Whether you’re an avid traveler, often on the go to far-away destinations, or a weekend adventure closer to home is more your speed, packing for a trip is one of the most important steps before departure. Shorter trips and overnight stays always call for something smaller and more lightweight than a suitcase, and for this reason, the best weekender bags are a traveler’s best accessory.
“A weekender bag is a travel must-have,” Karla Gallardo, co-founder and CEO of Cuyana, tells Byrdie. “It’s an essential that you’ll reach for time and time again, whether you’re staying somewhere overnight or jetting off for a quick getaway.” The best weekender bags serve as your “one-stop-shop,” says brand consultant and travel editor Monica Mendal, which allow you to “access all of your essential items when you're on the go.” Necessity is a fundamental factor for investing in a weekender bag, but if you shop smartly, you will only need one.
“Rather than purchasing multiple bags for different purposes, a versatile weekender bag can be used for a variety of occasions,” says Luigi Ceccon, CEO of accessories label Il Bisonte. “It can be used as a carry-on bag for air travel, as a gym bag, or as a stylish overnight bag for a last-minute getaway or day trip.” Thanks to their versatility, the best weekender bags can be used for a plethora of different moments, but choosing the right one to do all that and more, can be no easy feat.
Thankfully, these three experts shared their tips and tricks with Byrdie, allowing you to find your best weekend bag in no time. From sleek, carryall duffles to backpacks with pockets aplenty, keep reading to find the 15 best weekend bags for all of life’s adventures, whether big or small.
Away The Medium Everywhere Bag
“I've checked out the Away Everywhere Bag, and it has my stamp of approval,” Mendal says. “It's water-resistant [and] spacious; [plus it] has a trolley strap.” She recommends opting for the medium size for weekend trips, which features a spacious interior, packed with plenty of pockets to keep everything organized, top handle carry straps, and a detachable shoulder strap. The best part? “The padded laptop sleeve to keep your tech protected,” she adds. Travel lightly with this weekend bag that works as a carry-on, too.
Price at time of publish: $225 for medium
Material: Water-resistant nylon and leather trim | Colors: Black, Navy, Coast, Sand | Dimensions: 17.7 x 7 x 11 inches for Medium | Sizes: Classic, Medium, and Large
Baggu Travel Cloud Nylon Canvas Tote
Carrying it all has never been easier with this tote from Baggu that is super lightweight (after all, it is named the “Cloud bag”). The airy, nylon fabrication allows this bag to be packed down into its own single, zip pocket, however when fully expanded, it surprisingly fits much more than you’d imagine. A top zipper will close the bag with ease and guarantee your belongings don’t fall out or go missing. And bonus points: not only is it under $80, but it’s machine washable, too, allowing you to seamlessly clean after each journey.
Price at time of publish: $78
Material: 100% Heavyweight nylon | Colors: Black | Dimensions: 17 x 9.75 x 25 inches
Cuyana Leather Weekender
This large, duffle shape is as ideal for weekend getaways as it is for a travel carry-on. “For me, this bag delivers on all fronts,” Gallardo says. “It’s elevated and beautiful on the outside, as well as spacious and functional on the inside.” Cuyana’s weekender is made from soft, Italian pebbled leather that has been certified by the Leather Working Group. Although minimalist in design, it's all about the thoughtful details. “Like all of our weekender bags, it includes a luggage sleeve so that they can slide onto your suitcase handle, in case you ever need to utilize the bag as a carry-on,” she says. “They also have protective metal feet to avoid any damage or dirt on the bottom of your bag.”
Price at time of publish: $548 for Large
Material: Pebbled leather | Colors: Black, Cappuccino | Dimensions: 22.5 x 7 x 14.5 inches for Large | Sizes: Medium and Large
L.L. Bean Boat and Tote, Zip-Top
“My other go-to for less aggressive trips is the L.L.Bean Boat and Tote, Zip Top in the color natural,” Mendal says. “It comes in a variety of sizes, but as a weekender, it's best in the large size.” The iconic canvas bag has been a brand favorite since its introduction in 1944. With a handful of customization features, from size and color to strap length, finding your personal best is only a click away. “While it doesn't have a trolley strap, it's lightweight, spacious, and durable,” Mendal notes. “I also take it with me to the beach or the market and it somehow manages to stay clean and it is also one of the most affordable options out there.”
