In your summer camp days, traveling with a duffle bag was the norm. Since then, your vacation plans have evolved and so has luggage.
If you’re deciding between a duffle bag or suitcase for your next work trip or family vacation, exploring their benefits and differences laid out below can help you decide.
Pros and Cons of Duffel Bags
Today’s duffel bags offer some great features, making them a practical option for both professional and leisurely travel. Here’s what to consider when traveling with a duffel bag:
Duffel Bag Benefits
There are many pros to traveling with a duffel bag. They are spacious and lightweight, often made of durable materials, like canvas or ballistic nylon. Thanks to their soft construction, you can take advantage of every nook and cranny when packing and check them in or carry on, depending on size.
An additional perk is that rough terrain is never an issue when traveling with a duffel bag. Just sling it over your shoulder or use the stacking strap to attach it to a rolling bag.
- Spacious and flexible
- Easy to carry
Duffel Bag Setbacks
Duffel bags are less secure than hardshell luggage, which provides a protective barrier for packed items. Duffel bags can also be awkward to carry when packed with heavy items. Last, duffel bags (vs. suitcases) are not as easy to keep organized unless you use packing cubes and other accessories.
- Soft outer construction doesn’t protect contents like a hardsided suitcase
- Can be awkward to carry when heavy
- Harder to access one item without disrupting the rest
Pros and Cons of Rolling Suitcases
Rolling luggage is the most popular type of suitcase today. See if a rolling suitcase meets your travel needs by exploring their features below.
Advantages of Rolling Suitcases
In what is likely their best feature, rolling suitcases roll! They’re easy to move and (literally) take the weight of traveling off your shoulders. This is especially helpful when transporting a heavy load.
Rolling suitcases usually have tough exteriors made of extremely strong fabric or hard shells that are better at protecting fragile belongings. Some cases even have locks. Owners of rolling suitcases also appreciate how quickly they can transport their luggage from one point to another.
- Simple to navigate
- Shells are protective and secure
- Enable fast travel
Disadvantages of Rolling Suitcases
Rolling suitcases don’t store as compactly as a typical, soft-sided duffel bag. This can be an issue if your hotel room or cruise ship cabin lacks space.
For some travelers, navigating stairs or bumpy sidewalks with a wheeled bag can be tricky too, though Rollaboard® luggage is made to glide smoothly over any terrain. And cheaply made bags are notorious for wheel breakage, which can really put a damper on a trip. This is why Travelpro® puts our bags through intense durability tests.
- Take up space when not in use
- Rough terrain can be tricky
- Cheap wheels can break easily
Best Duffel Bag for Travel
We know what you’re thinking: Can I use a duffel bag as a suitcase? With these great options, yes – you can enjoy the perks of a suitcase with the convenience of a duffel bag.
Crew VersaPack Weekender Carry-On Duffel Bag with Suiter - Fits casual weekend wear to a formal tuxedo, and with its removable fold-out suiter, your clothes won’t get wrinkled like they would in a traditional duffle bag.
Platinum Elite Regional Underseat Duffel Bag - A compact, lightweight, carry on duffel bag with loads of style. Perfect for shorter trips and regional airline use.
Travelpro Essentials SparePack Foldable Duffel - Pack this in your rolling luggage for use on excursions or as a back up if you shop too much while away.
TravelPro x Travel + Leisure Drop-Bottom Weekender - A removable lower section converts this drop bottom duffel bag into a smaller bag. Great for shorter getaways or as a companion bag.
Best Rolling Suitcases for Travel
Whether you travel weekly for work or annually for vacation, having a great rolling suitcase can make the journey far better.
Platinum Elite 22” Expandable Carry-On Rollaboard® - A built-in suiter guards against wrinkles, tapered expansion resists tipping, and a removable, quart-sized wet pocket works great for toiletries while traveling and at your destination.
Crew™ VersaPack™ Max Carry-on Expandable Rollaboard® - Designed for maximum carry-on capacity and ultimate versatility with a variety of interchangeable Travelpro® exclusive Zip-In Organizers (SOLD SEPARATELY).
Choosing Between a Duffel Bag and Suitcase
When choosing between a duffel vs. suitcase, asking yourself the following questions can help:
- Will my belongings be better protected with hardside or softside luggage?
- Does my luggage have to fit in a plane’s overhead bin?
- Can I lift and carry the bag with ease?
Choosing Your Best (Suit)Case Scenario
If you still can’t decide between a duffel vs. suitcase, the Bold™ by Travelpro® 30" Drop-Bottom Expandable Rolling Duffel is the best of both – loaded with features and the perfect compromise for the undecided.