That spontaneous vacation shopping spree boosted your wardrobe significantly, but it dramatically shrunk the free space in your suitcase. How can you avoid lugging home your new treasures in the paper sack they came in? By packing foldable travel bags, of course. These are our seven favorite packable travel bags—totes, duffles, backpacks, and even roller suitcases—that collapse and fold down, ready for an afternoon of souvenir-hunting.
1. The Away Packable Backpack
Buy Now: $75, awaytravel.com Style: Packable backpack Dimensions: 11 x 18.1 x 5.9 inches (4.7 x 7.1 x 2.4 inches packed)
Weight: 8 oz.
Away launched its first line of packable bags in 2021, with an extra-large carry-all, a small sling bag (that sold out), and our choice: the Packable Backpack. Constructed with 100 percent recycled water-resistant nylon, this backpack comes with lightly padded shoulder straps for comfort, a zippered interior pocket for organization, and buckle closures to keep your belongings secure. When you’re done, it folds up into a removable zip pouch and stashes away easily.
2. Matador On-Grid Packable Duffle
Buy Now: $55, matadorup.com Style: Packable duffle Dimensions: 18 x 11.5 x 11.5 inches (7.5 x 5.5 x 2.5 inches packed)
Weight: 9.17 oz.
Made from a durable and waterproof Robic nylon fabric, the Matador On-Grid packable duffle is a 25-liter bag that squishes down to the size of a paperback book and weighs only 9.17 ounces, or the equivalent of a few Snickers bars. Despite its minimalist design, it comes with a front zipper pocket for organization and a built in shoulder strap.
3. Paravel Fold-Up Bag
Buy Now: $70, tourparavel.com Style: Foldable duffle bag Dimensions: 18 x 11 x 11.5 inches (9.75 x 8 x 2.75 inches packed)
Weight: 16 oz.
Paravel’s ultra-light duffle bag can pack into your big luggage for those gotta-have-it souvenir emergencies. The tear- and water-resistant duffle is feather-light and zips neatly into a small pouch when you’re not using it. It’s also AFAR digital content director Laura Dannen Redman’s go-to weekend bag. She calls it the “Trojan horse of weekend bags” since it holds so much more inside than you’d expect. She can easily fit two pairs of shoes, two toiletry bags, and three days of winter clothing in it. An added bonus—the sustainable nylon material is made from 22 recycled plastic water bottles.
Paravel’s Negative Nylon Collection also comes with packable backpacks, dopp kits, and belt bags that all fold up just like this duffle.
4. Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack 27L
Buy now: $89, patagonia.com
Style: Packable tote pack Dimensions: 15.5 x 10.25 x 8 inches (packed dimensions unavailable) Weight: 13.1 oz.
Weighing in at just under a pound, this tote pack has both tote straps for over the shoulder wear and backpack straps. It also stuffs into its own pocket for storage. A wide zipper opening allows easy access to belongings, and zipped exterior and interior stash pockets provides enough space for valuables. Nylon ripstop fabric—made with 100 percent recycled materials—makes the bag tear-resistant, and a special finish means it’s water-repellent, too.
5. Baggu Cloud Bag
Buy Now: $56, baggu.com Style: Packable tote bag Dimensions: 13.8 x 21 x 8 inches (9 x 7.5 x 2 inches packed) Weight: 8.65 oz.
This lightweight packable tote—which comes in fun prints or basic black—folds up into an included pouch and expands to a roomy carry-all. Use it as an overnight bag, beach tote, or gym bag—or in emergencies when your clothes just don’t seem to fit into your carry-on the same way they did when you arrived.
6. Eagle Creek Packable Duffle Bag
Buy Now: $40, eaglecreek.com Style: Foldable duffle bag Dimensions: 20 x 10 x 8.75 inches (8.25 x 6.75 x 2.5 inches packed) Weight: 6 oz.
Your boss called to nag you about something insignificant while you were enjoying a piña colada on the beach 3,000 miles away, but instead of heading home, you decide to extend your trip and buy a few more days’ worth of clothing. The Eagle Creek Packable Duffle stuffs easily into an included pouch and fits snuggly in your carry-on or checked bag, so you’ll be able to save your newly acquired goods without issue. Your job, however? That might require slightly more maneuvering.
Eagle Creek also makes a great packable backpack that is ideal for casual day hikes—it even has a side water bottle pocket.
7. Biaggi Zipsak Luggage
Buy Now: $100 (was $210), biaggi.com Style: Collapsible suitcase Dimensions: 17 x 18.5 x 9.5 inches (18.5 x 9.5 x 4.5 inches packed) Weight: 4.9 lbs.
Depending on how long you plan to vacation (or if you need to extend), the water- and tear-resistant nylon fabric Zipsak Boost Max Carry-On by Biaggi can go from overhead luggage size to checked bagged capacity with an easy pull of a zipper. The Biaggi Zipsak is a great way to save the checked bag fee one way when you want to load up on souvenirs on the way back.
This article originally appeared online on February 6, 2018; it was updated in January 2020, and again in July 2021, and February 2022, to include current information.
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