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Vessel Bags

Vessel Boston Duffel Review: A Stylish Weekender Bag for the Plane

SmarterTravel

Looking to hone your airport style with a sleek carry-on? Hopping a low-fare flight to a new city feels a lot more glamorous if the one bag you’re allowed to bring is a stunner—and Vessel’s luxury custom bags fit the bill.

Price and Where to Buy: Vessel’s updated Boston Duffel 2.0 bag is $265 on Vesselbags.com.

Vessel Boston Duffel Review

The days of checked bags are long gone for many travelers. Thanks to the rise of basic economy fares with no checked baggage included, it’s less common than ever to get a checked-bag allowance—and lots of people also prefer to hit the ground running rather than wait around at a luggage carousel. It’s been a long time since I last opted to pay for a checked bag rather than carry on a bag for shorter trips. Business travelers and jet setters willing to put checked bag fees toward a reliable weekender bag will love Vessel’s Boston Duffel, with a few caveats.

How the Vessel Boston Duffel Rates:

  • Usefulness: 7/10. Save for one major con, the Vessel Boston Duffel’s design has everything I was looking for in a weekender duffel. It’s both stylish and utilitarian: Matte black leather makes it business-travel-friendly yet eye-catching. A rear sleeve for a telescoping luggage handle means it can hitch a ride on a suitcase, a vented base compartment for shoes and laundry is water-resistant and spacious, and a large inner pocket lined with microfiber is perfect for all your electronics. It’s just under the dimensions limit for most carry-on bag allowances, but this bag is by no means lightweight (at least by my standard) at 3.5 pounds when empty. With the bag only modestly packed and carrying just one pair of lightweight shoes in the base compartment, it came surprisingly close to the carry-on baggage weight limit for my Norwegian Air flight. Anyone physically unable to carry too much weight would have a major problem with this bag in airports, unless they also had a rolling suitcase to plop it on top of.
  • Durability: 9/10. But, that weight is for a reason: The Vessel Boston Duffel is made of real leather as well as microsuede synthetic leather, which are both smooth and durable. The heavy-duty zippers don’t snag, and the inner lining is soft on clothes and electronics. This bag will last me forever and is also great for the gym and road trips or train travel.
  • Value: 8/10. At $265, this bag isn’t cheap. But Vessel products aren’t just made to last forever, they’re also a way to vote with your dollars: For every bag sold, Vessel donates a school backpack to a child in need. There are also smaller, more affordable bags with similar features available on Vessel’s website if you’re looking for something lighter on the wallet.
  • Cool Factor: 9/10. Chic style and utilitarian features make this duffel a win-win for those in the market for a weekender bag that will last forever.

Final Verdict: The Vessel Boston Duffel is a worthwhile investment for jet setters or business travelers in need of a stylish workhorse carry-on. Just don’t plan to tote it around as a casual day bag.

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Associate Editor Shannon McMahon writes about all things travel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Editor’s Note: Reviews are based on usefulness, portability, durability, value, and “cool factor.” Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product. If you have any questions or comments concerning our reviews or would like to suggest a product for review, please email us at editor@smartertravel.com.

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