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Duffle Bag As Carry On (2023) – Do NOT Use Until You Read This!

Duffle Bag As Carry On (2023) – Do NOT Use Until You Read This!

Duffle Bag As Carry On (2023) – Do NOT Use Until You Read This!

Are you travelling soon? Wondering whether you could use a duffle bag as carry on? In this guide we go answer all your questions and reveal all you need to know when using duffle bag as a carry on.


Historically, a duffel bag, duffle bag, or kit bag is a big bag composed of natural or synthetic fabric (usually canvas) with a drawstring closing at the top. Enlisted troops often use duffel bag in the military, and civilians use them for travel, sports, and relaxation.

For many others, duffel bags are an indispensable product to store, repackage and stuff almost anything and everything. A traditional duffel bag is spacious inside with an internal pocket. The lack of rigidity makes it ideal for transporting bulky goods and other similarly voluminous items like sports gear.

A duffel bag is often misidentified as a gym bag because both have looped handles and rigid bottoms that close with zippers. However, a duffle bag may be readily transformed into a rucksack, Knapsack, backpack or a similar bag with ample storage space.

Basic Table Info:

Types of duffel bags Barrel Duffel Squared Duffel Wheeled Duffel Rolling Duffel  Backpack Duffel
Standard Carry on bag size22 wide x 14 high x 9 inches deep
Duffel bag variationsWaterproof Foldable

What is a carry-on bag?

Carry-on luggage, often known as “hand luggage” or “carry-on,” refers to the kind of luggage passengers are allowed to bring in the passenger compartment of a vehicle instead of the separate cargo compartment. Carry-on luggage is designed to maximise storage space while reducing excess weight.

The typical carry-on bag is lightweight and made of a pliable material. Depending on the bag’s weight and shape, carry-on bags can easily be carried on the back for a day vacation to the beach or a weeklong backpacking excursion through the mountains. Check out these carry on backpack beach chairs for your vacation to the beach.

There is a wide selection of portable traditional duffel bags to choose from. The vast majority are easily transportable and stowable; some are even watertight. Materials like leather, nylon, and cotton are utilised for others.

The other designs, like backpack straps, help travellers to transport climbing gear across tough mountain terrain easily. Passengers are permitted to carry a restricted number of smaller bags, which often contain valuables and essential items for the duration of the trip.

There is often storage space for carry-on bags under the seats in front of passengers or overhead compartments on aeroplanes.

For Train travel, passenger carry-on checked luggage can be stowed away in baggage racks above the seats, between the backs of the chairs facing in opposing directions, and sometimes even at the ends of the carriage at the doors.

The most common carry-on luggage has oversized heavy-duty wheels that can roll over most things.

Which are the best carry-on bags?

Most travellers choose to travel with three primary carry-on bags:

  • Backpacks
  • Small rolling suitcases
  • Duffle bag.

What’s the Difference Between Carry on Duffels and a Suitcase?

The Key differences between carry-on duffle bags and rolling suitcases are capacity and convenience. However, an individual’s personal needs, travel destination and the nature of the trip will help determine whether to use a rolling suitcase or carry-on duffles.

It is essential to note the fundamental distinctions between the two types of carry-on bags, To make a well-informed carry-on duffle bag purchase. Suitcases are inherently sturdier than carry-on duffel; however, they have advantages and niche uses that come in handy in certain circumstances.

Carry-on duffel bags facilitate accessible bus, airline, and Europe train travel. If the path to your destination will include a lot of carrying, a duffle is a good option since it is simple to transport through challenging terrain and there are also some underseat duffle bags available in the market.

Depending on where the aircraft is, passengers can throw carry-on bags over the shoulders, hoist them onto a trolley, store them in overhead compartments or move in several other ways. You won’t need wheels on your skis if your next trip takes you down hilly cobblestone alleys and ice walkways, and they are often more durable and water-resistant, making them a better option for active vacationers.

Can you use a Duffel Bag as a Carry On?

The size of your duffel bag will determine whether you can use it as a carry-on. Airlines set a limitation for the bag size. If your bag size is equal to or below the limit, you can use it as a carry-on.

 Duffel bags are most known for their thick cloth and flexible shape.

The short answer is yes if you’re wondering whether a duffel bag can be used as a carry-on. Travellers can use a duffel as a carry-on air travel backpack or luggage. However, the size of your duffel bag will determine whether you can use it as a carry-on.

