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Let’s talk bags. In particular, let’s talk about weekender bags, a style so versatile, it works for just about any travel occasion.
Here at Travel Away, we take a lot of road trips around Spain and Portugal, and the weekender bag has proved to be the most practical carrying solution for the job. The clue is in the name: a weekender bag is sized to fit a couple of days’ worth of essentials, which makes it the perfect luggage option for a short trip. However, size alone doesn’t define a great weekender bag. It also has to be reliable and make your life on the road easier while keeping you looking polished in the process. Good looks and impeccable quality are key factors for us, and so are easy access, organization, and carry comfort.
In the last couple of years, we tested dozens of models – of all materials, shapes, sizes, and styles – to determine their strengths and weaknesses. We looked into how well they protect our gear, how much they fit, and how they perform in certain situations.
The following designs have been our best friends on car and train trips, some have also accompanied us to the gym, others to weddings, and the ones that fitted in the overhead bin have been mercilessly used as carry-on luggage on multiple airlines. They’re stylish, practical, and have made our travels a lot more convenient, whether as the main character or as a supporting one.
Here are my picks for the best weekender bags in 2023, tested, reviewed, and highly recommended by the well-traveled, design-savvy editorial team here at Travel Away:
Bellroy Classic Weekender 35L
Materials: Recycled polyester
Volume: 35 L
Weight: 2.1 lbs (0.98 Kg)
Best feature: Its lightweight construction
This is probably one of the most practical weekender bags I have ever tried. Like all Bellroy products, it’s lightweight, smartly designed, and comfortable to carry. It’s also the perfect size for two nights out of town and has lots of handy zip and slip pockets for organizing my stuff without the need for any packing cubes. Its rounded duffel shape and large main compartment that opens wide for easy access make it a joy to pack, grab, and go!
As much as I love the practicality of a weekender bag, they are not the easiest to carry over long distances. Or at least that’s what I thought until the Bellroy Classic Weekender 35L proved me wrong. I was absolutely stunned at how easy and comfortable this bag was to carry, even when held by the top handles, let alone with the detachable padded strap slung over my shoulder.
Since I’ve only taken it on a couple of road trips so far, I can’t say I’ve tested its resistance to wear and tear properly, but the high-quality construction is evident in every detail. The bag was effortless to clean with a damp cloth after every journey, and it basically looks like new. The exterior material is water-resistant and nice to the touch, and the fact that it’s made from 100% recycled PET plastic bottles makes it a real winner in our cards.
Monos Metro Weekender
Materials: Ultra-microfibre vegan leather
Volume: 47.5 L
Weight: 5.34 lbs (2.4 Kg)
Best feature: The separate lower storage area
There’s no secret Monos is one of our favorite luggage brands here at Travel Away, and the reasoning is simple: the company produces beautiful, sustainably made products with clever features and an excellent price/quality ratio.
The Metro Weekender is no exception. Crafted from ultra-microfibre vegan leather, it’s durable, stylish, and well-designed, with a minimalist aesthetic that feels both timeless and contemporary. I traveled with it to Cádiz last month, and it offered ample room for everything I needed and then some. At 47.5 L, this is a really big weekender bag, probably the roomiest I’ve ever used. I like its structured, boxy style and the way it maintains its shape even when empty.
The organizational features are smart and streamlined, with four pockets inside the main compartment, a discreet zippered laptop sleeve, and a quick-access zippered pocket on the outside, plus a trolley sleeve that converts into another pocket when not in use. My favorite aspect, however, is the separate lower storage area, which I fell in love with immediately. This is great for shoes, but I was also able to fit my Dop kit, a rotating hair brush, and a small packing cube, alongside two pair of sneakers, inside.
The handles are another design detail I can’t get enough of – they’re long enough to be tossed over the shoulder, making the weekender easier to carry around. The Ivory color is beautiful and pairs perfectly with all my Monos suitcases, especially the Champagne Hybrid Trunk and the Terrazzo Check-In Large.
