Planning a safari getaway is an absolutely thrilling experience. From picking your destination and getting the right company (or safari outfitter) to hiring the perfect guide, the excitement of taking this life-changing trip can be overwhelming. Before you let the giddiness overtake you, though, it’s important to remember one critical detail — most safari outfitters will only let you pack one soft-sided bag for your entire journey. But, fear not, because I just road-tested what could be the single best investment bag for safari-goers and weekend warriors alike: the Away Weekender bag.
Away is already a traveler favorite thanks to its sturdy luggage that comes with a multitude of bells and whistles, but now the brand’s Weekender bag, which retails for $245, is upping the ante even more in a much smaller package.
Away’s site notes, is the company’s “modern take on a travel classic” and “designed to go anywhere.” Away claims the bag, constructed out of textured cotton canvas with leather detailing, can house about the same amount as a traditional carry-on. When I first saw the bag, I had my doubts, but it somehow turned into the Mary Poppins bag of my dreams.
To buy: awaytravel.com, $245
For my 10-day safari, I packed two pairs of pants, three pairs of shorts, two long-sleeved button-downs, two t-shirts, two tank tops, a light rain jacket, two dresses, one bathing suit, 10 pairs of underwear, one pair of boots, and two toiletry bags. And, somehow, I still had room to spare.
That may be because the bag comes with plenty of compartments both to organize your goods and stuff in a little bit extra, like a hidden padded laptop section and interior pockets. It also comes with a built-in shoe storage area at the bottom of the bag, which definitely came in handy when my boots were covered in mud but could remain completely separate from the rest of my clothes.
The bag also has a padded shoulder strap and two top handles for comfortable carrying. If I had to pick a downfall of this impressively roomy bag, I guess it’d be that it became a little heavy because of how fully I packed it — but the shoulder strap makes the weight easy enough to carry through the airport.
If you’re already an Away luggage fan, the bag’s design features a sleeve to fit over any of the brand’s other suitcase handles so you can carry both bags at once, hassle-free.
Beyond its functionality, this bag is also a looker. It comes in three colors: cream, forest green and black. (I chose green to match my safari-chic look.) RIght now, you can also get The Weekender in three limited-edition colors and patterns, too.
In both my route to and from Kenya, I received a bunch of compliments and questions about where I got the bag, and I couldn’t help but brag a little about how wildly functional it was for my trip — especially because its soft-sides allows me to stuff it into trunks, overhead bins, and under the seat in front of me. (Sure, it got dirty, but it’s easily spot cleaned with a bit of soap and water.)
If you’ve got a safari coming up, a weekend getaway, or are looking to replace your current carry-on, this may be the perfect duffle for you. If you’re not convinced by my adventure, you can go ahead and try it for yourself: Away allows customers to return an item within 100 days of purchase, no questions asked. Shop The Weekender here.