The Weekend Bag: What is it? What to pack? What makes a good one?

What is a Week-ender?

The phrase week-ender, which has been around since the early 1920’s, is a catch all term for any bag which can be used as a piece of luggage-ware with sufficient capacity for a couple of days. Thus, a duffel, satchel, backpack or even a tote can be termed a week-ender, however, the term is frequently used to describe a holdall type bag with an open top and two carrying handles, usually made from nylon, canvas or leather. The rise of the city-break and the increased willingness of people to travel considerable distances in the space of a weekend has led to the considerable popularity of week-ender bags. Their popularity is to a certain extent a style choice; the weekender is a more desirable travel accessory than a small wheeled suitcase.

What to pack in a Weekend Bag

Clearly, this depends on personal priorities and whether you are female or male, but the golden rule has got to be ‘don’t pack too much’. For one thing you are hardly going to be the stylish traveller of your mind’s eye if you can barely lift your bag and for another it’s always good to have some space for those impulse buys to which you are prone. Decide what you are going to be doing and pack accordingly. A second small bag for day use is probably a good idea. Travelling light means careful clothing choices and being prepared to do without all those things that you think you need but don’t really.

Can a Weekend Bag be a carry-on?

For most of us a weekend bag has to be a carry-on, consequently there will be very few weekenders which don’t conform to airline cabin capacity restrictions. Be aware that not all airlines use the same dimension limits, so always check on-line first.

What makes a good weekend bag?

You want to travel in style, you want to feel good about the luggage you use, otherwise you’d be making do with a supermarket bag for life: a good weekender looks the part and gives you pleasure to use. You also need something that won’t let you down: tough material that is waterproof and doesn’t mark easily, handles which are comfortable and robust zips and stitching. A shoulder strap with a shoulder pad means that you can have your hands free if you need to, though this is not a comfortable way to carry a bag for long periods. An internal zip pocket is handy for phone and wallet and an external zip pocket is useful for easy access items.

How big should a weekend bag be?

You want to be able to take your bag on a plane, if it’s too big to take on board and has to be checked in as luggage for the hold, then the whole ‘travel light and move fast’ principle goes out the window. Typical airline dimensions are 55cm, 25cm, 45 cm. The great thing about a week-ender is that because it’s soft sided, as long as you don’t stuff it to capacity it can be filled to fit required dimensions.

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