What You Must Know about Folding and Collapsible Duffel Bags

While duffel bags can be one of the most versatile and useful types of luggage, they can still take up quite a bit of space. So, if you are roughing it out or just don’t have all that much storage room at home, you are going to need something that is a little more flexible. Here, foldable duffel bags are precisely the piece of gear that you need with you.

Since this type of bag is quite a bit different to what you are used to, it can be confusing to know what you need to look for. This is why we set up this guide with all of the features that you need to know about. This way, you will find it an absolute breeze to pick up your very own foldable duffel bag.

All That You Need to Know About Selecting a Foldable Duffel Bag

While foldable duffel bags have been around for a while, it is not surprising that you may not have heard too much of them. For the most part, they have typically used by hikers, campers, and people who head out on foot in rougher conditions. These days, however, travelers are beginning to use this type of bag more frequently as well since they offer up a lot of advantages.

Of course, not all foldable duffel bags are created equal so you should be able to distinguish the good from the bad. In this guide, we prepare you to be able to do precisely this. These are all of the details that you need to know to choose a great foldable duffel bag.

Unstructured vs. Structured Duffel Bags

Most people are surprised to learn that there are structured and unstructured duffel bags. This is because most duffel bags tend to be quite lightweight and non-rigid anyway so it is easy to assume that there isn’t a difference.

Structured duffel bags tend to be able to hold their shape even when they are empty. Also, the sides and the base of the bag will feel more rigid. Usually, when packing a structured duffel bag, you will realize that there are is a certain limit to how much you can pack. The frame prevents you from being able to place too many items in the bag.

Conversely, an unstructured duffel bag doesn’t contain such a framework. While the seams of the bag are thick and rigid, the bag can easily be folded over when it is empty. You are able to fit more things in this type of bag as certain models to have expansion features. This type of duffel bag is also quite light in comparison to the structured version. Despite the lack of a rigid framework, these bags are available in all shapes and sizes.

Folding and Collapsible – What’s the Difference?

Now, these two terms may seem synonymous but when discussing duffel bags, there are a few differences present. A folding duffel bag is one that has a bit more structure. Due to this, there is a threshold for how much this bag can be compacted. So, while they can be flattened and folded, they may still have a distinct shape or volume.

A collapsible duffel bag, on the other hand, practically has no frame at all. This is why it can practically be packed down an incredibly tiny shape. In fact, most of these bags can be made so small that they can fit into tiny pouches. This is why a collapsible duffel bag is also known as a packable duffel bag.

When deciding between these two types of foldable duffel bags, you will need to think about how you will be using either bag. If your sole purpose is to have the lightest possible bag and then be able to store it so that it is essentially unnoticeable, then the packable duffel bag is the one for you. Nonetheless, if you still want some form of protection for your belongings or don’t want your clothes to get crushed, then some structure will be useful. Here, the folding duffel bag will be the best possible accessory.

Internal Volume

Most foldable duffel bags tend to run in larger sizes. As mentioned, many of these bags are used for camping and expedition purposes. This, however, is why this type of duffel bag comes in so handy as a travel bag as well.

  • Small Bags (30 – 50 liters): bags within this volume range work well for weekend trips as long as you are only taking a few bulky items along with you.
  • Medium Bags (55 – 75 liters): these bags are ideal for multiple day trips and carry slightly larger pieces of gear or electronic devices as well.
  • Large Bags (75 – 200 liters): these bags are typically reserved for expedition trips. If you are traveling, though, you should be able to carry clothes and other items for about a week in these bags.

Durability

Just because your foldable duffel bag doesn’t contain much of a framework doesn’t mean that it can’t be durable. If you are carrying heavy items in your bag or carrying this type of bag into the wilderness with you, you need it to be able to withstand certain conditions.

One of the first things to take into consideration is the material. It is important to find a good balance between weight and durability. The two most commonly used materials are nylon and polyester, with nylon being a bit stronger than polyester. The main advantage with polyester, however, is that it weighs a bit less.

