- Buyer's Guide
The Best Bags for Business Travel
Business bags need to have a certain grace and formality to them. But if you plan to travel with them, they also need to offer practical designs for clocking up the miles. Travel can be demanding, so durability is key. But you don’t want to be hefting unnecessary weight, so lightweight construction should certainly factor into the decision-making process too. And of course organization is another important consideration. You’ll want to keep business tools, travel items, clothing and other essentials tidy and easily accessible, rather than having to deal with a jumbled free-for-all.
Finally, it’s worth thinking about the environments you’ll be navigating on your travels. Will you be bringing your bag into a boardroom or meeting? If so, does it look the part or will it draw unwanted attention for its too-casual aesthetics? Do you need to look sharp or pack a lot? Wheeled bags are convenient for heavy loads and can lend a more professional air to your appearance.
On the other hand, if you’ll be experiencing busy streets, public transport and changing terrains, backpacks can be a great option for navigating crowds, rough terrain and steps. Nothing says you mean business like a briefcase, and shoulder bags can be a good option if you want to balance easy portability and smart style.
Choosing bags for business travel is a decision that requires time and consideration. But to help you out we’ve rounded up some of the best bags for the job…
Thule Accent Backpack 28L (US$ 129.95)
The 28L Accent Backpack is a practical, adaptable choice for short work trips and overnight or weekend stays, and packs plenty of features into its sleek form. The bag’s wide-opening main compartment provides ready access to your gear, and you’ll find a useful mix of interior and exterior pockets to keep your travel essentials tidy. A choice of top and side access lets you easily reach your laptop on the go, and the luggage passthrough sleeve allows for handy all-in-one portability with rolling luggage.
Arc’teryx Blade 28 (US$ 138.98)
The Blade 28 is ideally suited to overnight or short trips, with a range of features to organize your work and personal items. The main clamshell-style compartment is handy for storing clothes and documents, while a front pocket with interior organization is useful for keeping frequently used items tidy and within easy reach. The pack’s internal padded sleeve fits up to a 15″ laptop, while exterior top and side handles provide additional carry options.
Incase EO Travel Backpack (US$ 179.95)
Incase’s EO Travel Backpack offers a convenient clamshell opening for easy packing and access, with an expandable main compartment when you need to pack a little extra. The flat-lay laptop compartment makes passing through airport security easier and fits up to a 17″ laptop. Rounding things off are a choice of quick-access pockets for travel and EDC essentials, as well as top and side grab handles for flexible portability.
The versatile Synapse 25 lends itself to a range of uses, from carry-on companion to urban daypack at your destination or outdoor bag if your trip allows you to squeeze in a day hike. A range of front pockets keep your work and travel essentials easily accessible. The main compartment opens wide for handy access and includes a large elastic-topped pocket for organization. Take note, there’s no dedicated storage for a laptop so you’ll need to supply your own sleeve (or go with Tom Bihn’s optional Cache). The pack comes in a choice of fabrics and includes a lifetime guarantee.
Winner of our Best Carry-On award, Aer’s sleek and stylish Travel Pack offers a variety of handy features for the business traveler. A clamshell-style main compartment allows for easy packing and access, a suspended laptop pocket stores up to 15″ tech, and a dedicated shoe compartment keeps your shoes or dirty laundry away from the rest of your gear. There’s also plenty of pockets for organizing smaller items, and compression straps to cinch the bag into daypack mode for use at your destination.
The Minaal Carry-on 2.0 looks suave in urban settings but is tough enough for regular travel use. Complementing the clean silhouette are a host of features such as a rain cover, an adjustable sternum strap that clips out of the way when not in use, top and side handles, and a protective backpack strap cover to prevent unsightly dangling or snagging in tight spaces. The device compartment offers suspended and adjustable storage for a laptop, a passport pocket, plus a document sleeve. Peek inside the main compartment and you’ll find 3D pockets to help keep your gear tidy on the move.
Functional and adaptable, the Tom Bihn Tri-Star offers great organization, a durable build with a lifetime guarantee, and a choice of handy carry options. Quick-access front pockets are useful for smaller travel, work and EDC items, while three compartments provide storage for clothes, tech and documents. The bag includes top and side carry handles and stowable backpack straps, and can also be used with an optional shoulder strap.
The Slicks BIZ is a sleek carry-on with plenty of features to keep you organized during your travels. A dedicated suspended laptop compartment fits up to 15″ devices, while front pockets offer storage for bulkier items and shoes. The clamshell-style main compartment includes pockets for documents and valuables, and storage space for the modular Slicks Suitcover to keep work clothes wrinkle-free and the Slicks Tripcover. The Tripcover provides multiple pockets for additional clothing, along with a removable laundry bag, wash bag, and Slicks Shirtcover to protect shirt collars and assist with folding.
