12 best travel bags 2018

Pack up your things and get set for adventure with our pick of the best travel bags, holdalls, and weekend bags

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Whether you’re heading away for a weekend mini-break or embarking on a round-the-world tour, our pick of the best travel bags will help you choose the right luggage to stow your stuff in. 

Less formal or conventional than suitcases (but if you want one of those, see T3's  guide to the best suitcases) travel bags are generally lighter, less structured are more flexible, some can even be folded flat so you can stow them easily in a cupboard or under the bed when you reach your destination.

How to buy the best travel bag for you

Travel bags come in a variety of styles, including weekend bags, duffels, holdalls and totes. They are usually made from leather, canvas, tough ballistic nylon, or even waxed cotton and are equipped with zip fastenings (as opposed to suitcase-like hinged locks). 

The large travel bags also come with wheels to make them easier to move around. 

Look for bags with rubberised or waterproof zips and plenty of pockets for storing smaller items. It also helps if they have reinforced corners to help them cope with the inevitable rough and tumble of life on the road. 

Keep an eye out for travel bags with lifetime or long warranties or guarantees too – that way if your bag does fail to measure up to the tough times ahead, you may be able to get it repaired or replaced for free.

Most importantly, purchase a bag that you find attractive – these are just as much statement pieces as they are practical items of luggage.

Let’s get started…

The best travel bags to buy today

1. Burberry Checked PVC Holdall

A stylish holdall finished in the house's grey and charcoal 'London' check

Specifications
Material: PVC
Volume: 41L
Dimensions: 24x33x52cm
Weight: unknown
Reasons to buy
+Tough PVC+Great design+Protective feet+Different ways to carry

The Burberry Holdall is a compact, lightweight travel bag that’s ideal for weekends away – or even trips to the gym. It comes with a main zippered compartment; plus an internal zippered side pockets for storing your valuables. The PVC is reinforced with leather panels, and you can alternate between the structured top handles and adjustable shoulder strap when navigating airport security. Yes, it's on the more expensive side, but it's a worthy investment which will serve you well.

2. Raf Simons + Eastpak Canvas Holdall

Blade Runner-inspired interior and plenty of pockets

Specifications
Material: Canvas and vinyl
Volume: 50L
Dimensions: 55x29x27.5cm
Weight: 1kg
Reasons to buy
+Blade Runner interior+Post-industrialist design+External pockets+Lockable zips

Eastpak has teamed up with Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons to create this stylish and practical duffle bag. It's made from black canvas and trimmed with hardwearing vinyl, this 50-litre duffle will fit right in in a First Class lounge, as well as the locker room at the gym.

The Raf Simons + Eastpak bag comes with main zipped compartment, plus there are no fewer than four external side pockets for storing for items you need to get fast access to – like your phone, passport and travel documents.

Inside, the bag is lined with Blade Runner inspired lining, and includes an internal zippered section for more valuable items. With its stylish design, use of quality materials and utilitarian nature, the Raf Simons + Eastpak Canvas Holdall is worth every penny.

3. Montblanc Sartorial Jet Shell Duffle Bag

A sleek and stylish duffle bag from luxury goods brand Montblanc

Specifications
Material: Nylon and calf leather
Volume: 32L
Dimensions: 21x32x48cm
Weight: Unknown
Reasons to buy
+Sleek+High-quality leather+Luggage tag included+Reinforced corners

Montblanc is a German luxury goods company that specialises in quality leather items for jetsetters – and this sleek duffel bag does nothing to diminish its world-class reputation.

Available in Black, and only Black, the Montblanc Sartorial Jet Shell Duffle is made from a combination of black saffiano-print calf leather and water-and-scratch resistant black nylon fabric with a satin finish.  It features two carry handles and a removable shoulder strap. 

Inside, there's a spacious main compartment, zipped pocket and two open pockets. It is undoubtedly sleek and stylish, but the bag is also tough and well-made, making it ready for all the travelling adventures you care to throw its way.

