At the start of every summer, I have a vision of how the season will play out. It involves a montage of train rides during magic hour, bonfires on empty beaches, leafy tree branches swaying gently in the breeze and me—flitting between each locale with nothing but a weekend bag and a straw hat atop my head.
Just calling it a “weekend bag” evokes a lifestyle of short-but-perfect getaways. They tell the world that you’re so breezy and intentional with your packing that everything you might need to look stylish throughout the weekend can fit into a bag you sling over your shoulder. And while the realities of travel are not always so glamorous (have you been to Penn Station?), a roomy, good-looking duffel bag can help you pack smarter and feel like the sophisticated bon vivant you’ve always imagined yourself to be.
Whether your summer getaway plans involve dropping anchor on a sailboat off the coast of Cape Cod or crashing on the floor of your buddy’s share house in Amagansett, a proper weekend bag is essential. The best SG-approved ones are as stylish as they are functional, with practical pockets, tons of carrying options, and made-to-last fabrics that will stand up to whatever adventures you get up to between now and Labor Day.
RAINS Weekend Bag, $95
Rains is a cool Danish brand that specializes in making rain gear that looks great and actually keeps you dry. Naturally, their weekend bag is made from durable and water-resistant polyurethane with a waterproof zipper that’s as effective as the one on their jackets.
I don’t want to bring you down, but not every getaway is going to have perfect weather. It rains in the summer; sometimes a lot. This sleek, roomy bag ensures your shit won’t get wrecked even if your plans do, and I respect that practicality.
Paravel Main Line Duffel, $285
For Christmas last year, I got my dad a set of Paravel packing cubes. They’re minimal and masculine without being boring, which is probably the same way I’d describe their lightweight Main Line duffel. The texture of the weather-resistant cotton-canvas adds just a bit of visual interest, which I love, especially in the contrasting color options. The black-on-black version is nice too, if a bit safe. But you do you!
This bag is a little bit luxe, yet designed to withstand the abuse that comes with train and car trips—perfect for your low-key bougie Memorial Day weekend in The Hamptons.
Everlane Mover Pack, $78
Three reasons I’m kind of obsessed with this bag: the rich green color, the bajillion ways to carry it, and the price point. It’s not often you find a bag with a top handle, backpack straps, a shoe compartment, and tons of other smart features—as well as a water-resistant fabrication—for under $100. This is just an ideal bag generally; it’s utility goes far beyond “weekend.” Like, say, if your summer plans might include road trips, weekends upstate, a yoga retreat, a commuter flight to Nantucket and/or backpacking through Europe...or just going to the gym after work.
Filson Medium Rugged Twill Duffel Bag, $339
Filson is one of those companies whose brand identity is so fully realized and so aligned with my taste level that I love literally every product they make. The Seattle-based outdoors-y outfitter has been around for more than 110 years, so it makes sense that they’ve really got this high quality, handsome, hunting-and-fishing-adjacent thing down.
Their best-selling medium twill duffel is the kind of classic investment piece (read: solid brass fixtures, bridle leather straps, industrial strength twill) you’ll use for a lifetime, and end up passing down to the next generation of weekend travelers.
Patagonia Black Hole 60L Duffel Bag, $129
Come for the practicality, stay for the Earth-saving initiatives! As we humans continue to very quickly ruin the health of this planet, I’m somewhat comforted to know that Patagonia is out here trying to do something about it by partnering with grassroots organizations addressing the climate crisis. At the same time, they’re creating durable, useful, cool bags like their Black Hole duffel, that will fit all your stuff for that weekend camping trip without contributing to the destruction of the wilderness where you’re enjoying yourself so much. And stop throwing away single-use plastics! K byeeee!