No matter where you’re going, from home to work, on an international trip, or even just out shopping for the day, the best bags make everything a whole lot better. They will hold everything a person needs for the day or a trip, and they’re often easy to carry or wear. During our 12-hour search, we looked for the best bags of all types. Overall, we looked for durable, reliable, and practical bags that can hold as much as you need for an activity, while still looking great on your person.
The Puma Evercat Dispatch Duffel is one of the best bags women can buy today. Following that is the Under Armour Undeniable Duffle 3.0 Gym bag for men. Both of these bags, no matter the activity or what you have in store for the day, are suitable options for men or women. They’re easy to clean, durable and hold enough to not make the bag encumbering. Keep reading to learn more about our top picks and the other best bags on our list. If you need a great bag during your morning commute, then check out our best backpacks for work.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: Ideal for women sports or gym gear, this polyester bag is machine-washable, so it’s super easy to clean. It has both a handle and a shoulder strap, with a single, large zipper-protected enclosure.
Read Full Review: PUMA Womens Evercat Dispatch Duffel
This bag makes for an excellent gym or sports bag because it’s machine-washable. Storing sweaty clothes, equipment, or towels inside is not a big deal when it’s so easy to clean. It has a single large pocket with no side pockets or interior dividers. The exterior of the bag and the interior lining are made entirely out of polyester. It’s quite sturdy and can take a beating. Moreover, that means it’s a long-lasting bag that should provide years of use.
Related: Check out our best wet & dry bags for diapers.
On the top is a dual-sided handle — which velcro together — so you can carry it, but there’s also a large shoulder strap if you’d rather wear the bag. It comes in several styles, all tailored for women, but realistically, some of them are unisex-friendly.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Offering a sizable main compartment, this versatile bag is an ace gym or sports bag for men’s gear, but it can hold anything. It comes in a wide variety of styles and has tough abrasion-resistant bottom and side panels.
Read Full Review: Under Armour Undeniable Medium Duffle
Sporting a single large, zippered pocket and just one other zippered front pocket, this bag can fit just about anything. The 88L polyester material is quite springy, so it can be filled to the max and slightly beyond without tearing at the seams. The finish is slightly water-resistant, although you wouldn’t want to dunk it. It also has durable panels for the bottom and side, adding a second layer of protection.
It is machine-washable, even with the panels, so it makes for an excellent gym or sports equipment bag. A detachable shoulder strap and 2 connecting drop handles allow different carrying options. Moreover, it comes in a decent selection of styles, from definitively masculine to feminine colors and beyond.
WHY WE LIKE IT: One of the best women’s professional bags, this pack features dozens of styles to choose from. It’s an all-cotton bag with a single, large main pocket, 1 exterior zip pocket, and 3 slip pockets. It can either be carried or worn on the shoulder.
Read Full Review: Vera Bradley Womens Signature Foxwood
One of the first things that will stand out about this bag is the sheer number of styles available to choose from — there are over 20 of them. Each variant has a vibrant and stylish floral design, with varying colors, flower types, and backgrounds. As for the bag, it has a single, large main pocket that’s protected by a zipper. Inside the main compartment are 3 elastic mesh pockets to store and better organize items. On the outside is a medium-size zipper pocket and 3 slip pockets, all of which offer quick access during travel.
It’s composed entirely of cotton, so it’s also machine-washable. It has 2 drop handles if you want to carry it by hand, but there’s a detachable shoulder strap too. The strap unclips when you don’t need or want it. It’s an excellent carry-on bag with plenty of room and smaller, accessible storage.
Award: BEST DAY
WHY WE LIKE IT: This pack is the perfect companion for attending events like concerts, local happenings, or even visiting amusement parks. It’s compact but holds enough personal items for a day out. It has zippered main and front pockets, and a slip pocket on the rear.
Read Full Review: Adidas Originals Festival Crossbody Black
Designed to carry a few small items such as a phone, passport, wallet, and some makeup, this tote bag is super convenient for live events and a day out. You’ll have no problem moving through security checkpoints quickly, as the front and main zipper pockets open easily. An adjustable crossbody shoulder strap has a matching design — adorned with the brand logo.