(Image: © Barbour)

4. Barbour Wax Cotton Holdall

Quintessentially British bag with room to spare

Specifications
Material: Waxed cotton
Volume: 57L
Dimensions: 60x31x31cm
Weight: 3.4kg
Reasons to buy
+Ideal for weekends away+Tough and waterproof+Cotton lining
Reasons to avoid
-Style won’t suit everyone

Associated in the public imagination with a certain kind of Britishness, the Barbour wax jacket is famously practical and hard-wearing. And this medium-sized cotton holdall has those associations in spades. Not only is it made from the same Olive Green waxed cotton material, but the bag is even lined with Barbour’s Classic Tartan.

Ideal for a weekend away – preferably to a country retreat – the bag comes with leather handles and trim, antique brass fittings and a detachable shoulder strap. Inside you’ll find two inner zip pockets for storing valuables: the perfect place for a hip flask, maybe?

5. Tom Ford Leather Holdall

Super stylish holdall for the international traveler - bring back the concord

Specifications
Material: Leather
Volume: 32L
Dimensions: 22x29x51cm
Weight: Unknown
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly stylish+Full-grain leather+Great brand+Made in Italy

Tom Ford served as the creative director at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent before starting his eponymous brand in 2006. This leather holdall is one of our favourites, crafted in Italy from firm full-grain leather that'll disguise wear and tear, and comes with a detachable shoulder strap too.

The understated design will make it blend right in in the business lounge, but it's also casual enough to to take into town or on a weekend trip. The capacious interior features three well-sized pockets to keep you organised.

The holdall is completed with a luggage tag for your credentials, and a lockable zip.

6. The North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag

Tough bag for life’s adventures

Specifications
Material: Ballistic nylon
Volume: 69L
Dimensions: 64.5x35.5x35.5cm
Weight: 1.59kg
Reasons to buy
+Water resistant+Separate zippered compartments+Waterproof ID pocket
Reasons to avoid
-Not the smartest

Available in seven distinctive colours – Black, Red/Black, Gold/Black, Black/White, Thyme/Falcon Brown, Tibetan Orange/Exuberance Orange and Cayenne Red/Regal Red – the North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag is the perfect travel companion. Made from tough ballistic nylon, it comes with both padded side handles and a removable shoulder strap so it’s easy to carry around. 

Its 69 litres capacity is split across two compartments: the zippered main compartment comes with zippered mesh sections at one end and in the weather-resistant top flap; while a separate second end-cap compartment can be used for storing wet clothes, water bottles and other gear. 

The North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag also comes with side pockets for storing your phone, wallet and other items for fast, easy access. The bag also comes with a waterproof ID pocket on top — ideal for putting your name, address or destination in a prominent place.

7. Loewe Canvas Holdall

Stylish, light weekend bag

Specifications
Material: Canvas with leather trim
Volume: 43L
Dimensions: 23x35x54cm
Weight: Unknown
Reasons to buy
+Informal shape+Durable canvas+Adjustable size+Made in Spain
Reasons to avoid
-We'd expect leather for this price

Founded all the way back in 1846 in Madrid, Loewe is known as the gold standard in fine leather construction and crisp prêt-a-porter. Current designer Jonathan Anderson has been instrumental in the brands revamped look and draws inspiration from his time in Ibiza as a child; describing the style as, ‘forward and free’. This is expressed in the motif lead pop prints and a kaleidoscopic colour palette of Loewe.

This Loewe holdall is a perfect example of that. It's one of the lightest travel bags on this list, made from durable canvas, so you can toss it in the trunk or overhead bin without a worry. The pastel blue will help you stand out from the crowd, while the complementing navy leather trim adds a bit of class.

Inside you'll find a herringbone lining, and enough space to hold a weekend's worth of clothes. It has handy internal pockets for your travel documents or chargers, and features twin carry handles, and a removable shoulder strap.

(Image: © Eastpak)

8. Eastpak Leatherface Large 2-Wheel Duffel

Large capacity duffel for longer trips

Specifications
Material: Polyamide
Volume: 98L
Dimensions: 86.5x38x36.5cm
Weight: 3.4kg
Reasons to buy
+Huge capacity+30-year warranty+Wheels and telescopic handle
Reasons to avoid
-No locks included

Eastpak started life making bags for the US military — so it knows a thing or two about making tough, long lasting bags for travellers. The Eastpak Leatherface Large 2-Wheel Duffel is no exception.

