If you are looking for the features and advantages of both suitcase and rucksack, you better look for a duffle bag. A suitcase can keep all your belongings in one place, and you can also carry the bag on a long journey. A rucksack is something you can carry on your shoulder for a long period of time and can take lots of gear and equipment, such as sports gear or hiking equipment, etc.

A duffle bag gives cross features of a suitcase and rucksack. You might have got some idea from these words about what are duffle bags used for. Now let’s see what duffle bags offer you in-depth in the following section.

What is a duffle bag?  Duffle bag description:

Duffle bags are top entry bags with cylindrical shapes. These bags are made of tough and thick fabrics. Moreover, Duffle bags are also available in premium leather and woolen cloths. It was used by military personnel in the early 1940s.

With improvement, the design of duffle bags has changed a lot. Especially the improvement is noticeable in its functionality and durability. The modern duffle bags have side-closing zipper designs. These bags are also called kit bags and are available in natural fabric and synthetic fabric. 

The bag was first introduced in the First World War situation when Poet E.E Cumming wrote about it in a latter while he was serving as an ambulance driver. The extensive use of this bag is seen in the Second World War. Most of the British and American military service men used duffle bags as carry-on bags of military gear and equipment. They used duffle bags as an alternative to rucksacks.

Later on, after WW2, the bag gained public popularity. Surfers of different parts of the world, especially California and Australia, found the duffle bag a good type of carry-on. Sailors and Marines also use a variant of a duffle bag for their long sea voyage purpose, and they call those duffle bags seabags.

What are duffle bags used for
Image: Amazon

Related to this topic:

Best Men’s Garment Bag For Travel

What are duffle bags used for? 

Duffle bags are available in a wide variety of shapes and materials. You can choose duffle bags made of different materials such as canvas, nylon, or leather, no matter what your duffle bag is made.
You may not find duffle bags as attractive-looking premium suitcases, but you will find them always handy in almost every situation where you need to carry a lot of stuff, including your clothes, sports gear, or business documents. There are many uses of duffle bags followings are the most common uses of duffle bags.

Gym bag

One of the most common uses of a duffle bag now a day is used as a gym bag. Duffle bags have lots of extra pockets in them that can be used for multi-purposes such as putting gym clothes, water bottles, protein shake bottles and energy bars, a towel, etc.

Those who use a duffle bag as a gym bag get another advantage of safely storing the bag in a gym locker. The size of a duffle bag allows itself to fit in the standard size gym lockers.  

Beach bag

There are a lot of sizes of duffle bags available, and large duffle bags are good for carrying to the beach. You can put your sunscreen, beach outfits, sunglasses, and snacks too in the duffle bag. One big advantage of carrying a duffle bag on a beach is that it won’t carry a lot of sand to your home, unlike other types of bags such as backpacks.

Travel bag

For me, Duffle bags fits best as travel bags. They offer lots of benefits to the travelers who carry it as a travel bag. It keeps your clothes and belongings compacted in one place so that they don’t get scared.

No matter if you are traveling to a foreign land or a destination wedding, you can take all your belongings and special clothes in a duffle bag without having wrinkles in the clothes.
Besides, small duffle bags are good substitutes for packing cubes (a procedure by which you can fit a lot of things in a small bag, about which I have written another article).

Some suitcase companies even attach wheels to duffle bags so that you can get a suitcase-carrying feel while carrying a duffle bag. Wheels also make you feel comfortable while carrying them to different places.

Sports bag

One of the handy features of a duffle bag is that large size duffle bags have extra shoulder straps attached to them. It allows the users to carry the duffle bags on their shoulders. This is a big sports player in most cases uses duffle bags to carry their sports belongings such as badminton bat hat, dress and towel bottle, etc. the use of duffle bag is seen especially in case of hockey and cricket.

Cricketers use large duffle bags to carry wickets, bats and safety helmets, and other safety gear in the bag. High durability, lightweight, big size, and shoulder straps make duffle bags a good choice for most sports people to carry their sports stuff.     


There is a saying that every single counts in the arena of business. And as a business person, you won’t want to bother yourself finding your devices and files in a bag, right? That is where companies come up with the premium leather-made duffle bags idea.

