How To Pick The Right Travel Bag For A Lakeside Vacation?

Heading out for a lakeside vacation? You’re all set with your itinerary, swimwear, and sunscreen, but have you given any thought to the most essential travel companion – your bag? Choosing the right travel bag for a lakeside getaway can make all the difference in ensuring a hassle-free and enjoyable trip. Whether you’re into water sports, hiking, or simply relaxing by the serene lakeshore, this article will guide you on how to select the perfect travel bag that not only suits your style but also accommodates all your essentials while keeping them safe and secure. So let’s dive into the world of travel bags and ensure you have a stress-free lakeside adventure!

Consider the Duration of Your Lakeside Vacation

Short weekend getaway

If you are planning a short weekend getaway to a lakeside destination, you won’t need to pack as much as you would for a longer trip. A small daypack or a medium-sized backpack should be sufficient to hold your essentials for a couple of days. These types of bags are lightweight and easy to carry, making them perfect for a short trip.

Extended vacation

If you are embarking on an extended vacation to a lakeside destination, you will need a bag with more capacity to accommodate your belongings. A medium-sized backpack or a large duffel bag would be ideal for carrying clothes, toiletries, and other essential items. These bags provide ample space while still being easily manageable.

Multiple destinations

If your lakeside vacation involves visiting multiple destinations or if you plan on staying away for an extended period of time, a rolling suitcase would be a practical choice. Rolling suitcases offer the convenience of easy transportation and typically have a larger capacity compared to backpacks or duffel bags. They also tend to have additional compartments and pockets for better organization.

Assess the Type of Activities You’ll Be Participating in

Water activities

If your lakeside vacation includes water activities such as swimming, kayaking, or paddleboarding, it is important to choose a bag that is water-resistant or made from waterproof materials. Nylon and polyester are excellent choices as they offer durability and are resistant to water. Look for bags with separate compartments or pockets to keep your wet gear separate from your dry belongings.

Hiking and exploring

For those planning to indulge in hiking and exploring the lakeside surroundings, a backpack with a sturdy build and good weight distribution is essential. Look for bags with padded shoulder straps and adjustable chest and waist straps as these features provide added comfort and support during long hikes. Additionally, having external pockets can be useful for storing items like water bottles or snacks for easy access.

Relaxing by the lake

If your lakeside vacation mostly involves lounging by the lake and enjoying the scenery, a smaller bag such as a daypack or a medium-sized backpack should suffice. These bags are lightweight and easy to carry, making them perfect for short walks to find the perfect spot by the water. Consider choosing a bag with internal and external pockets to keep your essentials organized and easily accessible.


For camping trips by the lakeside, a large duffel bag or a backpack with a heavier capacity would be necessary to accommodate camping gear such as a tent, sleeping bag, and cooking supplies. Look for bags with separate shoe compartments if you plan to bring hiking or camping boots. This will keep your shoes away from your clean clothes and help prevent any odors from spreading.

Determine the Bag Size and Capacity You’ll Need

Small daypack

A small daypack is perfect for short trips or if you only need to carry a few essentials. These bags typically have a capacity of around 10-20 liters, making them suitable for day hikes or quick outings. They are comfortable to wear and usually have enough compartments and pockets to keep items like a water bottle, wallet, and phone organized.

Medium-sized backpack

A medium-sized backpack typically has a capacity of around 30-50 liters, which provides enough space for a couple of days’ worth of clothing and other essentials. These bags are versatile and can be used for a wide range of activities, from hiking to casual city exploration. Look for backpacks with multiple compartments and pockets for better organization.

Large duffel bag

If you need to pack more items for an extended vacation or camping trip, a large duffel bag would be a suitable choice. These bags have ample space, typically ranging from 60-90 liters or more, and are designed to hold a significant amount of gear. They are easy to pack and often come with straps or handles for convenient carrying.

Rolling suitcase

For travelers who prefer the convenience of wheeled options, a rolling suitcase would be the ideal choice, especially for longer trips or multiple destinations. Rolling suitcases come in various sizes, from carry-on to larger checked baggage sizes. Choose a size that meets your needs while still complying with airline size and weight restrictions.