Airlines do not care what travel bag the passenger uses, e.g. duffel bag or backpack bag. However, it is important to note that the carry-on bag size and weight must meet specified airline requirements before use as a carry-on duffel bag. If your bag size is equal to or below the weight limit, you can use it as a carry-on duffel to store in overhead bins.

Types of Duffel bags (All About Duffles)

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the variety of available duffel bag options. For first-time travellers, the wide variety of sizes, materials, features, and quality levels might be overwhelming. However, adventure travellers and business travel professionals may already be accosted to versatile duffel bag options.

There are different types of duffel bags carrying comfort and ease. These bags are often used as travel duffel bags and fashionable carry-ons, offering a nomadic lifestyle as weekender bags. A duffel bag can easily be hung in one hand as a carry-on and can fit a larger backpack. Many have compact and easily accessible main and exterior pockets, with smaller pockets that keep clothing dry.

We have listed different types of Duffel bags based on a wide range of storage options and incredible flexibility. We have considered the versatile duffel with external pockets, zippered pockets, detachable shoulder straps and adjustable shoulder straps.

Barrel Duffel Bag

Barrel Duffel Bag

Squared Duffel Bag

Squared Duffel Bag

Wheeled Duffel Bag

Wheeled Duffel Bag

Best carry-on Duffels

Best carry-on Duffels

Best carry-on duffel

Best carry-on duffel

Best Men’s Leather Bag

Best Men’s Leather Bag

Best Women’s Carry-On duffel bags

Best Women’s Carry-On duffel bags

Most Versatile Duffel

Most Versatile Duffel

Barrel Duffel Bag


The most popular duffel bags are barrel-shaped (cylinder-shaped bags with backpack straps/shoulder straps). There are two styles to choose from when shopping for a duffel bag. A duffel bag with zippered pocket and a drawstring top closure was the inspiration for this barrel duffel bag.

These top-zippered duffel bags find widespread use as carry-alls or for transporting a variety of bulky items, thanks to their spacious main compartment. The armed forces have long used duffel bags with sturdy canvas top closures and compression straps in war zones due to their durability and carrying capacity.

The second kind of barrel-shaped duffel bag has a zipper closure that runs the whole length of the bag along one side. This kind of duffel bag comprises woven recycled polyester with a plastic backing. These are often smaller than the variant with the top closing and are often more compact than their top-closing counterparts. They are usually mistaken for gym bags because these are the backpacks used by athletes to transport smaller sports equipment.

Both varieties of this barrel-shaped duffel bag have a single dedicated compartment, causing the contents inside the bag to become cluttered and unorganised, and difficult to unpack. They often have dedicated compartments for camera gear, and climbing gear, amongst others.

Squared Duffel Bag


The next generation of travel duffel bags is built specifically for the frequent traveller. This duffel bag is squared or box-shaped with zippered pockets for closure. This variety of duffel bags usually has durable stitching, sturdy materials, lockable zippers, two exterior pockets, ample packing space, foam cushioning and integrated shoe pockets. This feature is great for keeping the bag organised in transit.

Typically, these bags are woven polyester with a more stiff plastic backing. This revolutionary design combines a carry-on size duffel with a detachable clothing bag with a zip. On the periphery of several of these bags, plastic-coated wire pipe is utilised to provide stiffness and strength.

Wheeled Duffel Bag


The third major type of duffel bag is the wheeled travel duffel bag, which is ideal for short trips, usually less than four weeks. Many of these wheeled duffle bag luggage have very rigid bottoms and the wheels help distribute the weight evenly across your body, taking the weight off your shoulders.

They also often have a wider opening with a U-shaped zipper that opens wider and runs the length of the bag’s top. These duffel bags often feature internal pockets, external pockets, a main compartment and separate compartments that can often be enlarged to carry more luggage.

These duffel bags often feature internal pockets, external pockets, and a separate main compartment that can often be enlarged to carry more luggage. This kind of duffel bag is often used by tourists who walk long distances while touring with their luggage.

These duffel bags often feature internal pockets, external pockets, a main compartment and separate compartments that can often be enlarged to carry more luggage. This kind of duffel bag is often used by tourists who walk long distances while touring with their luggage. Because the bag has wheels attached to the bottom, even heavy items can be rolled about with ease.

Weight and carry-on size restrictions for Duffel Carry-Ons

It is important to understand the general bag sizes and the required travel bag by different airlines in order to understand the maximum size a carrying-on duffel will have. On average, a bag weighs between 40 and 50 pounds. Although the width and depth of a duffel bag and a suitcase are not exactly the same, they are nevertheless quite close in size.