Briefcases and Shoulder Bags
A more compact alternative to Red Oxx’s Air Boss, the burly Mini Boss is suitable for carry-on use and provides two compartments for clothes and tech. The first compartment includes a flip-out pocket for smaller items or toiletries, while the second compartment includes a suspended laptop sleeve. Exterior full-length pockets on the front and back let you stash frequently used items for easy access. In addition to top grab handles, the bag also comes with a detachable non-slip shoulder strap. And for peace of mind, this handmade bag includes a “No Bull” lifetime warranty.
The Red Oxx Air Boss offers all the durability of the Mini Boss, but with a larger 40.4L capacity (compared to the Mini Boss’s 24.3L). A detachable non-slip shoulder strap and top handles provide carry flexibility, while a choice of three compartments provide storage for clothes, work documents, and tech. It’s worth noting the Air Boss does not include dedicated storage for a laptop, so you’ll need to provide your own protective sleeve. There’s also a choice of exterior pockets for storing items such as a phone, passport, and magazine.
Mandarina Duck Carry Borsa Da Lavoro (around US$ 310)
The Mandarina Duck Carry Borsa Da Lavoro moves smoothly between formal and informal settings alike with a slim and understated design. In addition to a shoulder strap the bag includes top and side carry handles for easy portability. Well suited to carrying work essentials, the bag offers space for a laptop, documents and organizer pockets to keep smaller work tools and travel items in order on the go.
Rimowa Salsa Deluxe Hybrid Notebook (US$ 425)
Lightweight yet durable, the Salsa Deluxe Hybrid Notebook is crafted from polycarbonate and Keprotec® fabric reinforced with Kevlar fiber. The bag can be carried with the top handles or a removable shoulder strap, and offers a variety of exterior pockets for storing quick-access items. In addition, one of the exterior pockets can convert into a trolley passthrough sleeve for easy transport with larger luggage. The main compartment opens wide for hassle-free access and includes a removable laptop sleeve, along with further pockets for organizing smaller items and space for a change of clothes.
Tumi Alpha 2 Expandable Organizer Laptop Brief (US$ 455)
A premium offering from Tumi, the Alpha 2 Expandable Organizer Laptop Brief looks right at home in the boardroom but adapts to a range of environments. The bag includes a main compartment and a secondary compartment with multiple dividers for organization. A tablet sleeve and a removable padded laptop sleeve take care of your tech, while a host of exterior pockets provide convenient storage for smaller work tools and travel items. And not forgetting one of the main features, the bag is expandable so you can easily store a change of clothes for an overnight trip or additional work supplies.
Travelteq Briefcase Original Special Edition (around US$ 455)
The elegant Travelteq Briefcase Original Special Edition gives a solid nod to style while providing practical features for carrying business and travel essentials. Crafted with vegetable-tanned Florentine Vacchetta leather and waterproof Limonta nylon, the bag offers a range of slip and zipped interior pockets and dedicated storage for up to a 15″ laptop. An exterior pocket for smaller items and a concealed newspaper pocket provide further organization, while a luggage strap lets you easily secure the briefcase to trolley luggage.
Eagle Creek Expanse™ International Carry-On (US$ 189)
Eagle Creek’s Expanse™ International Carry-On adapts to smaller and larger loads with a 33.5L volume that expands to 36.5L when you need to pack in extra. Additionally, exterior attachment points allow you to secure bulky items externally. The bag’s heavy-duty wheels handle a range of terrains with ease, and a choice of top, side and bottom grab handles help you maneuver the bag in tight spaces. Quick-access items can be stored in a range of exterior pockets, including a padded tablet sleeve. Inside the main compartment a further pocket offers additional organization, along with compression straps to keep clothing tidy. Security features including a Central Lock Point and Secure Zip™ Toggles provide peace of mind, as does the No Matter What™ warranty.
Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller (US$ 225)
The Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller packs in plenty of useful features such as grab handles on all sides, two front pockets for a laptop and quick-access items, and a choice of pockets in the main compartment. The bag can be opened in a clamshell-style mode for easy access throughout the main compartment. Alternatively a front flap provides fast entry when you don’t want to open the bag completely. The Copilot is also backed by a lifetime warranty so you can feel confident it will hold up to years of use.
The Raden A22’s sleek aesthetics are complemented by a variety of smart luggage features to help make your journeys smoother. An integrated battery and two USB ports allow you to conveniently charge tech devices on the go. In addition, proximity sensors utilize Bluetooth to provide location updates and help keep the case by your side, while the case’s handle also serves as a luggage scale. Made with lightweight yet impact-resistant polycarbonate, the Raden A22 also features spinner wheels for convenient maneuverability.
