Let’s not beat around the baggage bush here. You need a duffle. You’re a busy guy, with a long list of things to do today and because having a packhorse trailing behind you isn’t the done thing any more, you’re likely to be lugging around a range of gear to help you tick all your to-do list boxes, including “nail 10am meeting”, “hit gym”, “catch flight to Berlin” and more. And with a larger capacity than a standard rucksack, but still small enough to take with you everywhere, a duffle is a modern-day packhorse minus the ethical animal welfare quandaries.

History proves it, too. The barrel-shaped bag was first used by troops to carry their kit on deployments, and was then adopted by Californian surfers needing to quickly load up their gear in order to hit the waves fast. Fast-forward to present day, and there’s a huge selection of stylish and durable options ready to find a home on your shoulder. Here’s our pick of the best.

Tumi Alpha 2

Watch from your plane window as the baggage carriers attempt their best wrecking efforts, but end up scratching their heads at just how unbreakable this monster is. Tumi has constructed the Alpha 2 from its signature ballistic nylon, making it a truly hardcore travel option. £395, buy on amazon.co.uk

Eastpak Renana Holdall

Eastpak is no stranger to producing products that stand up to demanding situations – the company started life back in 1952 supplying US troops with sturdy canvas packs. This scuff-resistant, super-strength 25-litre beaut can take anything you’re likely to throw at it. £150, buy on mrporter.com

The North Face Base Camp

The North Face’s Base Camp range has become a staple of the airport luggage carousel for good reason: it’s insanely tough, levels the load on your shoulders thanks to a set of backpack straps, and comes in a load of popping colourways to prevent any confusion with your fellow travellers’ models. £115, buy on snowandrock.com


With a lifetime guarantee and a thick canvas construction, Filson’s duffle – like everything else in its outdoors-ready catalogue – is built to last. Not only that, but it’s designed to meet maximum airline carry-on size restrictions, so you don’t have to worry about starting your city break with a mile-long check-in queue. £385, buy on filson.com/uk

APC Liam

If you’re seeking a piece that won’t look out of place in either the gym or your office, look no further. Smartly understated and versatile is the order of the day in French label APC’s chic and sophisticated bag. £255, buy on matchesfashion.com

John Elliott Dégradé

Designer John Elliott is known for his laid-back West Coast vibes and this Mr Porter-exclusive duffle bag sums up what he’s about. Inspired by the ocean, the canvas bag with cool blue degrade-effect is raring to hit the beach. £115, buy on mrporter.com


Famous for its button-down shirts, Gant has produced a smart navy duffle that makes for an ideal pre- or post-office gym bag. £65, buy on gant.co.uk

Calvin Klein 205W39NYC

Flying out on an overnight business trip? Here’s one for you. Small enough to sling over your shoulder and to wedge under the plane seat in front of you, this Raf Simons-designed slickster is ideal for a shotgun trip out of the country. £335, buy on matchesfashion.com

Pacsafe Dufflesafe AT45

Yes, yes, sure, a thief could just pick up and make off with your bag. But short of nailing your belongings to the ground, this is probably the most secure carry-on that money can get you. It’s riddled with anti-theft features, including a pickpocket-deterring puncture-resistant zipper, and eXomesh slashguard panels on all sides. £96, buy on amazon.co.uk


Good luck finding a whopping 100-litre duffle bag anywhere else at this price. Madness. £14.99, buy on sportsdirect.com

Luke Short Break

This bad boy’s easy on the shoulders thanks to three carry options, easy on your torso thanks to a soft quilted duffle construction dulling any sharp edges poking out, and mercifully easy on the wallet to boot. £40, buy on luke1977.com

Eastpak Reader Apple Pick S

Eastpak has ticked all the boxes with this one – it’s carry-on size, has a packing-friendly u-zip top, boasts adjustable and removable padded shoulder straps, includes a side pocket for wet items, and has a reinforced base. Yep, it’s all here. £55, buy on eastpak.com

Nike Vapor Max Air Duffel Bag

Five-a-side kit, meet your new home. £34.99, buy on nike.com