Having the right travel bags for a quick trip is crucial. Even during a pandemic. A weekender, the small to mid-size bag given its name based on how many clothes it can hold, is an ideal travel companion to have on hand for just those times.
Bellroy unveiled its newest line of weekender bags in 2020 but has updated it with a new Lunar color and material. In addition to the updated weekender, Bellroy has also debuted a new Dopp Kit for packing toiletries in a larger size and in its Lunar color, as well.
Are these the right bags to have available when you need to head out for one to three nights? Do they fit the bill for all the impromptu travel most people will want to do as pandemic restrictions ease in 2021 and beyond?
Bellroy has been steadily refining and growing the colors and materials it uses for its bags in recent years. It seems that just as important as its new shapes and styles of bags and wallets are also the fabric and materials that grace each of those items. The Lunar color has now made its way into a range of products with all kinds of recycled materials mixed in.
The Lunar color is not quite tan, but it’s also not gray or white—it’s a mix of all of these. Unsurprisingly, it very closely resembles the moon’s lunar surface. I can see how it might not be the most exciting color of Bellroy’s offerings, but I like its casual, breezy attitude. It can be both business or relaxed, depending on what your weekend away demands.
The fabric of both the Bellroy Weekender and the Dopp Kit Plus are more rigid than some of the other materials it uses. It’s not soft or cozy, but it feels like it could be more resistant to stains and the grime that comes from dragging a bag from room to room.
Weekender Features, Specs and Performance
Bellroy’s advertised features and specs for the Weekender:
- Meets carry-on size restrictions
- 30-liter capacity
- 13.38 inches by 22.44 inches by 8.26 inches
- Internal padded laptop sleeve for devices up to 13 inches
- Internal pockets fit water bottles
- Reinforced zippers with ribbon pulls
- Leather handles
- Detachable shoulder strap
- Grab loops at each end
- Luggage pass-through slides over a suitcase handle
- Water-resistant fabric
- Recycled body fabric
At first sight, the Lunar Weekender looks old-school cool. The contrast between the leather straps and fabric bag is classic and inviting. The transition from looking at it to using it, however, was a little less cool. My biggest hesitation with the bag is how narrow it is and the difficulty that presents in getting clothes in and out.
The actual capacity at 30 liters seems about right for a weekender-style bag. The problem is that its opening can be a bit limiting, and getting clothes in might require refolding to fit the narrow width. The bag isn’t enormous inside, but there should be room for two pairs of pants, two shirts, Bellroy’s Dopp Kit Plus and other small items. The bag expands out as it is packed full. Its slender figure changes to a more rounded one as you take advantage of its many pockets and compartments.
I like the many options for storage this Lunar Weekender has. There’s room for a laptop and pockets to keep cables tidy. The most interesting pockets are the internal pop-out ones on either end. This type of pocket is present on other Bellroy bags and is meant to hold a water bottle, or something its size, when you need it and then fold in to recover space when you don’t need it. Each one of the two pop-out pockets were too small to fit a U.S. size 10.5 shoe. The pockets are intended to fold in to stay out of the way when not in use, but the resulting extra fabric feels excessive. I like the clever thinking here but could have done with just one or two fewer compartments in the interest of less clutter overall.
That being said, this bag excels as an overnight bag. It can be packed quite full, but then it loses its small and nimble footprint. It’s versatile, but it shines the brightest if you don’t try to stuff it to the brim.
Dopp Kit Plus Features, Specs and Performance
Bellroy’s advertised features and specs for the Dopp Kit Plus:
- 9.84 inches by 5.11 inches by 3.93 inches
- Water-resistant recycled fabric
- Angled zipper for wide opening
- Internal mesh pockets that flex
- Internal zip pocket
- Magnetic-closure shelf for toothbrush
- Soft grab loops for one-finger carry
- Water-resistant, wipe-clean interior lining
Hands down, my favorite part of Bellroy’s Dopp Kit and now the Dopp Kit Plus is the toothbrush shelf. On the surface, it’s a simple flap that folds down and then magnetically snaps up into place, but in practice, it’s a revelation. The toothbrush is such a central piece of a toiletry bag, and yet it seems to be an afterthought most of the time. Not only does the Dopp Kit Plus, in this case, give it a place to rest safely during transit, but when at your destination it has a secure resting place, as well. It works well in every sense. I love it.
Despite the name, relatively similar size and toothbrush shelf, the Dopp Kit and Dopp Kit Plus diverge quite a bit. The zipper in the larger one slants at an angle for a wider opening. The internal compartments have also been shifted around. I found the standard Dopp Kit to be roomy enough for the items I want to bring. But I also tend to pack fewer items and keep things on the lighter side.
The Dopp Plus has a larger capacity, but its larger footprint is negligible. In fact, at my very first glance, I thought I had been sent the standard Dopp Kit. If you think you’ll ever need more room for toiletries this bigger one is a perfect choice.
I’ve also been impressed with the Dopp Kit Plus’ wider, angled opening. Everything is accessible and most things not in zippered compartments are viewable. It’s nice. The interior is also free to get wet with its water-resistant material, which wipes clean easily. The mesh pockets are helpful and feel luxurious. All around, it’s hard to find faults with this new, updated Dopp design.
Should You Buy Bellroy’s Lunar Travel Bags?
The newest Dopp Kit Plus is an absolute winner. In person, the toiletry carryall is not much bigger than the standard Dopp Kit, but it holds lots more. It is full of magic in the way it uses the space efficiently. It might be a little expensive at $65, but it’s well worth the investment for a practical travel solution.
The Bellroy Weekender, on the other hand, is less of a certainty. Overall, it has most of the components that make up a great travel bag, including all the pockets and secret compartments you could hope for. But it also has some oddities in its narrow shape that might not work for everyone universally. Although it can be made to have enough room for a solid three days, I think it works best when not pushing it to its limits. As long as you’re not a habitual overpacker, this bag should work well for you.
Buy at Bellroy.
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