Nevertheless, the material that you choose should have abrasion resistance qualities. This will prevent the material from wearing away too quickly due to constant friction with other surfaces. If you want a bag that will not rip too easily, you should look at ripstop nylon or polyester. These materials prevent rips and tears from spreading, allowing the bag to maintain its durability for longer.

Of course, the stitching of the seams can also come into play when examining the durability of a foldable duffel bag. You will need to ensure that the seams have at least double stitching so that they are capable of taking on a heavier load.

The Carrying System

With foldable duffel bags, there are two carrying systems that you can choose from:

The most common method is two handles that meet in the middle with a padded cover to keep them together. This foldable bag design also comes with a shoulder strap too. This is a good option if your duffel bag is quite long and it would be cumbersome to attempt to carry it any other way. In this case, it will be most comfortable to carry the bag parallel to the ground. These bags, however, are best utilized for lower weights. Since there is no way to really balance the bag, you can get quite tired, hauling around a heavy load. Also, when examining the shoulder strap make sure that it has plenty of padding and that it can be adjusted to your height.

There are also plenty of foldable duffel bags that have backpack-like straps. These allow you to hoist the duffel bag onto your back. Sometimes, they are removable so that you can adapt the bag to whatever design that fits the environment. The advantage of these bags is that they are a great deal more comfortable to carry, especially with heavier cargo. You can distribute the weight between both your shoulders so it will not feel as heavy. The key to these straps is a good width and plenty of padding. To ensure that your movement is not restricted, you should look for a duffel bag with adjustable straps.

Additional Features

So, what are some of the other features that you should know about when choosing a foldable duffel bag?

Extra Compartments

Most foldable duffel bags have a large, main compartment where you can store the majority of your items. Nonetheless, it can be useful to have several additional pockets or compartments to separate some of your belongings. This can help to keep the bag more organized. If this is what you are looking for, internal compartments will work best for you.

At the same time, pockets are also great for separating clean clothing from soiled ones, so external mesh pockets, for instance, can be great for storing wet clothes or muddy shoes. Mesh pockets on the outside can also be great for holding a variety of objects.

Weatherproof or Water Resistant Features

Now, it does depend on how you use your foldable duffel bag, but it can be handy to have one that is made from a material that is impervious to the weather. At the very least, you may want to think about getting a bag that is made from water resistant material to keep your belongings dry at all times. Here, you should look for nylon or polyester with water resistant coatings such as polyurethane. While these may not work in a downpour, they should help you out during a drizzle or damp conditions.

If you are more worried about the sun stripping your bag of its protective coating and color, then you should look for UV resistant materials. This will prevent your foldable bag from fading out and perhaps, even wearing away too quickly.

Compression Straps

The best way to protect the items in your bag is to make sure that they are secured and are in place. This is particularly important if you are hauling around breakable items. Here, compression straps are quite useful. Once the bag is packed and closed up, the straps will make sure that the structure of the bag is maintained. This way, the items inside are unlikely to move around during transit.

So, this is all that you need to know about selecting a foldable duffel bag for yourself. All of these guidelines will help you to identify potential models quicker and ensure that you make a good investment.

Top 10 Best Foldable Duffel Bags


1 – Samsonite Tote-A-Ton


Sale
Samsonite Tote-a-ton 32.5 Inch Duffle Luggage, Black
  • 420 Denier Nylon, 6452 cubic inch capacity
  • Extremely lightweight and each duffel only weights only 1 pound when empty
  • Works great for travel or storage and its uses are endless
  • Collapsable for easy storage wen not in use and holds as much as a trunk
  • 32.5x17x11.5

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Samsonite Tote-A-Ton:

