Pick up a lightweight, affordable weekender for your next trip out of town.
Words & Photos by Andrew Snavely
Once upon a time, you could stuff a few days’ worth of essentials into a backpack and be done packing.Well, not anymore. Now you’ve got good shoes, and collared shirts, and other items that deserve better than being crammed into a book bag. Not to mention, the same bag that saw you through college probably won’t cut it on a business trip.
But rather than reaching for an unwieldy suitcase, consider a third option: a ruggedly handsome weekend bag. Often made from leather or heavy-duty canvas, these overnight bags are usually more structured than a duffel bag, but more stylish than the average hard-shell case. Plus the lack of wheels and slight “squishability” (technical term used by expert travelers) means they fit easily in an overhead compartment, trunk, back seat, and so on.
When choosing an overnight bag, look for one with plenty of compartments — keeping your devices and toiletries separate from your clothing makes it easier to pack, unpack, and find things when you’re halfway through your trip.
Premium weekender bags can cost upwards of several hundred dollars. But we’ve rounded up a bunch of durable, versatile, and functional overnight bags that are affordable, so you can spend more money on experience rather than your luggage.
Updated June 2019
Watch our video guide, or scroll on to read our picks!
Click here to subscribe to Primer on Youtube!
The Best Budget Leather Weekender
Komal's Passion Leather Duffel
25 x 11 x 10 in
A hidden gem popular among style forums, this goatskin duffel comes looking like it’s seen some adventures right out of the box. The leather is naturally spotted, marked, and wrinkled giving it a distressed or vintage feel. It has 2 end pockets and 2 front pockets, and the inside has a durable canvas lining. A few comments on Amazon complained of a strong smell but I didn't have that experience at all. If you want a leather duffel but don't want to drop a lot of money, it's tough to beat this bag.
The Best Bang for Your Buck
S-Zone Canvas Leather Duffel
21.7 x 14.8 x 10.2 in
This classic and handsome weekender is made of canvas and buttery-soft oiled leather. That, and with it's nicely finished interior, make this bag seem like it should cost 4 times as much. Two outside zipper pockets stow small gadgets at a finger's reach and the inside has 2 zip pockets as well as 2 open top pockets. The bottom is canvas, but protected by metal feet. This bag design is available from a few brand names, likely being a white-labeled product.
The Best Quality Leather Weekender Under $150
David King & Co. Extra Large Duffel
23 x 12 x 12 in
If you're looking for a leather weekender of decent quality for less than the cost of a night in a hotel room, you're looking at it. Leather bags are virtually unavailable for less than a couple hundred dollars. Because of its more structured form it's also the largest bag on the list, that may be good or bad depending on what you're looking for. It features compartments on each end with travel pockets, and two zippered pockets on each of the long sides. The leather is soft and thick, and the inside is lined with black. The shoulder strap is also leather, which is a nice touch, though the back of it is canvas.
The Best Minimalist Weekender
Everlane, $85 (Updated version)
14.2 x 7.3 x 19.5 in
Everlane practically invented the trendy concept among online retailers of “radical transparency” and cutting out the middlemen markup of traditional luxury goods. Their rise to millennial fandom began with their clean and minimalist-designed twill weekender. The simple shape and lack of adornment gives the bag a designer look for less than C-note.
The Best American-made Overnight Bag Under $100
Beckel Canvas, $85 (Updated version)
18 x 12 x 8 in
Beckel Canvas is a small family-owned American company that started as, and continues to be, a canvas tent manufacturer. A nice height considering its shorter length, the Possibilities Bag is made of 20 oz canvas, heavy duty webbing, and reinforced with leather, the same material they make their tents out of. This buy-it-for-life bag is minimalist function at its best: sturdy and built to be beat around, the interior is unfinished and unlined. If you're looking for a bag that has a beautiful and simple aesthetic that can take whatever you throw at it, this bag will see you through a life's worth of weekend trips.
The Best Waxed Canvas Bag Under $50
S-Zone Waterproof Travel Tote
21.6 x 9.8 x 11.8 in
Another S-Zone bag we stumbled across on Amazon. After our positive experience with the duffel featured above, we pulled the trigger on this waxed canvas variant. For less than $50, it's tough to beat this option. While water does roll off the exterior thanks to its waxed waterproof coating, the leather is not as nice as the other bag featured above. Still, it's a bag I carry regularly and love. Watch our full video below and read the full review.