best travel bags

Regardless of whether you are a keen hiker or a weekday commuter, finding the ideal travel bag for you is key. 

Choosing the best travel bags, whether you're a novice or looking to upgrade and replace an existing travel bag, can be a minefield.

That's why in this post, we're going to go over exactly what you should look for in a travel bag, as well as giving you our best travel bag picks, from carry on luggage, to travel duffel bags, and travel backpacks.

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How to Choose Your Travel Bag

Size - Where Are You Traveling?

Each airline establishes its own dimensions for carry-on luggage and they are divided into two groups, domestic and international.

Domestic flights in the United States have standardized dimensions of 22 x 14 x 9 inches. International carry-on bag sizes are typically 21 inches tall and slightly thinner, although they do vary significantly. 

It's difficult to give an exact size, since many international trips will measure your luggage at the airport and refuse anything that does not fit within their decided dimensions. If you regularly travel outside of the United States, you might want to consider investing in a backpack designed for international travel.

You should also factor in each airline's weight restrictions. Some international flights limit you to 15 or 20 pounds per backpack, including the weight of the bag itself, but this does vary. However, some East Asian airlines limit carry-on luggage to 11 pounds and this leaves very little room to pack things inside a backpack such as clothes or your charger. Small bags also tend to be easier to get through TSA.

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Style and Fashion

If you're looking to replace or update a travel bag, consider the style. It’s important to like the look and style of it, as you may be using it daily.

 If you like the convenience of a duffel bag or wheelie suitcase, you should consider adding these styles of bag into the mix.

Choosing a leather bag will be more fashionable, but if you're price conscious, then a nylon bag will be cheaper.

You may also want to consider the colors of the bag, either a basic black color, a more robust brown or tan, or something louder like red.

The best bet is to choose a brand that focuses on high quality as opposed to price, as you'll likely get a more durable travel bag, especially the well-worn elements like the handle and zips.

You may be looking for a water-resistant option, and there are plenty out there, but you will likely have to sacrifice your style sense to carry one.

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Weight & Comfort

If you will be transporting your bag over long distances, every ounce of extra weight counts. While wheelie suitcases and carry-ons are ideal for city travel, they add weight to the bag and are inconvenient if you plan to go off-road. 

It’s also important to remember that weight, especially when it comes to the outdoors, as a lightweight bag is typically only possible with a reduction of durability. The more durable a bag is, the heavier it is likely to be. Before buying a lightweight or heavy backpack, think about how you plan to use it. And remember you’ll usually be lifting a bag into the overhead bin on your own.

Once your carry-on suitcase is loaded up with your toiletries, shoes, phone, wallet, water bottle, power bank, laptop, hardware, coat, and other tech gear and travel accessories, it'll often be quite a heavy bag to carry around with you.

Tech Compartments

Whether you are traveling for pleasure or business, you are almost certainly going to be taking some form of technology with you. It’s just how these things go nowadays. 

Therefore, you need to consider whether you want a hard shell travel backpack that protects your belongings, or one that is padded with a compartment for your laptop. If this is the case, ensure the laptop sleeve is big enough to fit your device or tablet.

Travel luggage always focuses on space, so definitely make sure the laptop compartment in your new bag is large enough to fit your laptop, as otherwise you'll have to return it.

Wheels & Wheel Types

Another thing to think about is the number of wheels on a bag. Roll-aboard backpacks with two wheels are lighter than those with four spinning wheels. Plus, they have greater interior space and have larger and more robust wheels than spinners (bags with spinner wheels). That could come in handy if you're walking to your hotel on uneven roads. 

However, a lot of people prefer roll-aboard bags for carry-on luggage. Any extra capacity in a carry-on is valuable, and these little bags are usually easy to manage without spinning wheels. The majority of the rolling bags on the market come in either arrangement, both spinners are more certainly slightly more expensive.

You may not want wheels at all, and prefer to carry your bag, which is a perfectly valid option too.

Soft Shell vs Hard Shell

Soft Shell

If you are a no-fuss traveler, a soft shell suitcase could be the right one for you. If you are someone who notices that your suitcases become damaged when you are traveling, a soft shell bag could be ideal. Whether you're going on a road trip or putting it in the overhead compartment, soft shell cases can endure a little more rough and tumble than hard shell options. 

