carry on duffel bag

Travel Light with The Best Carry On Duffel Bags

​Surfing the web for the best carry on duffel, you’ll be amazed (and a bit overwhelmed) by how many features these bags encompass. These days, they even make carry on duffle bags with wheels, which is convenient to tote around and saves you the cost of checking a bag!

​If you ask us, you should choose your carry on duffel bag by taking into account the size and its fabric, the storage and the carrying options, but also the style and the price. If you have the tendency to get lost through all that information, let us help you keep sight of the best carry on duffel features. We already went the extra mile and did all the research.

To Keep it Simple… Start from Our Selection! (And Grasp The Basic Features!)

Here’s our TOP Carry On Duffel Bag for Lightweight Downtown/Out of Town Travel!

Surfing the web for the best carry on duffel, you’ll be amazed (and a bit overwhelmed) by how many features these bags encompass. These days, they even make carry on duffle bags with wheels, which is convenient to tote around and saves you the cost of checking a bag!
If you ask us, you should choose your carry on duffel bag by taking into account the size and its fabric, the storage and the carrying options, but also the style and the price. If you have the tendency to get lost through all that information, let us help you keep sight of the best carry on duffel features. We already went the extra mile and did all the research.

For months, I’ve been traveling with nothing but a sling backpack on my shoulder and a wheeled suitcase bought from my first city break in Barcelona. With my valuables in the backpack and tons of useless clothes and souvenirs in the suitcase, I was happy most of the time. And then came that night in Budapest, on the Ferenc Liszt International Airport…

Mostly asleep, after traveling for over 15 hours, I was waiting at the luggage gate for my burgundy cat and mouse wheeled suitcase. Through my almost-glued eyelids, I couldn’t help but notice all those people passing by, worry-free and lightweight, with their carry on duffle bags and annoying smiles on their faces – they didn’t have to wait for anything.

I decided, right then and there, that I wanted to be just as worry- free and wheeled suitcase-free as all those people with a duffel bag carry on. I made the swap on my next travel and never looked back. These days, I only get a bulky suitcase if I have absolutely no choice!

Here’s Why a Carry On Duffel Bag Is a Must-Have:

In my case, it started with wanting a small duffle bag carry on that I can keep with me everywhere I go. Then, I realized I can have both freedom of movement and storage options. You can choose a model that will fit any transport mean: in crowded buses, you keep it under your chair and in small airplanes, you squeeze it in the overhead compartment; and once you hop-off, relaxed or in a terrible hurry, you can carry it around with ease!

The best carry on duffel will also provide storage spaces designed by utility: water-repellent fabric for your IDs pocket, extra padding and securing straps for electronic devices, zippers or mesh pockets for the miscellaneous etc. Plus, you should also be able to make a backpack or just an electronics bag out of it.

Does your current travel bag feature all these? If not, you can do better!

Imagine a great, small carry on duffel bag size for everyday use and weekend travels. With ergonomic features, smart compartmentalization, and where you know your laptop will fit. With a flashy, wacky design or as sober and elegant as you want it. And ready to fit any carry on bag requirement at the airport. It’s one of the best duffel bags out there, already waiting for you to make a choice!

But What If I Find It Hard to Wear a Carry On Duffel Bag?

I’ll tell you what: pick one of our suggestions from below or anything similar and there’s no way you’ll be having a hard time with it. The best carry on duffel is particularly designed to let you:

  • Carry it by the handles;
  • Keep it on one shoulder;
  • Grab and drag it by a side haul loop;
  • Throw it on top of a wheeled luggage;
  • In some instances, even slide it on the built-in wheels.

All kinds of ergonomic features, from the padded shoulder strap and backpack straps to the two-snap closure of the grips, are also incorporated. Do we need to say more or are you ready to take a look at the top 7 models that we reviewed for you below?

Trust the Experts: The Ideal Carry On Duffel Bag Is Waiting to Be Discovered by You.

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The Rockland Luggage carry on duffel bag is praised by many travelers. Why we recommend it as the best carry on duffel will become obvious, however, as we show you all the other duffle bag carry on models. This 17.6 x 12.7 x 3.2 inches and 1.6 pounds tote bag is made of polyester, with synthetic lining. From the Big Black Dot to the Pink Leopard or Yellow Zebra, regardless which of the 9 models you choose, you won’t go unnoticed with this carry on duffle bag.