These bags are preferred by lots of business people around the world. Small duffle bags can carry lots of different staffs such as laptops, files, Notebooks, and other different items in specific pockets specially made for items a typical businessman usually carries with him.    

Gear storage bag

You will hardly find any camping lover who does not have a duffle bag. Duffle bags are durable and can carry all your camping gear in one place. Small size and medium-size duffle bags are really good for carrying survival camping kits such as pocket knife and fire starter, map and compass, water bottle, first aid kit, and many more.

These bags can be twisted or folded into any shape and can fit in your rucksack to carry into the wilderness. 

Can you use a duffel bag as a carry-on?

What are duffle bags used for
Image: Amazon

Duffle bags can be a good choice to carry all your last-minute items before leaving your home. In most cases, people who travel to many destinations by plane look for a bag that will easily go with airline baggage restrictions. And small duffle bags are a good choice that does not bother you with airline restrictions regarding baggage.

Although it is not the best choice for carrying your ironed clothes, it can carry all your last-minute items and travel documents safely. Besides small duffle bag can be a good carry-on as it easily fits on the onboard shelf of any plane.

What are the different types of Duffle bags?

Types of duffle bags:

There are different uses of duffle bags, as mentioned. And to get the proper utility of a duffle bag, you must select the right type of duffle bag for your requirement. Knowing what will be the right type of duffle bag largely depends on why you need one.

If you are looking for business purposes, then you will need a different type of duffle bag compared with a travel purpose duffle bag. Each type of duffle bag is well suited for its specific uses. Followings are the most popular types of duffle bags in use.

Barrel duffle bag (cylindrical duffle bag)

A regular barrel-shaped duffle bag can be imagined as a cloth-shaped tube or a log of a fireplace. This type of duffle bag has a top opening zipper and carrying straps and is used for carrying lots of items. Barrel-shaped duffle bags usually come in large sizes, and sometimes these bags are called all-in-one bags.

Barrel-shaped duffle bags are also popular for their durability and are specially used in a war zone by military personnel and in sports events by sportsmen. 

  • Squared duffle bag

Squared-shaped duffle bags are mostly popular for their toughness and durability. These bags get their square shape from a built-in frame made of gussets which provides toughness and makes these bags durable. Besides this, bags use plastic-backed woven polyester for high durability. One notable appearance of these duffle bags is their side pockets with zipper closers. These bags are specially used by police forces.

  • Wheeled duffle bag

It is another major type of bag used by travelers. These bags have large zippers opening with u-shaped zippers and wheels on the bottom side. Places where people have to walk a long way. Places such as airports and train stations have long terminals and waiting rooms where carrying heavy duffle bags on your shoulder can be tiring. This is why using a wheeled duffle bag is preferable when traveling by air. 

  • Backpack duffle bag

Usually, duffle bags have carrying straps on the zipper side for carrying, but some duffle bags, such as backpack-style duffle bags, are specially designed for people who like hiking. These bags have a similar look, just like a backpack, and have shoulder straps attached to them. These bags are popular among students and young age hikers.

What are duffle bags used for
Image: Amazon

  • Cooler duffle bag

Outdoor coolers are made of hard plastic, but coolers and duffle bags are made of soft fabrics such as polyester and canvas. These bags are used for going to nearby places such as park areas on off days for picnic purposes.

  • Waterproof duffle bag

Waterproof duffle bags look almost identical to square and barrel duffle bags with just one special feature of saving your belongings from getting wet. People who are visiting places such as a lake area, beach area, or waterfall area prefer taking a waterproof duffle bag. Besides, if you are traveling to a rainy place, it especially requires you to carry a waterproof duffle bag.

Video: Youtube


You probably have seen lots of different types of bags with many uses, but you may have hardly seen any bag with so many versatile uses as you can see in the case of a duffle bag. The duffle bag has its most common use as a traveling bag. Duffle bags are also used as personal shopping bags.

Starting with military use in the First and Second World Wars, duffle bags had made their way to too many versatile uses. Now you can see these bags with sports persons, travelers, businessmen, athletes, shoppers, and many more people. And that is enough to answer the question of what are duffle bags used for.     

You may also like:

Ricardo Beverly Hills Luggage Review

Why is Tumi so expensive? Is Tumi worth it?