If you like the look of the Metro Weekender but feel it might be too big for your needs, I would recommend taking a look at the Metro Duffel, which combines the same materials and a similar rigid construction in a smaller yet equally stylish package.
Sophisticated explorers aren’t here for a basic weekend bag. They want something that’s built to stand the test of time – in terms of both style and durability, like this canvas masterpiece by Bennett Winch.
Just like their luxurious, hardwearing backpack, which we have used and tested extensively on our own adventures, the Bennett Winch Weekender is crafted from 24oz British-dyed waterproof cotton canvas and finished with London-welded solid brass hardware, YKK golden brass zippers, and full-grain leather handles & base. The silhouette is timeless, which is a good thing for a bag that will probably outlive you, and you can spot the quality from a mile away.
There are several colors and materials to choose from, but I just love how the dark brown leather trim and luxe gold hardware compliment the sand-colored cotton canvas on this one.
This is probably one of the most seamless marriages of style and ruggedness I have ever seen in a travel bag. Plus, after using it in different situations over the last few months, including a flight to Ibiza and a glamping trip to the desert of Almeria, the light color doesn’t show any signs of wear and tear.
It also has all the must-have features of a great weekender bag: separate waterproof compartments for shoes and gym gear, an external zip pocket for quick-access items like phones and documents, and even a padded 16″ laptop sleeve. The top handles and detachable shoulder strap are strong and well-made and allow my partner and me to switch things up depending on who’s carrying the bag. I almost always wear a weekender bag across my shoulder, and with this one, it’s easy to do so thanks to its comfortable and adjustable military-grade cotton shoulder strap.
That said, there may be far more affordable weekender bags on the market, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one! Another thing I can’t get enough of? It packs away nicely in its own beautiful box when it is not in use.
Bric’s Firenze 22″ Cargo Duffle Bag
Materials: PVC, leather
Volume: 35 L
Weight: 3.4 lbs (1.5 Kg)
Best feature: The chic, retro styling
Just came back from a 3-night trip to Comporta, Portugal, where I managed to fit all my necessities in the stunning Bric’s Cargo Duffle Bag. The bag is not only beautiful but also spacious and very well-made. I love its semi-structured silhouette, ease of access, and chic, timeless styling.
The materials feel strong without adding too much weight, and its chic retro vibe puts it in a class of its own. At first glance, one would think it’s leather, but in fact, the bag is crafted from a durable, water-resistant PVC that’s considerably lighter and easier to clean but just as stylish. The cognac trimmings, however, are made of tanned leather from Tuscany and make it a real eye-catcher. It even comes with metal feet for protection and stability, which is a nice touch.
Adorned with Bric’s logo jacquard print, the inside is simple and luxurious. There’s just one inner zipper pocket for things you don’t want to rummage around for, such as a wallet, keys, documents, a travel-friendly sudoku book, end even jewelry. Apart from that, you’re free to pack as you wish – I’ve folded and rolled all my clothes into the ample compartment and only used a small packing cube for my undergarments and bathing suits, and a toiletry bag, but you can easily compartmentalize everything in packing cubes to keep them organized.
Other noteworthy features include a luggage pass-through, a stylish leather luggage tag, a comfortable shoulder strap, as well as a TSA lock, which I found quite surprising (yet very helpful) for a duffel bag.
Horizn Studios SoFo Weekender M
Materials: Recycled water-sealed cotton canvas
Volume: 32 L
Weight: 2.09 lbs (0.95 Kg)
Best feature: The versatility
I love the versatility of the Horizn Studios SoFo Weekender! After extensively testing the M model over many years, I can say with confidence that it’s the perfect duffel for whatever journey comes your way. Rugged enough to withstand the elements yet stylish enough to feel at home on a European city getaway, its versatility is where it truly shines.