Moreover, the Rockland Luggage carry on duffel bag is perfectly organized, featuring: one main compartment with zippered top closure, two large front pockets, and 2 side pockets. It has hard bottom, tiny plastic legs, a 45-inch shoulder strap, removable and adjustable, plus 20-inch handles. All these are making the duffel bag carry on perfect for weekend plane travels, occasional beach getaways, daily gym sessions, and more.

Pros

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    ​​​​Great carry on duffel bag size, spares you from the hassle of checked luggage;
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    ​Balanced design, separates miscellaneous or wet and dirty items in outer pockets;
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    ​Suitable for various weather conditions, with water-resistant, easy to clean fabric;
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    ​Easy to carry, ready to slide over a larger rolling suitcase through the adjustable strap;
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    ​Recognizable at the luggage claim with any of its various, pleasant designs;
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    ​Comes with the most tempting price in our selection of best carry on duffel bags.

Cons

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    ​No strap padding, possibly tiring on one shoulder when full and heavy;
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    ​Those aiming for a business look might not be pleased with its unique design;
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    ​Some might need an extra interior pocket instead of just one main storage space.
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This Cenzo Duffle, at 11 x 10 x 21 inches and 4.5 pounds, stands out from the small duffle bag carry on models. We’re talking strong cotton duck canvas lining, U.S.-made, and Italian full-grain calfskin leather, vegetable-tanned - a mix to make you turn heads anywhere you go. So, huge difference even from the Rockland Luggage carry on duffel bag style from above, right?

The Cenzo Duffle, our second recommendation in this best duffel bags top, is a unique model. The practical features of the carry on duffel bag stick to a main compartment with a small, inside zippered pocket for IDs, keys etc. The matching YKK zipper (floor-to-floor closure), the brass hardware, and the shoulder strap beautifully complement the overall design. And just so you know, this duffel bag carry on’s detachable strap adjusts from 40 to 46 inches.

Pros

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    ​Outstanding design, semi-gloss finish, deep color tones enhancing as the leather ages;
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    ​Complements various dress styles and codes, with a welcome touch of elegance;
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    ​Resistant and durable, its outer finish preventing stains;
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    ​Solid structured, with cotton duck canvas lining (South Carolina manufactured);
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    ​Comes with a 2-year warranty, like all Cenzo duffel bag carry on models.
    Comes with a 2-year warranty, like all Cenzo duffel bag carry on models.
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    ​Allows easy packing, with floor-to-floor zipper and wide opening;
    Allows easy packing, with floor-to-floor zipper and wide opening;

Cons

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    ​Only one main compartment, which not everybody appreciates;
    Only one main compartment, which not everybody appreciates;
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    ​As a leather product, it will require some regular maintenance;
    As a leather product, it will require some regular maintenance;
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    ​Might have a particular scent when first unpacked, will fade after a few hours in fresh air.
    Might have a particular scent when first unpacked, will fade after a few hours in fresh air.
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The North Face Base Camp Duffel ranks as our third suggestion of best duffel bags. Though not one of those carry on duffle bags with wheels, it brings a puzzling selection of 33 colors and styles, with 6 sizes (x-small to xx-large). Choosing the best carry on duffel from the North Face selection is tough, but the following might help.

The North Face Base Camp Duffel is made of synthetic material, with one big compartment. The top cover of this carry on duffle bag boasts a water-resistant ID pocket and an inner zippered mesh pocket. The 69-liter (medium), 95-liter (large), and 132-liter (XL) models left aside, the x-small model is a catchy small duffle bag carry on. But whatever you choose, expect a design with twin padded haul handles on sides, alpine-cut shoulder straps, and other ergonomic features.

Pros

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    ​Rich selection to choose from, depending on travel needs and style preferences;
    Rich selection to choose from, depending on travel needs and style preferences;
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    ​Versatile and easy to hold as both a duffle bag carry on and a backpack;
    Versatile and easy to hold as both a duffle bag carry on and a backpack;
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    As a backpack, it has comfy, adjustable and detachable alpine-cut shoulder straps;
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    ​Keeps things tight and secures extra items with four external compression straps;
    Keeps things tight and secures extra items with four external compression straps;
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    ​Convenient to grab and carry on thin (plane) corridors, with side haul handles;
    Convenient to grab and carry on thin (plane) corridors, with side haul handles;
    Keeps things tight and secures extra items with four external compression straps;
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    ​Comes with a comfortable 2-year warranty.
    Comes with a comfortable 2-year warranty.
    Keeps things tight and secures extra items with four external compression straps;

Cons

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    ​The large selection can be confusing in terms of making the right choice;
    The large selection can be confusing in terms of making the right choice;
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    ​There are no central handles, for easy access, but not everyone is grateful for that;
    There are no central handles, for easy access, but not everyone is grateful for that;
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    ​It targets the carrying options more than the internal compartments and organization.

