6 Hybrid Duffel Backpacks That Will Change the Way You Pack

For the ease of a backpack and the black-hole space of a gym bag, look to these hybrid duffel backpacks that are a utilitarian traveler’s best friend.

Best Duffel Backpacks

Whether you’re slinging it over your back to get through rough terrain or want a rolling version for easier transport, you may never go back to a clunky suitcase.

Eagle Creek’s Cargo Hauler Duffel Backpacks

You may worry that duffel backpacks will be hard on your shoulders, but it’s easy to find rolling versions that will grant you the best of both worlds. Eagle Creek’s Cargo Hauler Duffel comes not only in an array of sizes (45 to 120 liters) and colors, but also in a wheeled option.

This roomy duffel backpack will fit all your stuff, whether you want to wheel it, carry it, or attach its removable straps and throw it on your back. Its water repellant fabric and padded base make it a durable option for every adventure, and it folds up into itself so it can be stashed away at home.

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The North Face Flyweight Duffel Backpack

Another way to ensure duffel backpacks won’t weigh you down is opting for a smaller ultralight duffel-bag backpack. The North Face Flyweight Duffel is a great choice for packing light on shorter trips, or for budget airlines that limit bag size. It can hold 32 liters and has external pockets for easy access to necessities. Its sleek unisex design blends in anywhere. Wear it on your back or sling its long carrying strap over your shoulder.

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Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Backpack

Packing everything you need for an adventure means you’ll need a roomy duffel-bag backpack—but preferably one that folds away for easy storage. Patagonia’s Black Hole Duffel does just that, as its name suggests, and comes in sizes ranging from 30 to 120 liters.

I relied on one to get around Sri Lanka for two weeks and loved its rip-stop waterproof material during the rainy season, plus its removable straps for when I wanted to quickly transition from a safari vehicle or train to walking on dirt roads. The Black Hole Duffel also comes in a wheeled version for those who won’t be encountering rough terrain.

Cotopaxi Nazca Canvas Overnight Duffel Backpack

An overnight bag that can hold 24 liters, Cotopaxi’s Nazca Canvas Overnight Duffel backpack is both water-resistant for outdoor use and stylish enough to double as a business-trip-worthy duffel backpack. The inner mesh packing compartments make it super organized, whether you’re camping or using it as a carry-on (its dimensions are fit for all airline size limits). As an added bonus, it has a 61-year warranty and could be the last overnight bag you buy.

Fjallraven Splitpack

Trendy Swedish bag maker Fjallraven offers the Splitpack, a unique take on duffel backpacks that splits in half to become two roomy, easy-to-pack compartments rather than one gravity-sensitive backpack slot. Fill both compartments and zip them together for a densely packed duffel-bag backpack, and keep your accessories in the easy-access outer pockets. The inner walls include mesh compartments to organize smaller items, and the bag can hold about 35 liters.

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Everlane’s Mover Pack

Water-resistant and easy-to-clean, the mover pack from cult-followed Everlane is stylish option that’s surprisingly durable. It has numerous pockets plus a separate shoe compartment, so your dirty sneaks don’t have to touch your clean wardrobe.

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SmarterTravel’s Shannon McMahon writes about all things travel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

By Shannon McMahon

Editor Shannon McMahon is always planning her next trip and often writing in her travel journal. Follow her on Twitter @shanmcmahon_ and on Instagram @shanmcmahon.

Shannon joined SmarterTravel in 2015. A former news reporter, she's lived in the south of Spain, spotted elephants in Sri Lanka, gone spelunking in the Caribbean, hiked Jordan's Petra Basin, interviewed Sao Paulo's Michelin-Star chefs, and explored China via bullet train. Travel trends, news oddities, and her visits to up-and-coming destinations are some of her favorite things to write about.

Her stories have also appeared online on USA Today, The Sun, Huffington Post, Business Insider,,, and more. Her educational background is in journalism, art history, gender studies, Spanish, and film. She's been quoted as an expert travel source by CNBC,, MarketWatch, The Washington Post, USA Today, and more.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Plenty of extra thick hair elastics. They tame my frizzy curls and come in handy in a surprising number of packing and hotel dilemmas."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Climbing (yes, climbing, it's steep!) the Great Wall of China before it's gone."

Travel Motto: "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Window, of course."

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