I was eager to check out Troubadour’s award-winning duffel bag to see what it was all about. So today, I am reviewing the Orbis Duffle from one of my favorite travel gear brands, Troubadour.

The Orbis Duffle arrived in a signature green box, and rather than being flattened like lots of other duffels or backpacks you might receive, it comes out of the box looking ready to go (it’s packed with an air pillow). I got into checking out all the features that I’m now ready to share, along with my photos.

In this review, I’m exploring some of the features that won’t surprise you if you already know Troubadour as a brand, and some that will.

What I like: Orbis Duffle

The Orbis Duffel is a “clean lines” minimal travel bag that has excellent reviews. What are the features I should be talking about?

Overall design

Much like my other Troubadour gear that you may have seen in my Troubadour Generation Leather review or my Momentum Backpack review, the Orbis Duffel has an excellent minimalist design as it meets my eye.

The boxy shape is neat but not overwhelming, and the edges and shape are crisp. I like the “overhangs” or “awnings,” as I’ve called them in the past, that cover the zippers on the exterior pockets. I just realized what I appreciate most about it: unlike other duffels that have exposed hardware, Troubadour keeps these to a minimum, with zipper metal in matte black, and the tie-in latching of the one-shoulder or crossbody strap.

Finally, a unique thing about the design as a whole is that the duffel maintains its shape as a rectangular cube, and it doesn’t flatten or get sloppy. It’ll sit upright and angular on a suitcase with the trolley sleeve, and it won’t slouch if it’s not packed full.

Expandability

The feature that I think is the most “bonus” about the Orbis Duffle is the way that it expands. I haven’t seen many duffel bags that expand like this. Basically, if you reach down to the bottom-side, there are not one, but two, zippers that allow for expanding into a larger volume.

Before expanding, the duffel holds 30L. After expanding, you get an extra 7 liters of cubic volume, amounting to a total 37L, which is a sizable bag for travel.

Sustainability

When I was first introduced to the Orbis Duffle, I wanted to know about the sustainability that it boasts. After all, I have quite a few travel bags, and I’m always looking for the types that are least to negatively impact our environment and Earth.

So what’s worth talking about? The entire bag is made of recycled polyester, which is pretty typical of big brands these days and I’ve seen a lot of brands do it. But, the whole bag “could” be recycled at the end of its life, if you beat it up really bad. It wouldn’t create any waste, according to Troubadour. The bag won the “2023 Marie Claire UK Sustainability Awards Winner (Fashion).”

Smart tech organizer and laptop sleeve

For organizing my tech, I can slide pens, headphones and cables or wires into the large front section that is secured with a zipper. Plus, there is a padded pocket for my Macbook Air—the only laptop that comes with me when I leave home.

I’ll give this a callout: I have not seen many travel duffels with a laptop sleeve, and the Orbis Duffle has one, against the side. While it’s not overly padded, it’s a light padding. I compared lots of travel duffels against one another, and the Orbis Duffle was the only one that had a laptop pocket.

Travel features

Of course, the trolley sleeve pass-through is one of the top travel features on this duffel, and I will say that the Orbis Duffle looks great when stacked on a hardshell suitcase in the airport. It’s chic travel at its finest. And, depending on how you travel (I am usually a “grab handle” person), the crossbody shoulder strap is super padded.

Hidden phone or tech pocket

What a surprise: there is a hidden pocket that goes “deeper” than expected at the spot where the bottom of the bag meets one of the sides. Zip it, and an entire phone fits in!

Things I like less

The Orbis Duffel is not perfect, especially based on my use of it. Here’s a few thoughts.

Main closure zipper

The main zipper is a little tough to slide. I found this surprising, because in all my Troubadour bag and luggage reviews, I rave about the high-quality perfect-slide zippers.

Tying the shoulder strap

My downfall was that I did not watch the animation on the Orbis Duffle product page about how to strap in the shoulder strap, which is unattached when the duffel arrives in the shipping box. It wasn’t intuitive to unbuckle it with the snap-in buckle, so we took a little while to figure this out.

Shoulder strap width

I realize I am in the minority when I say this; as someone 5’2” who has narrow shoulders, the cushioned shoulder strap is so wide that it falls off my shoulder.

For most people wider and taller than me, this will not be a problem. It’s just that in my experience, the shoulder strap is not comfortable for someone in my petite size.

Orbis Duffle: Worth it?

Having a duffel for travel lets me pack things more horizontally than I would with a backpack. Using the duffel to “stack” on top of a suitcase gets me more packable volume, while I can still use a travel backpack as a personal item for a flight.

So with this being said, about all the benefits of having a duffel in my travel luggage setup, the Troubadour Orbis Duffel is the one of the most impressive in the industry when it comes to craftsmanship, design and sustainability. You can see how it made it into my list of the best duffel bags for travel.

The price is on par with other Troubadour items I’ve come to love, and I find those to be rather worth their price tags (Momentum Backpack, Generation Leather and Ki Backpack) because of how well they’re made and how timeless they look.

With the Orbis Duffel, it makes a great gift for someone, or a gift to yourself, if you’re traveling for business and need to look classy or if you simply like your luggage to be chic and tidy.

How to get it

I suggest getting all your Troubadour goods from the Troubadour website. It’s where your purchase gets the crucial 5-year warranty, which I made use of early on (see the story at my Troubadour Bivy Tote review. Plus, Troubadour offers 100-day returns.