See The North Face Base Camp Duffel live in action with this video:


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The Timbuk2 Wingman Travel Duffel tilts the balance towards the more professional style of the Cenzo Duffle duffel bag carry on. Is the black, water-resistant fabric with Army and Carbon style variations as fancy as the calfskin leather? Obviously not, but it’s still perfect for those who care about looks and want more than the plain sporty design of the best carry on duffel!

So, this Timbuk2 Wingman Travel Duffel model continues the series of best carry on duffel bags as an updated version: 15.7 x 20.9 x 7.9 inches and 2.2 pounds. Compared to the original Wingman duffel bag carry on, it brings extra style and practical features: main compartment framed by 4 zippered side pockets, one of them expandable, and a top zippered compartment. Aside from the secure padded pocket for a 17" MacBook Pro, there’s also space for an iPad, travel documents, a smartphone and other miscellaneous.

Pros

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    ​Hidden straps turn it from a small carry on duffel bag size to a convenient backpack;
    Hidden straps turn it from a small carry on duffel bag size to a convenient backpack;
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    ​Smart duffel bag carry on design, with the right size of most international carry-on bags;
    Smart duffel bag carry on design, with the right size of most international carry-on bags;
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    ​Well-organized, with storage options from clothes to toiletry and electronics;
    Well-organized, with storage options from clothes to toiletry and electronics;
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    ​Practical inside details - mesh wall pocket, compression straps to clamp things down;
    Practical inside details - mesh wall pocket, compression straps to clamp things down;
    Well-organized, with storage options from clothes to toiletry and electronics;
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    ​Soft sides for easy stashing into cramped spaces like plane overhead compartments;
    Soft sides for easy stashing into cramped spaces like plane overhead compartments;
    Well-organized, with storage options from clothes to toiletry and electronics;
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    ​Irresistible lifetime warranty, as offered by the manufacturer.
    Irresistible lifetime warranty, as offered by the manufacturer.
    Well-organized, with storage options from clothes to toiletry and electronics;

Cons

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    ​The outside pocket’s zipper for IDs and cash could use a Velcro flap for enhanced security;
    The outside pocket’s zipper for IDs and cash could use a Velcro flap for enhanced security;
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    ​Most side compartments are not expandable, accessing their content being a tad difficult;
    Most side compartments are not expandable, accessing their content being a tad difficult;
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    ​Some complained that it wedges into their necks, depending on what they’re carrying.
    Some complained that it wedges into their necks, depending on what they’re carrying.

See the Timbuk2 Wingman Travel Duffel live in action with this video:


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The Filson Bag, even more elegant than our 4th carry on duffel bag, the Timbuk2 Wingman Travel Duffel, comes with a limited selection of brown or navy. Made of Bridle leather, this duffel bag carry on boasts a 22-oz rugged twill with cotton oil finish and it is water repellent, with posh design details.

The structure of the Filson Bag duffle bag carry on relies on a large main compartment and 2 interior end pockets – 25 x 14 x 13 inches. On the outside, you have two-way brass zippers with leather tassels, while access is protected with a flap cover. The handles and shoulder strap are also leather, with a two-snap closure for the handles and leather pad for the adjustable, removable shoulder strap.

Pros

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    ​Perfect combo of elegance and style with a practical, sturdy structure;
    Perfect combo of elegance and style with a practical, sturdy structure;
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    ​Optimal size to spare you from worrying about the gate attendants’ control;
    Optimal size to spare you from worrying about the gate attendants’ control;
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    ​Ensures protection on rainy days, with its water-repellent finish and zipper flap cover;
    Ensures protection on rainy days, with its water-repellent finish and zipper flap cover;
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    ​Provides comfortable storage room and item separation with two extra inside pockets;
    Provides comfortable storage room and item separation with two extra inside pockets;
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    ​Built with flattering attention to details – rugged twill, tassels, brass zippers etc.;
    Built with flattering attention to details – rugged twill, tassels, brass zippers etc.;
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    ​Versatile and easy to carry on your shoulder even with the handle straps alone.
    Versatile and easy to carry on your shoulder even with the handle straps alone.

