Traveling on safari brings with it countless obstacles and situations that you need to be prepared for and having the right safari bags with you can help you to be ready, and to best enjoy your trip.
Safaris in Africa, Asia, or anywhere else in the world where you may choose to head off into the wilderness in search of wildlife, will ensure that you are encountering extreme weather conditions, be it rain, dust, mud, heat and cold, potentially all within the same day, so it’s imperative to choose safari bags that are able to withstand the worst that will be thrown at them.
There’s a lot more to reflect on too, and you’ll need to consider your style of travel, be it luxury safaris or budget safaris, expeditions, overland travel or charter plane flights.
Luckily, there are a lot of great safari bags out there to meet almost any requirements, and to help you decide what exactly you need, here’s our guide to buying the best products on the market.
Top 5 Best Safari Bags
|The North Face Base Camp Duffel|
- 23.6 x 19.7 x 15.8 inches
- 90 liters
- 3.97 Lbs
- Materials: Phthalate-free TPE fabric laminate, 840D Jr. ballistics nylon
|Osprey Packs Fairview Travel Backpack|
- 29 x 15 x 7 inches
- 4.38 Lbs
- Zip-off daypack
- Stowaway harness
- Laptop and tablet sleeve secure in lockable compartment
|Komal's Passion Leather Safari Bag|
- Size: 24" Length x 11" Height x 9" Width
100% Full Grain
- Leather With Durable Canvas Lining
- Premium YKK Zippers
|Filson Safari Field Duffel|
- 20.1 x 16.4 x 4.5 inches
- 2.4 Lbs
- Waxed canvas
- Made in USA
|Eddie Bauer Unisex-Adult Expedition Drop-Bottom Rolling Duffel|
- 26"L x 16"W x 14"D
- 7.65 pounds
- 4,088 cu. in. / 67L
- 210D ripstop nylon / 1,680D ballistic nylon
- Retracting telescoping handle, Reinforced inline skate wheels
Quick Answer: Best Safari Bags
- Best OverAll Safari Bag: North Face Base Camp Duffel
- Best Budget Safari Bag: Osprey Packs Trilium 65 Duffel Bag
- Best Safari Bag for Women: Osprey Packs Fairview 70 Women’s Travel Backpack
- Best Safari Bag for Men: Osprey Packs Farpoint 70 Men’s Travel Backpack
- Best Woman’s Safari Bag for Hiking: Osprey Fairview 40
- Best Men’s Safari Bag for Hiking: Osprey Farpoint 40
- Best Safari Duffel Bag: North Face Base Camp Duffel
- Best Safari Duffel/Backpack Bag: RAB Expedition Kitbag 80L Duffel Bag Blue 80L
- Best Safari Day Bag: Osprey Porter 46
- Best Malti-Day Safari Bag: Osprey Packs Farpoint 70 Travel Backpack
- Best Wheeled Safari Bag: Eddie Bauer Unisex-Adult Expedition Drop-Bottom Rolling Duffel
- Best Lightweight Safari Bag: Gonex 80L Packable Travel Duffle Bag
- Best Waterproof/Dustproof Safari Bag: North Face Base Camp Duffel
- Best Leather Safari Bag: Komal’s Passion Leather 24 Inch Square Duffel Travel Safari Leather Bag
- Best Canvas Safari Bag: Filson Medium Duffle – Waxed canvas
- Best Soft Side Safari Bag: Mountain Warehouse 90 Cargo Bag – 3 Ways to Carry All-Season Backpack Black
- Best Packable Safari Bag: Gonex 80L Packable Travel Duffle Bag
What Type of Safari are You going on?
The first thing to think about when you begin delving into the vast world of safari bags is what type of safari you are actually going to be going on. Different types of bags will be more suited for different types of safari, and the season you will be traveling.
If you are traveling across Africa in the rainy season, you will want to make waterproofing a priority. If you are a wildlife photographer and have a lot of equipment, you will want to ensure that your safari bags will provide adequate protection against dust and the elements.
Luxury travelers may want to ensure they have a fashionable yet durable bag that looks the part at their remote bush camp, while backpackers opting for cheaper safaris may want to have a more practical hiking or duffel bag to cope with the stress of long-distance, overland travel.
Practicality vs Style
Practicality vs style then is another important consideration to make. There are a lot of classic, leather-bound carry bags on the market that wouldn’t look out of place in the late Victorian era, and while they might look stylish, you might want to determine if it is the best fit for you.
Some of the most practical bags, however, won’t look the most stylish, but you can find some quality safari bags produced by outdoor companies as kit bags, that are suitable for almost anything.
Colour and aesthetics, while they may seem trivial, can be an important part of the buying process. Many bags that are specifically aimed at safari-goers may be brown, beige or green in color, to almost blend in with the classic safari environment.
Some travelers though, find it is more practical to have a brightly colored bag that they can actually find quickly amongst piles of other luggage when traveling by bus or plane.
The size of your chosen safari bags will come down to a number of factors, but the most important thing to note is that your luggage needs to be suitable for air travel.
Likely, you will arrive at your destination via air, and if you are planning on visiting remote, luxury camps in the African savannah, then getting there will generally involve flying in small, charter aircraft that are very restricted by weight and size requirements.
Don’t overpack, and make sure your luggage fits the airline requirements. If you travel light and hand luggage only, then ensure your backpack or duffel is in line with ever-changing airline restrictions.
If you are planning on traveling overland as part of your safari, or are planning it as part of a wider trip, then you may want to choose a bag that is easy to carry around, that can fit in luggage compartments, or that you can easily walk around with.
Again, the size will depend on your individual requirements, but just remember, when you are on safari, it’s always best to pack light.
Material and Durability
The material that your safari bags are constructed from can make the difference between a terrible bag and a bag that will last you a lifetime of traveling.
You may want to invest in a waterproof bag, or at the very least be able to attach a rain cover to the outside, particularly if it is a backpack that you might be walking around with.
Luxury travelers may want to invest in specialized leather or canvas bags that not only look the part at your safari lodge in the wilderness but that will also be water-resistant and durable.
In the long run, unless this is a one-off trip, you will be better off investing money into quality products that will last. You don’t want your bag falling apart mid-flight, or on the taxi ride out of the airport, after all, you want it to last a lifetime.
Bag straps are another important aspect that you don’t want to overlook. If you are just traveling from one point to the next then you might be fine with just a holdall that you can pick up with one handle.
If you are hiking, backpacking or walking around a lot, then you’ll want to make sure your safari bags have adequate support, be it comfortable back straps, or even waist or chest straps to take the weight off your shoulders.
Many kit bags now come with a versatile number of straps, allowing you to instantly transform your handheld duffel bag into a backpack or a single strap, shoulder-worn bag.
You will also want to look at the number of pockets and different compartments that your bag has. If you purchase a basic duffel or kit bag, then the number of compartments is usually restricted to one open space, which can be fine if you aren’t too fussy.
If you want to separate your dirty laundry and your wet towels from your fresh, clean clothes, then this isn’t going to be an ideal situation.
As well as separate compartments you may also want safari bags that allow you space and different pockets for being organized. For instance, you may want pockets for toiletries, for your chargers and batteries, for your passport, or for your socks. The opportunities are quite endless really.
Best Types of Safari Bags and Product Recommendations
There is a great selection of safari bags out on the market right now, catering to all budgets, styles, designs, and needs. Here are a few of the most versatile types of bags to think about selecting for your trip, and a few specific product recommendations too.
Duffel bags and kit bags are great all-rounders that are perfect for the frugal traveler on a budget, making multiple, and varied trips each year. Modern kit bags can be incredibly versatile, with waterproofing, different outside straps that can be arranged to carry the bag how you feel is best or most appropriate for the situation, and a high level of resilience.
Some of the best are made by outdoor companies and can come in many different capacities, from 40 liters up to 120 liters. The North Face makes excellent, quality, and great value kit bags, as do Rab, Mountain Warehouse and increasingly, many more well known outdoor brands too.
The Top Five Best Safari Duffel Bags:
- North Face Base Camp Duffel
- RAB Expedition Kitbag 80L Duffel Bag Blue 80L
- Mountain Warehouse 90 Cargo Bag – 3 Ways to Carry All-Season Backpack Black
- Osprey Packs Transporter 65 Expedition Duffel/Backpack
- Osprey Packs Trilium 65 Duffel Bag
Hiking bags are another fantastic, versatile choice that has long been the favored luggage-style of backpackers across the world. They can make for perfect safari bags, particularly if you are planning on hiking, or have an extended trip that will also take you on other adventures too.
Hiking bags come in many different sizes, with large capacities suitable for remote expeditions and small capacities which can make for perfect day hiking bags and carry-ons when flying.
Hiking bags have the added bonus of being designed for the outdoors, and if you pick a quality brand, you can also get lifetime warranties on your kit.
While you can get incredibly cheap hiking bags from sports outlets, it’s also best to invest in a quality product, with guarantees and reputation if you want it to last.
The Best Safari Hiking Bags:
- Osprey Farpoint 40 – Men’s Best Safari Bag For Hiking
- Osprey Fairview 40 – Women’s Best Safari Bag For Hiking
- Osprey Porter 46
Some of the most popular safari bags amongst luxury travelers or short terms holidaymakers are vintage bags. Not only do they look the part, but the best ones are made of quality leather or canvas, that is rugged, durable and able to stand up to the harsh requirements of the savannah while also looking great in the city.
Classic style safari bags are not for everyone, however, and they will be limited as to the variety and diversity of travel situations that they are handy in, but if you want a fashionable way to carry your luggage, then these are the bags for your safari.
Great vintage options include the excellent leather duffel bag by Komal, which retails at an incredibly affordable price, upwards to the canvas, bespoke designs from the likes of Ralph Lauren.
The Top Five Best Safari Vintage Bags:
- Travel Duffel Bag Waterproof Canvas or Leather
- Filson Medium Duffle – Waxed canvas
- DRAKENSBERG Kimberley Long Weekender, canvas, buffalo leather
- Komal’s Passion Leather 24 Inch Square Duffel Travel Safari Leather Bag
- Komal’s Passion Leather 24 Inch Duffel Travel Gym Sports Overnight Weekend Leather Bag
Other Safari Items We Can Not Live Without?
- Canon 6d DSLR Body
- Canon 100-400mm L Lens
- Canon ET-83C Lens Hood
- Canon 2x Extender
- OptiTech Sling Comfort Strap
- Rain Cover Coat Dust Proof Camera Protector (THIS IS A MUST)
Camera Bag: Vanguard Alta Sky 45D.
- Cell Phone Binocular Adapter Mount (So you can take photos through your binoculars)
Safari Hat: Panama Jack Men’s Mesh Safari Hat
Travel Insurance: Things can happen before your safari, while on your safari and after your safari while traveling home. Why not be protected with Travel Insurance? We have used Allianz Travel Insurance since our first trip together back in 2003. Simply use this link to get their travel insurance.
Not finding what you are looking for? Check out our favorite places to go shopping for travel gear.
- Shop Columbia – The industry leader in outdoor apparel and products; You can find anything from great jackets, gloves, hats, shirts, and travel pants.
- Shop REI – They offer some of the best outdoor gear around. We love REI since they have a year Love it or hate it no questions guarantee.
- Shop Moosejaw – Has a huge selection of outdoor gear at killer prices.
- Shop Sierra Trading Post – You can get some of the best prices on outdoor camping goods here, but most items they have are last year’s models for about 40% off.
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