The History of the Duffle Bag

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Vintage Child 'Drake' Leather Duffle

In its original form the Duffel bag was a long cylinder shaped bag that originated right back to the seventeenth century. Duffel is a town in Flanders, Belgium where the thick coarse woollen cloth like material was made hence the name duffel bag was born. This cloth was initially distributed throughout Europe and was ideal for bags with heavy merchandise to carry.

leather duffel duffle holdall weekend bag weekender men's travel

Vintage Child 'Drake' Leather Duffle

It was during World War I that poet E.E Cummings is credited with the actual name Duffel Bag, he served as an ambulance driver during the war and was known to refer to the term in letters. The line in a popular war time song ‘Pack up your troubles in an old kit bag’ was thought to refer to a duffel bag.  A lot of the bags that carried military supplies were these long cylinder shaped bags with drawstring rope to secure the top and American and British soldiers used these types of bags to carry both their equipment, merchandise and clothing, though it was the thick coarse cloth that was still used in these times still rather than leather. These were ideal in war time as when empty they could be flat packed and when is use were then able to be used to carry a variety of items, equipment, and clothing. 

leather duffel duffle holdall weekend bag weekender men's travel

Vintage Child 'Drake' Leather Duffle

These cylindrical bags continued to be used by the military during World War II and after the war, as with other items, these duffel bags became surplus to supply and found their way to army surplus stores and later became fashionable items for surfers in California and later Australia to buy.

As time has moved on these duffel bags have evolved, still all use the cylinder type shape but most no longer have drawstring to close the top. They largely have a zip to secure their contents. Rather than the original material heavy duty cloth that was originally used most now are made from the hardy material of leather, as Emily Weiss states "leather has a real durability and functionality", which lends itself perfectly to this type of bag.

leather duffel duffle holdall weekend bag weekender men's travel

Vintage Child 'Drake' Leather Duffle

The term ‘duffle or duffel bag’ is now used to describe many large holdall bags that can be used for a variety of uses. Duffel bags are also known now as ‘weekender’ bags and are extremely popular.

Duffel bags are incredibly versatile, they make ideal gym bags, ideal bags to carry clothes in while going away. They are easy to pack, easy to carry either by the handles which tend to be double handled or sometimes a shoulder strap meaning they are easy and comfortable to carry on the shoulder. Many people use them for hand luggage on flights as if there are no fragile items as they can be squashed into a small space if need be.

leather duffel duffle holdall weekend bag weekender men's travel

Vintage Child 'Drake' Leather Duffle

At Vintage Child we offer a large variety of weekender bags to suit your needs. Our most popular weekender bag is our VINTAGE CHILD X SUGSEAN "DRAKE" LEATHER WEEKEND BAG WITH 2 END FLAP POCKETS. Whether you are planning a weekend away or planning on using your bag for going to the gym this is such a versatile bag, with plenty of room for clothes, gym kit, trainers and the two end pockets are ideal for bottles of shampoo, other toiletries or perhaps your keys and your phone too. You are sure to get plenty of use out of this duffel bag!

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