Reviewers like these things about the Samsonite Tote-A-Ton

  • Some users thought the handles on the bag are amazingly strong and able to handle the weight of a week’s worth of clothes.
  • Many love its foldability and how it can fit into another travelling bag.
  • A lot of users agree that it’s made from good quality and durable material.
  • One user was so amazed with how the bag came without tears or damage after three flights with some heavy duty stuff inside.
  • Others describe it as an economic, unique, tough and high volume bag.
  • Some travelers thought it’s the perfect bag for long getaways or just carrying a bulk of sports equipment.
  • Some parents find it the perfect bag for their kid’s 3 day overnight swim camp.
  • Durable, light, well made, spacious and vivid color are cited as the main reasons for purchasing this bag.
  • Others love how the flexible material allows them to squeeze in as many clothes as possible.
  • Some reviewers thought the placement of the zipper made the bag easy to get in and out of.
  • One user described it as an inexpensive, simple and optimal user friendly design & construction bag that’s perfect for transportation and outdoor purposes.
  • Many love how it lays flat on the floor when fully unzipped, making packing extremely easy.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some users are disappointed with how the zippers broke off after several use.
  • Others complained about the lack of shoulder straps.

2 – Biaggi ZipSak 22


Biaggi ZipSak 22" MicroFold Carry On Duffle
  • Each lightweight bag folds in a Z-Fold for easy storage under the bed, on the top shelf, or in a drawer
  • 4 multi-directional spinner wheels for ease of mobility
  • Lightweight, sturdy construction and modern styling in durable krinkle oxford nylon
  • Premium component materials are designed for extreme activity
  • 22 x 14 x 10 inches and 4.3 pounds

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Biaggi ZipSak 22:

Reviewers like these things about the Biaggi ZipSak 22

  • Some said it works like a charm.
  • works as a carry on and full sized check bag.
  • Some users said packing cubes make this work so much better as well as making packing and unpacking easier.
  • Others love how the access zippers allow for a duffel bag style.
  • Some liked how the bag the top of the bag rolled easy when pulled by the handles.
  • Others find this an ingenious design.
  • Many enjoys its flexibility a lot – when collapsed down it is about the size of a briefcase for easy storage, when opened up it is a very roomy suitcase.
  • Many users thought it’s sturdy and the zippers work well even after stuffing the bag.
  • Their ability to fold up, their maneuverability, their ability to be a bit over-packed, and their small storage size are cited as the main reasons for buying this bag.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Others noted how the stitching had come loose.
  • Some said it has no support to help it stand upright, so it kept falling over.

3 – Eagle Creek Packable


Eagle Creek Packable Duffel Bag, Black, One Size
  • PACK SMARTER: For the smart traveler who packs light, the Packable Duffel is the ultimate choice in form & function. With the capacity to carry over 40 liters of your favorite travel gear, this must-have travel duffel packs down to under 10 inches.
  • ORGANIZED TRAVEL: For a weekend getaway or business trip without the hassle of a carry-on suitcase (even a carry-on with wheels), try a hands-free Eagle Creek duffel bag. The crossbody strap and tote grab handles offer multi-carry versatility.
  • NOT JUST FOR THE GYM: With a full line of duffel bags for men or women, including packable duffel bags, rolling duffel bags, and travel duffel bags, Eagle Creek offers more than just gym bags. These bags will see you from the locker room to the airport.
  • DISCOVER THE WORLD: Eagle Creek's waist packs, crossbody bags, hiking backpacks, carry-on luggage, travel bags and more are an easy way to keep your items organized. Keep passports, tablets, water bottles, books and other necessities at your fingertips.
  • CARRY WITH CONFIDENCE: Compare the quality craftsmanship of Eagle Creek backpacks, duffels, fanny packs and more to bags from JanSport, Adidas, Nike, Herschel, Under Armour, Osprey, Thule, Duluth, timbuk2, Swiss Gear, Samsonite, Targus, or High Sierra.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Eagle Creek Packable:

