The Modern Duffel: Expandable & Convertible for Seamless Travel

Meet the convertible duffel bag. Learn how we replaced everything that you don’t like about duffels with a bunch of amazing features that transform a duffel into a totally versatile, go-anywhere bag. The convertible duffel is a duffel bag totally reinvented.

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expandable duffel backpack for work travel and gym

If you’ve ever had a love-hate relationship with a bag, it was probably a duffel. On one hand, the spacious interior of a duffel is fantastic for fitting and packing all your essentials - clothes, shoes and travel gadgets. But when it’s brimming with belongings, it can get really heavy really fast. The single strap digs into your shoulder, causing neck and shoulder pain that magnifies with every step. Also, finding specific items in the pile of packed belongings is like a game of hide and seek. And worst of all, you still need to bring a second bag for your everyday carry. So we went back to the duffel drawing board and created a totally new type of duffel: the Knack Convertible Duffel.

If you're frustrated with the many obvious downsides of traditional duffels, but you haven't used a convertible duffel before, what should you look for in this new bag concept? Read on to learn about the key features of a great convertible bag. 

  • Comfortable carry
  • Loads of organization
  • Expansion
  • Modern Styling
  • Durability

Comfortable Carry Options

expandable duffel backpack for work travel and gym

As noted, duffels are simply not comfortable to carry when they are loaded up. The uneven weight distribution on one shoulder creates an unbalanced posture and lots of neck and shoulder strain, which, when paired with a grueling day of travel or a long commute, makes for, well, a bad mood. 

With the Convertible Duffel, we kept the traditional over-the-shoulder carry mode but added two alternative ways to carry, which you can easily switch depending on your load and your destination. 

Traditional Duffel Carry - Carry over-the-shoulder with a detachable strap.

Briefcase - One handle on the side and one handle on the top of the bag makes it easy to grab the bag off the floor, or from the overhead compartment, no matter the angle of accessibility. Or, channel your inner briefcase-carrying executive and use the side handle exclusively.

Backpack - We added tuck-away backpack straps for comfortable carry when the expandable duffel is fully loaded. Added webbing loops for a removable hip belt makes for even better weight distribution. And, your hands are totally freed up. 

Loads of Organization

expandable duffel backpack for work travel and gym

The simplicity of a traditional duffel’s cavernous interior is a double-edged sword. It’s easy to throw everything in there upfront. The giant compartment is always ready to gobble up anything you toss its way. But chaos ensues once you’ve packed. Even if you’ve carefully folded your clothes and bundled your chargers, everything will inevitably become a jumbled mess after a long day of planes, trains, and automobiles. 

And let’s not mention the horror of trying to pack valuable tech items like laptops or cameras in a traditional duffel. Leaving your prized gadgets to tumble with the rest of your belongings is a risky game of chance. 

That’s why adding internal organization to the Knack Expandable Duffel was non-negotiable. Here are the pockets that we added:

A laptop pocket - An independent, side-access laptop pocket for up to 15.6” laptops, padded with a suspended bottom. So you won’t need to reach into your duffel’s main compartment. 

Mesh and easy-access pockets - The walls have enough pockets to give all of your items a home, and to keep them at home. The items that you want readily available - like sunglasses, keys, and wallet - won’t sink to the bottom of the bag. 

A pocket-lined divider flap - This flap does triple duty. It provides organizational pockets, creates two compartments for internal separation, and serves as a compression panel if you’re packing clothes. 

A fleece-lined tablet pocket - This pocket safely stows your tablet, e-reader, or keyboard. 

A water bottle pocket - Independent and fully zippered, you can stealthily carry your water bottle without risking spills onto the rest of your stuff or without your bottle hanging off the side of your bag like a hiker.. 

With all these pockets, the duffel has everything that you’d want in a work bag for the office - laptop protection, internal organization, and a compression panel that functions similarly to the main compartment back wall in a backpack. Such amazing organization helps provide that zen feeling you want before heading to the office or to a business meeting. 

MORE >> Must-Have Features for Your Tech Travel Backpack


expandable duffel backpack for work travel and gym

Literally, one size never fits all when it comes to bags. That’s why expansion is so important to handle the multifaceted demands of someone with a dynamic lifestyle. Traditional duffels simply don’t work for the office, at business meetings, or for everyday carry once you arrive at your travel destination. 

The Knack expandable duffel - obviously - expands. With an easy zip, it grows from 24 Liters to 40 Liters so it can accommodate those extra clothes, a bulky pair of shoes, or extra tech gadgets you always seem to need. 

The expansion feature also means that the Knack convertible duffel does multiple things well. When it’s unexpanded, it’s a small duffel, gym bag or everyday laptop backpack. When expanded, you can fit everything you need for a business trip or up to a week-long getaway. 

The roll-up organizational divider creates two separate compartments out of the main compartment. You can keep your work and travel things separate or your work stuff and gym stuff. 

"I received the convertible duffel today and am already smitten with it. What an awesome bag… it’s like one of those transformer vehicle/monster toys that little boys love. All the different variation choices are great! What a difference from my plain old Adidas backpack I’ve had for years and much lighter than my big, heavy leather Tumi briefcase." - Rob, US

Modern Styling

expandable duffel backpack for work travel and gym

Most traditional duffels are shapeless, and showing up to work with a sagging duffel at your hip is the antithesis of professionalism. Nor would it look appropriate as you meet up with friends after work, or pick snacks from the grocery store. 

Of course, a duffel doesn’t have to be shapeless. The Knack convertible duffel has a modern rectangular shape. Its minimalist front panel lays flat with simple, handsome geometric stitching and minimal logo’ing. 

Using the Knack convertible duffel as an everyday work bag? No worries, it will look good anywhere you go. 

“It’s a versatile appearance that I think is going to work really well in a more professional setting if you have to wear it with a nicer outfit.” - Danny Packs


A bag that is designed to be used with so much frequency and in so many situations needs to be built accordingly. It needs to be able to take a beating, carry heavy loads, endure getting dragged across all sorts of surfaces, and weather the weather. 

While there are many strong duffels on the market, the challenge is making a bag that’s strong and lightweight. The Knack expandable duffel nails it, weighing in at only 2lbs 9oz. We accomplished this by not cutting corners on materials. 

The exterior fabric is made from a 420 denier high-density, high-twist nylon yarn with PU coating for water resistance. It’s abrasion, puncture, and tear resistant, so will be there for you on many journeys. The convertible duffel is load tested to hold up to 40 pounds. On the inside, the nylon lining is stain- and microbial-resistant, so your bag will still smell fresh even after the dirty laundry that comes from a few days on the road.

Tips for Packing the Convertible Duffel

expandable duffel backpack for work travel and gym

Packing the Knack convertible duffel is a bit different than packing a traditional duffel bag. Unlike a traditional duffel, the convertible duffel has dedicated pockets and two sections in the main compartment. While this means you'll have to be a little more strategic about packing the convertible duffel - as in you shouldn't just throw everything in if you want to maximize the function, ease, and organization of the bag - you'll quickly realize that everything post-packing will be totally seamless. Here’s we recommend packing the convertible duffel:

  1. First, expand the duffel. Fold or roll your clothes, then put them in the expanded area. Use Knack Packing cubes to organize your duffel as if it had drawers. 
  2. Slip your laptop - or two - into the side zippered laptop pocket. They’ll be easy to access at any moment during your trip. 
  3. Put your important ID’s and extra cash in the secret pocket. You’ll know exactly where these crucial items are, and you won’t have to worry about pickpockets.
  4. Unroll the divider flap, creating two separate compartments. Use the flap as a compression panel to secure the clothes you packed. The other compartment will be used for your everyday stuff. By putting your clothes in the expanded area and unrolling the divider flap, you can leave the other compartment free for your everyday carry items. 
  5. Organize your sunglasses, AirPods, and other frequently-needed items in the panel pockets. Choose one zippered pocket for chargers, hard drives, and headphones. Put snacks in another mesh pocket, where they’re easy to find. Dedicated pockets mean that you know exactly where everything is, and you can easily access it. 
  6. Put your tablet and portable keyboard in the microfleece-lined tablet pocket. Your valuable e-reader won’t get jostled inside your bag.  
  7. Tuck a water bottle into the zippered water bottle pocket. Because it’s separate from the main compartment, you don’t have to worry about spills. 

When you get to your destination, remove your clothes and zip the expandable compartment to compress it. Pull out the backpack straps, and use your convertible duffel as a work and everyday carry bag. You’re off to meetings, sightseeing, and anywhere the day takes you. 

"Knack Convertible Duffel is a beast of a travel bag with some great features that just aren’t found in other travel backpacks. It’s versatile enough that it really might be the only travel bag you’ll need." - Backpackies

MORE >> The Best Weekender Travel Bag for Your Next Getaway & Every Day

One Bag Life with the Expandable Duffel 

expandable duffel backpack for work travel and gym

All Knack Packs are designed to help you live a One Bag Life, so that you can go from work to the gym, to the airport, and back again. So what’s the difference between the Knack Duffel and Knack backpacks?

It’s really the Convertible Duffel’s roominess and compartment construction that sets it apart from other Knack bags. The Series 1 and Series 2 Knack Packs have multiple separate compartments - a quick access organization compartment, a main compartment, and an expandable suitcase compartment. These compartments are structurally divided, so they have fixed interior panels rather than a divider flap. 

The Knack Convertible Duffel replaces these fixed multiple compartments with a divider flap, which gives you multiple compartments when you want separation, but which rolls up to give you a single compartment when you want a duffel-like experience. 

MORE >> Duffel Bag vs Travel Backpack: What's Right for You? 

Have you used a convertible duffel bag? We’d love to hear how your multipurpose bag fits into your multipurpose lifestyle. Share your stories with us in the comments, or tag us on instagram with @knackbags and #onebaglife.

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