

travel bag - duffel bags are great because they are just one large compartment...
Duffel bags are great because they are just one large compartment, so you can throw your gear in and get moving.
Credit: Hayley Thomas

If you're headed to work or school, your travel bag is going to look quite a bit different than if you were headed abroad. Do you take a laptop or tablet with you? Specifically, look for a pack that is large enough to house your electronics. You might want to opt for a pack that has plenty of pockets that can separate out your wallet and keys to pens and pencils to binders and tablets. Additionally, consider how you get to work or school. Is it by public transportation, car, or bike? Consider the weather you may encounter and the protection you may need. Are you biking to work in the rainy Pacific Northwest or the snowy northern cities? Are you battling crowded subways and buses? In any case, you'll want to keep an eye on the bag's overall comfort, protection, and functionality.

travel bag - the right backpack will offer the organization and pockets that...
The right backpack will offer the organization and pockets that match your needs - whether that's stowing a large laptop or packing clothes for a weekend away.
Credit: Amber King

The same rings true for a good day bag for other day-to-day adventures. Consider what your “essentials” are. If you're out to explore a new city or a new trail, keep in mind what you like to have on you, whether it be a change of clothes, headphones, or a packed lunch. Plenty of day bags will have enough space to hold your belongings. If you're taking a computer or tablet along, prioritize a backpack or messenger bag with a designated sleeve or compartment to keep it safe.

Headed on a work trip or to an event? You'll want a bag that can keep your fancy clothes wrinkle-free while keeping ahold of all your regular travel wear. Many carry on options and suitcases have included or incorporated garment bags to keep your business or formal attire looking fresh for those special events and meetings. These special compartments are often removable, so you can hang up your attire once at your destination. And when you're not on a trip where you'll need that specific component, you can leave it at home and free up some internal space.

travel bag - if the last thing you want is to show up to an event with wrinkled...
If the last thing you want is to show up to an event with wrinkled clothes, look for a travel bag with an included garment keeper.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Regardless of your reason for travel, we recommend pairing your main bag with a fanny pack or a small backpack. Having a smaller bag allows you to ditch your big bag back at the hotel or hostel so you can venture around with just the day's essentials. Fanny packs are great because they are low profile and almost never need to be taken off. Here, you can stash some money and your phone without worrying too much about theft. Sling bags and daypacks are another great option, allowing you to bring your favorite rain jacket or fleece, or have extra space for a snack to get you through a long day or bring back souvenirs you might pick up while out exploring a new city. For on-the-go accessibility, a good messenger bag can be easily slung on the shoulder and opened up on the fly.

travel bag - your daily commuter bag should have enough space for all your...
Your daily commuter bag should have enough space for all your essentials, organized and protected from whatever the hazards of your commute.
Credit: Jared Ross

Bag styles


Now that you know what your travel style is, it's time to find your bag. There are many different types of bags to help you get from here to there. While many have obvious uses and strengths, many more have multiple usable situations and attributes that help them excel in different travel environments.

travel bag
Credit: REI Co-op
Rolling Luggage — These bags can be a traditional suitcase or a rolling duffel bag with two or four wheels. Wheels ultimately increase the bag's maneuverability and convenience on flat, smooth surfaces. As you travel around the hotel, train station, or airport, these packs will be very easy to pull around, no matter how heavy their contents are. Those with four wheels excel further as they can be pushed or pulled and stay closer to you as you weave through crowded or narrow spaces. However, if you're planning on spending a considerable amount of time walking through gravel, over cobbles, or traversing other uneven terrains, a roller bag can be cumbersome, frustrating, and slow. Listed below are scores for all the bags tested in our current best luggage and best carry on luggage reviews.



travel bag - base camp duffel
Base Camp Duffel
Credit: The North Face
Duffel Bags — These bags are soft-sided, sometimes water resistant, and great for packing in lots of clothes, oversized items, or oddly shaped gear due to their large main compartment. Their collapsible design allows them to fit easily into car trunks, overhead compartments, or under seats (depending on volume), making them great for almost any kind of travel. They typically don't have tons of organizational pockets, though some include a few small compartments. Many adventure-ready duffel bags can be converted into bulbous backpacks in a pinch, though they aren't the comfiest backpacks for prolonged wear. Others come with messenger-style shoulder straps to help you get from A to B, but none are a joy to carry for long distances. These bags are great when you don't have to cart them around by hand for very far, but need to bring a lot of stuff or some strangely shaped objects. The chart below shows the scores of the products we tested in our best duffel bag review.


