Does it seem like your entire Instagram feed is on vacation right now? Whether it’s camping, local beach trips, or bigger getaways to spots like The Catskills, Paris, and Mexico City, travel is back, in a big way. And if you’re like me, you might be ready to get the hell out of your tiny apartment.
Before you go anywhere, check on your travel gear situation. Besides dusting off those suitcases, you might be in need of a new weekend bag. Whether you’re the type to travel lightly or you need a proper carry-on, here are the 24 best ones.
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If You’re A Light Packer
Sometimes all you need is a change of clothes and not much else. For those trips, a tote bag will do. Or, if you’re like me, these tote bags also pull double duty as emergency luggage space, when you’ve “accidentally” bought too many souvenirs.
As far as reliable bags go, Tumi’s entire travel line is a solid choice. This packable, ultralight tote happens to also be a part of Nordstrom’s very good sale.
If you’re the type to come back with more stuff than you left with, then you’ll want a tote that expands, like this Longchamp one. The middle section zips in, adding enough space for those scented candles you couldn’t resist buying.
Staff writer Anne Cruz loves this Lo & Sons tote for an easy weekend camping trip since it’s easy to carry over short distances. It features a zippered compartment, so you can also bring along a change of shoes, just in case you require footwear options.
Snow Peak’s approach to camping and the great outdoors is less about roughing it and more about setting a vibe. Case in point: their hibachi grill and colorful flatware. That’s not to say it’s not highly functional either -- their totes are my favorites if you’re looking for a sleek waterproof bag that has plenty of pockets.
If You Prefer A Duffel
When you think of a classic weekend bag, it’s probably a duffel. Whether you’re looking for something that can stash a few pairs of shoes or in need of one that can also go on your suitcase, these are the best for a long weekend trip.
People love Herschel’s duffels and for good reason: They’re light, roomy, and feature a separate compartment that can fit up to two pairs of shoes.
My favorite weekend bag, which I’ve been using for the last three years, is this one by Away. It features a handy laptop sleeve so I can quickly grab my Macbook when I need to do some work. There are also multiple pockets for quick access to other essentials like lip balm or my phone and the back slides easily onto a suitcase.
That said, Away’s Everywhere bag is on the smaller side, so if you need more room, go for their Weekender. Like others on this list, it has a compartment for shoes, slides onto suitcases, and can fit easily into the plane overhead. Made from canvas, it’s fairly lightweight and easy to clean.
If canvas is too heavy, you’ll want to opt for a lightweight nylon weekender, like this one by Calpak. With nine pockets and a shoe storage compartment, you’ll be able to stay super organized. One caveat: if you’re on the petite side, the bag will be a little cumbersome to wear on your shoulder.
Made from water-repellent nylon and featuring leather details, this weekender is the sort of thing you can take on business trips and vacations alike. One notable feature is that this brand’s pieces are all modular, so you can snap their matching toiletry kit right into the bag.
I’m known to pack at least four pairs of shoes for any weekend trip, not counting the ones on my feet. If you’re like me and require options, you’ll want this duffel. It features a large bottom compartment for plenty of storage.
Like the classic Herschel duffel but rather get it in a more stylish color? This gray is a sleek alternative to black.
Highly rated on Amazon, users praise this bag for being durable and large enough that you could pack for a four to five day trip. It comes with a pouch, which theoretically is for tools, but really doubles as a toiletry kit.
Made with recycled polyester, this weekender is gentle on the environment. With a padded laptop sleeve, two water bottle pockets, and a slot for your suitcase, it’s a solid under $100 purchase.
Before you write this bag off as a glorified handbag, click the link. You’ll see it’s more like a really big sling. While it doesn’t have a ton of features, it’s also on sale and under $50, if you’re looking for an inexpensive carryall.
Rains is a Copenhagen-based brand that’s known for their stylish raincoats. Their weekender, which uses the same fabric as their jackets, is durable, weatherproof, and sleek. The only downside is that it’s a bit thicker and heavier compared to a nylon or canvas style.
Simple, stylish, and super lightweight at just over 1 pound, this bag can fit a ton of stuff without hurting your shoulders.
If You Prefer A Backpack
Lugging around an overstuffed duffel as you run to catch your plane, train, or bus is a literal pain in the shoulder. If you’re the type to pack a ton but also hate having a giant bag bounce against your hip, then you’ll want a lightweight backpack.
Made from thin nylon, this backpack collapses into a small pouch and can be brought on longer trips for extra storage.
So you want a backpack that looks good for the office and carries everything you need for a weekend trip? This sleek nylon and leather option has plenty of pockets to keep your stuff organized while snaps on the exterior let you attach a separate toiletry kit.
Unlike the other backpacks on this list, this one has a dedicated shoe compartment so you can store muddy sneakers away from the rest of your clothes. With a 34L capacity, this is big enough for a weekend plus an extra day or two, in case of airport delays.
Here’s another sale option from Everlane that’s great for a casual trip. It won’t fit much more than a change of clothes plus some toiletries, but sometimes that’s all you need. Plus, it’s only $31.
Can’t decide if you want a tote or a backpack? This Patagonia pack is the best of both worlds and can be carried either way. With 27L of storage, it’s the ideal weekend bag.
If You’re Not The Type To Pack Light
I get it, you’re bad at bringing just the essentials for an overnight trip. I’m the same. After years of traveling for work, I’ve learned that if it’s more than one night away from home, I’ll need a carry-on or giant duffel that’s bigger than your standard weekend bag. Here are some good options, including ones on sale.
Staff writer Anne Cruz might use the smaller Lo & Sons bag for short trips but when it comes to packing serious camping gear, this is her favorite duffel. Durable (she’s even broken liquids in the bag with no leaks) and roomy, it also packs up into a tiny pocket, so you can bring it as spare travel storage.
If you’d rather wheel something around, this carry-on is on sale for under $100. Featuring a terrazzo print, it’s distinctive enough that should you be forced to check it on a flight, no one will confuse their bag for yours at baggage claim.
During 2019 I spent nine months out of the year on a plane, traveling for work. Tumi was my go-to for all my needs. This one, which is on sale, can expand, which is a handy feature in case you wind up buying a few things on your trip.