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Best Duffel Bags Updated December 2020

Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
★ BEST OF THE BEST
Under Armour
Undeniable 4.0
Bottom Line
A bag with high-quality lining materials, a stylish sporty look, and plenty of compartments, the Under Armour Undeniable has everything, including the brand.
Pros
Lining materials feel durable, and the outside is water-resistant. The bottom is slightly cushioned. The handle and shoulder strap have padding for easy carry. Wide-mouthed opening on top and easy-access pocket on the front. Has a shoe compartment on the side and a carabiner clip.
Cons
The front top pocket is curved awkwardly, which makes it harder to open the zipper in our experience.
★ BEST ON A BUDGET
Kuston
Gym Bag
Bottom Line
An affordable alternative with all the compartments you want as well as a padded bottom and water-resistant lining.
Pros
Has a padded carry strap, a separate shoe compartment, and even a wet pouch that isn't present in the other four bags. The clip is made of metal, not plastic. Has plenty of pockets, including an-easy access one in front.
Cons
Handles don't have padding, which makes it tougher to carry by the handle.
★ Honorable Mention
Addidas
Defender III
Bottom Line
A bag with all the compartments, padded shoulder strap and handles, and a good amount of padding on the bottom.
Pros
The padding feels substantial on the bottom of the bag. The handles are also padded for easy carry. The only compartment this is missing is a wet pouch, but the Under Armour doesn't have one either. The shoe compartment is very roomy.
Cons
Lining material feels like tarp canvas, which makes it seem less premium relative to the Under Armour bag.
★ Honorable Mention
Nike
Brasilia 9.0
Bottom Line
The biggest brand with quality materials and all the expected pockets, including a shoe compartment, but it doesn't have padding on either the shoulder strap or the handle.
Pros
Has a shoe compartment and easy-access front pocket. The opening on top is wide-mouthed. The brand is well-known in the sports community.
Cons
Lacks padding on the handle and shoulder strap, which makes it tougher to carry around, especially if the bag is heavy. The clip for the shoulder strap is made of plastic, and seems relatively flimsy compared to the other duffel bags.
★ Honorable Mention
Herschel
Sutton
Bottom Line
A departure from the gym-focused duffel bag, the Herschel seems well-constructed but more suited for weekend travel than sports.
Pros
Metal clip for shoulder strap and high-quality zipper exude a premium vibe.
Cons
Only one zippered compartment for the bag, which means no separation for shoes or toiletries. There is no padding for the bag bottom or for the carry straps. Holes on bottom makes it hard to set down on ground that might be dirty or wet.
How we decided
8
Products
Considered
11
Hours
Researched
157
Consumers
Consulted
Why trust Popular Reports
We spend an inordinate amount of time researching products, analyzing third-party opinions, studying candidates first-hand, and synthesizing conclusions. Our analysis considers a wide range of online reviews, buying guides, and our editorial team's hands-on experience. We may earn money when you purchase products recommended on our site, but we do not earn money from placement. This does not affect our selection of products or our editorial integrity.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Duffel Bag

Buying a duffel bag can be difficult because there are so many different factors to consider. Here we break down the most important factors we found through hours of research and product analysis.

Durability

The most important factor is durability. A duffel bag make the rounds and racks the miles, typically on trips to the gym or weekend travel, and it'll get thrown down often in tough environments. By far, our biggest consideration was whether the bag would take the wear. The last thing we'd want is for the strap to snap or the bag to develop a hole. Both scenarios might result in spoiling the cargo.

Among the bags we compared, we noticed some had padded lining while others did not. The padding makes the bag thicker, which gave us more confidence that it wouldn't tear a hole as easily. The padding also serves to add a little protection for electronics in the bag should there be slight shocks, though we'd still recommend storing those electronics with their own protective cases. Aside from padding, the lining material itself makes a diference in whether the bag could take a hit. Some bags have higher quality fabric while others appeared more likely to rip.

The bags also had shoulder straps clipped on with different materials. Some bags used metal clips while the majority used plastic. The metal clips seemed like a more durable choice. Even among the plastic clips, some plastic clips seemed more fragile relative to other clips. While none of them broke in our testing, we still had more confidence in our top pick compared to others.