Price at time of publish: $50 for Large
Material: Cotton canvas | Colors: Black, Blue, Rustic Green, Red +more | Dimensions: 17 x 7 x 15 inches for Large | Sizes: Small, Medium, Large and Extra-Large
Il Bisonte Vagabonda Canvas Travel Bag
“The Vagabonda Canvas Travel Bag is a more affordable option due to its material,” Ceccon says. “Crafted of durable cotton canvas with leather trim, this travel bag is spacious, lightweight, and can be rolled up for compact, easy storage.” The rectangular bag shape was designed in the ’70s but is still completely relevant today, offering a classic take on a tried-and-true carryall shape. Sling this shape on the shoulder or across the body with the removable strap, or simply use the top handles to tote your belongings in style, for any trip on the horizon.
Price at time of publish: $400
Material: Cotton canvas and cowhide leather | Colors: Khaki | Dimensions: 22 x 10.75 x 11.5 inches
“My #1 is Paravel’s Weekender,” Mendal says. “I own both colors!” This square-shaped bag will pack all the essentials in a fashion-forward way. “It is super chic, fits everything I need, and is made using sustainable materials,” she says. The spill-proof, stain-repellent canvas is crafted from upcycled plastic bottles and vegan leather handles round out the eco-friendly offerings. Mendal also calls out the trolley strap feature, which she loves to use when traveling. Give yours a unique touch with Paravel’s custom monogram offerings, such as hand-painted and embroidered letters or even emojis, assuring yours will stand out in a crowd (or simply baggage claim).
Price at time of publish: $295
Material: EcoCraft Canvas® and recycled vegan leather | Colors: Scout Tan, Domino Black | Dimensions: 15 x 15 x 8 inches
Calpak Hue Mini Carry-On Luggage
If you prefer something a little more substantial, a hardshell suitcase works for quick trips and more, when it is mini-sized. Calpak’s hard case sits atop 360-degree spinner wheels and has a long, telescopic handle, making pushing and pulling a breeze through airports, hotel lobbies, and even the street. A built-in, TSA-approved combination lock will keep everything safe, should you choose to check it and three stylish colorways, make this a stylish option that is extremely functional.
Price at time of publish: $165
Material: Polycarbonate | Colors: Pastel Pink, Green, Black | Dimensions: 14.2 x 9.1 x 15.7 inches
Silver & Riley Executive Leather Duffle
When investing in a bag that will last for years, it’s all about quality. Silver & Riley’s leather duffle is well worth the splurge. Crafted in Italy from a luxe calfskin leather that will only get better with age. Rolled top handles and a removable shoulder strap offer ample ways to carry. Store your passport, electronics, and more in the easy-to-reach, zip pockets on the bag’s exterior. Inside, you will find compartment pockets and a roomy interior to stow clothes, shoes, and more.
Price at time of publish: $995
Material: Leather | Colors: Rustic Green | Dimensions: 21 x 12 x 11 inches
July Carry All Weekender Plus
The beauty of July’s weekender bag is its clamshell design, which opens flat to reveal zip pocket storage, similar to that of a suitcase. Made from tough, waterproof weighted 420D twill nylon, inclement elements (or simply a beverage explosion accident) won’t stand a chance. Water-resistant and stain-proof nylon lining will prevent unwanted spills from toiletries and more from doing any serious damage. The details don’t stop there. A pass-through band makes for an easy attachment to luggage while the QuickPass™ external hidden pocket provides more security while on the go, thanks to a magnetic closure.
Price at time of publish: $295 for Plus
Material: Waterproof weighted 420D twill nylon fabric | Colors: Navy, Black, Chalk | Dimensions: 22 x 9 x 12.5 inches for Plus | Sizes: Regular and Plus
Mifland Duffle Bag
Based in Atlanta, Mifland is an American brand that was founded by Tobi Egberongbe with the principles of form and function being top of mind. Careful attention and thorough research have resulted in distinct leather products that incorporate artful design with traditional leather-making techniques. Mifland’s duffle captures this spirit through its folded flap, buckle closures, and use of heavyweight leather for durability. Each piece is handmade, making this weekend bag a truly special piece to cherish for years to come.
