Deep Pockets: The 17 Best Duffle Bags

Despite being about as simple as an item can be, few items have more synonyms than the humble duffle. These are known as duffel bags, kit bags, seabags, Ditty bags, drawstring bags, and a hundred other names. Whatever you want to call them, they’re all pretty similar. A cylindrical bag with an opening at the top that can be drawn closed. Since WWII, these have typically been made of canvas, but material is irrelevant. It’s also irrelevant to know that they are named after the Belgium town of Duffel, where they originated.

What is important is having a big bag that you can load to the brim. One that will hold its shape, be easy to carry, distribute weight well, close up tight, and then open wide. They should last a good long time, being damn near a lifetime companion. We found the 17 best duffle bag to fit this tall order.

Gustin Waxed Canvas Duffel

Worth The Wait: Gustin is a little annoying in the way they make their gear. You have to wait for them to open a crowdfunding page for the item you want and then fund it. While this can mean a long time twiddling your thumbs, it’s honestly worth every second when you get that sweet, USA-made bit of kit. Oil tanned, full-grain leather, waxed 100% cotton canvas, and a #10 brass YKK zipper make it simply spectacular. View

Military Surplus

Combat Tested: If you want an inexpensive satchel that will last for years, and has already been to hell and back, you’re best bet is to hop on down to a military surplus shop and snap up whatever they have on hand. They’re going to have some wear and tear, and sometimes service personnel’s writing on them, but that’s what we call a mark of authenticity. You can also order online, if you prefer. Purchase: $20

L.L. Bean Everyday Lightweight Duffle

On The Cheap: Even though L.L. Bean has abandoned their “Lifetime Warranty” the quality of most of their stuff hasn’t completely disappeared. Far less weighty than most duffels you’ll find in the wild, anyone who is looking for a decent gym bag or quick commuter knapsack will find this fits the bill. Purchase: $25

Top Load Strap Duffle Bag by Rapid Dominance

Up To Code: Rapid Dominance has been given the rights to use the U.S. Army logo on their gear, which isn’t handed out lightly. When you grab this reinforced canvas classic cut in the military style, it’s easy to see why. Every stitch, seam, and flap has been strengthened to take anything and everything you want to throw at it, or into it. Purchase: $42

Helly Hansen 30-Litre Duffel Bag

Impermeable: That shiny, shimmery look isn’t just for show. This is 100% tarpaulin material, making it able to stand up to rain, and rest easy on snow. We strongly suggest that anyone looking for a place to put their extra ski gear give this a shot, as it’s been trusted by thousands of pros who spend their lives on the slopes. Purchase: $63

S.O.E. Clothes Bag

Raw: Special Operations Equipment is crafted in the USA, but manages to be more affordable than most other American options. Constructed from true 1000 Denier Cordura nylon, this is free of frills or flash, and stays true to the make of World War packs. Purchase: $65

Eagle Creek No Matter What Rolling Duffel

Lazy Luggage: Most duffle bags require that you carry them around like some beast of the field. Eagle Creek says “Nay, Gentle Person!” and equips their gear with wheels for rolling along. Despite this modernized look, the bags are Bi-Tech material and covered by the No Matter What warranty that guarantees them should they fail your grandchildren. Purchase: $120

The North Face Base Camp Duffel

Compartmentalized: The Base Camp has been a standard of outdoor giant The North Face for ages, but this is a slightly different animal. Upgraded with a new cap compartment for stashing your wet or dirty gear, it cuts down on the extra equipment you need to carry. The versatile handles and straps allow you to lug this any way you like, or strap it down without worrying it will jostle loose. Purchase: $130

Osprey Packs Transporter

Expansion Pack: Though most duffles try to stay true to the original designs, Osprey saw the opportunity for improvement. Several quick access pockets and an octet of lash straps provide ample ways to add in more storage should you need it. It’s a backpack, a flat pack, and a weather-resistant cornerstone for wherever you may roam. Purchase: $131+

Nargear Skidmark Gen 2

Into The Inferno: It’s easy to forget that duffle bags aren’t only for military personnel. Firefighters also have to head into some of the most dire conditions the world throws at them, and they need a way to keep their gear stowed. That’s who Nargear outfits, with their bags being lugged proudly by plenty of Hot Shots and similar true heroes. Stackable and made to handle the worst weather, the Skidmark can double as your bug out bag of choice. Purchase: $155

Hudson Sutler Heritage Commuter Duffel

Contemporary Cut: Though it looks like a traditional school bag from the 1900’s, the padded laptop sleeve and separate shoe compartment tell a more modern tale. It’s beautiful brass and whiskey leather mixed into an heirloom piece in the making. Proudly made in the US of A. Purchase: $185

Frost River Flight Bag

All In One: A convenient shoulder strap makes this a messenger bag should you need it to be. Waxed canvas with leather and brass make it a badass tote no matter what size you opt to get. Made by hand in the USA, guaranteed for life, and practically perfect in every way. Purchase: $180-$210

Herschel Supply Co. Gorge

Hold Fast: Easily mistaken for another standard bag from afar, it’s the ballistic weave nylon that proves up close that this isn’t to be trifled with. You can stuff and stuff and stuff and it will push to accommodate the most angry, harried, hurried packer. Attempts at abrasion slide right off, keeping the Gorge in pristine condition year after year. Purchase: $200

Red Oxx Railroad Grip

Engineer’s Choice: In 1992 Red Oxx partnered up with a group of conductors and engineers that work the modern rail system. These are people who’s life was devoted to the iron horse, and to creating lasting quality that could live hard and still survive happily. From their input came the 1050 heavy-weight denier Ballistic Nylon Grip bag, specially made for the GCOR (General Code of Operating Rules). It’s as burly as they come, and likely to outlive your sweet meat with ease. Purchase: $250

Filson Rugged Twill Medium Duffle

Looks For Life: Maybe the most purely beautiful bag we’ve ever laid hands on. The body is all twill wrapped up with bridle leather and outfitted with rust-proof brass. Inside there are a few pockets made of Tin Cloth, which are as barbed-wire tough as the rest of the pouch. It’s cut specifically to airline carry-on requirements so that you’ll never need to check it. Purchase: $328

Saddleback Leather Rolled Waxed Canvas Duffel

A Century of Service: You’re guaranteed to get 100 years out of this product, so says Saddleback, and they haven’t lied to us yet. 24 oz waxed canvas, bull leather, copper rivets, and sail grommets should be all we need to say. But, the double-stitching using 00 continuous filament polyester thread should help sweeten the pot. Purchase: $440

Duluth Pack Bison Leather Sportsman’s Duffel

American Tradition: Bison leather was favored by the Native Americans because it was among the toughest hide around. Since nature has yet to cough up anything better, you’re getting the top of the food chain. Inside this unbeatable beast is soft nylon lining with a professional briefcase look that’s as professional as it is hard-core. Made in the USA and guaranteed for life. Purchase: $665

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