The nylon zippers are just as tough as the polyester ripstop material used for the pack, both of which offer high durability. While the bag is not machine-washable, it can be cleaned rather easily with a damp cloth. It shouldn’t stain and the spot clean should be able to get off any nasties.
Award: BEST OVERNIGHT
WHY WE LIKE IT: For those interested in fashion and style, this bag is the best option. It looks fantastic, and works best as an overnight or quick-trip bag. It’s made of polyester, has drop handles and a shoulder strap, and a functional side-access shoe compartment for carrying footwear.
Read Full Review: Herschel Novel Duffle Black Size
There are over 50 different style variations for this big, and all of them are as attractive and appealing as the standard black and tan combo. It comes in a couple of different sizes too, including one that’s 33L and another that’s 42.5L. Both are suitable as carry-on bags and will fit in the overhead storage of an airline. The bag is made entirely of polyester so it’s durable and can be cleaned easily with a damp cloth.
The top of the bag has large drop handles, as well as an adjustable and detachable shoulder strap. The strap clips are only plastic which is not ideal, however. On the side of the bag is a unique compartment for footwear. It’s sealed by a zipper and opens to reveal the stored shoes or gear. In total, it makes for an excellent travel bag but would work for carrying everyday items too.
Award: BEST FOR BATHROOM
WHY WE LIKE IT: Not meant to be a full-size bag, this smaller pouch holds various items like makeup, toiletries, or smaller supplies. It’s one of the best add-ons as it holds quite a bit, yet will still fit in most duffel bags, backpacks, and luggage.
You can’t just throw toiletries and smaller items into a bag or luggage and hope they stay safe and secure. Cologne, perfume, soaps, and other liquid or gel-based items could spill all over the inside. This PU leather bag is meant to hold those items, and it offers an excellent array of pockets and organization options to boot. A single main compartment holds quite a bit, while a separate zippered compartment houses mesh pockets. A magnetic latch snaps over the top of the zippers and will secure the contents, ensuring they don’t spill out during travel.
When it’s not in use, the bag will collapse for easy storage. The PU leather is a nylon material that offers a minimal level of water-resistance, so it’s safe to place on the bathroom counter or tub, wherever you’re going. Even better, it comes bundled with a waterproof shoe bag, as well as empty travel shampoo and lotion bottles.
Award: BEST FOR BASEBALL PLAYERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: While it would work excellently as a standard pack, this bag has a variety of features built-in for ballplayers, like neoprene bat sleeves, and a vented shoe compartment.
Read Full Review: DeMarini Voodoo Rebirth Backpack Black
Built from the ground up specifically for baseball players, this backpack has a bevy of sports-friendly features. For starters, it includes 2 molded barrel lock neoprene sleeves for baseball bats, and there’s one on each side. The large main compartment can hold helmets, gloves, balls, and more. A vented shoe compartment can be used to store an extra pair of sneakers or cleats. A fleece-lined cell phone compartment sits on the front. Moreover, there’s a fence hook right at the top, so the bag can be suspended from a fence or shelf.
The entire bag is lined with a waterproof base material that should keep everything inside nice and dry. The padded shoulder straps and back paneling make it extra comfortable to wear, even when there’s bulky gear inside. It’s a perfect bag for baseball players young and old. Plus, it comes in a wide variety of styles, with unisex designs available too.
Award: BEST UNISEX
WHY WE LIKE IT: Those looking for an absolute beast of a pack that can handle inclement weather during a trip will find this one worthy. It’s also unisex in style and incredibly large and durable, made of super-tough 600D polyester fabric that’s tear-resistant and waterproof.
This bag has one of the most durable, weatherproof designs bar none. The 600D polyester fabric is extra-sturdy and waterproof, so it’s suitable even for use as a military bag. The seams or potential stress points are reinforced, with a heavy-duty metal SBS zipper. Moreover, there are 2 side straps — in addition to a shoulder strap and drop handles — so 2 people can use them to tandem carry the bag when it’s too heavy.
A shoe compartment built into the bag will hold footwear, with proper ventilation so that sweat, moisture, and other nasties don’t make the bag or its other contents stink. The shoulder strap is detachable, and there are 2 drop handles at the top — which also connect via a velcro cover. It comes in a few different sizes and styles.