Sizes can vary between airlines; however, the standard dimensions for easily transportable carry-on bags are 22 wide x 14 high x 9 inches deep  (56x36x23cm). On some rare occasions,  airlines do not require weight limits on carry-on baggage, and some do not have carry-on size restrictions.

Tips For Air Travel With Duffel Bags:

  • Duffels are extremely flexible and if you’re flying with a duffel, be sure it doesn’t weigh more than what you’re allowed to bring on the plane.
  • Put your identification and other necessary travel papers in the exterior pockets.
  • Use packing cubes to keep items from shifting around in your suitcase, so you will not have trouble carrying your travel duffel bag.
  • Pack light by bringing a duffel bag that can be used as a workout bag, a day bag or a weekender bag.
  • Follow the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule, which states that you may only bring liquids totalling 3.4 ounces or less in a single transparent, one-quart checked luggage.

How to choose the best carry-on duffel

When selecting the ideal travel duffel bag, there are essentially seven factors to consider: size and weight (particularly crucial if you are searching for a piece of baggage to take on an aeroplane), material, layout, carrying method, and pricing are important factors to consider.

  • Material: To keep belongings dry, select a bag with water-resistant materials. When the carry-on duffel is a waterproof bag made with durable materials, you will not bother if the dedicated compartments will tear easily.
  • Bag style: Are they rolling duffels? Do the duffel bag styles have metal clasps and mesh pockets? Does the duffel bag come with compression straps? Does it have a shoulder strap or not? Each individual’s style and taste differs, even when making a duffel bag selection.
  • Packing space and Capacity: When purchasing a duffel bag, capacity is the most important factor to consider. Is there a laptop compartment? A smaller duffel containing fewer items may be ideal if you travel light.
  • Weight: What is the individual weight of the duffel bag when empty, and is the carry-on compatible with your body weight and trip? When the bag gets too weighty, is there an adjustable shoulder strap or a detachable shoulder strap? Consequently, it is important to have a carry-on that is as light as possible. Usually, a duffel bag weighs between 3kg and 4kg when it is empty.
  • Layout: Each duffel bag has a sizable main compartment for transporting your most important belongings. However, one key difference in different carry-on bags, including a duffel, is their compartments. Some carry-ons include tiny internal compartments that might come in handy for keeping your chargers and passports organised and within easy reach, while others do not.
  • Carrying Mechanism: Duffel bags often come with two different ways to carry them: a set of handles that may be used by hand and a shoulder strap. When shopping for a duffel bag, it’s important to consider whether or not the strap comes with a shoulder pad to make carrying the bag more bearable.
  • Price: Duffel bag prices may vary from as little as ten dollars to several hundred dollars. However, you should be able to locate one that works well as a budget carry-on duffel. One thing to remember is that leather duffel bags are more costly than their fabric counterparts.

Best Carry-on Duffel by Category?

To kick off our review, we looked for several brands on Amazon before reading bags and poring through hundreds of customer reviews. We have categorized it into duffel bags that are suitable for everyday usage and weekday travel, duffels suitable for extended backpacking trips, and packable duffels made to transport adventure gear.

We compared the best duffel that may be the traveller’s best choice and ranked them based on design and quality. Using these standards, we narrowed the review to only ten bags on Amazon.

Best carry-on Duffels


The Travel Duffel offers maximum storage for carry-on travel. It features a clamshell backpack design for easy packing and multiple quick-access pockets, an Interior mesh pocket,  luggage handle pass-through, and lockable zippers for additional security.

There are padded straps and side handles for versatile carrying, top compression straps, a lay-flat main compartment for spacious storage and easy packing and a quick-access top pocket for travel documents. The duffel opens like a suitcase, and the lay-flat bag leaves for spacious storage and easy packing. It has a quick-access laptop pocket that fits a 15.6″ laptop.

Best carry on Duffle bag


Nomatic Navigator Travel Backpack 32L With 9 litres built-in expansion, anti-theft carry-on size for digital nomads and all forms of travel. With a 16-inch laptop compartment, and a water-resistant travel pack, This bag is ideal for weekend trips for men and women.

The versatile backpack is an excellent travelling companion. With double stitching and a water record fabric, the carry-on duffel is designed with your comfort, safety, and organisation in mind; it has a tamper-proof zipper, load-bearing shoulder straps, and EVA foam support in the back panel. It is available in sage and black.

Best carry-on duffel


Some of the unique features of the Patagonia Black Hole that made it grace our list as one the best duffel bags for adventure include its extra-rugged recycled water-repellent fabric, its fully accessible main compartment, the removable ergonomic shoulder straps and how accessible it is to organise. Its resistant slings (daisy chain) are simply amazing.

