Now that travel season is back and busier than ever, you are likely—and excitedly— packing for that long-awaited weekend escape. Packing well, even for a mini vacation, is an art form. One of the most essential parts: Having the right bag. We consulted experts who typically spend their life on planes, trains and automobiles to get their top picks for the best weekender bags that marry style with functionality and practicality.
From chic totes to cool duffles to roll-ons that fit neatly in the overhead, their tried-and-true favorites tick all the boxes for being lightweight yet spacious, on-trend but timeless and, most importantly, durable and well-designed. Consider these your go-to options and let the adventures (and wanderlust) begin.
Shop The Best Weekender Travel Bags
Best Weekender Bag Overall
Paravel: Stylish And Made To Last
Best Affordable Weekender Bag
L.L Bean: A Classic That Holds A Lot
Best Weekender Bag For Short Trips
Away: Water-Resistant And Hardworking
Best Weekender Bag For Long Trips
Solgaard: A Traveling Closet
Best Leather Weekender Bag
Métier: Chic And Gets Better With Age
Best Designer Duffle
Prada: Iconic For A Reason
Best Rolling Weekender Bag
Tumi: Compact And Versatile
Best Status Weekender Bag
Gucci: A Keep-Forever Hero
How To Choose The Best Weekender Bag
Just like the perfect weekend trip isn’t the same for every traveler, weekender bags run the gamut in terms of options. Here’s what to keep in mind when picking the right style for your needs and one that will last through multiple trips.
- Small Sizes (Light Packer Or Short Trips): Go for a lightweight canvas or nylon tote with at least 17-liter capacity to hold a few days’ worth of clothes and your laptop. This option can double as your day bag, and ideally it has top handles and an adjustable strap so you can carry it, or wear it over your shoulder or as a cross body. Compartments are key according to fashion consultant and personal shopper Sarah Meike. “Make sure it has at least one separate zippered compartment to house your go-to essentials—phone, headphones, keys, sunscreen—to avoid rummaging.”
- Medium Sizes (Moderate Packer): If you need a little more packing space, a medium or large duffle (with 55 liter-capacity) is a best as these have more volume and slots to keep your things organized. “And even better if the bag can convert to a backpack, “ says fashion stylist Marlien Rentmeester. For roll-on fans, look to large carry-on suitcases that fit in the overhead, are expandable (from 40 to 60 liters in capacity size) and have separate pockets and compartments to keep tailored and special pieces flat and pressed.
- Large Sizes (Serious Packer): If you’re traveling for many hours or for a weekend that might also turn into an extended stay, you’ll need a lightweight, yet durable wheeled bag that is also expandable, and has in-built storage and hanging systems or compartments to separate your shoes, tech, cosmetics and other essentials. These large capacity stalwarts can hold 70 to 90 liters but ideally you want it to weigh no more than 11 pounds since no one want to lug around the equivalent of a 747 jet on vacation.
- Materials And Hardware: Casual canvas weekenders look great but can show marks in white and neutral shades, so go for darker colors if you’re a rugged traveler or make sure your bag is machine washable. Nylon is a great choice for most bags that’s durable, easy to roll up and waterproof. Leather is enduring and tends to get better with age, making this material worth the investment. For more structured bags and suitcases, it’s especially important to invest in good construction and hardware. Think: easy to extend telescopic handles, adjustable straps, pinch and close openings and double stitched seams. For the outer shell, look for polycarbonate (recycled ideally), heavy duty fiberboard and silicone-coated canvas to be the most indestructible.