Award: BEST WITH CASTERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: What makes this pack such an excellent executive or professional option are the built-in rollers and handle like a piece of luggage. It’s easy to carry or tow, holds plenty of gear, and it’s travel-friendly.
Best used for business gear while commuting or traveling, this pack holds a variety of items, including up to a 17” laptop. An easy to access front pocket has several built-in compartments for stationery like pens, notebooks, business cards, and more. The pack sits on top of wheels, with a slide-out and adjustable handle that can be used to pull or push the entire set up. It’s small and thin enough to fit under an airplane seat but has enough room for most of your daily necessities.
The laptop pocket is padded for extra security, while the rest of the main compartment has a soft liner. It also has dual handles to carry the bag and the telescoping handle will fold down into an exclusive zippered pocket. All of this makes for an incredibly versatile bag that can be used in many different ways.
Award: BEST FOR COMMUTERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: For going back and forth between work and home, you don’t necessarily need a huge bag but you do need to carry the essentials. This pack offers that, plus it’s comfortable to wear with stunning looks.
This shoulder bag is excellent for business professionals, students, and folks always on-the-go. There’s enough room to store everything you need for the day inside, with proper organization thanks to 9 pockets total: 5 outer and 4 inners. The bag is made out of genuine leather, with a waxed canvas finish that looks stunning no matter what style you choose. The material is also super durable and waterproof, so it will keep everything inside dry.
A detachable shoulder strap — with metal clasps — allows the pack to be worn, and there’s a top handle to carry it. Magnetic snaps and zippers are used to seal the bag and keep contents snug. Moreover, there is a padded inner laptop sleeve that can hold up to 15.6” laptops. While it’s not a small leather tote, by any means, it is much more convenient than carrying around a duffel bag.
Some of the most important things we looked for when choosing bags are the size, purpose, and feature sets to ensure they matched up with their intended applications. For example, a bag that’s going to be used during live events to carry smaller items and necessities doesn’t need a huge main compartment like a duffel bag. Instead, it should be lightweight, with convenient ways to carry it, like a shoulder strap. It also needs to be suitable for outdoor use, potentially even with a water-resistant build. A travel bag, on the other hand, needs a lot more room to store clothes, supplies, toiletries, shoes, and more. It also needs to be carry-on friendly, or it must fit under the seat of an airplane.
The next thing we looked at was build quality. Are the materials durable, reliable, and will the bag last for extended use? Every pack on the list should offer tons of use, whether that’s dozens of international flights or a few baseball seasons. Admittedly, there are a couple that would classify as a more structured bag, like the Under Armour Duffel which has bottom and side panels.
We also chose bags that offer several carrying options, often including drop handles, a shoulder strap, and sometimes more. The DeMarini Voodoo Rebirth Backpack has a fence hook built-in that can be used to suspend the pack from a fence, shelf, or hanger.
The “best” largely depends on how you’ll be using the pack. For example, the best bags for commuting to work are going to be different than those chosen strictly as the best designer bags. We recommend our top pick, the Puma Women’s Duffel. If you’re traveling, you’ll want something a little bigger, in which case, it’s better to go with the Canway Travel Duffel Bag or the Herschel Novel Duffel Bag. For work bags, we’d recommend the Newhey Genuine Leather Messenger Bag, or the AmazonBasics Rolling Laptop Bag.
The cheapest luxury bags you’ll find here include the Vera Bradley Duffel designer bag Herschel Duffel Bag, and the Newhey Genuine Leather Messenger Bag. The Puma and Adidas Duffel Bags might also be considered high-end options, by some, due to the brand. However, if you’re looking for Chanel bags or the best designer handbags, then nothing here really matches.
Some of the better bag brands you’ll find include Adidas, Vera Bradley, Puma, Canway, Tory Burch, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, and more. Of course, there are hundreds of different manufacturers to choose from, so it’s a better plan to choose based on function, style, and price than merely the brand.
The best type of carry-on bag is a duffel bag if you’re looking for something that will fit in the overhead bins. If you want something that will fit underneath the seat, then you’ll want to go with a thinner bag, like a messenger bag. Backpacks are also an excellent choice and most will fit under the seat just fine, as long as they’re not overstuffed.
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