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What is a Weekend Bag? (and why you need one)

BY Buffalo Jackson Insight
BY Xan Hood

A weekend bag (also called a weekender or weekend case) is exactly what it says: just the right size for a weekend getaway. Intended to carry enough clothing, toiletries, and other essentials for a few days away, a weekender should include a long, adjustable strap for carrying cross body or over the shoulder and shorter handles for a quick grab. Weekend bags are soft-sided and have a top zippered closure. When fully unzipped, the bag’s opening is wide enough for easy access to all of its contents.

Why do I need a weekend bag?

If you like to travel unencumbered and ready for anything, a weekend bag may become your favorite travel bag. Bigger than a backpack but smaller than a suitcase, a weekend bag is the ideal grab-and-go size for a weekend away. A weekender will typically be modest enough in size to carry on a flight—like this waxed canvas weekend bag.

A weekender can also be extra roomy and oversized. Oversized, however, will likely cost you your carry on status. That, of course, knocks it out of the grab-and-go category -- if you’re flying. But for a weekend road trip? This oversized weekend bag may fit the bill. What you lose in carry-on compliance, you gain in carrying capacity -- which is just what you need for those extra essentials. (Car snacks, anyone?)

What makes a good weekend bag? 

Any true weekend bag has a soft sided exterior and zippered closure. The exterior material on a good weekend bag will be crafted of a durable material that can handle the demands of travel. That includes the hardware as well. Beware of cheaping out on a thin nylon bag with a flimsy zipper. It will likely wear through after your first trip -- if it even lasts that long. Instead, find a weekender crafted of classic materials like leather or waxed canvas. Both waxed canvas and leather are exceptionally durable and actually look better with age and use.

All traditional weekend bags include two carry handles, and most also include a longer carrying strap. Beware of thin nylon straps and handles. If you’re carrying much weight in your bag at all, or for any extended distance, those straps and handles will cramp your style in no time. On a good weekend bag, that longer strap will be adjustable, removable, and padded. The carrying handles ought to be made of a durable, comfortable material like leather.

The interior of any weekend bag will be open and roomy, with probably one pocket for smaller items. Weekend bags don’t typically include many (if any) organizational compartments. The simple, open interior makes for quick and simple packing: roll up some changes of clothes, toss in your Dopp kit and a book, and you’re ready to go. The inside of all weekend bags is mostly created equal. But not quite. Pay attention to the material: the interior of a good weekend bag will be lined with an easy-to-clean fabric like quick-drying nylon. You may find this extremely important someday. Just trust us. (It’s a long story. Car snacks.)

A good weekend bag will fit all you need for a weekend getaway without weighing you down. But the best weekend bags are more than just the right size. Find a weekender that’s the right fit for you—inside and out—and you’ve found a bag that will last for years of weekend adventures.

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