Suitcases certainly have their benefits but nothing makes those short-haul flights and business trips easier than a snazzy holdall. For men, particularly, it’s an essential travel accessory that comes in handy a lot more than you’d expect.
The great thing about duffle bags is that they can act as an extension to your outfit, a lot more so than cabin luggage. They’re made with everything from suede and leather to nylon and recycled polyesters, and in general, the higher the price, the better the bag. Sometimes you just can’t beat quality.
Another holdall plus is practicality. Everything is just so much easier to grab with open-top zippered access, such as passports, keys, phones, handcuffs… whatever you need to enjoy your recreational time or business trips! The handles also make it super easy to carry, particularly when navigating busy airports and hotels in the centre of town.
One key consideration when you make your first or next purchase is the size. Ensure the bag has enough volume to fit in an extra pair of shoes and a few outfits. Think about what you take away with you regularly that will take up a fair bit of space, like jumpers, boots or sportswear, and get an understanding of how that translates into litres.
A good duffle bag really is a must for the modern man, whether you’re heading to inter-state meetings or a stag weekend in Amsterdam, and here we have some stellar recommendations as always.
If you like that vintage look at a cheaper price then Herschel have you covered. As well as their popular range of backpacks the Canadian brand also produces duffle bags, like this Supply Novel design. At 42.5 litres it holds enough to keep you in clean pants for a long weekend and can even double up as a sports bag. It’s made from synthetic leather and has a handy compartment that keeps your manky shoes separate from clothing.
Specialists in everything waterproof, Rains are probably better known for their raincoats. But these Danish designers are astute in that they realise it’s not just our bodies we like to keep dry when on the move - and in response they've come up with this stylish Weekend Bag. It’s made from blend polyester and polyurethane fabrics that keep the rain off your travel essentials. There’s also a detachable shoulder strap for if your hands get tired, and a zip closure with buttoned carry handles.
You couldn’t discuss overnight bags without bringing up Troubadour. The brand may be relatively new to the market, but their duffles have certainly made a quick impression. Take their Adventure weekend bag, for example, a very classy, versatile accessory that’s made from waterproof canvas fabrics. It features leather roll top handles and an internal laptop compartment, and looks amazing with both office and smart casual attire. A must for anyone who is serious about how they look.
The North Face
If you’re considering a longer adventure where the weather might become a factor, then North Face is more than a solid option. They always seem to get it just right, as they have with this Base Camp Duffle XXL, which holds an impressive 150 litres of your travel essentials. It’s a highly durable option that is made from TPE fabrics and Ballistic Nylon. There are two main compartments equipped with compression straps and a handy waterproof ID pocket at the top. Add to that a D-Zip opening and a mesh storage bag and you’ll be set for any weekend expedition.
A good holdall can be a thing of beauty, a timeless creation that will be used forever when made by the right hands. Enter Bennett Winch, a relatively young British brand that’s ahead of its years, who designs amazing bags. Their SC Holdall is a wonderfully designed suit carrier that oozes class and style. It’s handmade, using a mix of British dyed waterproof cotton canvas and twill, along with premium Italian leather. It features an external pocket for passports, key and wallets, with a fully removable shoe bag and a slimline coat hanger. The ultimate business trip bag.
Scandinavia might not spring to mind when you think of high-end luxury design. But, Danish brand Mismo have been bucking that trend since 2006 with their stunning array of backpacks, briefcases and travel bags. This Avail bag is created to complement a stylish wardrobe and is made with a woven cotton and nylon canvas with leather trimmings. It includes removable straps and solid brass hardware coated in gold, and has an elegant compact shape for those one-night stopovers and short breaks.
As Montblanc specialises in luxury office items, it would be foolish of them not to have a few clever holdall designs for their client’s professional business needs. This Sartorial Jet Duffle is just that, a light and elegant bag ideal for trips that require smart attire. It’s made with a combination of nylon fabric and Italian split calf-skin handles and trimmings, and sits firmly in the high-end price bracket.
What would bags look like today if it wasn’t for Louis Vuitton? The French luxury house has after all produced some of the best and most iconic designs over the last century, and don’t look like slowing down - as this Keepall Bandouliere suggests. It comes with a wonderfully soft cotton textile lining finished off with cowhide leather trimmings. It’s compact, an ideal size to take into the cabin and a piece that will always make a statement wherever you go.
