Weekender bags, overnight bags, and duffle bags are all words used to describe the same type of bag.
Why make it simple when you can make it complicated, you may ask?
In general, these terms refer to a soft-sided bag with handles and a removable strap that has been a go-to choice for frequent travellers, both workers, students and tourists alike.
While once upon a time these were solid green cylindrical bags, they now come in all types of shapes and colours. The modern-day weekender bag has become a sophisticated child of its duffle bag predecessors.
Wants to know more about these timeless marvels? Let's dive into it!
- The History of the Weekender, Overnight & Duffle Bags
- Why Are There Multiple Names for a Duffle Bag?
- Key Features of Duffle Bags, Weekend Bags, and Overnight Bags
- How do you carry a duffel bag?
- Can you use a duffle bag as carry-on luggage?
- How do you pack a duffel bag?
- What is the best travel duffel bag?
- Conclusion: Add a Quality Duffle Bag, Weekender Bag, or Overnight Bag to Your Life
I. The History of the Weekender, Overnight & Duffle Bags
The duffle bag, as we know it today, can be traced back to the early 20th century. However, duffle bags have their roots going even further back.
These bags get their name from the type of cotton used, which has its roots in the late 17th century in Belgium, within a town called Duffel.
This material was so durable that it was used on ships, where the ability to withstand high trade winds was paramount. Any fabric leftover from being used on those ships was made into simple bags for sailors to use for their belongings.
Fast forward to the 19th century, this thick and durable cotton fabric was used for outfits that needed to withstand extreme elements, such as Antarctic expeditions.
The military fell in love with using duffle cotton fabric for bags, given how tough and affordable the material was. It could really take a beating and still hold up for a long time to come. At first, the British and American military members used duffle bags, followed by the rest of the world.
A surplus of military duffle bags made their way into military surplus stores, where the bags were picked up by people, such as surfers, from California all the way down to Australia.
From there, the duffle bag became a fashion statement and picked up greater popularity as the years and decades went on
These days, everyone from high-powered executives to blue-collar workers embrace duffle bags as a great way to haul their belongings.
These bags are made out of a variety of materials besides just a specific type of cotton. There are also variations of its shape, away from the monolithic style of being a large and cylindrical bag, while closed at the top with a zipper or drawstring.
II. Why Are There Multiple Names for a Duffle Bag?
What started out as one word to describe this type of bag has now turned into a few different names for the same bag.
Why is this the case? Does a weekender bag differ somehow from an overnight bag? Is a duffle bag something different from both of these?
The additional names for essentially the same bag came into being because of a few deviations from the original duffle bag. When you think of what is a duffle bag, you conjure up visions of a cylindrical canvas bag with straps.
When a bag has these elements, it is easy to identify it by calling it a duffle bag. However, what about when there are more accessories and different materials used?
When the design of a bag strays in some way from the original duffle style, it helps to describe it in different ways.
- The Weekender Bag is a name that has been created to define a duffle bag that is designed for use on trips that are a few days long, such as a weekend getaway. Besides having space (which duffle bags also provide) for a longer trip, weekender bags can also be considered versatile pieces of luggage. The practical design not only has handles but features a shoulder strap as well. You can take it with you as a carry-on when flying somewhere, grabbing it by the handles, and heading out of the airport. You can also throw it over your shoulder when you need your hands free to perform other tasks.
Besides these design elements, there is also lots of variety in regards to the style, colour, and materials. The most typical materials used are canvas, leather, and polyester. The natural materials are part of the charm of duffle bags, which is something weekender bags also have. The interior synthetic polyester lining has a practical purpose as well. It keeps all the contents within the bag free from getting agitated by the rougher cotton canvas of the bag. It also helps keep everything clean on the interior.
- The Overnight Bag is, as the name suggests, a bag that is suitable for taking with you on an overnight trip. This means it may be slightly smaller in size than a weekender bag, yet still large enough to take all the belongings you would need to stay the night somewhere. An overnight bag does not have to just be used for one-night reprieves. You can take it with you to the gym and the office as well. Its medium size makes it practical to use for transporting your everyday-use belongings, be they for business, pleasure, or exercise.
- Duffle bags make great carry-on and travel bags, given their soft exterior, can be squashed down to fit according to specific airline baggage restrictions. The rugged and durable exterior means it can also handle getting thrown around, if necessary. These bags are large enough where they always seem to have room for a few more things you may want to bring with you or bring back home. The versatile and timeless style of the duffle bag is something that has helped cement it as a bag that is as popular as ever, for both everyday uses and for travelling on short trips. It is easy to carry, lightweight, and can take a beating.
III. Key Features of Duffle Bags, Weekend Bags, and Overnight Bags
There are some key features that are integral to a bag being considered a weekender, overnighter, or duffle bag.