Plus, if you're a heavy packer, a soft shell should be your first choice because of its ability to be filled to full capacity. This is because thanks to the increased give of its fabric lining, you can fit more inside.

Hard Shell

A hard shell suitcase is recommended for items that require extra protection, such as designer goods or expensive accessories. Hard shell bags will provide extra protection to your belongings as you travel from A to B, ensuring that none of your valuables are damaged. This is particularly important if it's going to be a checked in bag.


Best Travel Bags for 2022

Here we go over our top picks for travel bags by style and size.

Best Plane Carry-on Bag with Wheels 2022

voyager leather carry on bag with wheels in brown

Winner: Voyager Leather Carry-on with Wheels

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Hand luggage compliant.
  • 16 inch laptop sleeve.
  • Luggage tag included.
  • Two exterior pockets for easy-to-reach items.
  • Durable cotton lining and YKK zippers.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Designer travel bag.
  • Can be personalized

Click here to check the price

Best Small Laptop Travel Bag 2022

City leather laptop messenger bag in brown

Winner: CITY Leather Laptop Bag

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Detachable shoulder strap
  • Fits up to a 15.6 inch laptop (also a 17 inch version here)
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Dedicated laptop compartment
  • Additional zipper pockets

Click here to check the price

Best Duffel Weekender Bag 2022

weekender leather travel bag in brown

Winner: Weekender Leather Travel Bag

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • 16 inch internal padded laptop sleeve.
  • Internal zipped pocket for travel essentials like your passport.
  • Plenty of space for all your gear.
  • Adjustable shoulder strap.
  • Durable cotton lining and YKK zippers.
  • Perfect overnight bag.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized

Click here to check the price

Best Travel Backpack 2022

Winner: 10X Leather Laptop Backpack

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Dedicated compartments, perfect for travel.
  • Can convert from backpack to shoulder bag for ease of access.
  • Top and side handles for when moving through airports.
  • Fits up to 15.6 inch laptop or tablet.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized
  • Available in brown, tan, black, or red leather.
  • Unisex.

Click here to check the price

Best Garment Travel Bag 2022

grand leather garment travel bag in brown

Winner: Grand Leather Garment Bag

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Dedicated garment carrier.
  • Carry a suit and shirt without creasing.
  • Large main compartment for other items.
  • 16 inch laptop compartment.
  • Adjustable shoulder strap.
  • Durable cotton lining and YKK zippers.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized

Click here to check the price

Best Small Travel Bag 2022

liberty tan leather backpack for women

Winner: Liberty Leather Backpack

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • 14 inch laptop sleeve.
  • Multiple front zipped compartments.
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Durable cotton lining and YKK zippers.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized

Click here to check the price

Best Messenger Travel Bag 2022

Winner: 10X Leather Laptop Backpack

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Dedicated compartments, perfect for travel.
  • Can convert from backpack to shoulder bag for ease of access.
  • Top and side handles for when moving through airports.
  • Fits up to 15.6 inch laptop or tablet.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized
  • Available in brown, tan, black, or red leather.
  • Unisex.

Click here to check the price

Travel Bag FAQ's

What should I look for in a travel bag? - It depends on your destination and what you're doing. You can choose from duffels, sling backpacks, daypacks, and even wheeled backpacks for city travel. If you're going to be in more remote regions, you will need a professional and comfortable backpack.

Is carrying a backpack more professional? - No, it’s not more professional but, if you're going on an expedition, it's the most convenient way to transport all of your things.

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Final Thoughts

Whatever type of travel bag you choose, our comprehensive list of the finest travel bags has definitely brought the most top bags to your attention.

We have looked at everything from classic backpacks to laptop bags, and the ever popular wheelie suitcase.

Having read all of the information above, and taken a look at what is available on the market, you should have an idea of the best travel bags to consider.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, or email Von Baer at info@vonbaer.com.

Author: Albert Varkki
Albert Varkki is the co-founder of Von Baer. He understands leather products as a consumer, supplier, and a manufacturer, helping you with the inside knowledge you need, to choose the perfect leather product for you. Connect on Linkedin

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