We’ve packed it with gear for camping excursions, overpacked it with clothes for weekend adventures, and used it as a carry-on on flights many times. It has been tossed in the trunk and dragged out of the trunk, and it still looks great, without any damage whatsoever. That’s partly thanks to its fantastic material – a recycled water-sealed cotton canvas with a high-density weave and synthetic wax finish, which makes it impervious to water and heat, maintains its shape, and keeps the bag lightweight.
In terms of carrying comfort, the padded handles alone do their job surprisingly well, which may have something to do with the bag’s lack of weight. However, you also get a removable, adjustable shoulder strap for when you don’t feel like carrying anything in your hands.
The design is simple but functional, with one sizeable main compartment and a few interior and exterior pockets to easily reach and organize smaller items.
MVST Garment Weekender Bag
Materials: 1000D polyester, genuine leather
Weight: 4 lbs (1.8 Kg)
Best feature: The garment section
I’ve learned the hard way that a garment bag is a must when you’re traveling with formal attire. I might get away with a dress, but packing a suit in a carry-on or duffel bag without wrinkling it is almost impossible.
After testing numerous types of garment bags over the years, we feel that a versatile 2-in-1 design like the MVST Garment Weekender Bag works best for most travelers. This full-length garment bag zips into a classic duffel, making it the perfect travel companion on business trips and basically any getaway that requires a dressier appearance. The garment section is lined with pockets for ties, belts, and other accessories and has enough room for two suits, which wrap securely around your other belongings when on the move.
The exterior is 1000D polyester – a water-resistant and extremely heavy-duty fabric commonly used for outdoor gear, complemented by strong YKK zippers, meaning you can rest assured your stuff is as safe as can be.
The leather straps feel sturdy and secure even when the bag is overloaded, and there is also a dedicated shoe pouch accessible from the exterior that can house multiple pairs. Two front pockets with buckle closures keep valuables secure and add a characterful touch.
It’s no surprise that Peak Design, known for its innovative camera bags & gear, makes a brilliant duffel, too. A duffel that has taken me through years of exciting adventures around the world and never, ever left me down.
The size is ideal for a weekend away, whether you’re driving, flying, sailing, or taking the train, and can fit a bunch of photo/video gear thanks to its compatibility with Peak Design’s camera cubes. Even when fully packed, it can be used as a carry-on bag, and I have never had any problem squishing it down to fit in overhead compartments on low-budget airlines like Vueling or Ryanair. The exterior is durable and weatherproof and includes high-quality, concealed zippers for added protection, while cleverly placed pockets both inside and out keep smaller items organized and within reach.
The Peak Design Travel Duffel has probably more ways to carry than any other weekender bag tested. The handles can be detached and reconfigured, and the fact that I can wear it as a backpack is a lifesaver over long distances. I also like that the duffel opens wide, packs easily, and fits much more than it shows. It’s cool, comfortable, and impressively lightweight, practically begging for you to stuff it and hit the road.
Materials: Recycled polyester, vegan leather
Volume: 32 L
Weight: 3.3 lbs (1.5 Kg)
Best feature: The high-quality materials
Having tried and tested many Troubadour bags over the years, including totes, duffels, and several backpacks, we can certainly vouch for the quality and craftsmanship that goes into each piece. We’re big fans of the brand’s commitment to sustainability, high-end proprietary materials, and sleek, minimalist designs.
Its durable construction, streamlined aesthetics, and smart size make the Troubadour Weekender the perfect luggage option for a short getaway. It has enough room for several outfits and comes with a spacious laptop compartment, as well as a variety of thoughtful pockets to keep smaller items like your passport, phone, pens, and magazines organized.
Where this weekender bag truly excels, though, is in the high quality of its materials. It’s made from a recycled polyester fabric treated with a Durable Water-Repellent finish (DWR), which feels polished and soft to the touch while being strong and long-lasting. The vegan leather handles (and details) add a luxurious touch and are comfortable to hold, the zippers run smoothly, and the interior lining is antimicrobial.