9 Brilliant Pieces of Collapsible Luggage for the Space-Challenged Traveler

The smartest thing you bring on vacation could be an empty suitcase. We’ve picked our favorite foldable travel bags so you can bring home more souvenirs.

Packable duffle bags from Paravel in red, yellow, and blue

The lightweight Paravel Fold-Up Bag expands from a small pouch into a duffle that fits all your essentials for a weekend—and it only costs $75.

Courtesy of Paravel

That spontaneous vacation shopping spree boosted your wardrobe significantly, but it dramatically shrunk the free space in your suitcase. To avoid lugging home your new treasures in the paper sack they came in, plan ahead and pack a foldable travel bag.

These are our nine favorite pieces of collapsible luggage—including packable backpacks, totes, duffles, and even roller suitcases—that unfold to offer loads of additional space. Bonus? Many of these can also double as a daypack for when you’re out and about souvenir hunting.

The Away Packable Backpack in navy

The Away Packable Backpack is available in navy (seen here), as well as black and teal.

Courtesy of Away

1. The Away Packable Backpack

  • Buy now: $75, awaytravel.com
  • Style: Packable backpack
  • Dimensions: 18.1 x 11 x 5.9 inches (7.1 x 4.7 x 2.4 inches packed)
  • Capacity: 19 liters
  • Weight: 8 oz.

Away launched its first line of packable bags in 2021, with an extra-large carry-all, a small sling bag, and our choice: the Packable Backpack. Constructed with 100 percent recycled water-resistant nylon, this backpack comes with lightly padded shoulder straps for comfort, a zippered interior pocket for organization, and buckle closures to keep your belongings secure. When you’re done, it folds up into a removable zip pouch and stashes away easily.

Matador ReFraction Packable Duffle in Black

In addition to black, seen here, the Matador ReFraction Packable Duffle also comes in slate blue and white.

Courtesy of Matador

2. Matador ReFraction Packable Duffle

  • Buy now: $50, matadorup.com
  • Style: Packable duffle bag
  • Dimensions: 21.5 x 11 x 8 inches (7.5 x 5 x 2.75 inches packed)
  • Capacity: 25 liters
  • Weight: 7.9 oz.

Made from a durable and water-resistant recycled nylon fabric, the Matador ReFraction packable duffle is a 25-liter bag that squishes down to the size of a paperback book and weighs only 7.9 ounces, or the equivalent of a few Snickers bars. Despite its minimalist design, it comes with two external stretch pockets on the front for organization and a built-in shoulder strap.
For those looking for lightweight day bags with a similar sleek design, the ReFraction collection also includes a 16-liter packable backpack as well as a 2-liter packable sling bag.

Matador Freefly16 packable backpack shown unfolded and folded

The Freefly16 Packable Backpack stuffs down into an included sack, shown here in front.

Courtesy of Matador

3. Matador Freefly16 Packable Backpack

  • Buy now: $80, matadorup.com
  • Style: Packable backpack
  • Dimensions: 19 x 10 x 6 inches (3.75 x 3.75 x 5.5 inches packed)
  • Capacity: 16 liters
  • Weight: 6.7 oz.

For more outdoorsy endeavors, Matador’s Freefly16 Packable Backpack is a great option. As one of the newest additions to Matador’s travel line, it’s designed to perform even better in wet conditions (it’s water-resistant, not waterproof) and weighs less than the previous backpacks by Matador, such as those in the ReFraction series. A rarity for backpacks of this size and weight, it comes with a thin hipstrap for better distributing weight, two water bottle cages (one on each side), and a spacious external pocket for stashing anything you need to reach quickly. It packs down into its own dedicated stuff sack, so you can easily toss it into your luggage and have a quality hiking or walking-about-town daypack on hand when you arrive at your destination. “Overall, I love this bag’s packability, weight, and additional features like the hipstrap,” says Jessie Beck, AFAR’s associate director of SEO & Video. “I’ve used it on at least a dozen trips since getting it, and it’s proven to be durable and sturdy as well.”

Paravel Fold-Up Bag in Safari Green with black straps

This packable bag folds down to the size of a book and comes in six colors, including Safari Green, seen here.

Courtesy of Paravel

4. Paravel Fold-Up Bag

  • Buy now: $75, tourparavel.com
  • Style: Packable duffle bag
  • Dimensions: 18 x 11.5 x 11 inches (9.75 x 8 x 2.75 inches packed)
  • Capacity: n/a
  • Weight: 16 oz.

Paravel’s ultralight duffle bag can pack into your big luggage for those gotta-have-it souvenir emergencies. The tear- and water-resistant duffle is featherlight and zips neatly into a small pouch when you’re not using it. It’s also AFAR digital content director Laura Dannen Redman’s go-to weekend bag. She calls it the “Trojan horse of weekend bags” since it holds so much more inside than you’d expect. She can easily fit two pairs of shoes, two toiletry bags, and three days of winter clothing in it. An added bonus—the sustainable nylon material is made from 22 recycled plastic water bottles.