You will find these on all the variations of the duffle bag and if you don't, then it's not a true duffle bag. The key features you will want to look out for are the following:
✔ Durable Materials
The most notable, as well as important, feature of a good duffle bag is the material it is made out of. To be a true weekender bag, the material needs to be durable and able to withstand rugged uses.
The two most common quality materials are canvas and leather. The canvas generally comes waxed, in order to protect the contents of the bag from outside moisture. Canvas is an incredibly durable material, which is why it was used to make these bags for sailors and the military in the first place. Leather is a great material for handles and buckles, so both are great for use in a duffle bag.
✔ Strong Stitching
Staying with the theme of toughness and durability, weekender duffle bags feature strong stitching. The workmanship on the stitching is so good that it will make sure the bag will not tear from heavy use.
The stitching patterns are done in such a way that no matter what direction you pull at the bag, they will stay in place. Properly-stitched seams can make a big difference between a bag holding up to your needs and a bag that fails at doing so.
The more you will want to load up the bag, the more important strong stitching becomes. A true quality duffle bag will have seams stitched from the inside in the areas where the load-bearing weight will create the most pressure.
✔ Double Stitched Zipper
A good weekender bag will have a very strong zipper. You want to be able to fill your duffle bag to its maximum capacity without it bursting open. The bigger a zipper is, the stronger it will be and the more likely it will be able to stay closed.
A durable and well-made zipper will also be implanted right into the seams of the bag. The benefit to you with this is that there will be less potential for fraying.
While a good zipper will work well for years to come, even the best zippers will be challenged if you consistently over-stuff a bag.
✔ Strong Shoulder Straps
As you can tell by now, this type of bag has strong features. This holds true when it comes to the straps. The straps have to be strong enough to handle the considerable weight of the contents within the duffle bag.
They should make carrying the bag around as effortless and easy as possible. This strap helps you throw the bag over your shoulder. The bag should also have strong handles as well, in case you prefer to hand-carry your weekender bag.
Both handles and a strap are features on practically all duffle, weekender, and overnight bags. However, most of the time, the strap is removable, so you can stow it away if you do not intend to carry it using that method.
✔ Roomy and Lined Interior
A key feature of a great duffle bag is a roomy interior, which has a lining between your belongings and the rugged material the bag is made out of. This lining should be soft and add to the overall beauty and sophistication of the bag.
The interior of the bag should be roomy enough for stowing away your gear, supplies, and accessories you will need for the day, weekend, or an overnight stay. The soft exterior allows this bag to get compressed for airline flights and other places where it needs to conform to particular size allotments.
✔ Multiple Internal and External Pockets
These bags should also contain a few pockets for items you need to get to quickly, such as your phone. Having pockets of various sizes helps you stow away accessories that are easily accessible.
They should be on the interior, as well as the exterior of the bag. Smaller accessories should not have to live in the main storage compartment, where they can be difficult to locate.
These pockets will save time and eliminate frustration when you need to access something, such as your phone or a plane ticket.
✔ Higher Price for Quality and Craftsmanship
Given the high quality of the materials used in duffle bags, weekender bags, and overnight bags, the price will be higher than the average bag you can find mass-produced.
The general rule is that the cheaper a bag is, the lower the quality will be. While it may look rugged and tough, after putting it through stress tests, you will come to notice that a seam or two starts ripping or the zipper starts getting stuck.
For quality bags, you need to put out a little extra money. This does not mean it has to be some exorbitant amount just because there is a name brand slapped onto the bag. The quality of the materials and the craftsmanship of the bag are the legitimate reasons for a duffle bag to cost a little bit more.
IV. How do you carry a duffel bag?
The travel bag is a perfect ally both for last-minute trips and daily outings. One of the main advantages of travel bags is that they often have a detachable strap, allowing you to carry it over your shoulder or around the neck.
This allows a more even weight distribution and therefore improves comfort. If your bag is not overloaded, you can carry it by hand thanks to the reinforced handles.
Regarding its organization, the travel bag offers you a very large main storage space. You can store your belongings on the fly or opt for storage cubes, which are often inexpensive but very practical for organising your travels.
V. Can you use a duffle bag as carry-on luggage?
We see it very often in movies and TV series, the travel bag is a must-have in airports and ideal carry-on backpack for all types of trips given their various forms and functionalities.
We recommend this object as a carry-on bag, as long as it respects the airline's dimensions, as it is functional, light and easy to access. You can store easily your computer, personal belongings and transport documents in it and travel with peace of mind.
As for restrictions, they vary significantly from airline to airline and we can only urge you to check their policies before travelling.
However, the most common standards are: 56 cm x 36 cm x 23 cm (22' x 14' x 9') for traditional airlines and 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm (22' x 16' x 8') for low-cost airlines.
