8 best travel bags (2023): hand luggage, gym bag, budget bag

9 months ago
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Not every good product can claim to be the best in its category, but there are a few more bags we tested that deserve a mention.

Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler 40L for $119: It was my former favorite duffel bag, but it was supplanted by the REI Co-Op Big Haul and dropped down a notch. It’s still a great duffel bag. Two things stood out about the Cargo Hauler. First, it weighs 1 lb 13 oz, which is only slightly heavier than air. Second, it has backpack straps that tuck into a front pocket. It’s less heavy than the other bags in this guide, but by no means does it feel cheap.

Solgaard Handy-On Closet Plus for $295.: it tiny slightly more than what most airlines list as maximum sizes, but the difference is so small that it is accepted 95% of the time. WIRED reviewer Lauryn Strump praises the closet’s optional clip-on clothes organizer for efficient packaging. The built-in TSA lock is convenient to use, and there is an internal battery pocket. This suitcase is included in our Favorite Recycled Goods guide.

July Checked for $325: This bag uses a polycarbonate shell with aluminum bumpers, providing a good compromise between weight and durability. He’s lighter than Checked 16″ Monos Bag which Adrienne So also tested for about a pound and had fewer scratches and scuff marks on the ride. However, the Monos telescoping handle has a much smoother rolling out and the surface is smooth rather than rough.

Large hand luggage for $295: The larger Away offers all the same convenient internal organization modules as our top solid-case luxury choice, the Away Bigger Carry-On Aluminum Edition, but at less than half the price. And you can choose from a variety of colors, from discreet navy blue to pink, green or lavender. An optional removable battery pack costs an additional $20.

Osprey Ozone for $280.: The 4.4 lb Osprey bag is a backpack mounted on a lightweight aluminum frame with two wheels attached to the bottom and it zips up like a suitcase. It fits everywhere and also has a laptop compartment for your work gear. Just be aware that its 40-litre capacity is also the size of a large backpack, so you’d better be able to pack it light.

$400 Samsonite Outline Pro Carry-On: This is a 4-wheel hardside carry-on bag made of durable polypropylene. Standout features include an interior fabric made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and a WetPak storage pocket to keep wet items separate from the rest of your luggage. Product reviewer Medea Giordano, an infamous repackage, was able to fit an entire long weekend’s wardrobe into the Outline Pro.

Patagonia Black Hole 40L for $159: This is another great adventure bag with a waterproof fabric cover and backpack straps. Compared to the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler, however, less of the outer fabric is water-resistant, and it’s an inch and a half thicker in one dimension for US domestic carry-on requirements. But it’s a duffel bag, so you can compress it to fit in the trunk if it’s not completely full.

Adidas Defender Duffel for $40.: If you’re looking for an inexpensive duffel bag that will last a short trip, this is a good way to save $100. The fabric is significantly thinner and less durable than the other bags in this guide, and it lacks backpack straps. If there’s a chance you’ll have to check this often, I’d look elsewhere. But in order to take it with you on a train or throw it in the trunk of a car, it will do.

Paravel Aviator International Hand Luggage for $395.: This carry-on has an inner lining made from recycled plastic bottles, a recycled aluminum telescoping handle and vegan leather trim to make it stand out from all the plain black airport bags. Product reviewer Jaina Gray really fell in love with its roomy interior and durable, abrasion-resistant hard shell.

North Face Base Camp for $129.: Unlike most duffle bags these days, this is a cylindrical duffel bag. If you’re a folder, it can be difficult to keep everything straight and wrinkle-free when you pack it into the curved bottom of the base camp, although those who fold their clothes won’t have any problems. The materials seemed cheaper than the other duffel bags in this guide. It’s a workhorse often used by people outdoors, so while the waterproof fabric and handles are durable, they’re not as pleasant to the touch.

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