No, it’s not a man’s purse. Please, I beg of you, stop calling it that.
There’s without a doubt a number of reasons why many struggle to properly call it by its real name, the duffel bag . First, men don’t typically carry bags (side note- I can’t stand the word typically). We obviously don’t like clutter, and, yes, an extra object hanging from our shoulders can feel like clutter. Secondly, we drive cars. Yes, you, I, and most of our peers drive vehicles (unless you live in NYC, Chicago, or any city that has successfully create a mass-transit system). We transport goods in our vehicles to and from our destinations. There hasn’t been a reason to carry around a bag for goods if you have a car. Oh, and I don’t condone reading and driving. Put the phone down, read later. Another reason is the practical purpose of a men’s bag. We, as men, need some kind of purpose for the things we buy and use. The bags we do own are either a book-bag or a computer bag; each having the purpose of carrying books and/or a computer.
The duffel bag was first used by soldiers to handle and transport heavy cargo and gear. They were rugged, tough, and well-constructed. They withstood the abuse of the battlefield and outlasted most of the gear itself. They ended up in closets or flea markets (for you lucky enough to have one). Bags haven’t really been that much of a craze over the past forty years (your briefcase doesn’t count). There’s always been a small, higher end group of travel bags and luxurious leathers that most of us can’t come close to affording. Book-bags attempted to take fill the large void, but again, it just wasn’t the right size (and who wants to look like a college freshman on way to class?). There is, however, a resurgence of designers and master-craftsmen diving into the accessories department; specifically engineering high quality duffel bags for any kind of man at every price point.
I personally bought my duffel bag four years ago. It is a Rag & Bone X Barney’s NY collaboration that I picked out with my friend Sarah while visiting in Chicago. It’s one of the best investment I have made in a long time. I use it everywhere I go. It’s my grocery bag, laundry bag, camera bag, and all-around life bag. I can’t imagine leaving home with out it.
Consider the duffel bag an immaculate tool in your wardrobe. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed with your purchase. It honestly is the most under-rated part of any gentlemen’s wardrobe. Yes, a well-made duffel bag can be a bit pricey, but we are not talking about a bag that will get placed in storage after a year. Like a fine bottle of wine, it will continuously age and build character overtime. A duffel bag is meant to be past down, generation to generation. Here are three duffel bags that come highly recommended from the team at A&H Magazine.
Robeson Duffel- $325.00
This, in my opinion, is a perfect price point for an all-around duffel. Made of 100% cowhide leather and finished with antique brass hardware, this duffel can be used for any purpose imaginable. Heading out of town for the weekend? Pack light and travel well my friends!
Men’s Duffel- $825.00
I ran across Libero Ferrero while visiting Apt # 9 in Chicago last weekend. I immediately fell in love with this over sized signature wool duffel. Oh, and the leather; it’s custom vegetable tanned Horween finished with brass hardware. Could you honestly ask for more? It’s great for a quick grocery run, trip to gym, or again, a weekend get-away with your closest friends.
“The Wilshire”- (price available upon request)
This Italian embossed leather, Made in the USA duffel is the definition of exquisite. Oh, and did we mention that it can accommodate one pair of men’s shoes up to a size 15? That’s right; it has a compartment down below! The soft cotton interior lining offers your finest dress shirts something soft to rest against.