Thule Crossover Carry-on 56cm/22″ (US$ 299.95)
This rugged roller bag will stand up to years of demanding use thanks to its tough oversized wheels, V-Tubing™ telescoping handle, hard-wearing exoskeleton and molded polypropylene back panel. The clamshell main compartment makes it easy to pack and retrieve items, and there’s dedicated storage for a 15″ laptop and fragile items. Even better, it’s got a carry trick up its sleeve. Concealable backpack straps let you quickly convert the roller bag to pack mode, so you can easily navigate stairs, rough terrain and crowds when the need arises.
Incase Kaskade Carryon with Luggage Tag (US$ 349.95)
Designed in collaboration with DJ KASKADE, this roller offers urban-friendly style combined with useful travel functionality. Top and side handles assist with maneuverability in awkward spaces, and a quick-access front pocket is handy for the likes of toiletries. A choice of mesh pockets in the main compartment prevent a jumbled mess, and the clamshell-style opening enables easy access throughout. As an added bonus, the roller also comes with a luggage tag.
Rimowa Salsa Air Multiwheel (US$ 495)
Crafted from lightweight yet tough polycarbonate, the Salsa Air Multiwheel brings style and easy maneuverability to your travels. The bag includes spinner wheels, top and side carry handles, a TSA-approved combination lock, and two interior mesh pockets for organization. The 33L case also comes with a five-year warranty and looks good in any setting.
Samsonite Lite-Cube Spinner 55cm (around US$ 485)
The Lite-Cube Spinner offers a sophisticated combination of elegance, durability and easy movement. The case is crafted from impact-resistant yet lightweight Curv material and comes with a 10-year warranty. The clamshell opening reveals a choice of interior pockets for organization. Complementing the interior are useful exterior features including a TSA lock, recessed top and side carry handles, and an integrated ID tag.
Tumi Alpha Bravo Peterson Wheeled Backpack (US$ 545)
Can’t decide between a pack or wheeled luggage? Have both with this adaptable hybrid design that can be carried as a backpack or wheeled as rolling luggage to suit different environments. The bag offers a retractable pull handle for wheeled use, along with stowable backpack straps and a wheel cover to protect your clothing in backpack mode. Quick-access travel and work items can be conveniently stored in a variety of exterior pockets, including dedicated space for a 15″ laptop and tablet. The main compartment opens wide for easy packing and access, with a pocket for further organization and compression straps to keep clothing secure.
Garment Bags and Suit Carriers
Eagle Creek Pack-It Garment Folder – Medium (from US$ 28.01)
Eagle Creek’s Pack-It Garment Folder provides a convenient way to reduce wrinkles in your clothing, with Compress Wings™ that provide stretch compression. The folder comes with a handy folding instruction board and is constructed with water and odor-resistant material. A grab handle lets you easily transport it to and from your bag, and a choice of three sizes accommodate different loads (with the small and medium fitting in most carry-on bags).
The Henty CoPilot tackles the challenges of business travel with a two-in-one design. The exterior garment bag is designed to roll around an inner tube bag that can hold shoes, accessories, toiletries and other travel essentials. Exterior pockets on the garment bag let you keep a laptop and smaller business or travel items within easy reach. A choice of grab handles and backpack straps keep you moving smoothly in changing environments, and a rain cover protects your gear against the elements.
Mismo M/S Suit Carrier (around US$ 555)
Mismo’s M/S Suit Carrier deftly merges functional design and refined style. The carrier can be unzipped fully for easy access, revealing two interior pockets for additional storage and organization. An exterior zippered pocket is convenient for housing frequently used items, and the premium materials and construction will stand up to the demands of travel for years to come.
VOCIER C38 Travel Bag (around US$ 710)
The VOCIER C38 is a handsome and luxurious carry-on bag designed to carry work clothes wrinkle-free. VOCIER’s Zero-Crease System provides curving storage for a suit to prevent wrinkles, and can also be hung up in your accommodation for easy access. A quick-entry opening lets you remove items such as a wash bag from the inner compartment without having to open the main zipper. A removable interior compartment stores additional items, while an exterior pocket in the handle provides secure and convenient storage for a passport and ticket.
Tumi Alpha 2 4 Wheeled Extended Trip Garment Bag (US$ 975)
If money is no object and wrinkle-free clothes are a priority, Tumi’s Alpha 2 4 Wheeled Extended Trip Garment Bag may be just what you’re after. The bag includes two brackets for hanging clothes on either end of the main compartment, with straps to keep items secure on the move. The bag also includes removable zippered pouches for organizing smaller items, as well as dedicated storage for three pairs of shoes. In addition, exterior pockets provide further storage for extra clothing items and travel or business essentials.