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Which weekend travel bag is best?

Going away for the weekend? Chances are you’re packing light, and regular luggage is too bulky and cumbersome for your brief getaway. Instead of wrangling spinner luggage for your trip, invest in a weekend travel bag. 

Weekend travel bags hold a couple days’ worth of essentials, including clothing, toiletries and accessories. While totes and duffels remain the most popular styles, weekend bags are available in countless shapes and sizes. For example, DKNY Rapture Weekender Boarding Bag is a classy oversized tote with several convenient storage features.

What to know before you buy a weekend travel bag

What is a weekend travel bag?

A weekend travel bag is a piece of luggage that holds the bare essentials for short trips. The bags typically have spacious main compartments that hold a couple of outfits, toiletries and small accessories. They rarely have advanced organization systems; however, some weekender bags have a few internal and external compartments. 

Popular styles of weekend travel bags

Some of the most popular styles of weekend bags include totes, duffels and doctor bags. In addition, many individuals embrace gym bags as weekenders, given their lightweight, easy-to-carry designs. Deluxe luggage sets may include weekender-style bags as well, such as soft totes or carry-all bags. 

Tips for packing weekend travel bags

Weekender bags are spacious, but there are only so many items they can hold. As a result, you’ll need to be a savvy packer to optimize space. Here are a few packing tips:

  • Pare down toiletries by only including items you’ll need. If the hotel has shampoo or body wash, for example, you can leave yours at home.
  • Instead of folding clothing, roll it into tight balls. Not only will they fit more easily inside the bag, but also the bag may keep wrinkles to a minimum.
  • Use internal and external compartments to store smaller items, like underwear and socks.
  • Stick to travel-size varieties of toiletries. If your favorite products aren’t available in smaller sizes, opt to store them inside TSA-approved travel bottles. 

What to look for in a quality weekend travel bag

Popular materials

Like other types of luggage, weekend travel bags are made with durable materials that withstand plenty of packing, handling and hauling. Polyester, nylon, Oxford and canvas are among the most popular options. Several bags made with faux or real leather are well-received for their upscale aesthetic and fine construction. 

Carrying style

Most weekend travel bags will have drop handles, shoulder straps or adjustable crossbody straps for carrying. There are several wheeled duffel-style weekender bags that have retractable handles as well. Moreover, some duffel bags have backpack straps for hands-free carrying. 

Storage and organization 

While there are countless styles of weekend travel bags, most of them have spacious main compartments. These areas are ideal for packing bulkier items, including coats, shoes, toiletry bags or toys. There are a few styles with internal and external organization, which may include wet/dry pockets or separate footwear compartments. 

Upright design

The majority of weekend travel bags have upright designs, which means bags have flat or stable bottoms, allowing them to stand up straight on their own. It may not seem like a notable feature; however, remaining upright may stabilize contents and prevent them from falling out.

How much you can expect to spend on weekend travel bags

Lightweight totes and gym bags cost $30 and below. Traditional weekender styles, including oversized totes and duffel bags, range from $40-$100. Weekend travel bags made by reputable luggage manufacturers may cost $80-$500. 

Weekend travel bag FAQ

What are some other popular styles of weekender travel bags?

A. While they’re not officially considered weekend travel bags, many people are partial to using carry-on spinners or compact suit bags. Other individuals actually use diaper bags, which happen to be spacious, lightweight and offer a decent amount of organization. 

Do weekender bags have compartments for devices?

A. Generally speaking, most weekender bags have limited organization. While you may find some totes with laptops or compartments, for the most part, weekender bags won’t have dedicated spaces for devices. However, some weekender bags have pockets that are suitable for storing power cords or charging accessories. 

Can you use a weekend travel bag as a carry-on?

A. It depends on the size, as some weekend travel bags may be larger than what certain airlines allow. To err on the side of caution, check with your airline for their current carry-on dimensions so you can purchase a suitable weekender bag. Keep in mind that dimensions may vary among airlines. 

What’s the best weekend travel bag to buy?

Top weekend travel bag

DKNY Rapture Weekender Boarding Bag

DKNY Rapture Weekender Boarding Bag

What you need to know: An upscale design with curb appeal, this DKNY weekender has a few premium features for easy packing. 

What you’ll love: The bag has a bottom pocket with air vents, often used to store footwear or dirty laundry. It has an interior pouch that can be removed and used as a lingerie wash bag. The well-made design weighs less than 1 pound. 

What you should consider: A few buyers wished the bag was available in darker colors.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

Top weekend travel bag for the money

Rockland Duffel Bag

Rockland Duffel Bag

What you need to know: Versatile and affordable, this popular duffel bag with compartments is ideal for travelers who want more organization. 

What you’ll love: The duffel has four outer zipper compartments that are suitable for separating toiletries or undergarments. It’s made with heavy-duty 600D polyester and stands upright on its own. The bag is accepted as a carry-on by most airlines. 

What you should consider: When the bag is filled to capacity, some of the zippers may be difficult to open or close. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Lands' End Canvas Weekender Duffel Bag

Lands’ End Canvas Weekender Duffel Bag

What you need to know: Made by a trusted brand, this classic design is a lightweight option that is easy to carry via handles or crossbody strap. 

What you’ll love: The duffel is made with thick canvas and has a wax-finish bottom that repels moisture and stains. It has a wide design that accommodates bulkier items such as coats. The bag has a trolley sleeve to secure it on suitcase handles. 

What you should consider: Because canvas is absorbent, the bag isn’t ideal for traveling in rainy conditions. 

Where to buy: Sold by Kohl’s


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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