Water Resistance

We considered water resistance an important feature because gym bags need to be protected in the locker room, while travel bags need to be protected against rain. Some bags had water resistant lining all around with an extra-resistant bottom that gave us more confidence that the bag could be placed down on a wet grass field or the locker room floor.

One thing that impressed us about the Kuston gym bag was the wet pouch. Even though it's our budget pick, it's the only bag that has a wet pouch among the ones we tested, and it was useful for storing toiletries and wet towels or a change of clothing.

Bags with holes on the bottom seemed to cater toward allowing greater breathability, which might help with dirty laundry or shoes, but the holes also increase the likelihood that things inside might get wet.

Compartments

Though a duffel bag is fundamentally a way to store a large quantity of clothing for lightweight trips, we found that extra compartments made our trips easier.

The compartment we found the most useful was the shoe compartment. Most of the bags we tested had an extra shoe compartment with the notable exception of the Herschel bag. For the gym, the ability to carry an extra pair of shoes without a separate plastic bag was particularly useful when traveling from the office. For weekend trips, the shoe compartment served to store dirty laundry.

The easy-access pockets in front of some of the duffel bags also served a useful role. Car keys, phone and wallet found a temporary home in that compartment while on-the-go. The pocket might also be useful for travel documents or gym membership cards.

Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
★ BEST OF THE BEST
Under Armour
Undeniable 4.0
Bottom Line
A bag with high-quality lining materials, a stylish sporty look, and plenty of compartments, the Under Armour Undeniable has everything, including the brand.
Pros
Lining materials feel durable, and the outside is water-resistant. The bottom is slightly cushioned. The handle and shoulder strap have padding for easy carry. Wide-mouthed opening on top and easy-access pocket on the front. Has a shoe compartment on the side and a carabiner clip.
Cons
The front top pocket is curved awkwardly, which makes it harder to open the zipper in our experience.
★ BEST ON A BUDGET
Kuston
Gym Bag
Bottom Line
An affordable alternative with all the compartments you want as well as a padded bottom and water-resistant lining.
Pros
Has a padded carry strap, a separate shoe compartment, and even a wet pouch that isn't present in the other four bags. The clip is made of metal, not plastic. Has plenty of pockets, including an-easy access one in front.
Cons
Handles don't have padding, which makes it tougher to carry by the handle.
★ Honorable Mention
Addidas
Defender III
Bottom Line
A bag with all the compartments, padded shoulder strap and handles, and a good amount of padding on the bottom.
Pros
The padding feels substantial on the bottom of the bag. The handles are also padded for easy carry. The only compartment this is missing is a wet pouch, but the Under Armour doesn't have one either. The shoe compartment is very roomy.
Cons
Lining material feels like tarp canvas, which makes it seem less premium relative to the Under Armour bag.
★ Honorable Mention
Nike
Brasilia 9.0
Bottom Line
The biggest brand with quality materials and all the expected pockets, including a shoe compartment, but it doesn't have padding on either the shoulder strap or the handle.
Pros
Has a shoe compartment and easy-access front pocket. The opening on top is wide-mouthed. The brand is well-known in the sports community.
Cons
Lacks padding on the handle and shoulder strap, which makes it tougher to carry around, especially if the bag is heavy. The clip for the shoulder strap is made of plastic, and seems relatively flimsy compared to the other duffel bags.
★ Honorable Mention
Herschel
Sutton
Bottom Line
A departure from the gym-focused duffel bag, the Herschel seems well-constructed but more suited for weekend travel than sports.
Pros
Metal clip for shoulder strap and high-quality zipper exude a premium vibe.
Cons
Only one zippered compartment for the bag, which means no separation for shoes or toiletries. There is no padding for the bag bottom or for the carry straps. Holes on bottom makes it hard to set down on ground that might be dirty or wet.
How we decided
8
Products
Considered
11
Hours
Researched
157
Consumers
Consulted
Why trust Popular Reports
We spend an inordinate amount of time researching products, analyzing third-party opinions, studying candidates first-hand, and synthesizing conclusions. Our analysis considers a wide range of online reviews, buying guides, and our editorial team's hands-on experience. We may earn money when you purchase products recommended on our site, but we do not earn money from placement. This does not affect our selection of products or our editorial integrity.