These restrictions ensure that your bag will fit easily into the compartments above the seats. If your bag exceeds a few centimetres, don't worry, they are often flexible and can, therefore, accommodate a short fold for the duration of a flight.
Some duffle bags have wheels. We do not recommend this choice because it makes your travel bag heavier, and in addition to reducing your comfort, some airlines have also weight restrictions for carry-on bags.
Indeed, even if few companies (especially the major ones) check the weight of your cabin baggage (provided it is not visibly overloaded), low-cost companies, for security reasons, may ask you to put your cabin baggage in the hold if it exceeds a certain weight (again, this point should be checked in advance with your airline).
VI. How do you pack a duffel bag?
Going on holiday is often a headache when you decide to pack your things. The travel bag is an ideal ally to facilitate this process. As a little tip, remember to fill it with one or two pillows when it is empty to keep it in shape and to avoid damaging the materials.
Once the travel bag is empty, put it on your bed or dining table with the things you want to take with you to optimize the process.
Always start with the heaviest items such as your shoes for example (heel against the wall preferably).
Then you can put your trousers and shirts on (jeans, which do not wrinkle, are recommended). They should be rolled up. You never fold your clothes in a duffel bag to make the most of the space, as the bag is usually rounded.
When stacking your belongings, make sure to arrange your rolls in the direction of the bag, never perpendicular, in order to maximize the space offered by your travel bag.
Then place a few T-shirts on top, always rolled up. Opt for simple and uniformly coloured T-shirts that you can wear in different types of situations. You can add sports gear if you like to stay in shape during your holidays.
Finally, of course, think about underwear and socks, these omissions are fatal.
On the sides, you can add an iPad, a few books and your toilet bag (which contains only the essentials - toothbrush, deodorant, perfume and some basic medicines). Finally, put your travel documents and personal belongings (keys, wallet, phone) on top and in the zip pockets.
It's all good, you're ready to go for your weekend with everything you need.
VII. What is the best travel duffel bag?
The best travel duffel bag you can find on the market must meet certain essential requirements. It must be lightweight, durable, functional, robust and stylish.
Out of a wide range of duffle bags to choose from these days, EIKEN stands out as producing high-quality bags, made out of durable and premium materials.
The following are the 5 best EIKEN duffle bags you can get right now. What we especially enjoy with our travel bags is that they are in between the canvas backpack and the hard case, making them very practical and functional accessories.
The QAANAQ is a duffle bag made out of waxed canvas. This is a solid duffle bag that gives a nod to the traditional style of this kind of bag.
Available in either khaki, black, army green, or dark grey, this vintage-looking bag is great for people who have an adventurous spirit.
The materials are high-quality waxed canvas, which was created out of hand-picked cotton. The leather is top-grain, so you know you are getting the most durable leather you can get on a duffle bag.
Weighing only 1.6 Kg, this is a lightweight bag, even though it is built tough. A key aspect of durability is the reinforced double stitching on the zipper.
One of the features demonstrating its versatility is the zippered pocket on the outside, which can stow away items you need to access quickly. The pockets continue on the interior, which are also zippered.
For items you want to avoid fiddling with a zipper to get to, there are also open pockets on the inside. Besides these pockets, there is a roomy storage space that hearkens back to the simplicity of classic duffle bags.
This is a versatile bag, able to be used for a number of outings and occasions, including weekend trips, vacations, and everyday life.
Since this is a retro-inspired duffle bag, it has fewer pockets than some other bags, but this is something that can be a preference for some.
- Vintage-inspired style
- Durable reinforced double stitching on the zipper
- Roomy storage spaces
- Lightweight and versatile
- Top grain leather
- Fewer pockets than other duffle bags
The OAXAKA is a travel duffle bag that is a homage to canvas bags of yesteryear. This bag is the perfect match for the sophisticated explorer within you.
The bag is made out of genuine leather, as well as waterproof hand-oiled canvas. These materials ensure the bag is resistant to water and can take a beating. The colours this bag comes in are khaki, grey, black, and army green.
A key defining feature of the OAXAKA is its spaciousness. It features 45 litres of space, which is more than enough for an entire weekend getaway.
The many zippered pockets on the bag's interior provide plenty of room for your accessories, where they can be stored securely. Also on the interior is a soft polyester lining, which is a pleasing juxtaposition to the rugged canvas exterior.
An external and zippered side pocket makes it easy to access something in a second. The main zipper is both large and reinforced with double stitching.
This is one bag that does not run the risk of busting open on you. The total weight of this duffle bag is 1.45 Kg, which is exceptionally light given its tough materials and roomy interior.
The removable shoulder strap provides you with the option of either carrying it around like a briefcase or slinging it over your shoulder.
One issue some may have is that the images you see of this bag may not reflect exactly on the bag they get. This is because the bag has genuine leather, which automatically makes every bag unique.
