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All that camping gear, clothing and supplies need an efficient means of transportation. But if you’re driving to a campsite with the family or venturing to a wilderness destination solo, a real backpacking rig might not be the best luggage choice. That’s where a rugged camping bag comes in.
One of the best types of bags for camping and outdoorsy adventures is a versatile duffel or duffel-backpack hybrid. The soft design means it can hold plenty of oddly-sized gear, but won’t take up unnecessary space when not in use or when half-packed. Plus, various carrying options such as drop handles, shoulder strap and optional backpack straps provide helpful flexibility. And without wheels, structuring or a hardshell, duffels can be extremely lightweight.
Campers, whether casual or hardcore, use duffel bags for road trips, off-road adventures and air travel. These carry-all bags also come in handy for non-camping adventures such as visiting family, weekend getaways or less outdoorsy vacations.
If your luggage closet is lacking a great camping bag, read on. We’ve rounded up ten of the best camping and outdoor travel bags that you can order right now.
What to Know Before Buying a Camping Bag
Size: How long is your typical getaway? If it’s just a night or two, go for a smaller bag around 40 to 50 liters. Most of our picks are sized for a long weekend, but larger options (around 70 liters) should hold enough gear for a week of traveling. Plus, if you plan on using your bag as a carry-on, be sure it fits your airline’s regulations.
Handles and Straps: How you carry a particular bag is paramount when shopping. If you’re just road tripping, a streamlined duffel with drop handles is all you need. But if you’re walking through an airport or hiking with the bag, you’ll want something with a shoulder strap, or, even better, backpack straps.
Material: The lighter a bag the better. However, many travelers and outdoors people sacrifice some weight for more durability and weatherproofing. One way to check durability is by looking at the denier rating of a nylon bag. This indicates how tough the bag is, ranging from about 500 to 1000 denier.
Style: Even if your new bag spends most of its time out in the wild, it’s still a good idea to invest in something stylish that you’ll want to carry around the city (if need be).
1. The North Face Base Camp Duffle Bag
This Base Camp duffle from The North Face is our favorite bag for packability and durability. The first secret to the Base Camp’s success is durability. This ruggedness comes in the form of ballistic weave fabric that’s been coated for protection against rain and snow. The second draw with the Base Camp bag is versatility, thanks to packable backpack straps, a shoulder strap and drop handles. The bag is also loaded with convenient features including a collapsible design for storage, as well as an exterior compartment to separate dirty clothes or shoes. Lastly, the 71-liter capacity with this medium-sized option is large enough for four or five days but not overkill as an overnight bag.
2. Gonex Foldable Duffle Bag
Gonex isn’t as well-known as the other brands on our list, but their foldable bag is equally worth your consideration. Although the back looks streamlined, it has several means of carrying, including a top handle, backpack straps, and drop handles. The backpack straps and drop handles can be tucked into their own compartments when not in use. As far as pocket organization, the Gonex scores very high with a quick access outer pocket, a shoe compartment, a side card pocket and two interior mesh pockets. The bag also comes in three size options (40, 60 and 80-liter) for every type of adventure.
3. Carhartt Trade Series 2-in-1 Packable Duffel
Carhartt may have recently become a prominent brand in streetwear, but their roots are still in tough-as-nails workwear. This Trade Series Duffel showcases Carhartt’s talent for rugged, no-nonsense products with a durable synthetic fabric and Rain Defender water repellent. A simple two-pocket design (large main pocket and quick-access exterior pocket) makes this bag very straightforward. It’s ideal for an overnight trip or as a secondary bag on longer trips. The whole thing is also collapsible, squeezing into a small drawstring bag when not in use.
4. Patagonia Black Hole 55L Duffel Bag Black
Along with The North Face Base Camp, the Patagonia Black Hole is often considered one of best camping and outdoor bags on the market. It was one of the first duffels to really change the game with an extra-durable construction and a modern look. The showstopper with the Black Hole is the fabric: 900-denier laminated ripstop with a DWR water-repellent finish. In plain English, that’s very, very strong material. The bag also features removable backpack straps that users say are very comfortable for long treks (or waiting in line at the airport). Plus, the bag looks cool too, which never hurts.
5. Polo Ralph Lauren Lightweight Mountain Duffle Bag
If you’re more of a “glamper” than a camper, check out this Mountain duffle from Polo Ralph Lauren. It’s a stylish means of transporting lightweight items like clothing with a nylon construction, streamlined drop handles and a detachable shoulder strap. We’re big fans of the olive color and the Polo mountain logo because they give the bag a handsome throwback look that you don’t see very often.
6. Marmot Long Hauler Travel Duffel Bag
Marmot’s Long Hauler is another rugged, versatile hybrid bag fit for any outdoorsmen. The duffel boasts some serious numbers in terms of fabric quality with 1680-denier nylon reinforcement to guard against any drops and scuffs in the wild or the airport. We recommend this large version of the Long Hauler for its versatile 75-liter capacity. It’ll fit just about everything you need for a few days or longer depending on needs. A variety of straps, including backpack straps (that combine for a drop handle) and handles on all sides, make the bag easy to carry from any angle.
7. Osprey Transporter 65 Travel Duffel Bag
The first thing you’ll notice about the Osprey Transporter is its streamlined look – despite its extra-large 130-liter size. The second thing you’ll notice is the comfort provided by the backpack straps (which feature a yoke and harness). Side handles and an optional shoulder strap are also available, but this is really more of a backpack than a duffel. The fabric boasts the adventure-ready durability you’d expect from Osprey with a weather-resistant TPU coating. Inside you’ll find plenty of space and compartments for all your stuff, including a padded pocket for gadgets.
8. Filson Small Field Duffel Bag
Filson started way back in 1897 crafting outdoor gear for pioneers, but their brand has changed a bit in the last 120 years. While Filson retains a reputation for tough outdoor essentials, the brand has edged into upscale fashion territory with a unique old school look. This Field duffel represents Filson’s new character with a durable build and a very stylish throwback design. Unlike most outdoor bags, the Filson Field duffel is made of twill (don’t worry, it’s still water-repellent and abrasion-resistant). The bag is on the small side, however, so we recommend using it as an overnight bag for quick getaways to the outdoors… or a friend’s house.
9. Arc’Teryx Carrier Duffel 55 Bag
All the bags on this list are durable and performance-ready, but Arc’Teryx brings another level of innovation. The fabric is a very high-quality nylon (called NC400r- AC²) which translates to an incredible 21-ounce weight for a 55-liter bag. The high-performance specs continue with a water-resistant coating, taped seams and a WaterTight zipper with a storm flap for weather protection in the worst of conditions. The bag’s looks are representative of its high-end capabilities with a modern, stylish design that features Arc’Teryx’s skeleton logo over the back.
10. WANT Les Essentiels Wright Sport Duffle
WANT Les Essentiels is a brand out of Montreal specializing in travel accessories. Their goal is to craft highly-usable, timelessly stylish bags for the 21st century. We think they’ve done just that, and this Wright duffle is a great example of their accomplishment. It’s not flashy yet sure to stand out in a sea of black bags on the luggage carousel. But the duffle delivers in terms of function as well with a durable technical weave fabric, hidden backpack straps and a variety of pockets for every need. Inside you’ll also find a padded 15-inch laptop sleeve, exemplifying WANT’s dedication to bags for the modern user.