So what is a drop bottom duffel? It is a bag that has two large compartments instead of one. The one at the top opens like a traditional duffel with a U-shaped or straight zippered opening, while the bottom compartment opens like a suitcase with a zip around opening. A flexible divider separates these two compartments. The bottom one is best for packing heavy and bulky items while your clothes and accessories can go in the top one. This makes it good for sportsmen and women hauling their gear or for those moving house. The wheels makes it easier to carry large sizes anywhere. If you’re carrying ski or snowboarding gear but don’t want one big bag for everything, consider a ski boot bag instead. Another kind of compartmentalization is where the bottom of the duffel when standing vertically is separated from the top. The Eagle Creek ORV Trunk 30 inch has a separate opening to this lower compartment from the inside as well as outside.
When shopping for a drop bottom rolling duffel bag make sure it doesn’t tip over when standing upright – a common problem with badly designed large duffles. Our picks for top rated large rolling duffel bags don’t have this problem and they make organization easy.
- 1 Best Rated Drop Bottom Rolling Duffels
- 2 Best Hybrid Duffel Bag/Wheeled Upright Suitcase
- 3 Best Cheap Rolling Duffel with a Drop Bottom
Best Rated Drop Bottom Rolling Duffels
Briggs & Riley Baseline Medium Upright Duffle
For a duffel that is so sleek looking that you can use it for business trips in addition to vacations, look no further than this 26″ Baseline collection duffle bag from Briggs and Riley. It is the newest piece in the very popular softsided Baseline collection, particularly the 2-wheeled uprights, and though it retails for over $400, it is the most durable of our picks and includes an unlimited lifetime warranty.
The tough ballistic nylon fabric is available in olive green or black and a light but durable honeycomb frame keeps the bag flexible but enables it to hold its shape. This is the smallest one in the list at 26″ but is surprisingly roomy and features lots of storage compartments. Being compact and sleek makes it a good choice as a versatile duffle for men or women. It measures 26″ x 14″ x 15.2″ and weighs 9.7 lbs.
The flat packing section at the bottom is 4″ high, while the duffle section has garment restraining panels to keep your clothes in place. It also features two zippered mesh compartments for undergarments. The two packing sections are separated by a U-shaped zippered divider that can be rolled up to give you one big packing space if needed.
There is a long zippered gusseted outer side pocket to hold quick access items and a hide away ID tag to keep your identity private.
The aluminium handle is set on the outside of the bag to minimize wrinkling and giving you maximum packing space. It locks in at 4 different heights, so it’s comfortable for users of all heights to wheel along. It is set into a V-groove for smooth handling.
The smooth rolling wheels and wedged feet are low profile, while the top and side leather grab handles are webbed. The side handles also feature a leather-wrapped snap closure to make it easy to haul the bag without wheeling.
The YKK zippers are self-healing and lockable and all 4 corners of the duffel have protective corner guards.
Eddie Bauer Unisex-Adult Expedition Drop-Bottom Rolling Duffels
If the B&R duffel above is a bit too pricey or too staid then consider the Eddie Bauer Expedition Drop-Bottom Rolling Duffels that come in three sizes – Medium 21″ (45L capacity, under 6lbs), Large 26″ (67L capacity, 9lbs 10oz) and Extra Large 34″ (122L capacity, 12 lbs) and several cool colors.
All the pieces feature a hardside bottom for extra durability with the rest of the shell made of ripstop ballistic nylon. The unique feature of these bags is their ability to stand upright on their bottom stand whether empty or full. You can wheel them by the strong telescopic handle or haul them by the padded top handle or the duffel style handle along the top length of the bag. The inline skate wheels are reinforced and can handle any terrain. The whole bag can be made quite compact no matter how stuffed because of a pair of external compression straps running across them.
The inner compartment is separated into two sections with both their zippered openings able to be locked with luggage locks. The top section opens by the usual duffel style u-shaped flap along one length, while the bottom section opens clam style. There is a large zippered mesh pocket on the inside of the flap and the bottom section features integrated compression straps. There is one external pocket on the front of each duffel near the top to store items you need easy access to. Some may not like the absence of pockets inside.