travel bag
Credit: Samsonite
Hardside Luggage — These box-shaped suitcases are characterized by their hard exterior that is designed with durability in mind. Most are built from ABS or polycarbonate, while some high-end models are constructed with metal exteriors. In general, they are lightweight, water-resistant, and capable of handling a tumble while protecting your contents. Almost always, these bags are clamshell style, meaning they open into two equally sized shallower compartments. They can be reliably locked up with a TSA-approved lock and feature roller wheels and a telescoping handle to get you to the check-in line. Because of their hard exterior, these suitcases can't be compressed to squeeze into a small overhead bin. This also makes them great candidates for checking, as your contents won't get squished going through any of the heavy machinery that operates airline luggage systems.

travel bag
Credit: SwissGear
Softside Luggage — These are one of the most commonly used suitcases today, with internal support structures and a sturdy, cloth-covered exterior. To withstand the rigors of travel, they're typically made from durable materials like nylon, Cordura, polyester, or a combination of each, designed to be resistant to scratches and tears. These bags almost always open with a flip-top lid, like a shoe box. Most have a variety of pockets within the main compartment for added organization. Some models have a built-in compression system, which can be cinched down to compress soft contents like clothing. Most of the time, they have handles and roller wheels. They come in varying sizes, some of which are ideal for an overhead airline bin and some that need to be checked to your final destination.

travel bag
Credit: Osprey
Backpack — This category might seem self-explanatory; it's a bag that's built for a back. However, when it comes to traveling, there are many versions to consider. A daypack is typically a bit smaller but built with the movement and comfort needed for adventuring in mind. These smaller backpacks can be paired with a larger suitcase or duffel to get you to your destination before converting into an active-minded day bag for whatever cities or wilderness you choose to explore. More casual backpacks like school backpacks and laptop backpacks do double duty, serving the daily commuter or student as well as becoming a personal item on an airplane or a handy road trip companion. These bags come in many styles and sizes and with various organizational options, so you can find the perfect bag for your daily endeavors near and far. Travel backpacks are larger than these others, with enough internal storage and clever organization to neatly hold everything you need for your trip sans suitcase. These travel-focused bags are typically comfier to wear for long hours on your feet and a great choice for destination hopping utilizing multiple types of transportation. Below, we show charts that outline the scores of the bags tested in our best travel backpack and best laptop backpack reviews.



travel bag
Credit: Chrome
Messenger Bags — Similar to backpacks, messenger bags are a practical and stylish option for day-to-day use. They hold all the same items that you would fit into a backpack but in a different configuration that's easier to access without removing the bag. With a single shoulder strap — and the occasional carrying handle — most of these bags can be worn across your body in either direction. A fold-over lid is common and covers the main compartment, sometimes offering additional protection from the elements that the zippers of a backpack can't quite match. If you find yourself needing to frequently dig into the contents of your bag while wearing it — or you just like the look — check out our favorite messenger bag for commuters, students, and travelers alike.

travel bag
Credit: Amazon
Fanny Packs and Sling Bags — Fanny packs and sling bags are compact satchels that rest on the hip or over the shoulder. Many fanny packs can be worn as a sling bag or crossbody bag simply by loosening the strap, giving you the freedom to choose how you wear them. These small but mighty packs can take your travels to the next level with their convenience. You can pair them with just about any other kind of travel bag for a few extra pockets — and they're small enough that they typically don't count as an extra bag during airline travel. Even the smallest options are large enough to hold most wallets, your keys, a phone, and keep your passport handy. Keeping your valuables close to your body can also help deter pickpockets. If you don't want to wear one during all your travels, these small bags can easily be stowed into your main bag until you reach your destination. Regardless, we think you can't go wrong with adding a fanny pack or crossbody bag to your travel system.

travel bag - no matter what you're packing or where you're heading, there's a...
No matter what you're packing or where you're heading, there's a great travel bag for you.
Credit: Hayley Thomas

Conclusion


Whether you're packing for a three-month expedition or commuting to work each day, these backpacks, duffel bags, and suitcases have you covered. No matter the journey that lies ahead of you — it be a cobblestone road in Scotland or a bike ride to the gym — we've done in-depth testing and side-by-side comparisons on hundreds of travel bags to help you choose the best companion for your packing needs. Wherever your travels take you, we hope you're well-prepared with one (or more) of these top travel bags.

Myrha Colt, Jason Wanlass, Hale Milano, and Ben Applebaum-Bauch