7 travel bags to get you there in style

Traveling is that much easier when you've got the right bag for your gear. Photo of the Chrome Industries Sotnik bag courtesy of Chromeindustries.com
Traveling is that much easier when you’ve got the right bag for your gear. Photo of the Chrome Industries Sotnik bag courtesy Chromeindustries.com

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's Wheelie Flight Deck is our go-to bag. It'll last you a decade and fit in the airline carry-on every time. Photo courtesy of Burton.com
Burton’s Wheelie Flight Deck is our go-to travel bag. It’ll last you a decade and fit in the airline carry-on every time. Photo courtesy Burton.com

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's Split Roller 100L is great for people traveling in pairs or for those who can't leave home without 'it." Photo courtesy of Dakine.com
DaKine’s Split Roller 100L is great for people traveling in pairs or for those who can’t leave home without “it.” Photo courtesy Dakine.com

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's Black Hole Duffle bags are great all-around travelers. Photo courtesy of patagonia.com
Patagonia’s Black Hole Duffle bags are great all-around travelers. Photo courtesy patagonia.com

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's Podium Intake Gear Bag is great for throwing in and out of a truck. Photo courtesy of Fox Head, Inc.
Fox’s Podium Intake Gear Bag is great for tossing into whatever cargo space you’re dealing with. Photo courtesy Fox Head, Inc.

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

With an allover print, the Quiksilver Contener brings updated styling to a traditional shape. Photo courtesy of Quiksilver.com
With an allover print, the Quiksilver Contener brings updated styling to a traditional shape. Photo courtesy Quiksilver.com

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

The Chrome Industries Sotnik will hold all your gear plus a skateboard, or double as a cooler. Photo courtesy of Chromeindustries.com
The Chrome Industries Sotnik will hold all your gear plus a skateboard, or double as a cooler. Photo courtesy Chromeindustries.com

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 is great for trips when you you need to schlep your stuff but don't want to look like you're on vacation. Photo courtesy of timbuk2.com
The Timbuk2 Aviator Travel Backpack is great for trips when you need to schlep your stuff, but don't want to look like you're on vacation. Photo courtesy Timbuk2.com

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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