Commerce Content is independent of Editorial and Advertising, and if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale. Click here for more.
Illustration for article titled The Best “Personal Item” Bags For Traveling
Photo: Boarding Pass
Style GirlfriendStyle Girlfriend is the go-to destination for guys seeking not just fashion advice, but lifestyle tips, tricks, and shortcuts - all from a friendly, female editorial team’s perspective. Each week, Team SG will round up the clothes, grooming products and more men need to live their most stylish lives.

As someone who hasn’t checked a suitcase in years (years!!), I’ve come to rely on the one-two packing punch of carry-on luggage and the “personal item” allowed by most airlines. It always makes me lol to hear gate agents describe this secondary piece as a “purse or small handbag” over the PA system when they know damn well all of us are out here smuggling the equivalent of a small child in our extra-extra travel bag.

Advertisement

Thankfully, there are plenty of stylish options out there that look good and help you get the roomiest bang for your buck. Whether you’re traveling for the holidays, or are already planning a post-December winter escape, it might be time for an upgrade. Below, check out 6 #SGapproved picks:

Calpak Stevyn Duffel, $68
Calpak Stevyn Duffel, $68
Photo: Calpak

This stylish duffel has a helpful “luggage trolley sleeve” that lets you slide the bag onto the handle of your carry-on suitcase...key for keeping your shit quite literally together at the airport.

The main compartment includes several interior pockets, while a separate, bottom compartment is perfect for packing that extra pair of shoes you still aren’t sure you might need on your trip (but maybe?!). It’s also deep, but not too wide, making it easy to slide under your seat for takeoff.

Advertisement
Timbuk2 Quest Duffel, $129
Timbuk2 Quest Duffel, $129
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez

For guys who want something a little more technical, our team is really into the crazy affordable and virtually indestructible Timbuk2 line. Their Quest duffel is perfect for carrying by hand or throwing over your shoulder. You can even wear it as a (somewhat bulky) backpack.

For guys who want something a little more technical, our team is really into the crazy affordable and virtually indestructible Timbuk2 line. Their Quest duffel is perfect for carrying by hand or throwing over your shoulder. You can even wear it as a (somewhat bulky) backpack.

Advertisement
Dagne Dover Large Landon Carryall Duffle Bag, $185
Dagne Dover Large Landon Carryall Duffle Bag, $185
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez

This line first came to my attention when The Inventory’s dearly departed Chelsea (it’s fine, she’s alive, just at a new job) sang the small Landon’s praises as a go-to work bag.

Advertisement

The large Landon Carryall is designed really well for travel, unsnapping at the sides to create more room (good for storing extra sweaters and puffers on the plane). The bag’s neoprene is water-resistant and surprisingly shock absorbent. Beyond the extensive interior and exterior pockets, there’s a padded laptop sleeve, air mesh pouch and a water bottle pocket because as Jason Momoa decreed, we’re not doing single-use plastic bottles anymore!

Advertisement
Flight 001 Expandable Duffle, $50
Flight 001 Expandable Duffle, $50
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez

This style from “everything you never knew you needed for travel” retailer Flight 001 comes from their Expand Series, and goes from pouch to duffel in seconds. It’s a good option if you think you’ll need more storage space on your return journey - pack this nylon bag in your carry-on on the trip out, then check the carry-on for your return flight and fill this bad boy up with your holiday overflow alongside your “personal item” bag.

This style from “everything you never knew you needed for travel” retailer Flight 001 comes from their Expand Series, and goes from pouch to duffel in seconds. It’s a good option if you think you’ll need more storage space on your return journey - pack this nylon bag in your carry-on on the trip out, then check the carry-on for your return flight and fill this bad boy up with your holiday overflow alongside your “personal item” bag.

Advertisement

When you’re finished using it, fold it back up and slip it into your carry-on for safekeeping. You’ll never have to worry about going overboard with souvenirs on a trip again.

Target Goodfellow & Co. Backpack, $25
Target Goodfellow & Co. Backpack, $25
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez
Advertisement

I sang the praises of this Target backpack as part of SG’s recent spotlight on the retailer’s Goodfellow & Co. men’s line. It’s durable, functional, and you won’t feel too bad scrunching it in the seat in front of you when the flight attendant comes by to chide you before takeoff.

Boarding Pass Flight Briefcase - Midnight, $215
Boarding Pass Flight Briefcase - Midnight, $215
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez
Advertisement

SG HQ loves New York-based travel brand Boarding Pass’s Flight Briefcase for its throwback feel and sturdy construction. This bag looks like something your dad would have lugged to work in the ‘80s, and if you’re really lucky you might find it collecting dust in the attic on your next trip home, just waiting to be put back into rotation.

If you’ve tucked most of your things into a carry-on or checked luggage, you could easily get away with toting this case carrying just a book or magazine and your laptop.


Megan Collins started Style Girlfriend to help guys look and feel their best. Today, she and her team share tips, tricks, and shortcuts to a closet that inspires confidence.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter