Duffel Bag vs Backpack: Choosing the Best Duffel For You Next Trip

man with Duffel Bag Backpack

Are you getting ready to go on a trip? Once you’ve planned the perfect destination and booked your tickets, the next thing to do is to pack. Knowing which type of bag to bring can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! There are benefits to choosing either a backpack or duffel bag , but first you need to see if your bag will fit on the plane.

Before traveling, an important question to ask is: what size duffle bag can I carry on a plane? Knowing what you can pack and bring on a plane as a carry on before you travel is important so you can avoid hefty baggage fees at the airport. While the baggage allowance with each airline varies by a few inches, on average the standard carry-on allowance is 22” x 14” x 9” which is about the same size as a standard duffel bag  or backpack.

Continue reading to figure out what the right bag for your next trip is: a backpack or duffel bag .

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Benefits of a Duffel bag

Duffel bag s are popular bags for daily use to take to places like school, work or the gym. But, many people don’t realize how beneficial a duffel bag can be to travel with.

First of all, duffel bags are a great size. On average, they are 22 x 14 x 9 inches which is the perfect size to be a carry-on bag. So, they’re small enough to fit on the plane, but big enough to fit all your items for a short, weekend trip.

Typical duffel bag s are made up of one large, roomy pocket. They are also fairly unstructured, with only support at the bottom of the bag to keep it straight. Since they’re so roomy and flexible, duffel bag s are great for short trips.

Having only one, large pocket means you won’t struggle to pack your bigger items like shoes and you can easily fit all your clothes inside. The flexibility of the bag makes it easier to fit it in anywhere. Duffel bag s are also a great, cylindrical shape to fit into small spaces.

Carry-on suitcases are rigid, making it hard to fit into small areas like overhead compartments on planes. If there is only a small, tight space left in the overhead compartment, your duffel bag will fit perfectly while a suitcase would need to be checked.

Drawbacks of a Duffel bag

The benefits of a duffel bag can also be its drawbacks in some ways. You should not store smaller, valuable items like a laptop in your duffel bag due to the lack of individual pockets and structure.

Since the outside of a duffel bag is soft, if it gets squished or falls, your valuables may get damaged. Similarly, having only one, large pocket may mean you lose things within your bag.

Duffel bag s typically only have one shoulder strap or two handheld straps, this means you can only carry it two different ways. One puts a lot of pressure on your shoulder, while the other ties up your hands. This may be why some people tend to lean towards using backpacks during their travels.

Also, as duffel bag s have multiple zippers, they can be hard to secure. A carry-on suitcase, for example, may have a built in lock, but a duffel bag typically does not. You will need to buy one or more locks, ideally one you can put a code into so you don’t lose a key, to attach to your zippers.

Benefits of a Backpack

Backpacks have a lot of benefits due to how versatile they are. They come in many different shapes, sizes, colors and styles. This means that most people can find a backpack that they like.

Backpacks are one of the best bags to carry as having two straps means the weight of your bag is distributed evenly across your back and shoulders. This will put less strain on your body compared to a bag like a duffel bag that puts strain only on your shoulder.

Having your bag close to your body as well can help you keep an eye on your stuff and make it harder for people to take from you while traveling. You may have a loose hold on your duffel bag if you’re carrying it in your hands or on your shoulder. If you’re wearing a backpack correctly on your back, it is very hard for someone to take off of you.

Like duffel bag s, backpacks are also quite soft and flexible. This makes them easy to store in overhead compartments as well as they can easily fit into smaller spaces. They also come in plenty of different materials.

You can get a waterproof or water resistant bag for rainy places. Or, you can get a backpack made with anti-theft material that will make it impossible for thieves to cut your bag and steal your valuables. Backpacks also come in more formal, business-like backpacks for trips with work or can come in a more casual fabric for personal use.

Drawbacks of a Backpack

Though there are many benefits of using a backpack while traveling, there are also still some drawbacks.

As backpacks come in so many varieties and sizes, it is hard to know if your backpack will be allowed on a plane as a carry-on. There are many big backpacks that travelers use on extended backpacking trips. These are great bags for long trips, but will need to be checked as they are too big to be a carry-on.

Another drawback of a backpack is the limitation of how you can carry them. You can only comfortably carry a backpack on your back. If you carry it on one shoulder or on your front, the weight won’t be distributed evenly.

So, if duffel bag s and backpacks both have benefits and drawbacks for traveling, what is the perfect bag to use?

Duffel Bag Backpack:  It’s the Perfect Bag for Travel

Look no further for the perfect bag for a weekend trip away with the hybrid duffel bag backpack hybrid. It takes all of the benefits of a duffel bag and mixes them with the benefits of a backpack, thus making the perfect bag.

What to Expect From this Bag


A backpack duffel bag is essentially a duffel bag with backpack straps. This makes how you can carry the bag extremely versatile. You can wear it on your back to have both shoulders support it, you can throw it over your shoulder with the shoulder strap or you can carry it in your hands.

Some duffel bag backpacks even come with wheels so you can comfortably roll your bag on smooth surfaces like the airport ground. As the bags are stylistically a duffel bag, they are typically the perfect size to use as a carry-on bag.

Different Size Options

Ranging from 30 to 127 liters, duffel bag backpacks also have the benefit of space that duffel bag s do. They are typically made with one, big pocket to fit all your bigger items like shoes and clothes. But, since it is also a backpack, duffel bag backpacks also tend to have smaller side and front pockets to store your smaller items, ensuring they don’t get lost.


Since duffel bag backpacks combine both styles, they are typically designed to be sleeker and more formal than a regular duffel bag that may have only been used to go to the gym.

There are many varieties of duffel bag backpacks as well. One type is a tough, cargo hauler duffle backpack. This is a great bag for weekend hiking or camping trips as it is strong and durable. Some even have a padded base or sides to ensure your stuff inside is safe.

Another type of duffel bag backpack is a lightweight one. Lightweight bags are made with a thinner material and less structure, making them perfect for short trips, especially when you will be constantly carrying the bag. You don’t want to over pack for a short trip and getting a smaller, lightweight bag will help prevent that.

If you’re going to a wet, rainy destination, you may want to get a waterproof duffel bag backpack. There are plenty of great waterproof options or covers to take out and cover your bag with in the event of rain.

As previously mentioned, some duffel bag backpacks come in a sleeker design. There are bags made of a canvas material that is not only water-resistant, but looks formal enough to be used on a business trip.


Many duffel bag backpacks also have multiple straps and handles on the different sides. Some duffel bag backpacks have removable straps as well. So if you know you want to wear your bag as a backpack, you can remove the longer strap. If you want to use it during the day as a duffel bag, you can tuck away the backpack straps. This makes using your duffel bag backpack extremely versatile and good for many different occasions.

Overall, a duffel bag or backpack are both good choices for traveling, but a duffel bag backpack is the perfect choice for travelers. You can carry it in multiple different ways. The bag has big pockets for storage and smaller ones to keep things organized, so they’re easier to pack, and they look great!


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