10 best overnight bags for women

Planning a weekend away? Pack your essentials in one of these stylish holdalls

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The Independent Online

If, like us, you love using your weekends to go on city breaks or visit friends you haven’t seen in a while, you’ll understand the frustration beforehand of trying to squeeze that one remaining shoe into your already bulging travel bag.  And if this all too familiar scene is starting to get a little tiresome, it may be time to invest in a more suitable and flexible holdall. 

Our search has found overnight bags of different shapes, sizes and prices to suit all requirements. But all are easy to carry, can fit enough in for at least a one night stay away and can be cleaned either in the washing machine or with a quick wipe down.

1. Barbour Waxed Cotton Holdall: £149, John Lewis

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This unisex holdall from British brand Barbour is ideal for any overnight stay. Made of waxed cotton, it’s easy to wipe clean and comes in either this olive green style or navy. There’s one spacious main compartment for all your belongings and two large inner zip pockets for all your valuables. Barbour’s signature tartan print also lines the inside of the bag. The best part about it though is how strong and sturdy the straps are. With both short and long versions, you can either carry it or put it across your shoulders. Its high quality finish means it should last you for years too. 

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2. Big Stitch Personalised Canvas Bag: £35, Not On The High Street

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Personalise your new overnight bag with this design from embroidery company Big Stitch. You pick the name or initials (up to 14 characters), colour and font type and it comes prettily packaged with a high quality stitch. The bag itself is a simple, dark grey carrier with a detachable shoulder strap. There is one large main compartment for all your stuff and a front outside pocket for anything you need to access quickly. It sits comfortably on your shoulder and is suitable for the gym too.    

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3. Eastpak Tranverz S Streak: £110, Eastpak

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Eastpak originally created duffel bags for the US army, so you know you’re getting a reliable holdall with this brand. And its latest range of practical and stylish suitcases are ideal for short breaks. Our favourite is this compact wheeled case with a subtle, black animal-print design. You can use it as hand luggage if your mini break is farther afield and the lightweight material won’t dent your baggage weight allowance. It’s easy to manoeuvre, has two zipped inside compartments to keep your stuff organised and two compression clips on the front to keep the contents as compact as possible.    

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4. Longchamp Le Pliage: £70, Longchamp

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You may have spotted the smaller version on the high street, as this popular design from Longchamp has become a go-to for office handbags. But the bigger version suits going from the office to your getaway while still looking smart.  It’s a nylon bag with leather trim and it comes in a range of colours. With a zip and popper fastening, there’s also plenty of room inside for all your stuff. To clean: brush any stains with soap and water and use leather cream on the trims. 

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5. Cath Kidston Mallory Bunch Foldaway Overnight Bag: £42, Cath Kidston

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Cath Kidston is known for its bright and cheerful prints so if you’re looking for something fun to pack your essentials in then this foldaway bag is a great option. There’s plenty of room for a few outfit changes and a detachable over-the-shoulder strap if you’d prefer to carry it this way. The bag itself folds into the internal zip pocket, so it’s convenient in terms of storage too. The lining is made of PVC, meaning you can wipe off dirt or stains easily – although the whole bag is machine washable. If this design isn’t right for you, there’s a whole heap of prints and styles available in Cath Kidston’s range to browse through.

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6. Herschel Supply Strand Duffle Peacoat Floria: £55.38, Herschel Supply

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This flower-print holdall is great for taking on trains and planes. Its boxy shape makes it roomy on the inside – one large compartment will fit a weekend’s worth of stuff in – but it’s able to squeeze into tight spaces on luggage racks too. There’s only one set of smaller straps to carry it with, although if the bag isn’t too full you can get them over your shoulder. Finished off with red-striped lining on the inside, this bag is a high quality and practical buy.  

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7. Sweaty Betty All Sport Tote: £65, Sweaty Betty

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Strictly speaking, this Sweaty Betty holdall was designed to be used as a gym bag but we think this tote is big enough to fit all your stuff in for a weekend getaway. Made from lightweight and durable scuba fabric, it’s simple, stylish and sporty, with a strong pair of shoulder straps. There’s a small internal pocket for essentials like your phone and it can fold down into a compact roll for easy storage. There’s also a navy blue version if you’d prefer. 

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8. Reiss Picton Suitcase: £375, Reiss

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Reiss has partnered with travel accessories company SteamLine Luggage to create a range of luxury suitcases that are beautifully made and super stylish. Our favourite is this white linen case with black leather straps and corner detailing. Open using the lock clips and buckles to reveal a striped cotton lining and large inner zip pockets to separate and store your belongings in.  The base is study, so it can stand up without support and you can pull it along with the mini set of wheels and adjustable handle. There are also small leather handles on the top and side for easy carrying. This classic-style suitcase has been given a contemporary redesign and we think, if your budget allows, it’s money well spent.

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9. Zara Handbag: £39.99, Zara

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If you’re only away for one night and able to travel light, this larger handbag from high street favourite Zara is an inexpensive alternative. The three contrasting colours add a contemporary edge to this bucket bag and the two styles of strap mean you can wear it over-the-shoulder or carry by hand. The magnetic fastening means two of the inner sections are exposed but there’s a middle section with a zip for your valuables to be safely stored. This is one for those looking for a cheap and on-trend solution for any last minute overnight needs.

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10. Topshop Foldaway Tote Bag: £10, Topshop

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For those on a small budget, Topshop has this clever foldaway nylon tote that’s only £10. We like the funky animal print design but there’s a plain black option for those who want something more subtle. The bag folds into itself to make a square pouch using the zips running around the bottom of the bag, so you can also put it in your handbag when you’re doing any big shopping trips. It’s ideal for overnight trips where you aren’t carrying a lot of heavy stuff.

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The Verdict: Overnight bags for women

Our top choice is the spacious holdall from Barbour for its style and sturdiness. Herschel’s carrier is a fun alternative, we especially loved its floral print but if you’re heading on a plane try Eastpak’s cabin case

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