Consider the Weather and Climate

Hot and sunny

If you are planning a lakeside vacation during hot and sunny weather, consider choosing a bag made from lightweight and breathable materials such as nylon or polyester. These materials help prevent your belongings from becoming overheated and uncomfortable to handle. Additionally, look for bags with ample ventilation and breathable back panels to keep you cool while carrying the bag.


If there is a possibility of rain during your lakeside vacation, it is important to choose a bag that offers water resistance or waterproof capabilities. Nylon and polyester are water-resistant materials that can keep your belongings dry in light rain showers. For added protection, consider bags made from fully waterproof materials such as coated nylon or laminated fabrics. Also, look for bags with lockable zippers or hidden compartments to keep your belongings secure and dry.

Cool and breezy

When visiting a lakeside destination with cooler and breezier weather, choose a bag that can provide insulation and protection from the elements. Bags made from thicker materials like canvas can offer better insulation and keep your belongings safe from cool breezes. Additionally, look for bags with adjustable straps and handles that allow you to easily carry them while wearing layers of clothing.

Choose the Right Material for Durability and Water Resistance


Nylon is a popular material choice for travel bags due to its durability and resistance to abrasion. It is lightweight, tear-resistant, and stands up well to wear and tear. Nylon bags are also water-resistant to some extent, protecting your belongings from light rain or spills. However, they may not be completely waterproof, so it is important to consider additional waterproofing options if your destination has heavy rainfall or water activities.


Polyester is another widely used material for travel bags due to its durability and affordability. It is resistant to shrinking and stretching, making it a reliable choice for withstanding the rigors of travel. Polyester bags are generally water-resistant, repelling light rainfall or accidental spills. However, like nylon, they may not offer complete protection in heavy downpours.


Canvas is a heavy-duty material known for its durability and sturdiness. Bags made from canvas are highly resistant to tears and can withstand rough handling. Canvas bags tend to be less water-resistant compared to nylon or polyester, but they can provide better insulation and protection from cooler climates and breezy weather. They also have a stylish and timeless look, making them a popular choice for travelers.

Waterproof materials

For lakeside vacations involving water activities or destinations with heavy rainfall, choosing a bag made from fully waterproof materials is crucial. Coated nylon or laminated fabrics are often used in high-quality waterproof bags. These materials offer excellent water resistance, ensuring that your belongings stay dry even in the wettest conditions. Keep in mind that fully waterproof bags may be heavier and more expensive compared to bags made from nylon or polyester.

Select a Bag with Sufficient Compartments and Pockets

Main compartment

A spacious and well-organized main compartment is essential for easily packing and accessing your belongings. Look for bags with a wide opening or a clamshell design that allows you to see everything at once and reduces the hassle of rummaging through your bag. Consider your packing preferences and the items you plan to bring to ensure the main compartment has enough space for everything.

Internal and external pockets

Having internal and external pockets in your bag can help keep your belongings organized and easily accessible. Internal pockets are great for storing smaller items like keys, wallets, or electronic devices, while external pockets are convenient for items you need quick access to, such as water bottles, snacks, or a map. Consider the number and size of pockets based on your specific needs.

Separate shoe compartment

If you plan on bringing multiple pairs of shoes, a bag with a separate shoe compartment can be extremely useful. Storing your shoes separately from your other belongings helps prevent dirt, odors, and potential damage. Look for bags with dedicated shoe compartments or separate compartments that can be used for footwear.

Laptop sleeve

If you need to bring your laptop or tablet on your lakeside vacation, choose a bag with a dedicated laptop sleeve or compartment. It should provide adequate protection and padding to keep your electronic devices safe from bumps or impacts. Ensure that the laptop sleeve fits your specific device size to prevent any damage during transit.

Consider the Bag’s Carrying Options and Comfort

Padded shoulder straps

For bags that will be carried on your back, such as backpacks or daypacks, padded shoulder straps are essential for comfort. They help distribute the weight evenly across your shoulders and reduce strain. Look for straps that are adjustable, allowing you to customize the fit and ensure optimal comfort, especially during long hikes or walks.

