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11 best weekender bags for women that are stylish yet practical

Prepare for your next overnight stay with these dependable luggage options

Eva Waite-Taylor
Thursday 05 May 2022 17:50
<p>When roadtesting, we assessed the design, durability, convenience, space and size</p>

When roadtesting, we assessed the design, durability, convenience, space and size

There are few things better than a weekend away. Whether that’s escaping your every day for some rest and relaxation in the countryside, or throwing yourself into a new city, the possibilities are endless.

But where packing is concerned, it can be difficult to know the best bag for the job. One too big and you’re at the risk of overpacking, one too small and you’ll find yourself without the space for all your essentials.

Running the gamut of size, space and design, weekend – or weekender – bags are the perfect choice for any trip. And thankfully the options really are plentiful, with high street and designer brands offering a whole host of different options.

When it comes to picking the ideal one though, we recommend choosing something that’s capacious enough to hold two nights away worth of clothing, as well as has space for skincare and your favourite hair tool.

To help you on your quest for the best one for you, we’ve of course done the hard work for you, curating a round-up of weekender bags worth your money.

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How we tested 

When it came to testing, we roadtested these on a number of different trips, from one night breaks to three-night trips away. When curating the list, we assessed the design, durability, convenience, space and size. From duffle bags to suitcases with wheels, it’s time to book a long weekend away.

The best weekender bags for 2022 are: 

  • Best overall – Away the carry-on: £235, Awaytravel.com
  • Best expanding bag – M&S textured bag: £79, Marksandspencer.com
  • Best for work trips – Antler Chelsea weekender: £159, Antler.co.uk
  • Best leather weekend bag – Next signature oiled leather holdall: £160, Next.co.uk
  • Best floral design – Accessorize ditsy daisy weekender bag: £25.60, Accessorize.com
  • Best tote bag – Adanola quilted nylon tote bag: £34, Adanola.com
  • Best for separate compartments – Dune London oracle: £89, Dunelondon.com
  • Best quilted bag – Matalan taupe brushed nylon weekend bag: £16, Matalan.co.uk
  • Best waterproof bag – Rains weekend bag: £65, Rains.com
  • Best duffle bag – Fjällräven vardag duffel 30: £80, Fjallraven.com
  • Best rucksack – Osprey transporter carry-on: £130, Ospreyeurope.com

Away the carry-on

Best: Overall

Rating: 9.5/10

  • Size: H55.1cm x W34.8cm x D22.9cm

There’s no denying that Away has nailed the formula for stylish yet functional luggage, so much so the brand has undeniably reached cult status. Offering the ideal choice if you’re looking to step-up your travel bag game.

The hype around this carry-on has been real and shows no sign of waning. And we can see why. Of course, it is a high-end suitcase, but when we say it’s premium, you better believe us. It’s capacious enough to hold about things for about four nights away, making it the largest in this round-up. But, it’s very light, which is something we’ve found to be particularly important when it comes to luggage. Inside there are two separate compartments – one of which can be zipped shut, the other is a removable laptop sleeve. The hard shell makes it particularly durable. The addition of having a built-in charger, which costs £20 more, is, of course, a bonus when travelling.

M&S textured weekend bag

Best: Expanding bag

Rating: 9/10

  • Size: H36cm x W20cm x L50cm

This is an impressive weekend bag if you’re looking for something that feels particularly high end – the texture on the leather gives it a sleek design – yet affordable. Owing to its size, it’s large enough for long weekends away, and should you need extra storage space, the sides can be unclipped. Inside the bag, there’s one fairly small zippable pocket, as well as two additional compartments. Should you not want to carry it by the small handles, it has an additional strap so it can be worn over your shoulder or across your body. While it’s marketed as a men’s bag, it’s very unisex.

Antler Chelsea weekender

Best: For work trips

Rating: 8/10

  • Size: H53cm x W32cm x D23cm

British brand Antler is one to know when it comes to sourcing new luggage, it’s been around since 1914 so certainly knows what it’s doing. It has a whole host of different designs, from hard cases to bags, all of which will certainly stand the test of time.

As for this weekend bag, it’s been specially designed for all your holiday needs, including a nifty built-in pocket for your shoes, as well as a sleeve on the back to slot over your suitcase handle, should you be going on long-haul trips. It’s also got a zippable pocket that can hold a 13in laptop, making it a great pick if you’re going away for a work trip. In terms of the exterior, it’s finished in leather, giving it a stylish look.

Next signature oiled leather holdall

Best: Leather weekend bag

Rating: 8/10

  • Size: H46cm x W59cm x D13cm

Finding an affordable, yet high quality leather bag is no mean feat. But Next has come to the rescue because the oiled leather finish looks and feels premium. It might not be the most practical – it only features an internal zip pocket – but it certainly delivers serious style points, and it does have an adjustable and removable long strap for easy carrying. In terms of how much it’ll carry, there’s space enough for three nights away worth of kit. But, thanks to the fact it’s fairly compact and lightweight, you could easily use it for a one night stay.

Accessorize ditsy daisy weekender bag

Best: Floral design

Rating: 7/10

  • Size: L32cm x W45cm

For something fun and floral, Accessorize’s duffle has come to the rescue. The brand is known for its reliable bags, and this one did not disappoint. While it doesn’t have internal compartments, it is large enough for two nights away, and we found that the shoulder straps made it easy and comfortable to carry. The print is pretty and offers something more feminine than other designs in this round-up, but owing to the fact it’s made from material, you’ll want to be careful not to get stuck in a sudden downpour. That being said, the fabric makes it lightweight enough to use for a one night stay somewhere. It comes in at just £25, so it’s an affordable, yet reliable choice.