Pathfinder Gear Rolling Drop Bottom Duffels
You won’t get the variety of colors that the above Eddie Bauer bags offer but you will get more pockets both inside and out with the Pathfinder Gear Rolling Drop Bottom Duffels that come in four sizes – 22″ (under 7 lbs), 26″ (9.7 lbs), 32″ (10.9 lbs) and 36″ (16 lbs). These are only available in black or olive green.
These bags are really meant for safari and adventure travelers, as the rugged oversized wheels are designed for rough terrain and high ground clearance. The telescopic handle is heavy duty and there is a top neoprene handle and dual duffel hauling handles kept together by a Velcro wrap.
The main packing space is divided into an upper and lower chamber by a zipper divider panel that can be rolled back and tethered if you want just one big packing space. The whole duffel can also be expanded by 20% by just unzipping an extra couple of inches of fabric all around. The bottom compartment has a pair of compression straps, a zippered pocket along one long side and two elastic top pockets along the other.
There are a few pockets on the exterior of the bag. One zippered end pocket lies near the handle and a large gusseted u-shaped zippered pocket with a horizontal one on top of that is right on the front.
The only negative with these wheeled duffels is that the larger ones can tip over if packed poorly.
Samsonite Luggage Ripstop Wheeled Duffel
If you’re looking for a quality full featured rolling drop bottom that comes in either 26″, 30″ or 34″, the Samsonite Luggage Ripstop Wheeled Duffel collection is one that you should consider. The organizational features as well as the handles are a bit different on these so click here for a full review of them.
Best Hybrid Duffel Bag/Wheeled Upright Suitcase
eBags Mother Lode TLS 29″ Wheeled Duffel
If you’re the kind that likes your luggage to have every feature possible, this eBags Mother Lode TLS Wheeled Duffel at 29″ is just the one for you. This is also the duffel that has the most structure and allows you to pack it almost like an upright suitcase so it is a good blend of a duffel and a suitcase. It measures 29″ x 17″ x 15″ and weighs 12 lbs.
The top main compartment opens via a lockable vertical U-shaped zippered flap that features a zippered mesh pocket on the inside. There are restraining straps here to keep your clothes in place. The bottom section is separated from the top by a zippered divider that can be rolled up to give you one big main compartment if required. This divider also hold two mesh zippered pockets. The bottom compartment has two movable shelves to give you even more organization. They can be folded down if you prefer one large packing space. This compartment has a lightweight compression-molded EVA bottom and its capacity can be increased by 2″ via an expansion zipper.
On the outside there are more features – a small zippered pocket on the top, two long curved zippered pockets on the sides and 4 compression straps to keep the bag compact when not fully packed or to keep it secure when full.
The front feet are designed like a handle to make it easy for you to lift the bag off the ground, while removable fiberglass rods help prevent the bag from tipping. The wheels are set on ball bearings for smooth rolling and are easily replaceable if they get damaged. The telescopic handle extends to three heights and a top front grab handle is padded and reinforced. Zippers are YKK with lockable D-rings.
This eBags style of drop bottom duffel is also available in a smaller 21″ carry on size.
Best Cheap Rolling Duffel with a Drop Bottom
FUL Hybrid Urban Wheeled Duffel Bag (30″)
Not all extra large duffels have to be expensive. Not only is the Ful Hybrid Urban drop bottom duffel with wheels very affordable, it is also one of the more structured yet lightest, weighing just 10 lbs and measuring 30″ x 16″ x 14″. You can choose an all-black, a red with black accents or a black with blue accents.
This is also one of the better options if you want some pockets on the outside for organization. In addition to the split level top and bottom main compartments, there are two end compartments – both with a U-shaped zippered opening but of different sizes. There is also one diagonal zippered pocket on the front. These make it easy to fit odd shaped items into the best fitting pocket. The top section opens via a traditional U-shaped duffel flap that is lockable via the zippers. The bottom compartment features garment restraining straps to keep your clothes tidy all the way. The bottom of the bag features a pair of long skid guards to protect the fabric covering the hard base. The entire shell is made of a tough hybrid nylon blend.
There is a push button telescopic handle, a top carry handle, another handle on the top of the other end, a bottom handlebar that also acts as the feet, and two side carry handles that can be snapped together with the attached velcro wrap. The two wheels are inline skate mounted.