Available in four different colours (Black, Black Denim, Sunday Grey and Dot Grey), the Eastpak Leatherface Large 2-Wheel Duffel comes with a huge 98-litre volume — enough for an extended trip away. It also has three side pockets for stowing smaller items and travel documents, plus an inside zippered pocket for valuable items.

Made from tough, water-resistant polyamide, the Eastpak Leatherface also comes with two recessed wheels and a telescopic handle (which can be hidden out of sight) for those times when you’d rather tow it than carry it. It also comes with padded carry straps and a 30-year guarantee.

9. Mulberry Heritage Scotchgrain Weekend Bag

A stylish weekend bag with classic good looks

Specifications
Material: Leather
Volume: 20L
Dimensions: 23x44x20cm
Weight: Unknown
Reasons to buy
+Classic good looks+Rugged+External pockets+Contrasting leather

Mulberry's Heritage collection was designed as a tribute to the early bags of Mulberry's heritage, which were inspired by English country pursuits. The Weekender is the perfect overnight bag for your next trip, featuring a full zip closure, practical belted front pocket for easy-to-get essentials and two sturdy top handles.

It is completed with one main zipped compartment, exterior slip pocket at the back, external slip pocket at the front secure with a Sam Browne stud, one luggage tag embossed with the Mulberry signature and an adjustable and removable webbed shoulder strap.

10. Coach Metropolitan Leather Gym Bag

A stylish weekend bag with classic good looks

Specifications
Material: Leather
Volume: 32L
Dimensions: 48x26x26cm
Weight: Unknown
Reasons to buy
+Sporty yet premium+Contrasting leather and suede+Plenty of pockets+Great brand

This bag from Coach is ready to tackle the gym or a weekend trip away. It's constructed from supple cow leather and trimmed with contrasting tan suede. It's structured but still casual and sporty, making it the ideal all-purpose bag.

It's designed to transport all your necessary essentials, features plenty of slip pockets to keep you organised, and can be carried by shoulder or by hand.

(Image: © Sandqvist)

11. Sandqvist Jordan

Leather weekend bag for premium travellers

Specifications
Material: Leather
Volume: 33L
Dimensions: 50x31x21.5cm
Weight: Not stated
Reasons to buy
+Made from leather+Adjustable shoulder strap+Two external and two internal pockets
Reasons to avoid
-Tan leather

The next time you jet off on a business trip or a 5-star weekend in somewhere exotic, you might want to consider taking this premium weekend bag with you. 

Made from vegetable dyed leather and available in two different colours – Black Leather and Cognac – the Sandqvist Jordan comes with two padded carry handles and an adjustable shoulder strap, and has two external pockets for easy access to items like your phone and travel documents.

Although the bag is relatively small at 33 litres, it also comes with two internal canvas pockets to help you get that bit more organised. And if your budget doesn’t run to this premium version, the Sandqvist Jordan is also available in less expensive cotton canvas and waxed cotton canvas editions.

(Image: © Herschel)

12. Herschel Outfitter Luggage Wheelie

Huge 2-wheeled duffel bag for extended trips

Specifications
Material: Synthetic
Volume: 81L
Dimensions: 71.1x33x29.8cm
Weight: Not stated
Reasons to buy
+81-litre volume+Recessed wheels+Telescopic handle
Reasons to avoid
-No locking options

With its 81-litre capacity, the Herschel Outfitter Luggage Wheelie is an ideal travel companion for anyone who needs to pack in as many possessions as they can – and still look reasonably stylish doing so. This duffel certainly abounds with neat touches, including pebbled leather carry handles and zip pulls, two quiet-running urethane wheels and a soft-touch neoprene covering on its telescopic handle.

Available in six different colours / designs: Black, Black Gridlock, Raven Crosshatch, Eclipse Crosshatch, Woodland Camo and Peacoat Parlour, so you’re bound to find one that suits your style.

The only thing we don’t like about this case is the lack of lockable options you’ll need to buy your own padlock, for sure.