Reviewers like these things about the Eagle Creek Packable

  • Most of the users said that the fabric is heavier and bulkier.
  • Many users said that the bag was comfortable to wear.
  • Many like it as it packs itself up nice and compact changing into a small backpack.
  • Reviewers who have used the bag said it was really convenient for daily use.
  • Several users like it as it did well in rain and kept the stuff inside well and dry.
  • Some of the users praise it as it folds up into its own portable pocket.
  • A user said this thing has lasted through cities, storms, hikes, biking tours and even inside a volcano.
  • Reviewers love it for being very lightweight, stowable and easy to carry, and durable as well.
  • Some other said that the design is practical and uncluttered.
  • Users also said that all of the seams are reinforced and the zipper is sturdy.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some of the users complained that the straps are of lower quality that continuously slips off the shoulder while wearing it.
  • One of the users discovered a hole that had formed on the upper part of the bag just under where one of the shoulder straps is attached.
  • A few of them said the zipper broke and the fabric tore within the first month.

4 – CocoMall


No products found.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the CocoMall:

Reviewers like these things about the CocoMall

  • Some users like how it can be collapsed into a very small bag when not in use.
  • A lot of users find it convenient that it has a lot of different segments for differnet things.
  • Some users said that the zips were good quality.
  • Many users said that the seams are all well made.
  • Reviewers love how the main material is lightweight but very tough.
  • Others said that it could contain a lot of clothes good for one week.
  • Many owners agree that the shoe compartment is a nifty feature.
  • Many users liked how it looks.
  • Others said that it was comfortable to carry.
  • Many owners said that the price is excellent for the value.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • One user said that it was cheaply made.
  • Some reviewers did not like the style.

5 – Gonex


No products found.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Gonex:

Reviewers like these things about the Gonex

  • Many users love how it was well packaged.
  • Reviewers agree that the design was meticulously planned.
  • Others said that the zips are of great quality.
  • Many reviewers agree that the seams are strong.
  • The pockets are well made.
  • Some users laud its quality.
  • Some owners liked how it contains many pockets.
  • Many users commend the detachable shoulder strap that extends to a really long length.
  • Its a roomy bag that folds up so small, users could easily incorporate it into a medium handbag.
  • Several owners agree that the bag is a bargain as it is easily comparable in quality to them.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some reviewers were disappointed with how floppy the bag was.
  • One user said that the bag rolls around when it is half full.

6 – ElifeAcc


No products found.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the ElifeAcc:

Reviewers like these things about the ElifeAcc

  • A lot of reviewers said that it is a handy product.
  • Many owners said that it fits perfectly over the handle bars of a suitcase.
  • A number of users said that they can fit a lot in the bag.
  • Some owners said that it survives for a long time.
  • Others liked how it has two zippers which can be padlocked.
  • A lot of users said that it takes up a small space to store.
  • Some users said that it is a sturdy product.
  • Owners said that it does not look cheap at all.
  • Many owners laud the size.
  • A lot of users said that it is lightweight.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some said that it felt cheap.
  • Some reviewers said that it was poorly made.

7 – OMORC


No products found.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the OMORC:

Reviewers like these things about the OMORC

  • Many reviewers agree that it works brilliantly.
  • A lot of users were pleased that it can hold a weeks worth of clothes.
  • Others said that it is a lightweight product.
  • A number of users were contented with the size.
  • Reviewers were happy with the price considering the good quality.
  • Many owners love how the compartments are separated.
  • Some users were happy that it wipes up clean with little effort needed.
  • Many users liked how it folds flat.
  • Several reviewers said that it is very stylish.
  • Many reviewers said that it is a great bag for camping and overnight trips.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some reviewers said that it was too flimsy to be practical.
  • One user said that it broke very quickly.