Adanola quilted nylon tote bag

Best: Tote bag

Rating: 8/10

  • Size: H36cm x W61cm x D13cm

Specialising in everyday activewear, Adanola is one of our favourite brands for all things sporty chic. Naturally, we were pleased to discover its range of bags, particularly this one, which is large enough for a two-night trip somewhere. It’s not just got space for clothes, we found that it had ample space for any extras we needed to lug around, including hair straighteners, snacks and even a bottle of prosecco.

The tote boasts an internal and external pocket, so you can keep your valuables safe. The quilted design is very on trend, and the high-shine finish adheres to our taste. A big hit was the fact that this doesn’t look like your typical weekend bag, making it particularly versatile, so much so, that we found that it doubles up nicely as a gym bag.

Dune London oracle

Best: For separate compartments

Rating: 7/10

  • Size: H55cm x W30cm x L28cm

Accessories brand Dune didn’t missed a beat when it came to designing this weekend bag. The zippable compartment at the bottom is perfect for storing your shoes. But it also features a pocket on the inside and one on the outside, the inside compartment isn’t particularly large but is sizable enough to store your keys and purse.

Should you be going on a longer trip, it boasts a sleeve on the back, so you can slot it onto your suitcase, which provides you with a little extra luggage space. Our only gripe is that the handles are quite short and do not fit over your shoulder, so we’d like to have seen a removable strap to make it easier to carry.

Matalan taupe brushed nylon weekend bag

Best: Quilted bag

Rating: 9/10

  • Size: N/A

Owing to the affordable price of this weekend bag, we weren’t expecting much from it. But how we were wrong. The padded design and brushed finish make it look far more high end than it actually is, which is always a bonus. There’s plenty of space here for all your essentials – we took it on a two-night break and we found it to be the perfect space, providing us with plenty of room for clothing, a small make-up bag and hair straighteners.

In terms of practicality, the long strap makes it easy to wear across your body, while the shorter handles can be worn over your shoulder. Really this is a faultless, pocket-friendly choice you really can’t go wrong with.

Rains weekend bag

Best: Waterproof bag

Rating: 8/10

  • Size: H27cm x W52cm x D26cm

Rains is known for its practical wet-weather outerwear, so this weekend bag is one to know if you’re looking for a waterproof design (it is the UK, after all). With functionality always at the forefront of this brand, it’s hardly a surprise that we found it to be one of the most durable.

To aid carrying from A to B, it features two different strap lengths, the longer of the two is of course detachable. Our only gripe is that there are no internal pockets at all with this one, so to make your life a little easier, we’d recommend investing in some packing cubes got all your future holidaying. Should you be looking for a different colour to black, there are a number of others to choose from, including navy, green and cream.

Fjällräven vardag duffel 30

Best: Duffle bag

Rating: 8/10

  • Size: H24cm x W50cm x D24cm

Outdoor brand Fjällräven certainly knows a thing about bags – its kånken backpack reach cult status a number of years ago, which arguably accelerated the Scandi brand to the main stage.

Our attention here though is on this duffle bag, which has been very well designed – the handles on the top make it easy to move around, while the longer straps are beneficial if you’re walking for a longer distance. The outer fabric is a durable material, so we suspect it could withstand light rain. While on the inside you’ll find one zippable, mesh compartment for keeping your purse and keys safe – eliminating the need for a small bag.

The bright yellow colour is super fun, but if you’re looking for something a little more low-key, it’s also available in black, dark green and navy – so there really is something for everyone.

Osprey transporter carry-on

Best: Rucksack

Rating: 8/10

  • Size: H56cm x W36cm x D31cm

When it comes to travel essentials, Osprey is certainly one to know, so much so, that its products have featured in everything from our review of the best travel bags to the best backpacks with wheels.

Owing to its reliability, we chose to give its carry-on bag a run for its money during a two-night break. And naturally, it did not disappoint. We were pleasantly surprised at how much we could squeeze into it, and we liked how, unlike other rucksacks, it opens out so you don’t need to rummage around trying to find exactly what you’re after. The main section is also split into different compartments to allow for extra organisation.

Another nifty feature we appreciated was the fact the straps can be zipped away should you wish to slot the bag onto your suitcase. And it also has a zippable, padded laptop sleeve that’ll keep your tech safe. While not the most sexy of designs, it’ll certainly stand the test of time. So, if you’re looking for a hands-free packing solution for your next weekend away, this is it.

The verdict: Weekend bags for women

When it comes to the best weekend bag, there’s plenty to choose from. If you’re looking for something that’s under £20, yet still stylish and practical, with room enough for at least a two-night break, look no further than Matalan’s taupe brushed nylon weekend bag – it truly blew us away with its design and price.

But for something that’s convenient and premium, it’s got to be Away’s carry-on. It’s been well thought out, with a separate mesh compartment for your laptop, as well as a chic hard shell, plus there are plenty of colours to choose from. It’s clear to us why this brand has reached such cult status, and while an investment, this piece of luggage is a reliable choice for frequent travellers.

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Looking for more packing recommendations? Read our review of the best suitcases

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