Men’s travel bags come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Choosing the right bag can make all the difference. Check out these five categories of men’s travel bags.
RUCKSACKS AND DAYPACKS
If you need a travel bag that’s compact and highly mobile, a rucksack or daypack will get the job done. A book, a change of clothes, and some basic grooming essentials will fit nicely in this type of men’s travel bag. These won’t hold enough for a longer trip, but they offer enough space for a weekend’s essentials—choose a pack like our Dakota waxed canvas rucksack when you need something organized and compact.
BACKPACKS AND DUFFLE BAGS (AND DUFFLE BACKPACKS)
These types of men’s travel bags are ideal for trips where a rolling bag just won’t take you where you need to go. Backpacks offer multiple compartments and padded straps that make carrying and organizing your load more bearable. For this style, check out our Dakota waxed canvas rolltop backpack. Duffle bags boast a cavernous interior that can hold impressive amounts of clothes, shoes, and gear. For a sharp-looking duffle, check out our Jefferson leather duffle bag. Or, of course, you could opt for the best of both worlds with our Dakota military duffle backpack.
A weekend bag (or “weekender”) is exactly what it says: just right for a weekend away. Typically carried in the hand or over the shoulder, great weekend bags have a vintage style to them – they’re definitely a classic among men’s travel bags. Weekenders can be modest enough in size to meet carry on requirements, or large and oversized—perfect for an extra long weekend. If this sounds like your style, check out our Walker leather weekend bag or our Dakota oversized weekend bag, available in waxed canvas or leather.
Originally, a pilot bag (or “flight bag”) referred specifically to a document bag carried by pilots and their flight crews. Historically, flight bags bore the airline logo and were lightweight with zippered outside pockets. Designed to carry operating manuals, navigational charts, flight checklists, logbooks, and licenses – and various accessories like sunglasses, headphones, and binoculars – these bags were a staple for every pilot. Today, a pilot bag can actually refer to any bag carried on an airplane – but, the best ones keep with the classic style with pockets and organization. Our Roosevelt buffalo leather pilot bag and Walker leather pilot bag are among our favorite men’s travel bags.
When you’re headed somewhere special, you’ll be glad you have a garment bag. Garment bags offer a kind of protection and organization for clothing that other types of men’s travel bags aren’t typically made for. Check out our Dakota Reserve garment bag with durable waxed canvas, scratch-free nylon, and reinforced copper rivets along with exterior pockets and a spacious T-zip interior.
PACKING TIPS FOR MEN’S TRAVEL BAGS
While there are many types and styles of men’s travel bags, when it comes to packing a weekend bag or a duffle, there is definitely a right way. Follow these 4 steps for packing success:
1. MAKE A LIST + GATHER ITEMS
Making a list helps ensure you don’t forget any necessities, and gathering your items first (rather than stuffing them in your travel bag as you grab them) will help you make the most of the space you have available.
2. PACK HEAVY + LOW–PRIORITY ITEMS FIRST
If you don’t think ahead, you’ll make the mistake of throwing in heavier items on top at the last minute, crushing and wrinkling what’s underneath. Or, you’ll end up having to dig through a layer of low-priority items to access your essentials near the bottom of your duffle.
3. TUCK + ROLL
Roll shirts into cylinders to save space and prevent extra wrinkling. Then, place items in a row in your bag. Tuck smaller and lighter-weight items (like socks) inside shoes and other small remaining spaces.
4. HIGH PRIORITY + ESSENTIALS
Things like toiletries, medications, and food can be added to the top of the main travel bag compartment or tucked into zippered pockets if your bag has those.
If you still have more to pack, give your bag a gentle shake to help the contents settle, and you’ll get a little more space to work with.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. How do I choose between waxed canvas or leather?
We offer men’s travel bags in both waxed canvas and leather because they are both excellent materials. But that can make it tough to choose! What is best for you depends on how you’ll use your bag. We suggest considering these four main points:
1. Water Resistance
The starkest contrast between leather and waxed canvas is how they handle water. High-quality leather - that which is not treated with a synthetic coating - will absorb water, causing it to deteriorate. Choosing a leather bag means you get a soft, supple material - that you’d better dry quickly if it gets wet. Choosing to treat your leather bag with a water-resistant coating means compromising the natural patina that would otherwise develop with age. Waxed canvas, on the other hand, is known and loved for its water resistance. The wax coating repels water, making this a popular material for sails, tents, and outdoor gear that has stood the test of time. However, the wax coating also tends to make the material more stiff as compared to soft, high-quality leather.
Oil and residue transfer easily to leather, so leather should regularly be wiped down with a dry or slightly damp cloth. Once a year or so, it should be thoroughly cleaned with a leather cleaning product. A few scuffs and a little dust isn’t going to kill waxed canvas, so regular cleaning is not required. If you’ve got some mud or major dirt to deal with, let the mud dry and then gently scrub it away with a bristle brush. If you’re dealing with a tough spot that you really want to clean up, you can use cold water and a small amount of mild soap (NOT DETERGENT). Then rinse and allow it to air dry. Do NOT dry clean or machine wash your waxed canvas bag.
Leather and waxed canvas both require maintenance. Real leather will dry out over time, so at least once a year, a high-quality leather conditioner should be applied to your leather travel bag. You can massage the conditioner into the entire surface of the leather with a soft sponge or cloth; then wipe off any excess with a clean dry cloth. (If you live in an arid climate, you’ll want to do this every couple of months.) Maintaining waxed canvas means re-waxing the canvas. Over time, you may find the wax coating beginning to thin, or notice spots where the waterproofing has broken down. You can restore your bag by re-waxing it. This is a fairly simple process which only requires a bar or tin of wax and a hair dryer to help soften the wax when applying.
Both waxed canvas and high-quality leather men’s travel bags far outlast their counterparts in long term endurance. Truly, the more you use them, the better they look. Given the proper care, the same wear and tear that would wear out and tear up another product will instead develop - in both leather and waxed canvas - the character and patina that make them even more valuable and desirable over time.
Bottom line: our men’s travel bags, whether crafted of waxed canvas or leather, use durable materials with rich histories that age well when cared for properly. Make your choice, treat it well, and enjoy it for many adventures to come!
2. What is the difference between high quality and low quality leather?
There are varying grades of leather quality; here are four keys to identifying high-quality versus low-quality leather in men’s travel bags:
Leather is a natural material made from real animal skin. Its surface structure should not be completely uniform. (Hints of imperfections are a good sign in leather.) A perfectly uniform grain actually indicates lower quality.
Again, remember leather is a natural material. High-quality leather is soft and pliable. When you run your fingers across high quality leather bags, they shouldn’t feel perfectly smooth. Press your finger into the leather - the surface will stretch and wrinkle a bit, like skin.
There is no way around it - high-quality leather travel bags cost more to produce than low-quality. If the price of that leather bag seems too good to be true, it probably is.