Price at time of publish: $990
Material: Vegetable Tanned Leather | Colors: Oil/Copper, Black/Black, Natural/Natural, Natural/Million M Pattern +more | Dimensions: 21.6 x 8.2 x 13 inches
Cotopaxi Allpa Travel Pack
If you are looking for an easy stow-all for your next hiking adventure or city sleepover, Cotopaxi’s eco-friendly bag provides all the bells and whistles. This suitcase-style pack opens to reveal zippered mesh compartments with padded laptop and tablet sleeves, keeping all your belongings right where you need them. Weight distribution design details such as a harness system, complete with adjustable belts, will keep your back safe. The TPU-coated fabric is highly resistant for those more treacherous expeditions and it even comes with a rain cover for any unforeseen showers.
Price at time of publish: $220
Material: TPU-Coated 1000D Polyester | Colors: Indigo, Pacific, Black | Dimensions: 21.5 x 13 x 9 inches
Herschel Novel Duffel Bag
Looking for a no-frills duffle? Herschel’s Novel has been a customer favorite for years. The bag proves to be top in its class with over six thousand Amazon reviews and a 4.8 approval rating. Simple in design, the carryall shape has reinforced handles and a padded shoulder strap for comfortable carrying. Inside you will find a mesh storage sleeve and the signature shoe compartment, allowing that extra pair to breathe free in its own, designated space.
Price at time of publish: $90
Material: 100% Polyester | Colors: Black/Tan, Ash Rose, Black Crosshatch, Grey, Peacoat +more | Dimensions: 20.5 x 11 x 11.75 inches | Sizes: Classic and Mid-Volume
Monos Metro Weekender
Sometimes the hardest part of packing light is keeping things organized, but that’s not the case with Monos’ Metro Weekender. Designed with multiple interior pockets within the main compartment, an outer sleeve that fits up to a 16” inch laptop, a zippered, lower storage area for separating wet items or stowing a few pairs of shoes, and a built-in trolley sleeve, a messy bag is truly impossible. Both water and scratch-resistant, the premium nylon twill fabrication will keep the exterior clean and in shipshape, as well.
Price at time of publish: $250
Material: Nylon | Colors: Juniper Green, Dover Grey, Oxford Blue +more | Dimensions: 19.25 × 10.25 × 14.75 inches
Best for Moms
Eddie Bauer Places & Spaces Bridgeport Diaper Bag Backpack
Eddie Bauer’s rugged, outdoor offerings translate to everyday needs too, when traveling with a little one. This exceptionally organized backpack is travel-friendly, thanks to eleven generous pockets, that offer quick access to all the grab-and-go necessities, like bottles, toys, snacks, and pacifiers. A removable changing pad and wipes case make on-the-go diapering a cinch and padded shoulder straps won’t weigh you down, while constantly in motion on your next weekend away.
Price at time of publish: $60
Material: 100% Polyester | Colors: Grey | Dimensions: 12 x 6.5 x 16.5 inches
Best for Camping
The North Face Base Camp Duffel M
When something more heavy-duty is needed for that next wilderness excursion or camping trip, lean on the Base Camp Duffel as your outdoor guide. The legendary material is durable and water-resistant, having been successfully put to the test on countless real-life expeditions. Offering a 71-liter volume capacity, this versatile duffel fits everything you need for a weekend away. Compression straps and detachable shoulder straps provide adjustability and an ergonomic fit and we love the idea of the bold red colorway for a pop of color while on the trail.
Price at time of publish: $149
Material: Recycled 1000D polyester with phthalate-free PVC coating | Colors: TNF Red/TNF Black, TNF Black/TNF White, Summit Gold/TNF Black +more | Dimensions: 14 x 25 x 14 inches
When shopping for weekender bags, quality is of utmost importance. Invest in a leather option, like Cuyana’s Leather Weekender which is a classic, duffel shape that will only get better with wear. The canvas material is more lightweight and affordable but still a solid pick, like Paravel’s Weekender or Il Bisonte’s Vagabonda Canvas Travel Bag, and water-resistant styles like the July Carry All Weekender Plus and the Away The Medium Everywhere Bag will keep things dry when en route anywhere.
