Holiday travel season is upon us. You know what that means. Oversold and overbooked flights. Crowded trains, subways, and buses. Apocalyptic traffic. Probable blizzards that strike at the most inopportune minute, stranding travelers like yourself in places you’d never willingly linger for more than an hour (sorry, Omaha).
You may not be in control of the weather, flight schedules, or anyone else, but you’re certainly in control of your appearance and your travel bags. Since it’s the holiday season, you’re not packing for a full-on vacation, so there’s really no need for you to turn to a standard carry-on roller bag. Don’t be that guy hauling around a full-size suitcase when there are plenty of other options to get you and your gear back home to mom with style and ease. Choose backpacks, duffels, briefcases, and other easy-to-carry hand-luggage. You’ll eliminate the risk of the airlines losing your luggage, saving you from spending Thanksgiving in Uncle Dan’s decade old overalls.
So rise above the fray and stand-out as a stylish, untouchable, traveler extraordinaire with our best bags for the travel season. From backpacks that fit easily under an airplane seat and cost under $200 to a $12,000 alligator skin duffel meant to impress the jet-set, we’ve got something for every man on our list.
Bellroy Slim Work Bag $189
You know you’re not heading home without your laptop. The Slim Work Bag by Bellroy holds a 15-inch laptop, sports soft-lined pockets for sunglasses and electronics, feaures a removeable shoulder strap, and has a three year warranty. Relaxed, yet professional, this bag easily fits under an airplane seat.
Standard Pacific Goods The Field Duffel $139
Even though this duffel is currently sold out, we felt it prudent to include this new development found on Kickstarter. Fully funded in 24 hours, the Field Duffel features a separate, but centrall located shoe compartment, which divides the internal pockets into a couple of sections that easily house shirts, pants, and undergarments. You might not be able to get this bag before this year’s holiday season is over with, but there’s always the option or prepping for next year.
WP Standard ‘51 Gym Bag $310
Made from vetegable tanned leather with reinforced straps, this high-quality leather gym bag from WP Standard offers throwback style with modern design. Good for weekends or overnight stays due to its smaller size, this bag will certainly draw looks while commuting home for Christmas.
WP Standard Satchel $195
When you need less than a briefcase, but more than a wallet, a satchel is your savior. Perfect for your personal item on airplanes, this veteable tanned leather satchel with brass hardware has extra pockets on the front and rear, adjustable straps, and enough interior space for a tablet, phone, notebook, and good book. We love this bag as the perfect accompaniment to urban exploration, whether it be a day in London or Lima.
Stuart and Lau The Hopkins $365
This bag looks far more expensive than it is. And that may be a result of the quality trims and fabrics used in its construction. With waterproof Duralite Fabric for the exterior, offset by full grain leather handles, The Hopkins can stand up to even the most inclement of travel moments. And if the weather gets really bad, just reach for your umbrella conveniently held in place by the bag’s exterior side straps.
All of US Drifter Travel Pack $80
Andrew Zimmern’s favorite travel bag. You know, the bizarre foods guy… This puppy does double duty as either a backpack or a duffle, and, with all the compartments needed to carry all your EDC and travel goods, you’re in great shape on a plane, train, bus, or any other form of travel with this confident carry-all.
Hook & Albert Melange Fabric Garment Weekender Bag $395
If you’ve got a fancy family, then this is the holiday travel bag for you. More garment bag than weekender, this Hook & Albert creation opens up flat, allowing you to store your suit, collared shirts, and anything else you don’t want wrinkled. This baby can hold up to two complete suits and also has compartments for a pair of shoes.
Cole Haan Brayton Attache Case $450
There’s something about an attache case that just makes you feel important. And that feeling of importance carries through to your attitude when sporting this Cole Haan Brayton Attache case. Constructed from pebble leather with a laptop sleeve, tech pockets, zippered interior pockets, brass buckles, an adjustable strap, and a sleek and killer look, this case is perfect for keeping your most important possession close at hand.
Taikan lancer $100
Looks can be deceiving…especially when it comes to this simple black backpack from Taikan. Made from ballistic nylon, this bag won’t fray, rip, or tear, no matter how hard you knock it around. But just because it’s tough doesn’t mean it’s not also functional. It features premium leather tassels, a 15-inch laptop pocket, and beautiful nickel-finished hardware.
Topo Designs Rover Pack $139
There’s just something about the easy style of this backpack from Topo Designs that makes it a perennial facorite around these parts. It’s sort of Boy Scout meets Army Ranger in the best of ways. And it’s as tough as those guys, too, with it’s Cordura fabric outer material, hard plastic hardware, and a fairly neutral color that can be paired with just about any outfit. Bonus: It’s one of the less-pricey options on this list.
Aer Gym Duffel 2 $170
With a laptop compartment, ventilated shoe compartment, padded shoulder straps, and a 900D polyester exterior with eco-friendly dye process and water-resistant coating, the Aer Gym Duffel 2 works just as well for travel as it does for hitting the gym. And with it’s sleek, mod look, you’ll look while doing either.
Filson Journeyman $395
Rugged is the word that comes to mind when thinking about the Filson Journeyman backpack. And with a construction composed of oil finish Tin Cloth and hardy twill for water-repellent and abrasion-resistant performance, the Journeyman will see you through your travel home, and your day out hunting with the guys.
Moore and Giles Benedict American Bison Weekend Bag $860
While a bit on the pricey side, this American Bison Weekend Bag pays dividends in style and cool factor–most of it coming the fact that this bag is made out of Bison Bison, the American Buffalo. Of the leather, Moore and Giles note, “Natural waxes and burnishings bring out this leather’s unique grain character. Wear and use will continue to enhance its rich patina.” And, if you want to stick with the buffalo theme, you could pair this with United By Blue’s Bison Sport Jacket.
Shinola Runwell Backpack $995
If you love high-quality leather, made in America craftsmanship, and solid metal components, then the Runwell backpack is for you. Though heavier than its fabric counterparts, this backpack stands up to the toughest of situations. You might be a little leery of using this as a travel or everyday bag because of the initial cost, just know your return on investment is solid, as this guy will last you for life.
Lotuff The Bridle Triumph II Briefcase $2,600
There’s something about how minimal, sleek, and buttery rich this briefcase looks. Carrying this into the office or lunch meeting instantly ups your seriousness via style. The bag, unlike most, offers a triple-gusset accordion-like construction which allows the bag to expand and contract between three and eight inches, making it perfect for the guy who rolls onto a plane with a bag full of snacks and leaves with none left. It’s also sexy as hell.
Frank Clegg American Alligator Duffle $12,500
Ridiculously expensive, this is a #goalz bag if there ever was one. Made from real american alligator leather (don’t cry for them, there are millions of the species–and also they eat children). This bag is handcrafted with solid brass fittings, a matte finish, and tumbled vegetable tanned leather trim. Lined with waterproof fabric, much like the bellies of the beasts its made from, this bag screams “Be Impressed.” And they will be. For all the wildlife lovers out there, the brand makes clear, “All the alligator we use has been sourced from a tannery that works directly with hunters to make sure the correct protocols have been followed in obtaining the skins.”
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