The spring travel season is upon us and with it the lure of the road and the air. But before you plan your next getaway, it’s always a good idea to take a look at your gear. Airlines are rough on things these days, and if your travel bags are simply worn out or you’re just ready for something new, we’ve got you covered. These seven bags will get you and your gear to your destination in style and are specifically designed for a life on the go. Take a look. Book a trip. And get packing.
Best for avoiding checked-bag fees
Burton Wheelie Flight Deck: From $219
Available in seven different color combos or just plain black, the Burton Wheelie Flight Deck has been our in-flight carry-on workhorse for nearly a decade. It features skate wheels for super maneuverability and durability, as well as mesh dividers for each side of the suitcase. Also, thanks to Burton’s trademarked “cram zone”—a neoprene-style fabric around the inside edges of the mesh panel zippers—the bag can accommodate all the extras you pick up along the journey.
Best for couples (or those who pack like one)
Dakine Split Roller 100L: $205
When you need to go big, Dakine has you covered. Thanks to internal organizer pockets and multiple mesh dividers, the Split Roller 100L can fit tons of gear. This compartmentalization makes it a great bag for sharing with a significant other. For those who don’t want to leave home without anything, the Split Roller will hold that, too. If you’re heading to Hawaii, this will easily hold a set of fins, snorkels, beach towels, and other beach items, while the top half will accommodate all your clothes, toiletries, and sneakers perfectly. It’s available in seven different color patterns, including plain black.
Best for the road less traveled
Patagonia Black Hole Duffle: From $99
While wheelie bags are well and good for airport travel, there are times when a more rigid framed bag just isn’t going to cut it—those trips where you’re going to end up schlepping your stuff over cobblestoned streets, into the woods, or out on the sand. Patagonia’s Black Hole Duffle bag series lives for these moments. Available in four sizes (45L, 60L, 90L, and 120L) and five colors, the duffle bags offer a super-durable, weather-resistant finish that will handle the toughest elements. Also, all but the 45L size offer removable padded shoulder straps that allow you to carry the bag as a backpack. They’re perfect for those looking for a flexible, duffle-style bag for a variety of trips and uses.
Best for tossing in and out of the truck
Fox Podium Intake Gear Bag: $139.95
Sometimes you just need a bag that’s going to hold your gear and survive a lifetime of getting banged around. Designed with a motocross-inspired, durable 600D polyester fabric, the Fox Podium Intake is made to handle life on the go. It’s got a full-sized main compartment for gear and offers large vented boot compartments on each end of the bag. While these are specifically designed for moto boots, they’re perfect for tennis shoes or other items that simply need a little room to breathe. The bag also features a internal pull-out changing mat—good for the car-camping set—as well as a separate goggle-storage pocket in the top flap.
Best for non-traditional traditionalists
Quiksilver Contener: $180
If you ask my grandma what she likes in a piece of luggage, she’ll tell you simply that a hardshell is best. The airlines can’t smudge the fabric exterior, and it stays dry when bags sit out on a snowy or rain-soaked jetway. Quiksilver’s Contener bag is perfect for those with a similar train of thought, but who are looking for something with a bit more style than what the senior set totes around. It has a fun allover Quiksilver logo print on the exterior, which makes it easy to spot on the baggage carousel, but keeps it traditional with four smooth roller wheels and a telescoping handle. It features a lockable main zipper compartment as well as two large interior spaces with internal compression straps, plus a removable nylon shoe bag.
Best for a weekend skate trip
Chrome Industries Sotnik: $220
Chrome is known largely for its military-influenced bike-messenger bags with seatbelt-syle straps, but this bombproof approach to design translates well to the skateboard crowd. (Legendary skater John Cardiel is even one of the company’s sponsored athletes.) The Chrome Sotnik duffle bag has a no-nonsense look with all the right features and is available in military green or black. It’s 100-percent waterproof and has a roll-top closure that will let you stuff a bunch of clothing and gear inside. Or, if you’re more in the mood for an icy cold beverage, the main compartment has an internal bucket liner that allows the bag to be used as a cooler. The Sotnik also features external pockets for keeping tools or a phone, plus side straps that will carry a skateboard.
Best for traveling with only a backpack
Timbuk2 Aviator Travel Backpack: $179
There are times, and destinations, when you don’t need much: the island vacation that requires little more than a swimsuit or two, or, for some, even a weekend in the big city requiring little more than a single change of clothes. For these times, a bag that can work both in the city and on the road is a great option. With a removable hip belt and stowaway padded straps, the Aviator from Timbuk2 offers suitcase styling in a backpack profile. It offers a full-zip main opening so you can pack it like a normal suitcase rather than stuffing things in like a typical backpack. Only 20 inches wide, the bag meets carry-on size restrictions for the airlines, but it can hold up to 28.5 liters of gear. Plus, it has a laptop sleeve and external zip pockets for little items like your phone or passport. It’s a great option when you need to schlep your stuff, but don’t want to look like you’re on vacation.
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