For those of us who have graduated, there are a few items that we must leave behind with that Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition poster of Kate Upton and that plastic flamingo you transformed into a beer bong (okay, keep the beer bong, but be sure to keep it out of plain sight). Among them is that old, battered, polyester duffel bag you have been toting around for years that probably smells like the inside of an offensive lineman’s jock strap. I know, letting go can be difficult, and Nike, Adidas, and the like all make a great gym bag. But we’re talking about more than just a gym bag. When the time comes for a reunion with your college mates in the city or a weekend getaway with that special someone, you’ll want something a little more refined hanging from your shoulder.
When looking to purchase a new duffel bag, there are a few factors to consider: style, size, and sadly, price. Styles can range from more traditional "gym bag" designs, which include multiple compartments, to more sleek bags, which strictly offer one compartment. The size can also differ. Smaller bags can have a capacity of around 1,000 cubic inches, while larger bags can exceed 4,000 cubic inches. Lastly, duffel bags can vary wildly in price. A simple, stylish bag can be had for about $50, and more high-end bags can easily reach the $1,000 mark.
While we all would love to have a $1,000 bag, unfortunately most of us don’t have that kind of cash lying around. With that in mind, here are four of our top duffel bag choices at a few different price points on the lower end of the spectrum:
Despite being at the far left of the price spectrum, this bag still has plenty to offer. Its vintage canvas and leather design is timeless and will complement your look no matter what threads you're sporting. At this price point, it would be best to avoid “leather” bags since they will tend to be made from cheap faux leather that looks more like plastic than actual leather. This bag makes do with simple, durable polyester canvas and with over 2,000 cubic inches of space, has plenty of space for the essentials.
2) State Bags Franklin Duffle - $195*
This bag’s style is super minimal, all black neoprene outer shell, with black handles, and black zippers. Complete with a polyester map of Brooklyn as the interior liner, and a shoe compartment that fits up to a size 13 shoe it is a great gym and weekender bag hybrid.
While this duffle has a similar size to the ones above, (over 2,000 cubic inches) it is made from real cotton canvas and is made with higher quality products, like real leather accents and snap-button size adjustment fasteners and handle clasp. The green color matches any outfit and gives it a modern color palette that ensures you will be oozing class through the airport, train station, or helipad (if you travel via helicopter please send us pics).
4) J.Crew Abingdon Weekender Bag (Two-Tone) - $210
Finally, we have the Abingdon Weekender Bag from J. Crew. This bag rewards its owner for reaching a bit deeper into his pockets. With a capacity of over 4,000 cubic inches, it is by far the most spacious of the duffels shown here. So, if you’re stuck between two outfits, you have the space to pack them both. The bag itself is made from a rugged, two-toned waxed cotton canvas and its (real) leather accents are heavily reinforced, making it as durable as it is good-looking.
When planning your next short trip, be sure that your bag matches the quality of the clothing you pack into it. A tasteful duffel bag is a relatively small investment that can pay large dividends in completing your look when on the move.
Disclaimer: All products marked with a * provide What is a Gentleman with a commission on purchases at that retailer that helps this site grow.