The Best Suitcases, Duffels, and Backpacks for Active Travelers
Thule Subterra Luggage 22"
This bag may seem pricey, but looks can be deceiving—you're actually getting three suitcases in one with this buy. Either pack one large piece of checked luggage, or separate the bag into two carry-ons. It's insanely easy to stay organized thanks to the two huge interior compartments, exterior multi-purpose compartments (perfect for stashing dirty shoes or laundry), and a zippered mesh pocket that's ideal for keys and other small items. The piggyback strap even lets you latch on another bag, while the external compression strap keeps your gear locked in place.
5.11 Tactical Dart Pack 25L
Every active traveler knows that a solid backpack is key, especially when you're not checking any luggage. This versatile option does the trick: It features a removable laptop panel, a myriad of fleece-lined pockets for extra padding, and a rear compartment that perfectly fits a hydration pack. It also has a drop mesh pocket, and the option to add pouches for smaller items. And hey, if the nylon oxford material stands up to the rigors of military and first responder life, then we have a feeling it'll hold up well for us, too.
Eagle Creek National Geographic Series Borderless Convertible Carry-On
Say hello to one of the most hard-core carry-ons currently on the market. The first thing we love: The weatherproof tarpaulin material, which not only protects your stuff from the elements but also makes it insanely easy to wipe clean after a gritty excursion. There's also the zip-away backpack straps that convert your roller-bag into a backpack, and treaded off-road wheels that help you maneuver the bag across rockier ground.
Of course, we can't forget about the safety features—an emergency whistle and reflective highlights—or the front zip compartments that separate dirty or wet clothes from the rest of your stuff. You know, just in case you decide to go for a last-minute hike or swim before heading to the airport.
Backcountry Sea to Summit 65L Duffel
When adventure is in the offing, you never know what type of terrain you're going to encounter. You need a bag that's easily convertible to stand up to just about anything. This duffle has multiple carry systems built in—a removable shoulder strap, handles, and backpack straps—along with a padded top and bottom, a dual zipper system, and a truly water-repellent tarpaulin (seriously, no water's soaking in here) that all give this baby heavy-duty durability.
High Sierra AT7 Carry-On Spinner Duffle
To get some serious bang for your buck, say hello to this three-in-one bag option. Wheel it like a spinner carry-on, slip it over your shoulders as a backpack, or sling it across your bod as a duffel—whatever is most comfortable for you and how much travel gear you're lugging around.
Your inner organization freak will love the zippered divider panel that allows you to separate the upper and lower compartments (though you can also roll that up to create one large packing area), and the drop-bottom compartment—with hold-down straps—is perfect for packing sneakers, hiking shoes, and any other bulky equipment you have on hand.
Osprey Ozone Duplex 60 Women's Travel Pack
Everyone loves a suitcase that separates into multiple bags, but a backpack? Now that's a dream come true for those who refuse to check bags. If you're going on a quickie trip, grab the daypack portion and you'll have a padded sleeve for your electronics, organizer pockets galore, and a zippered pocket behind the harness for your passport, wallet, and other items you need to be able to grab. (Not to mention padded hip belts for extra comfy support.)
Longer trips call for the cargo bag add-on, so you can quickly go from the plane to your first adventurous activity. It has an external liquids pocket (to speed through security), deep water bottle pockets, two internal compression straps (so you can pack a ton of stuff), and a zipper with lockable sliders for extra security.
The North Face Base Camp Duffel
A popular bag in The North Face's collection, this duffel recently got an upgrade to make it even better. There's a ton of room in the 71-liter main compartment and internal mesh sleeve pockets give it additional organization. The detachable shoulder straps let you carry it as a backpack. But if you prefer a duffel, the padded side handles give you a better grip so you can haul it as far as you need.
Yeti Panga 50
If you're more of a water adventurer, this is the perfect duffel. It's fully submersible, meaning there's no chance of your gear getting wet, even if it accidentally falls off a kayak or paddleboard. It also doubles as a backpack and is made of laminated nylon so it won't rip even if it gets caught on roots or rocks. Basically, this bag is built to take a beating, and that's what every adventurous traveler needs.
Patagonia's Black Hole Duffel
A super-versatile bag, this 60-liter duffel is lightweight (it weighs less than 3 pounds), stuffs down into its own sack, and can be carried three different ways—as a backpack, as a duffel, or with the two haul straps to toss it into a cargo bin.
It also has 20 daisy-chained tie-downs, which makes it insanely easy to tie down to the top of a car or motorbike. Throw in the internal mesh pockets on the lid for extra storage and organization, and you're looking at a bag that can pretty much do it all.