The best mens duffel bag is the one that gets the job done and looks good doing it. But in addition to that I have a few more requirements. I look for good design, materials, and reputation.
Duffel bag design is pretty simple but that is why you have to get it really right. Mistakes are magnified by the bags simple utilitarian nature. The main compartment should be spacious and easy to get into. There is no need to go crazy with the organization features but a couple pockets can make a huge difference. In my experience small items get lost with no pockets but many pockets and divisions rob you of main compartment space. If you want more organization, consider using packing cubes.
I am partial to canvas duffel bags with leather accents but there are a number of very compelling synthetic canvas bags. Cordura and G1000 are particularly nice. Regardless of which fabric you choose the seams and zippers are most likely to go first so I like to keep an eye out for strong thread, rivets, and double layered fabrics for high stress panels like the bottom.
I am happy to experiment with a bag from an unknown company. I routinely have to restrain myself from jumping in on the latest bag Kickstarters. I won’t recommend a bag that hasn’t been tested by time and I won’t recommend a manufacturer (or retailer) that I don’t feel believes in their product.
So, without further adieu:
The Best Mens Duffel Bags Under $100
One of Herschel Supply Co.’s big advantages is the array of patterns, colors, and fabrics that they offer. True, some of these options drive the price above the $100 mark (like my favorite Wild Dove Hemp) but those are more of a premium upgrade. The Novel is a great budget mens duffel bag option.
TOPO Designs makes their bags in Colorado and they work with their friends and neighbors to produce a simple but functional product. If you like the idea of supporting your local farms you should consider supporting your local bag manufacturer.
Runner Up: Bespoke Post x Blue Claw Co. Sweat duffel
The Bespoke Post Sweat duffel is a phenomenal deal. It’s made by Blue Claw Co. and for $45 for a 15oz canvas duffel it’s hard to beat. Unfortunately it is not always available. I wrote a more in-depth review on this Blue Claw Co. Duffel.
When it is available check here: https://www.bespokepost.com/box/sweat
The Best Mens Duffel Bags Under $200
Navali’s lifetime warranty helps ensure that even if something does go wrong with your bag, they stand behind their product and will make it right.
Fjallraven started in 1960 in northern Sweden and quickly became known for producing functional, long lasting, and handsome products.
Runner Up: Frost River Flight Bag
The Frost River Flight bag is a great bag. I like the Carry-On size for travel but the medium is very useful too. Its tough too. With 18oz waxed canvas (double layer on the bottom), leather handles, and brass hardware this bag will last a very long time.
The Best Mens Duffel Bags Over $200
One of Filson’s slogans is: Might as well have the best. I wholeheartedly agree with their focus on the best design and the best materials. And if something does go wrong Filson backs all their products with their lifetime guarantee.
One of the things that I love most about Tom Bihn is how transparent they are with their product components and design. Most bag manufacturers list at best a bullet point mentioning what fabric they used. Not Tom Bihn, they have detailed paragraph after detailed paragraph about the best uses for their bags, what their bags are made of, and how their design came about. The Aeronaut 30’s product description + design notes is 1673 words long!
Runner Up: Saddleback Leather Medium Duffel
Saddleback Leather makes a very rugged beautiful leather duffel bag. It costs a lot and is kind of heavy but if you are looking for a leather bag that will last then the Saddleback Medium Duffel is your bag.