Adjustable chest and waist straps

To further enhance comfort and stability, consider bags that have adjustable chest and waist straps. These straps help distribute the weight of the bag even more evenly, which can be particularly beneficial for longer hikes or when carrying heavy loads. They also help secure the bag to your body, minimizing bouncing or swinging while on the move.

Carry handles

Carry handles are a convenient feature to have on your bag, especially if you opt for a duffel bag or wheeled suitcase. They allow for easy lifting and carrying when you don’t want to use the shoulder straps or wheels. Look for sturdy and comfortable handles that can withstand the weight of your bag and offer a comfortable grip.

Wheeled options

Wheeled bags, such as rolling suitcases, are incredibly convenient for lakeside vacations that involve a lot of walking or traveling through airport terminals. Look for bags with smooth-rolling wheels and a reliable handle system that can withstand the rigors of travel. Ensure that the wheels are sturdy and large enough to handle different terrains, including rougher paths around the lakeside.

Ensure the Bag Meets Size and Weight Restrictions

Airline carry-on limits

If you are traveling by air to your lakeside destination, it is important to ensure that your bag meets the airline’s carry-on size restrictions. Different airlines have varying limits, so check the specific requirements to avoid any surprises. Choosing a bag with a size within the airline’s allowance will save you from potential additional fees or the hassle of checking your bag.

Baggage weight restrictions

In addition to size restrictions, airlines also impose weight restrictions for checked baggage. If you plan on checking your bag, make sure it falls within the weight limit to avoid excess baggage fees. Choosing a lightweight bag made from materials such as nylon or polyester can help keep your bag under the weight restriction while still providing durability.

Personal item dimensions

Many airlines allow passengers to bring a personal item in addition to their carry-on bag. Personal items such as a small backpack or a purse should meet specific size dimensions set by the airline. Check the airline’s guidelines for personal item dimensions and choose a bag that fits within those limits. Personal items are typically kept under the seat in front of you during the flight, so consider a bag that is compact and easily accessible.

Check for Security Features

Lockable zippers

To keep your belongings secure during your lakeside vacation, look for bags with lockable zippers. Lockable zippers allow you to use a small padlock or a travel lock to prevent unauthorized access to your bag. This feature adds an extra layer of security, particularly when you may need to leave your bag unattended or check it during your journey.

Hidden compartments

Hidden compartments can be an excellent feature to have in your travel bag, especially if you want to keep valuable items or important documents discreetly stored. Look for bags with secret pockets or compartments that aren’t easily noticeable to others. These hidden compartments can provide peace of mind and keep your belongings safe from potential theft.

Anti-theft technology

Some travel bags come equipped with anti-theft technology to provide additional security. These features may include slash-resistant materials, RFID-blocking pockets to protect against electronic theft, or locking mechanisms to prevent pickpocketing. Consider your personal security needs and choose a bag that offers the level of protection you desire.

Consider Your Budget

High-end options

If you are looking for top-of-the-line travel bags with premium features, high-end options may be the way to go. These bags are typically made from high-quality materials, offer superior durability, and come with advanced features such as specialized compartments or innovative carrying systems. Keep in mind that high-end bags come with a higher price tag, so they may not be suitable for those on a tight budget.

Mid-range options

Mid-range travel bags offer a good balance between quality and affordability. They are often made from durable materials and offer a decent range of features. These bags may not have all the bells and whistles of high-end options but still provide reliable performance at a more affordable price. Consider mid-range options if you want a good quality bag without breaking the bank.

Budget-friendly choices

For travelers on a tight budget, there are plenty of budget-friendly travel bag options available. These bags are generally affordable and suitable for occasional use or shorter trips. While they may not offer the same level of durability or advanced features as higher-end options, they can still fulfill basic travel needs. Look for sales, discounts, or clearance items to find great deals on budget-friendly bags.

When choosing the right travel bag for your lakeside vacation, it is important to consider various factors such as the duration of your trip, the type of activities you’ll be participating in, the weather and climate, the bag’s material and durability, the compartments and pockets it offers, its carrying options and comfort, any size and weight restrictions, security features, and your budget. By carefully considering these factors and selecting a bag that suits your specific needs, you can ensure a hassle-free and enjoyable lakeside vacation. Happy travels!