Whether you’re a weekend warrior or someone who travels regularly for work, the most important piece of gear you carry with you is your bag. While there is a time and a place for a heavy duty duffel and an easy-to-lug carry-on, for many summer trips you need a bag that’s versatile enough to handle an intense weekend of adventure.
As travel bags continue to evolve and include more fancy accessories, your go-to bag should be able to get tossed around in the trunk of a wagon, thrown in the back of a small plane and strapped to a motorcycle without looking worse for wear. Here are the bags we’d take with us on any off-road adventure.
Eagle Creek Converge Weekend Bag
In typical Eagle Creek fashion, this bag has multiple uses — all of which are extremely useful. Wear it as a backpack to the gym, use it as a messenger to go to work, and then unzip the clamshell to easily store clothes for a weekend away. The front two pockets fit an iPad and phone comfortably, and the 17-inch laptop compartment in the back is a necessity when leaving straight from work on a Friday.
Timbuk2 Wander Pack
This bag shines as a durable backpack with enough pockets to store anything you can think of. Type A packers will appreciate the separate area for clean and dirty clothes, a dedicated sneaker pocket and mesh sections in every spot on the bag to organize your credit cards, passport, license and other small necessities. An internal compression strap creates more storage and an airmesh ventilated back panel saves your body on hot days.
Patagonia Black Hole 30L Duffel
This unstoppable duffle is a staff favorite. The seemingly never-ending void of storage works for all types of adventures — whether you’re camping, hiking, bikepacking, skiing or snowboarding. The 210D nylon ripstop material treated with DWR keeps the bag safe from all rain, snow, sleet and hail.
Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack
Slightly bigger than Patagonia duffel above, the Cotopaxi Allpa Travel Pack can still squeeze above or below the seats on a plane with its 35-liter capacity. The padded laptop and tablet sleeves keep electronics separate from the gear you’ll need for the weekend. A full-wrap zipper opens up the pack like a suitcase. Open it out to see multiple subdivided mesh compartments so you can keep your toothpaste separate from your wet bathing suits.
Alchemy Equipment Weekender Bag
This over-the-shoulder bag is offered in two colors: black waxed and black ATY nylon. Internal compression straps keep everything in place and make more room for any trinkets you pick up along the way. Instead of resorting to stuffing all of your odds and ends into plastic baggies, the water-resistant compartments streamline toiletries packing. The 35-liter pack has a PU coating over 900D Kodra fabric to prevent water from seeping inside the bag.
Fjällräven Splitpack Backpack
Rounded edges and a full-zip clamshell design give this bag some street cred. Similar in style to a gym bag, just with backpack straps, this bag unzips right down the middle exposing two large mesh compartments. The exterior is made from a ballistic weave, so when you set it down at the train station, there’s no worry about the fabric. The duffle-like shape stands the bag up straight, so you don’t have to lean it up against anything while waiting to get to your destination.
Gregory Alpaca Duffel
With a capacity that starts at 45-liters, the Gregory Alpaca duffel is ideal for climbers. With seemingly-endless loops around the front of the bag, there are plenty of places to attach carabiners and accessories to the outside of the bag. The durable and waterproof material will survive inclement weather. Handles on both ends make the bag easy to haul and an internal compression strap (only on the 120-liter model) creates space you didn’t know you had.