8 – WANDF


Sale
Wandf Foldable Travel Duffel Bag Luggage Sports Gym Water Resistant Nylon, Grey
  • --- Unique Durable Nylon --- Ultra lightweight only 9.8 oz, but wearproof, waterproof and tear resistant
  • --- Versatile --- Travel extra bag, gym bag, shopping bag and etc.
  • --- Flight Carry-on Size --- This 20 inch bag features a compact folding design with a capacity of 2400 cubic inches.
  • --- Easy Transport --- A strap allows bag to slide over the luggage upright handle tube for easy transport
  • --- Packable --- Fast packed into itself and easy to carry. It is perfect for anyone on the go, don't leave home without it!

Here’s what the reviewers think about the WANDF:

Reviewers like these things about the WANDF

  • Many users laud the fabric.
  • Other reviewers said that it is a lightweight bag.
  • A lot of users like that it has a lot of compartments.
  • Some reviewers laud the sturdy handles.
  • A lot of reviewers were pleased with the size.
  • Reviewers were surprised that they can hold it in many different ways.
  • Many users were pleased that it is waterproof.
  • A lot of reviewers agree that it is a practical product.
  • Many reviewers loved the array of colors.
  • Reviewers loved how it is easy to pack away.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • One user said that it was of poor quality.
  • Users said that the seams easily break.

9 – OUTRY


Sale
Outry Foldable Travel Duffle Bag, Lightweight Sports Gym Duffel Bag, 30L(8gal) (Purple)
  • HUGE CAPACITY: (unfolded) 19.3"L x 10"W x 10"H with 30L(8gal) capacity.
  • SPACE SAVING: folds up to 8.7" x 7" x 2.4".
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: weighs only 12oz(340g).
  • WATER RESISTANT and TEAR RESISTANT: 210D ripstop nylon fabric makes extremely durable.
  • VERSATILE: with the reinforced mesh padded grab handles and a removable shoulder strap, you can use it as a gym bag , travel duffle or a "rescue bag" whenever you need one.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the OUTRY:

Reviewers like these things about the OUTRY

  • Some users said that it is ‘very’ lightweight.
  • A lot of users like that it neatly folds up in its own internal pockets.
  • A number of reviewers love that they can hold it either with loop handles or shoulders straps.
  • Others particularly like how it comes with a choice of nice colors.
  • A number of reviewers like that it comes with fixings.
  • Others said that it holds way more than it looks.
  • Some owners said that it is a strong product.
  • A number of users agree that it is a high quality product.
  • Others said that it ways practically nothing even after filling it with clothes.
  • Some owners said that it is durable.
  • Many owners were impressed with the costumer service.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • One user said that the shoulder straps do not hold heavy load well.
  • One user was disappointed because the product started tearing.

10 – SPAHER


No products found.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the SPAHER:

Reviewers like these things about the SPAHER

  • Many users were pleased with the quality considering its low price.
  • Other viewers like how it folds up into a small compartment when not in use.
  • A number of reviewers said that it is robust.
  • Many users laud that it folds up neatly.
  • A lot of users agree that it is a roomy bag.
  • Many owners said that the bag is great for holding up laundry.
  • Others said that it can hold a lot of things.
  • A number of users praise the prompt delivery.
  • Others particulary thought that it was not flimsy.
  • Many reviewers said that it is lightweight.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A lot of owners said that the zips broke after using it a couple of times.
  • One reviewer was disappointed with how it was packaged.

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Using our bag review summaries, we aim to help you find the perfect bag without having to spend a lot of time reading an endless list of reviews.


Last update on 2018-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2 Comments

  1. Hi, Thanks for the article. Do you think that the Samsonite Tote-A-Ton, or any of these other bags, is durable enough to check for air travel? I don’t want to carry on. Thank you!

    • I think Samsonite in general is a great brand, so I wouldn’t be afraid of buying a bag from them. But foldable duffel bags aren’t built for being checked in and thrown around by the airport personnel. Why not go for a normal duffel bags, for example a classic like the North Face Base Camp which is really built to last.

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