Paravel’s Negative Nylon Collection also comes with packable backpacks and belt bags that all fold up just like this duffle.

Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack 27L

This Patagonia tote pack comes in Burl Red, seen here, as well as four other colors.

Courtesy of Patagonia

5. Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack 27L

  • Buy now: $99, patagonia.com
  • Style: Packable tote pack
  • Dimensions: 15.5 x 10.25 x 8 inches (packed dimensions unavailable)
  • Capacity: 27 liters
  • Weight: 13.05 oz.

Weighing in at just under a pound, this tote pack has both tote straps for over the shoulder wear and backpack straps. It also stuffs into its own pocket for storage. A wide zipper opening allows easy access to belongings, and zipped exterior and interior stash pockets provide enough space for valuables. Nylon ripstop fabric—made with 100 percent recycled materials—makes the bag tear-resistant, and a special finish means it’s water-repellent, too.

Baggu Cloud Tote in black and white houndstooth pattern

As its name implies, the packable Baggu Cloud tote weighs less than a pound.

Courtesy of Baggu

6. Baggu Cloud Bag

  • Buy now: $56, baggu.com
  • Style: Packable tote bag
  • Dimensions: 21 x 13.8 x 8 inches (9 x 7.5 x 2 inches packed)
  • Capacity: n/a
  • Weight: 8.65 oz.

This lightweight packable tote—which comes in fun, limited edition prints or basic black—folds up into an included pouch and expands to a roomy carry-all. Use it as an overnight bag, beach tote, or in emergencies when your clothes just don’t seem to fit into your carry-on the same way they did when you arrived.

Baggu has also expanded its Cloud Bag collection with the same foldable design to include a mini-version that works as a daily purse, a carry-on duffle that fits in overhead bins, and an extra-large version for when you really need to bring everything with you.

Eagle Creek Packable Backpack 20L in Black

The Eagle Creek Packable Backpack 20L is available in black (seen here) and blue.

Courtesy of Eagle Creek

7. Eagle Creek Packable Backpack 20L

  • Buy now: $35, amazon.com
  • Style: Packable backpack
  • Dimensions: 18.5 x 10.25 x 5.5 inches (7.5 x 5 x 2.5 inches packed)
  • Capacity: 20 liters
  • Weight: 6 oz.

Eagle Creek’s Packable Backpack is ideal for casual day hikes—and even has a side water bottle pocket. When you don’t need to use it, just stuff it into its side zipper pocket. When it’s packed, it takes up less space than a Nalgene water bottle, so it’ll fit snuggly in your carry-on or checked bag. Made with 100 percent recycled ripstop polyester, this bag is ultra durable but weighs less than half a pound.

Longchamp Le Pliage Expandable Tote in Pomegranate

The Longchamp Le Pliage Expandable Tote currently comes in Pomegranate (seen here) and Dahlia, a rich burgundy shade.

Courtesy of Nordstrom

8. Longchamp Le Pliage Expandable Tote

  • Buy now: $130 (was $230), nordstromrack.com
  • Style: Packable tote bag
  • Dimensions: 12 x 16 x 7 inches (fully expanded); 12 x 11 x 7 inches (zipped)
  • Capacity: n/a
  • Weight: 12.8 oz.

A packable classic for a reason, all of Longchamp’s lightweight nylon totes can be folded down to the size of a paperback book when not in use. (Pliage literally means “folding” in French.) But this expandable version also includes a zip inset that allows the bag to go from regular tote size to an extra-large carryall so you can bring all your souvenirs home.

Yes, even wheeled luggage can be packable.

Yes, even wheeled luggage can be packable.

Courtesy of Biaggi

9. Biaggi Zipsak Boost Max Luggage

  • Buy now: $90 (was $260), biaggi.com
  • Style: Collapsible suitcase
  • Dimensions: 18.5 x 9.5 x 17 inches (carry-on); 18.5 x 9.5 x 28 inches (check-in); 18.5 x 9.5 x 4.5 inches (packed)
  • Capacity: n/a
  • Weight: 4.9 lbs.

Made with water- and tear-resistant nylon fabric, the Biaggi Zipsak Boost Max wheeled suitcase easily expands from overhead luggage size to checked bagged capacity with the pull of a zipper that increases the bag’s height from 17 to 28 inches. It’s a great way to save the checked bag fee one way when you want to load up on souvenirs on the way back. When completely zipped up, the bag can easily be tucked under your bed or in your closet for storage.
Jessie Beck contributed reporting to this article. This article originally appeared online in 2018; it was updated most recently on April 4, 2024, to include current information.

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