Canvas overnight bag

An overnight travel bag is one of the most useful pieces of luggage you can own. Whether for yourself or as a gift, a great overnight bag is irreplacable. A cheap, low quality bag can turn an easy trip into a nightmare. Here's a few tips on what to look for when choosing an overnight travel bag that will serve you well for years to come without breaking the bank.

What should I look for in a great overnight travel bag?

There are five main features to look for in an overnight travel bag

  1. Material
  2. Construction
  3. Water resistance
  4. Compartments
  5. Size.

How you intend to use the overnight travel bag will determine what features are more important than others.

What's the best material for an overnight travel bag?

Overnight travel bagThere are 5 main materials that you can find an overnight travel bag made of..

  1. Vinyl, perhaps the cheapest material out there, it's flimsy, but it is waterproof if it's sealed correctly. Requires little maintenance. Don't expect this to last very long.
  2. Nylon is a bit better than vinyl in terms of strength, may be waterproof if lined, it requires a bit more care to keep clean, and, once it starts ripping it's pretty much over.
  3. Ballistic Nylon, this is the heavy, self sealing nylon, very high quality and nearly impossible to rip. Great stuff, may be waterproof if lined. Requires same maintenance as nylon. A ballistic nylon bag can be quite expensive, but they last a very long time.
  4. Leather, a leather overnight travel bag looks and feels great, if it's real leather and not vinyl, it's waterproof and tough but requires more maintenance to keep it looking good.
  5. Canvas, can be strong if it's heavy canvas,  but can get ripped easily if it's the thin cheap stuff. Gets dirty and not waterproof unless lined. Note: once a canvas overnight travel bag gets wet you can be pretty sure the contents are also wet too.

What are some construction features I should look for in a great travel bag?

The construction quality of an overnight bag is just as, if not more important than the material it's made of.

Look for heavy zippers, especially if it's a large travel bag and will carry lots of stuff. The straps and handles should be double stitched and even have rivets in them for extra strength. The seams should be reinforced with extra material especially on the bottom where abrassion damage can occur.

If the bag has wheels make sure they don't look and feel cheap, nothing is more annoying than using a wheeled bag with a broken or stuck wheel.

Water resistant or waterproof, what's the difference?

Leather overnight bagA water resistant overnight travel bag will repel water for a little while before the contents get wet. A waterproof overnight travel bag will keep it's contents dry in the heaviest rain. Make sure the pockets close and secure tightly to ensure the contents won't get wet and the zippers have extra sealing material under them.

What shape does an overnight travel bag come in?

Duffle bags, carry ons or simple satchels. The shape is almost irrelevant, unless you intend to carry the overnight travel bag onto a plane. Most airlines allow a maximum of 21 inches, make sure the bag you are interested in is at, or under this measurement.

So, when you're out to get a new overnight travel bag make sure you consider everything, not just how pretty it is. An overnight travel bag that doesn't live up to expectations can be difficult and annoying to use.