Duffel bags are the workhorses of the luggage world. There are so many different styles, sizes, and options, that it’s hard not to find something that will work for you. The duffel is versatile and portable, so you can pack up and move at a moment’s notice.
The duffel’s reputation started in World War II when soldiers started carrying it for all of their gear. The bag was strong enough to withstand the hard life of a soldier, big enough to hold everything they needed, and flexible enough to stow and go anywhere.
The bag is named after the town of Duffel in Belgium, where its canvas material was originally produced. After the war, duffel bags became readily available for civilians, and because of their cylindrical design and flexibility, quickly caught on with all sorts of people.
While a weekender is similar to a duffel bag, it tends to be boxier in shape and has a more formal feel. It’s also more compact, hence the name ‘weekender.’ It holds a weekend’s worth of clothes, while the duffel bag is more versatile.
You can carry surfing gear, which is what made it popular among American and Australian surfing culture during the 1960s. The duffel bag is also good for heading to the gym or carrying your work supplies. Travel accessories fit swiftly and easily.
Size is important when it comes to your travel needs. Staying close, or going far, you need something that suits your purposes. Duffels come in all sizes, so you aren’t restricted by space on your journey. Because of the flexible sides, often duffel bags hold more than you set out to put in them anyway.
There are duffel bags as small as carry-ons, so you can throw it in an overhead bin and skip the baggage claim. However, if you need something that holds more volume, there are larger duffels that can handle weeks’ worth of clothing for longer journeys.
You can even purchase large duffel bags with wheels for easier transport, but keep in mind that if you do a lot of walking or experience rough and wet terrain, the non-wheeled counterparts are much lighter and more mobile.
For some, color is important. Most duffel bags come in neutral palettes like black, navy, tan, or gray. They blend into a range of environments, but this includes the airport carousel. Keep in mind that if you’re checking the bag on an airplane, you may not be able to tell it apart from the others.
Go bold and express your personality with different colors and designs. Many places will even personalize the duffel with custom stitching or embroidery. Given that the bag will probably last years, you may feel like you can afford to spend a little extra.
Duffel bags come in a variety of materials now. Not all duffel bags are as durable as the original canvas. If you need a hardworking and dependable bag, make sure it’s made from tough material and reinforced on the base, feet, stitching, and straps.
Water-resistant fabrics and zippers add extra protection against weather and harsh treatment. You shouldn’t have to worry about your bag holding up against frequent travel demands and regular use. A durable duffel bag should be reliable and should not be a source of worry every time you leave home.
Capacity is important because you want your duffel bag to hold all of your equipment, but how you access that equipment is equally important. Some duffel bags have wide openings, while others open on the end instead of the top.
Easy access to the main compartment makes the space inside a duffel more usable, but extra outside pockets make your necessities easier to access. Smaller items you might need more often are easier to reach and won’t settle at the bottom of your luggage.
Consider things like carrying options. Shoulder straps are convenient but uncomfortable at long distances. Handles on both sides make your bag easier to grab in any position. Alternatively, you may find that a duffel bag with backpack-like straps may be the best option for school or hiking.
There are so many options when it comes to duffel bags that sometimes it’s hard to decide. Think about your travel patterns and your preferences before you make a purchase. Shop around for the perfect combination of size, shape, and other accessories. There’s a duffel bag out there for you.