The smallest Patagonia Black Hole® Duffel, with a 40-litre volume, is perfect for small loads and long weekend trips. It is made with 100% recycled body fabric, lining and webbing. Best of all, this Patagonia black hole 40L is a carry-on-sized duffel that meets most airline and train carry-on requirements.

It is extremely durable and weather resistant, and it’s recycled polyester ripstop with a TPU-film laminate to create a fabric that’s weather-resistant, abrasion-resistant and highly packable. When empty, the duffel stuffs into its own pocket for compact, self-contained storage. The Shoulder Straps are ergonomic and removable, meaning it is detachable.

Best Men’s Leather Bag


The Kodiak Leather Large Weekender Travel Duffel (60L), Canvas Overnight Outdoor Bag (Antique Brown) is in a class of its own. This rugged, classic duffel bag has a timeless look with functionality and durability. The exterior is made from 100% Top Grain Water Buffalo Leather; this duffel features four exterior compartments, including two buckle-closure pockets, zippered pocket, and a separate side compartment. The duffel bag is built tough with side-carry handles and a shoulder strap.

The Kodiak Leather Large Weekender bag is available in two colours, antique brown (lighter brown) and Dark Walnut (Darker Brown). It includes four exterior compartments, two magnet-latch pockets, one zipper pocket and a separate shoe compartment. The interior also has one zip pocket, multiple card & pen holders, and an iPad/book pocket.

Best Women’s Carry-On duffel bags


Every Metro Backpack and Duffel comes with a Classic Kit that helps carriers safely store essentials as quickly as their needs change.

The nylon finish comes with premium nylon twill and features ultra-microfibre vegan leather accents. The vegan leather finish is made with ultra-microfibre vegan leather. Also check out these comparisons between Briggs & Riley Vs Monos Luggage and Find out which one is the best.

Both the nylon and vegan leather finishes are water-resistant and scratch-resistant. It has a 15-inch laptop compartment, and the Zipper pocket inside allows for easier packing and unpacking and helps with extra organisation.

The duffel has side pockets inside the main compartment that can fit a water bottle or compact umbrella, and magnetic snap closures keep the pockets closed and out of the way when not in use. It’s an ideal carry-on for every woman.

The nylon is available in Dover grey, Juniper green, Oxford blue and carbon black. The vegan leather is available in ivory, saddle tan and mahogany. There is one more famous brand named Samsonite, check out our article to find out which one is the best among Monos and Samsonite Luggage.

Most Versatile Duffel


There are three ways to carry the errant duffel, making it one of the most versatile carry-ons compared to other duffel bags. It has large category straps, magnetic buckles and hidden shoe pockets.

The Errant Duffel (formerly known as the Aegis Duffel) is the perfect sidekick for a getaway or trip to the gym. The errant duffel can be converted into the ultimate photo pack with its various accessories and features. The backpack keeps your gear ready and fresh with a ventilated wet/dry compartment. The luggage pass-through, secure quick-access pockets, and carry-on approved size ease your travels, while multiple removable or concealable carry options provide comfort and flexibility.

Composed of durable 500D Cordura®, waterproof Hypalon, YKK® StormGuard zippers, and magnetic hardware, this is the ideal duffel for all your on-the-go needs. The side, crossbody, and backpack-carry options provide comfort and flexibility. The bag is padded with adjustable shoulder straps for comfortable wear as a backpack detach or stow when not in use.

Other Good Duffle Bags on Amazon


Can you bring a carry-on and a duffle bag on a plane?

A duffel can be a carry-on depending on the weight and size recommendation. However, the dimensions of the carry-ons and duffle bags and the airline limits determine if you can carry both.

Are duffel bags TSA approved?

Yes, a duffle bag as check in luggage is allowed. Like backpacks and small suitcases, other duffle bags can be considered carry-on when they meet the flight requirements.

Is a duffel bag a good carry-on?

Yes. As long as the duffle bag is within the airline’s size requirements for carry-on luggage, passengers can use a duffel bag as a carry-on bag. Many duffle bags have backpack straps for easy carrying, while others can be likened to a messenger bag. In all, they make the best carry-on duffels.


The maximum dimensions for a carry-on duffel bag are 22 by 14 by 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm). Duffels, which typically have a capacity of 40–45 litres, are a popular choice among frequent travellers because of their lightweight convenience and extra storage space. Duffels are a popular kind of carry-on baggage because of their practical design.

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