Cons

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    ​The inside pockets lack zippers, allowing items to tumble if it’s mishandled;
    The inside pockets lack zippers, allowing items to tumble if it’s mishandled;
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    ​The main compartment of this carry on duffel bag could have been split in two;
    The main compartment of this carry on duffel bag could have been split in two;
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    ​As one of the best duffel bags, it comes with costs that not everyone might afford.
    As one of the best duffel bags, it comes with costs that not everyone might afford.

See the Filson Bag live in action with this video:


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The Skooba small duffle bag carry on features over 12 different pockets, compartments and organizing details. Tucked in micro-ballistic nylon on the outside, with oxford nylon on the inside, it weighs 42 oz and measures 18 x 12 x 11 inches. The manufacturer advertises it as both a carry on duffel bag and a laptop/electronics bag.

Get this Skooba carry on duffle bag and enjoy more than a roomy main compartment for your weekend travel necessities. Its fully padded pockets hold portable electronics, a special compartment for laptops (up to 15 inches), and a separate compartment for your iPad. Front pocket, end pockets are all contributing to keeping your items safe on the inside, while the outside reflects a perfectly contoured surface.

Pros

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    ​The richest selection of compartments from our best carry on duffel bags so far;
    The richest selection of compartments from our best carry on duffel bags so far;
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    ​Versatile enough to serve as duffel bag carry on alone, laptop (work) bag alone, or both;
    Versatile enough to serve as duffel bag carry on alone, laptop (work) bag alone, or both;
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    ​Enhanced protection for electronic devices, with more than one such storage space;
    Enhanced protection for electronic devices, with more than one such storage space;
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    ​Made of high-quality, ultra-durable nylon on the outside, with smooth interior;
    Made of high-quality, ultra-durable nylon on the outside, with smooth interior;
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    ​Small enough to cover most airport carry-on bag requirements;
    Small enough to cover most airport carry-on bag requirements;
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    ​Comes at a decent price for the quality it provides.
    Comes at a decent price for the quality it provides.

Cons

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    ​Available in just one style, size and color format;
    Available in just one style, size and color format;
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    ​It lacks any kind of special protection on the zippers, all of which are exposed;
    It lacks any kind of special protection on the zippers, all of which are exposed;
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    ​It may lead to occasional sagging, depending on what you store in it.
    It may lead to occasional sagging, depending on what you store in it.

See the Skooba live in action with this video:


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Patagonia Black Hole Duffel, the last but not the least in our best carry on duffel series, is made of 900D polyester ripstop with TPU film and durable, water-repellent finish. Its 4 colors and styles - Ink black, Fire, Craft Pink, and Forge Grey with Chromatic Yellow details come in 4 sizes (45L, 60L, 90L, 120 L). Try not to confuse our recommended carry on duffel bag with a similar line from Patagonia, the Black Hole carry on duffle bags with wheels!

 We’ve selected the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel model without wheels, the 90L version at 29 x 15.5 x 11 inches and 3.2 pounds, as we loved its offerings: lots of carrying options, internal organizers and zippered mesh pockets, internal compression straps, plus a large opening for maneuver space. Isn’t it a great bag for all kinds of travel situations?

Pros

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    ​Practical design - zippered exterior pocket and zippered mesh pockets on the underside;
    Practical design - zippered exterior pocket and zippered mesh pockets on the underside;
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    ​Made to last, with polyester ripstop and a finish that keeps water at the distance;
    Made to last, with polyester ripstop and a finish that keeps water at the distance;
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    ​Lots of carrying options - removable shoulder straps, haul loops, and webbing handles;
    Lots of carrying options - removable shoulder straps, haul loops, and webbing handles;
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    ​Possibility to attach additional gear through the four daisy chains from the outside;
    Possibility to attach additional gear through the four daisy chains from the outside;
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    ​Protects your items with the padded base and internal compression straps;
    Protects your items with the padded base and internal compression straps;
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    ​Gives you plenty of storage room and a wide opening through the zippered U-shaped lid.
    Gives you plenty of storage room and a wide opening through the zippered U-shaped lid.

Cons

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    ​One of the flashiest designs so far, not appropriate for a professional look;
    One of the flashiest designs so far, not appropriate for a professional look;
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    ​Hard to choose from all the carry on duffel bag size, volume, wheel or no-wheel designs;
    Hard to choose from all the carry on duffel bag size, volume, wheel or no-wheel designs;
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    ​And paying for it may not be a walk in the park either.
    And paying for it may not be a walk in the park either.

See the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel live in action with this video:

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