November 09, 2022 / by Emma Jones

Choosing the right luggage, pack, or bag type can make or break your travelling experience. The best style for you can ease packing, getting on a plane, or hitting the road, making it much simpler and less stressful. But picking the right for you can be overwhelming due to the many options available.

How Do I Choose a Good Travel Bag?

When searching for the best option, you’ll come across different travel bags available on the market. Selecting the appropriate size, weight, and degree of durability can help you pick the right style. Also, you need to look for the features you prefer for travelling, such as wheels, laptop pockets, and carry-on compatibility.

Types of Luggage, Packs and Bags

Travel packs, duffels, and wheeled luggage are the three main types of luggage. Considering aspects such as where you’re going, how you’re getting there, and what you intend to do when you get there can be very helpful when deciding which one is best for you.

Travel Duffels

You can find different models available, from simple duffels you can throw over your shoulder to wheeled duffels with extendable handles. The main benefit of duffels over alternative products is their straightforward design.

They’re simple to use and typically have one sizable space for packing your clothing and gear. Of course, if you’re the type who needs distinct pockets and compartments to stay sane, this could be a disadvantage. But you can always pack your belongings in travel cubes or stuff sacks to help you stay organised.

travel duffels

A weekend’s worth of clothes can fit in a small carry-on bag with a 20 to 30-litre capacity. Larger duffels with 100 litres or more are available for adventures calling for a lot of gear. Conventional duffel bags without wheels may seem dated, given how wheels make for a simple transport. However, wheels will be a hassle and add several kilos to the bag’s weight when travelling to remote locations with rough, unpaved roads.

Traditional duffels aren’t only lighter but are also more flexible, making them simpler to load onto roof racks, strap to a pack animal, or cram into the trunk of a car. These duffels are typically less expensive and easier to store because they lack rigid parts and fold up smaller. Climbers, adventurers, and those on a tight budget who need to transport a lot of stuff will find them a great option.

Travel Packs

Where wheeled luggage falls short, such as on stairs, cobblestone streets, and other uneven terrains, backpacks are ideal for travel. Regarding how you wear them and the support they offer, travel packs are similar to regular backpacks. However, they have travel-specific features like organisation pockets, fold-away hip belts and shoulder straps, as well as built-in security features like lockable zippers. Travellers who prefer to be very mobile and don’t mind carrying everything on their backs should choose them.

travel packs

Wheeled Luggage

Wheeled luggage, packs, and bags have the advantage of being simple to move through airports and along smooth sidewalks and streets. Wheeled duffels, wheeled backpacks, and rolling luggage are the three categories of wheeled luggage.

wheeled bag

Wheeled Duffels

Nothing eats up gear like a duffel bag, and multisport travellers are better off selecting one with wheels. A rolling duffel is a handy way to organise everything if your adventures frequently require gear of widely disparate sizes and shapes. Wheeled duffels are a practical option for road trips, family vacations, and adventure travel requiring bulky or unusually shaped equipment.

wheeled duffels

Wheeled Backpacks

These are a favourite among adventure travellers because they offer the ease of wheeled luggage and the portability of a backpack. With just one pull of the extendable handle, you can move a lot of equipment. Are you facing a long flight of stairs or a busy street? Put the hip belt and shoulder straps on for convenient, hands-free carrying. The best backpacks for road trips and adventure travel typically have wheels.

Rolling Luggage

Rolling luggage, designed with the frequent traveller in mind, is what you typically see at airports. It comes in various sizes and frequently has a robust design to withstand the stresses of luggage transportation systems. It’s typically most suitable for business trips, family outings, road trips, and trips into cities.

Determine the Right Size for You

The ideal luggage, bag, or pack size will depend on your packing style, trip type, and length. It may seem wise to purchase an oversized travel bag but we advise against it because it’ll tempt you to fill the extra room.

Take into account the length and nature of your journey. Are you undertaking a challenging camping trip that calls for tents, sleeping bags, stoves, climbing equipment, and more? If so, you will need a large camping bag (or several) to transport everything. However, if you’re taking a quick weekend trip and only need a few outfit changes and toiletries, you won’t need more than a small bag.

Choose Your Features

While searching for travel bags you’ll discover a range of features. Here are some of the key indicators to watch out for:

  • Laptop compartment: If you’re taking your laptop on the road, it’s handy to have a special place to store it and protect it.
  • iPad/tablet compartment: If you frequently bring your device along, having a dedicated area for storing an iPad or other tablet is a nice feature (and helps protect your tech).
  • Checkpoint-friendly: A luggage bag is “checkpoint friendly” if it has a compartment reserved solely for a laptop that can unfold and lay flat on the X-ray belt when navigating airport security checkpoints. That enables you to continue using the laptop while providing TSA agents with a clear view of the computer for appropriate screening.
  • Built-in pockets: These make it simple to organise items, such as pens, your passport, keys, or pocket camping lights.
  • Removable daypack: Usually found on travel packs, this feature can be handy for day trips after you’ve arrived at your destination. You can use the daypack to carry snacks, water, and other necessities while leaving your larger pack behind.
  • Backpack straps: Look for a duffel bag with specific backpack straps if you want to carry a heavy load upstairs or down a trail on your back.
  • Packable: Packability is the bag’s ability to fit inside another, primarily a duffel bag, creating a convenient way to store it compactly when not in use.