From weekend getaways that I’m dragged into joining to weeklong trips to visit relatives I don’t want to see to spur-of-the-moment meetings that involve taking way too many connection flights, I have traveled a lot—more than I like to admit. The sad part is that I’m a homebody that absolutely detests airports, train stations, and bus terminals. Still, I find myself in transit. The one silver lining in all this is that I’ve become an efficient packer, a master packer even. And, my friends, it all starts with your choice of travel bag.
I’ve gone through my fair share of luggage over the years, and have come to find that the good brands make a wide range of styles, sure, but there is always one that’s a cut above the rest. If a jaunt to a cabin in the woods is in the cards, for example, look for a duffel, preferably one by Ghurka or Herschel. Traveling long distances? Rimowa and Zero Halliburton make the kind of cases that stay dent-free. You tell me you appreciate the finer things. Well, Montblanc and Filson are for you. And I can honestly say that I’ve tried them all, and swear by them. I’m glad my misery could do you some good.
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Best Weekender Bag
Novel Duffel Bag
When it comes to quick trips that last a day or two, a duffel is what you need. And Herschel’s Novel bag is, in so many words, the best bang for your buck. Not only is it incredibly durable and spacious enough for several fits (there’s also a separate compartment for your shoes), it’s also less than $100. That’s what we call a win-win.
Best Nylon Backpack
Ah, the backpack. From one-way train rides to trips that involve connecting flights, it’s the bag that allows you to move hands-free. There should be no unnecessary bells or whistles; all it needs to have are compartments, a durable material (nylon is a great option), and good looks. Caraa, the maker of the best baby bag, checks all the boxes.
Best Soft Shell Carry-On Bag
Pro Travel Softside Expandable Carry-On Luggage
In the luggage realm, there are very few that hold a candle to Samsonite. For more than a century (yes, that long), the brand has been churning out travel accessories, always offering quality styles for the day. It doesn’t get bogged down by its history. This soft-shell spinner, for example, features wireless charging pockets and compartment for toiletries, and it is made of 100 percent ballistic nylon. It’s also less than $250, which makes is a virtual steal.
Best Canvas Travel Bag
Le Pliage Néo Travel Bag
Did you travel abroad in college during the aughts? Do you frequent terminals at international airports? Have you been to Europe lately? If the answer is yes to all one or all three, Longchamp’s Le Pliage needs no introduction. But in case you need a refresher, it is the chicest canvas bag around, coming in every conceivable color. It is built to withstand wear and tear, and will serve as a worthy travel companion for many, many years.
Best Sustainable Travel Bag
Aviator Grand Suitcase
Paravel is relatively new to the luggage game, but in just a short time it is succeeding in the competitive market by focusing entirely on sustainability. Founded by a Vogue alumn, the brand’s collection is not only beautifully designed, but they are also made of recycled plastic water bottles. It also plants trees through Eden Reforestation Projects to offset the carbon emissions it produces via shipping.
Best Travel Garment Bag
Alpha 3 Garment Bag
Business executives truly know the value of garment bag. When you’re on trip that requires you to be in a suit throughout the day and don’t have time to steam your clothes, this style is a virtual lifesaver. There are many brands that offer them, sure, but know that Tumi is the alpha.
Best Soft Shell Check-In Bag
Baseline Softside CX Expandable Checked Spinner Trunk
Overpackers step to the front, because this durable rolling luggage from Briggs & Riley is what you need. The bag is able to expand up to 2.5 inches, allowing for 25 percent more space, and the exterior is made of ballistic nylon that withstands abrasion and dirt. But on the off chance that something should happen to the spinner, the brand offers repairs free of charge.
Best Leather Backpack
Weatherproof Leather Journeyman Backpack
See above for why why backpacks are the best. Now see the name on this beauty to understand why this is the best leather option around. And if that doesn’t get you, know that Filson made the bags for miners during the Gold Rush and for every outdoorsmen with style since.
Best Hard Shell Carry-On Suitcase
Cabin S Carry-On Suitcase
From Karl Lagerfeld and David Fincher to Martha Stewart and Virgil Abloh, every high roller worth their salt owns this bag. *Drops mic*
Best Leather Duffle Bag
Cavalier I No. 96 Duffel Bag
The Novel duffle is great, but if you want something that’ll truly turn heads, look no further than the Cavalier I from Ghurka. The stunning leather and brass hardware don’t just look beautiful now, but become even more so with time. It’s definitely a worthy investment.
Best Hard Shell Check-In Bag
Large Travel Case
Speaking of investment, it doesn’t get any more foolproof than Zero Halliburton. This label is, after all, the maker of the iconic damage-resistant aluminum briefcases, so rest assured that its large spinner will stay dent-free while its be tossed and turned from the check-in booth to baggage claim.
Best Travel Briefcase
Sartorial Large Document Case
From the finest writing instruments to timepieces inspired by French kings, Montblanc offers the kind of items beloved by jet-setters, C-suite executives, and anyone that aspires to that sort of thing. This, of course, means that its briefcase is one of the best around, and will surely induce envy from the rest of the folks in first class.
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