When it comes to packing for a trip away, there are always several factors to bear in mind. Will your on-the-go wardrobe be versatile enough to take you from lazy breakfasts to the late-evening wine bar? There’s also the weather to consider – if you’re heading to a destination with mercurial climes, have you packed enough clothing that’ll keep you cool and calm during balmier periods, and do you also have the appropriate pieces to protect you from any sudden showers. Should you opt for sneakers or sandals? Brogues or boots? Cotton shirts or a canvas chore jacket?
Then there comes the medium in which to store all of your travel gear – and when it comes to this department, size really does matter. If you opt for something that’s a little too big, then you might find yourself lugging around unnecessary excess weight; however, with something too small, you run the risk of pushing its seams and zips to the edge. Also, you should consider what materials best suit the destination at which you’ll arrive. A light canvas might be great for the Valencian coast, but we doubt it’ll hold up so well in the steppes of Patagonia.
Which is where we come in. To help you decide whether a weekend bag or suitcase will work for you, we’ve rounded up the very finest below, and to which destinations each one is best suited.
For the long-weekend citybreak...
If three- or four-day-long urban escapes to the likes of Madrid, Milan or Munich take your fancy, then your uniform will be pretty rigid – you’ll most likely lean towards a sartorial edit of a few essentials, such as plain t-shirts, slim-fit chinos, and some button-downs for pintxo-hopping or late-night digestivos – so, on the whole, excess space isn’t so necessary, meaning that it’s best to eschew a large suitcase that’s overbearing or too hefty (and will inevitably incur unnecessary charges, depending on the airline).
That’s where a medium-sized holdall comes in. Such an item will also help maximise your time during short stays, as it will allow for a fuss-free airport experience (it’s easy to place on the conveyor belt at security, and you won’t have queue around the carousel for it at the other end) and it makes for an painless carry when hopping from passport control to the hotel and straight back out again.
For versatility, Charles Laurie’s jet-black scheme will pair with any ensemble you’re wearing (just note that it is made-to-order, and has an approximately four-week lead time). Valextra’s leather holdall has been skilfully cut in Italy, and is decked out in a rich-hue of burgundy. And the real draw for Mismo’s nylon bag is that its leather bridle straps slowly develop a luscious patina over time – a feature that will act as evidence of a life well travelled.
Charles Laurie The Weekender bag
Valextra Portofino leather holdall
Mismo Avail leather-trimmed nylon holdall
For the quick-stop work trip...
Like the off-duty long weekend, work trips will often entail only a few days abroad. However, we’d direct you to something with a more appropriate shape (i.e. straight, rigid lines) to best accommodate both your formalwear and electronics. Furthermore, a set of wheels will be most welcome if you’re having to dash straight from arrivals to the conference room as it’ll (literally) bear the burden (unlike an across-the-shoulder bag) and also allow your suit jacket and shirt to remain crease-free.
For ease of access to your laptop and boarding pass, consider Away’s carry-on, which features an exterior leather pocket. If you’d prefer something with an industrial feel, an aluminium design by Arlo Skye might pique your interest. And for an all-round classic (subtle design, hard shell, made from recycled materials, 360-degree spinner wheels), perhaps Horizn Studio’s H5 will fit the bill. All options come with ejectable smartphone chargers.
Away The Bigger Carry-On with Pocket
Arlo Skye The Frame Carry-On Max: Aluminum Edition
Horizon Studios H5
For the clean-countryside retreat...
With the tourist hordes flocking back to the big destinations, consider a beeline for a quieter corner, whether that be a rural part of Hampshire or the vineyards of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. For this, we’d suggest that you avoid wheels, as dragging rolling luggage across rickety paths and walkways isn’t the best or most practical way to kick-start any holiday. Opt for something that’ll cope with the often tempestuous rural elements, and to fit in with your bucolic surrounds, try something in a lighter, more natural tone, such as greens, beiges and dark yellows.
Chapman’s ‘Weekender’ comprises British-dyed-and-bonded canvas, as well as a handy waterproof shoe pocket at one end. A classic, elegant all-leather option is always a failsafe as it can work in both a countryside setting as well as city retreats – and that’s where Bennett Winch makes a strong case. Meanwhile, Filson’s duffle, in twill and leather, has a rugged yet refined aesthetic.
The Chapman Weekender
Bennett Winch The Weekender
Filson small rugged twill duffle bag
For the far-flung escapade...
If jetting to the other side of the world, a sizeable suitcase is the done thing – something extensive enough to hold a fortnights-worth of clothing (and any souvenirs), and hardy enough to withstand the rough-and-tumble of the cargo hold. But bulky and big doesn’t necessarily mean inelegant, and our picks below excel in both utility and style.
If you’re going to invest in something that works hard but looks good while doing so, try the failsafe labels that have endured the test of time. Our picks include Rimowa, whose distinctive grooved shell has become somewhat of a design icon; Globe-Trotter, for its throwback, golden-age-of-travel feel; and FPM Milano, thanks to its use of shock-absorbent ridged aluminium.
Rimowa Trunk Plus
Globe-Trotter Centenary medium check-In
FPM Milano spinner 84cm aluminium suitcase
So you’ve got the luggage sorted. Now read about how to dress (and what to pack) for a long-haul flight
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