Meet the Expert
- Karla Gallardo is the co-founder and CEO of Cuyana. Born and raised in Ecuador, Karla moved to the United States as she earned her Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics from Brown University and then joined Goldman Sachs, where she developed the tools to create a sustainable business. In 2011, Karla started Cuyana alongside co-founder Shilpa Shah with the vision of creating a global design house that inspires intentional buying through pieces that are crafted with integrity.
- Monica Mendal is a brand consultant and former fashion editor turned travel editor, writing for some of the world's top publications, such as Vogue, T Magazine, and Architectural Digest.
- Luigi Ceccon is the CEO of Florence-based accessories brand Il Bisonte.
What to Look for in Weekender Bags
“Although weekenders are on the smaller side, you want to be sure that the bag has a roomy enough interior to hold your essentials,” Gallardo explains. “It’s important to think about what needs this bag is going to serve.” She recommends a smaller bag for quick day trips or weekends and a larger bag for longer trips that can serve as a carry-on. Ceccon agrees: “A weekender bag should be big enough to hold essentials for a short trip while not being cumbersome to carry.” He suggests looking for a bag with a rectangular or square shape, to make packing and stacking easier.
“You want to make sure that the material of your weekender bag is not only appealing visually, but high quality and durable in construction,” Gallardo says. “We also value pieces that are made of sustainable materials.” Durable material is another key factor for Ceccon, too. “The best materials to look for in weekender bags are durable,” Ceccon says, citing canvas and leather as the best in his opinion.
“I suggest looking for a weekender that has multiple compartments,” Gallardo says. “This will allow you to categorize your essentials and feel super organized when packing.” Ceccon adds: “Compartments and pockets help keep belongings organized and easy to access.” He recommends looking for bags with various interior and exterior pockets while still carefully considering your personal needs, as too many pockets will overbulk and weigh down the bag.
It is important to not forget the little details. “The straps and handles on the bag are crucial for carrying the bag comfortably,” Ceccon says. He recommended looking for a bag with sturdy, adjustable straps and well-stitched handles to ensure they won't tear or come loose. A trolley strap is another must-have for Mendal. “As I'm typically placing my weekender bags on top of my carry-on suitcase, a trolley strap is clutch,” she says. “It just makes running through an airport, train station, or cobbled city streets much more seamless.”
Zippers might also be an afterthought for some but should be top of mind as well. “Having a zipper is also important so things don't fall out when you're in a rush or get stolen,” Mendal says. Furthermore, Ceccon recommends looking for reinforced sticking and strong zippers which can affect how long the product will last.
What are the best fabrics to look for when shopping for a weekender bag, and why?
“Leather not only is classic and sturdy but stylish as well,” Ceccon says. He calls out full-grain leather as the most heavy-duty and high-quality option, which can last for years with proper care. “Canvas is a popular choice for weekender bags because it is lightweight, durable, and affordable,” he explains. “One should always look for canvas with a tight weave and wax coating for water resistance.”
Gallardo stands behind leather, as well. “A leather weekender bag is a timeless staple that will never go out of style,” she says. “With the right care, it’s a piece that is sure to last and maintain its beauty over time.” She also mentions her affinity for mesh/textured looks, which suit the style of a weekender very well.
How do you care for weekend bags?
“Care instructions for your bag are going to vary depending on the material,” Gallardo says. “Some general rules of thumb that we suggest are storing your piece in a dust bag for protection and ensuring that it has a dedicated spot in your home, without any items placed on top, so that nothing damages the shape of the bag.” Checking the label, as well as storing properly will add value to the bag’s lifespan.
Ceccon also calls out a few pointers, should a leather weekender bag get wet:
- Gently rub the leather with a clean cloth to remove excess moisture
- Let it dry away from direct sunlight
- If the leather dries out, its suppleness can be restored by applying a small amount of natural wax or cream to the leather and rubbing gently.
- To remove and reduce stains, only use natural products that are compatible with the product's type of leather.
Why Trust Byrdie
Full-time freelance writer and fashion editor Kristina Rutkowski has been covering all things style, trend, and shopping for over 10 years. Her bylines have appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, WWD, The Zoe Report, Editorialist, InStyle, and SELF. As a travel enthusiast, she has either tried many of these bags firsthand or tested them in person at designer’s showrooms, which has provided ample research opportunities for this story.