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I, like many of my globetrotting peers, have fallen head over heels for Away’s sleek luggage and travel accessories. I mean, the company isn’t a retail unicorn for no reason. There’s been plenty of chatter about the newest addition to the family — The Weekender duffel bag ($245).
Since its inception four years ago, Away has earned a cult-like following. You’ll probably recognize the Instagram-famous design at the airport as soon as you see it, and if you’re rolling your Carry-on through the terminal, you’ll get The Nod from other Away owners. If you happen to live in a town that has a brick and mortar store, you’ll also be surprised by the hip clothing boutique vibes as opposed to a stuffy suitcase store.
For those of us who have become fans of the simple yet thoughtfully designed luggage brand, the introduction of new gear is a valid reason to whip out the credit card and add to your collection. But before you do, here’s our full review so you can decide if it’s worth the investment yourself.
True to its name, the Weekender is meant for quick road trips or the overhead bin for weekend getaways, or as overflow for items you couldn’t squeeze into your suitcase.
One of the things I appreciate about the Weekender is the classic duffel look. It’s simple and utilitarian without giving up on style, and retains its shape unlike nylon duffels. There are no useless additions or design touches; every aspect of this well-designed bag is there for a reason.
The Weekender is made of textured cotton canvas with matte leather accents, and weighs less than 5 pounds. The bottom of the bag features a sturdy leather base, which gives the bag structure and adds to its durability. At about 21 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 8 inches deep, the bag is sized to fit in overhead compartments or under the seats on a plane and easily slides into car trunks too.
The main compartment of the bag is roomy enough to hold enough clothing for an extended weekend. Ready to count the items?
On a recent trip, I was able to fit four shirts, two pairs of pants, four pairs of underwear, four pairs of socks, a pair of PJs, my go-to toiletry bag, and a hefty 571-page collection of the works of Sherlock Holmes. In the bottom shoe compartment, I was able to fit a pair of dress shoes and my favorite New Balance sneakers. If I was setting off to a more tropical locale, I would’ve been able to fit a couple pairs of sandals, my favorite Toms, and a pair of Rothy’s.
That’s 20 items for one weekend, if you’re still with me.
The Weekender boasts several useful pockets too, which adds to my item count.
Inside the main compartment, there’s one large zippered pocket and two without zippers. On the outside of the bag, there’s another large zippered pocket with handy inserts for smaller items like your cell phone, plane ticket, or passport. In fact, those pockets are actually the perfect size for a passport and iPhone.
My favorite pocket by far though is the 15-inch padded laptop pocket that disappears into the bag design; it’s very stealthily hidden between the shoulder straps and main compartment zipper, and doesn’t scream “please steal my laptop.”
The bag has thick handles as well as a detachable padded shoulder strap, so you have a couple of different options as to how you want to lug it around. There’s also a thoughtful strap at one end of the bag that makes it easy to pull it from an overhead bin or the car trunk.
One of the things I really love about the Weekender is that it has an incredibly handy back “strap” that can be slipped over the extended handle of a suitcase when going on longer trips. I can’t count how many times my previous duffels have awkwardly fallen off the top of my suitcase when I’ve tried to rush through the terminal to my gate. On my last trip, The Weekender stayed put, fitting securely on top of my Medium suitcase while I barely made it to the gate.
Seeing as how Away’s suitcases are ubiquitous, you have the option to personalize the bag and set it apart from all the others you’ll see at the airport. I’m going to sew patches that I picked up on my last trip to Disneyland on my bag.
Despite all the things I love about the bag, there are some cons to consider — especially for something that costs $245.
The shoulder handles don’t have any cushioning, so if you’re lugging it a long way, your hands or shoulders might start to hurt. The snaps on the leather closure are a bit finicky and can take a few tries to get it fully closed. The leather also has a plastic-like feel to it, even though the description says it’s leather. This isn’t a deal breaker since the use of the leather is minimal in the overall design, but it is in important areas like the base, side straps, and handles.
At $245, this bag isn’t cheap, but I love that Away offers a 100-day trial period, so if you don’t think it’s worth the price, you can return it. Personalized bags can’t be returned though, so keep that in mind when you order yours.
Currently, the Weekender only comes in three colors — Black , Olive, and Natural canvas. I do wish it came in more hues — like Sky, Blush, and Navy — which are options for Away’s suitcases.
After using it on a recent trip, I definitely think that The Weekender is an well-designed bag for those on the go. The little touches such as the hidden laptop compartment, shoe compartment, extra pockets that actually fit important things, and luggage strap that goes over a suitcase handle are things you never think about until you need it — and this bag has it all.
But if you’re looking for something smaller with similar features, the $195 Everywhere Bag is a solid choice. It comes in nylon with six colorways, or leather with two colorways.