If you’re a man reading this (or one of our highly sophisticated female readers), if you don’t know already, most men’s fashion worn today draws inspiration from the military. That means even if you’re a flower picking pacifist or an animal loving PETA supporter, inadvertently you’ve supported war. Alas, such is life in this era and such it was in the past, when the earliest canvas duffel bags received their final stitches and received their first loads containing the equipment and clothing of the soldiers who carried them.
Just like with the workhorse origins of blue jeans, the duffel bag started out with a specific purpose. Denim pants were fit for rigorous, civilian labor while the best duffel bags carried the loads of the military forces as needed. According to legend and the impeccable wisdom of the internet, the leather duffle bag originated in the Belgium city of Duffel. Hence the name duffel bag, although in much of the West it is commonly spelled as duffle bag. Throughout this guide for men’s duffle bags both spellings will appear.
While new duffel bags come in a multitude of fabrics, at the time duffel bags first arrived from the Netherlands, they weren’t any leather duffel bags made. Don’t even think about a nylon duffel bag, as the material didn’t even exist in those far back ancient and wireless times. Then, canvas duffel bags were standard and the particularly strong weave made them suitable for military use. Today’s duffel bags for men (and women) evolved from their warfare worthy predecessors thanks in part to both utility and eventual conventional use as military personnel transitioned to civilian life bringing their green duffel bags with them.