Standing at the front of luxury travel bags since the 1950s, Italian brand Bric’s always produce exquisite designs that demand attention. This Cargo Duffle from their MyLife collection is the ideal bag for those spontaneous weekend trips away when a durable holdall is required. It’s made from a synthetic PVC exterior with a fine soft interior liner. All the trimmings are made from Italian leather that age with style, and there’s even a TSA approved lock to keep your valuables safe.
It’s hard to manage style without thinking about price in the bag world, especially with duffles. But, Away seems to have struck a nice balance with this tidy Everywhere Bag. It’s made from a mix of nylon and leather, much like a lot of the luxury options on the market, and holds up to 20 litres of your favourite garments and accessories. It also features a more than useful laptop pocket, a hidden exterior pocket and a zippered pouch perfect for a small umbrella. A really well-thought-out practical design that doesn’t sacrifice style.
WANT Les Essentiels
Founded in Montreal back in 2007, Want Les Essentiels produce a wide range of clothing and accessories for modern travellers and adventurers who like to look the business. This Hartsfield tote bag is a great little snapshot of what the brand is about, in that it is made from high-quality fabrics (nylon and leather) with a touch of refined minimalism. It features internal pouch pockets, a two-way zip fastening and can hold up to 37 litres of your most treasured items.
Those of you who are looking for a bit more of a bargain should check out Italic. They source their no-label collections from the same factories where the big boys go, and just cut out the middle man. No fuss. Their Weekender Duffle is perfect for those short getaways. It can be carried by shoulder strap or tote handles and super light waterproof nylon, ideal for winter breaks. The trimmings are constructed using cow leather for added durability, whilst three internal pockets help you easily organise small valuable and media devices.
Californian accessory specialists Miansai proudly make everything in-house. Every step of the process from concept to production is done by their small, dedicated team of artisans. As well as jewellery and necklaces, the brand also produces bags, like this exceptional Duval Duffle. It’s made with genuine Italian cowhide and looks great with virtually any type of wardrobe combination for great wardrobe versatility. It also features interior and exterior pockets and brass finishings.
There are many of us out there who admire how leather ages and its look alongside our daily attire, whether it be shoes or accessories. Carl Friedrik shares this admiration and produces standout designs for such people, like this cracking Palissy Weekend bag. It’s made entirely from Italian Vachetta leather which is renowned for its natural smooth finish. It also features three open pockets for documents and valuables and a quality polished Raccagni zipper. Easily one of the best-looking bags around today.
Mr Paul Smith has produced some fantastic bags over the years, as well as amazing clothing lines, and is still considered a leader for men’s clothing within British fashion circles. This excellent Canvas Weekend is another great design from the brand. It's made from a cotton canvas with a full leather base and trimmings. The tote handles are also crafted from leather, with the inside featuring a soft cotton lining along with two zipped pockets.
The Germans are renowned for their efficiency and modern, minimalist take on design. And you could say that this cultural ethos stems from one of their most celebrated names, Hugo Boss. The designers who now work under the name follow suit and create outstanding bags such as this Italian Holdall. It’s crafted, as you might expect, using Italian leather with a straw-like embossed texture. It’s boxy shape means that it feels compact but carries a decent volume, ideal for regular use.
If it can be made with leather then Smythson can turn it into something beautiful. The London brand is Britain’s most well-known leather maker. If you wanted the perfect example of what a duffle bag should look and feel like, you wouldn’t be far off perfect with their Ludlow design. It’s made from high-grade black grain leather, with smooth, calfskin handles that are rounded for added comfort. A piece that is made to stay soft and subtle over time, it’s a truly fantastic bag that will make you the envy of many!
If you're someone who needs to transport a fair amount of camera equipment, but also wants to look good in the process, then check out WANDRD. The crowd-funded company has experienced soaring popularity since it launched, proving to be a bag company of choice for photographers, travellers and commuters alike.
The HEXAD Carryall Travel Duffle takes on a backpack design, with a padded back panel and sternum strap to help support heavier weights. It's made from a range of weatherproof materials and can be had in either a 40-litre carry on size, or 60-litres if extra space is a necessity.