Whether you are a student, modern business traveller, or a casual adventurer, this bag is a great choice.
- Waterproof waxed-cotton design
- 45 litres of spacious room
- Soft interior lining
- Lightweight and roomy
- External frontside zippered pocket
- Genuine leather construction results in a different look than promotional images
The APUKA is a weekender bag that makes for a bold statement. This stylish bag is roomy while staying relatively lightweight. It is not the lightest weekender bag you can get, but that extra weight comes with a nice perk.
The materials this bag is made out of are ultra-resistant waxed cotton canvas and genuine top grain leather. The end result of these two materials coming together to form this bag is something that is high-quality and elegant.
There are four tasteful colours you can get this bag in. The ivory, green, dark grey, and black versions look great while being discreet. The bag's inner contents are protected by a reinforced double-stitched zipper, ensuring your belongings are protected.
The interior has a large main compartment, to store all your large items, such as clothes and computer equipment. There are also open pockets, along with a zippered pocket.
Lining this interior is a soft polyester material that will keep your belongings clean and free of any abrasions.
The leather handles on the APUKA are exquisite, offering a professional look to an already-sophisticated bag. A great feature of this weekender bag is the two external pockets, one on each side of the bag.
One pocket is zippered while the other snaps closed with a button. With both types of pockets provided on this bag, you have the option of keeping something tucked away and hermetically sealed, or placing something in a pocket which provides easier access.
- Premium waxed canvas and genuine top grain leather materials
- Reinforced double-stitched zipper
- Soft internal lining
- Elegant leather handles
- Two external pockets, one zippered and one with a snap closure
- Slightly heavier than other bags in its class
The NEMASKA is an overnight bag that caters to people who are on the go or are involved in sports. This is a practical and ergonomic bag that has a slim body that stretches out and provides plenty of space while being easy to carry.
As with the other bags looked at earlier, the NEMASKA is also made out of canvas and leather. The canvas on this bag is waxed, protecting it from the elements.
The leather is top-grain vintage crazy horse leather, offering the highest quality of leather for a luxurious look.
Weighing around 1.7 Kg, this is a light bag that you can throw over your shoulder and be out the door. The included detachable shoulder strap makes it easy to carry around when you need your hands free.
When you would prefer to carry it, the beautiful and comfortable leather handles will make holding it inviting.
The quality of the materials used for this bag is exceptional. Each corner of this weekender bag is reinforced with leather, ensuring the bag holds up for a long time to come.
Beyond just the corners being reinforced, the wrists and hip are also fortified with genuine leather.
There are even more premium features, including two external pockets. One of these is zippered while the other is flapped with a buckle. These make it easier to get to the essential accessories you need to get readily and often.
Given this bag is built for durability, it feels harder than some others, although this may be preferable for those who need a more rugged overnight bag.
- Ergonomic design
- High-quality waxed canvas and vintage crazy horse leather
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Comfortable handles and shoulder strap
- Reinforced corners for extra durability
- The greater hardness of material than other bags
The MAIKA is a weekender bag that holds that retro look of canvas bags from times passed. The vintage canvas and leather bag come in either green army, khaki, black or grey, which keep will have you taking trips with class and subtlety.
Differing from other duffle-style bags looked at so far, this one is offered in two different sizes. For everyday use, the smaller iteration of this bag will be ideal, whereas the larger version will hold enough gear and belongings for long weekend trips.
Whether you are using it as a bag to carry your things on a daily basis or trekking off somewhere for a few days, this bag will hold up to the task. The materials are ultra-resistant waxed cotton canvas and genuine crazy horse leather.
Both quality and comfort will be yours thanks to these materials being used in the design of the MAIKA.
There is a zippered pocket on the outside of the bag. Although this pocket may be cumbersome to use for certain items, there is another extra top-facing pocket on this bag that is quite large and makes placing and retrieving items easy and effortless.
Overall, this bag provides a discrete and sober look, marking an ode to retro duffle bags. With the non-imposing style of this bag, you can use it for various activities without it feeling out of place.
- Vintage look and feel
- Two different sizes
- Premium cotton canvas and crazy horse leather
- Dual-buckle straps
- Large top-facing external pocket
VIII. Conclusion: Add a Quality Duffle Bag, Weekender Bag, or Overnight Bag to Your Life
Whether it's called the weekender, overnight, or duffle bag, it offers the same durability, style, and versatility.
From its unexpected beginnings as something made out of the remnants of materials for ships, the duffle bag has matured and evolved, while keeping to its roots with the elements of canvas and a sober look
There are key features this type of bag has, which make is an iconic and timeless classic.
This is a bag that is appreciated for its rugged sophistication and practicality by people all over the world.
These days, there are many different styles a duffle or weekender bag comes in. For a classy look to carry your belongings, either for every day or use a weekend trip, a duffle bag is a great choice.