A duffel bag is an essential item for any experienced traveler who wants to pack light and smart. A duffel bag is a flexible and convenient travel companion with a rich and fascinating history. The name “duffel” originates from Duffel, a Belgian town that produced a tough and heavy woolen fabric since the 1600s. This cloth was used to make sturdy bags for sailors, soldiers and explorers who needed a reliable and adaptable way to carry their belongings.
The original bags were cylindrical in shape, with a drawstring closure at the top. They had no zippers, pockets or handles, and were often slung over the shoulder or carried by hand. The duffle bag was also known as a seabag, a kit bag or a ditty bag.
The duffle bag became widely used by various armed forces during the World War I and World War II, as it was an efficient way to transport personal items and equipment across different terrains and climates. The duffle bag was also a symbol of identity and belonging, as it often bore the name, rank and unit of the owner.
After the wars, the duffle bag became a popular travel accessory for civilians as well. It was especially favored by adventurers and sportsmen who appreciated its simplicity, spaciousness and ruggedness. The duffle bag also underwent some changes in design and material, such as the introduction of zippers, wheels, handles, pockets and internal structure. The duffle bag also came in different sizes, shapes and colors to suit different preferences and purposes.
The duffle bag is more than just a bag. It is a travel companion that has witnessed many historical events, cultural movements and personal stories. It is a testament to the human spirit of exploration, adventure and discovery. It is a timeless and classic travel and outdoor accessory that will never go out of fashion. It is capable of filling a range of roles.
The type of bag you need may vary depending on your destination, activities and duration. How you will travel will also need to be considered. The type of air transport determines the luggage requirements and restrictions for different regions. For example, some airlines have weight limitations for carry-on baggage, while others do not. The size of carry-on baggage is also subject to different rules, depending on the airline or type of air transport. Handles and wheels on your bags count toward size limits as well.
Traditional duffle bags are the most versatile, especially for the adventure traveler. For safari travel, soft-sided and frameless luggage is ideal. This is because many safari destinations require light plane transfers, and the luggage hold space is limited and tight. The same applies to overland and expedition safaris, where the luggage has to fit in a 4×4 vehicle. Soft-sided and frameless luggage can more easily be squeezed into cramped spaces. And don’t scrimp on quality. There is no replacement available in the bush.
Heavy Duty Bubba Goose Duffle
I recently had the opportunity to test out the new Heavy Duty Bubba Goose Duffle by Bubba Goose Design. Bubba Goose Design is the brainchild of Delian Scudder, a longtime outdoor industry vet who is super passionate about bags, quality material, and durability. Delian started Bubba Goose Design in the summer of 2022. After 20 years of product development for the US military and outdoor industry, he felt it was time time to branch out on his own. “Form, Fit and Function” is Delian’s mantra.
The company name Bubba Goose has a special meaning for Delian. Bubba Goose is his beloved English Bulldog, who is five years old and always by his side. as he creates and hand-sews prototypes. He is a big ol’ dog, strong as a bull, yet gentle and kind. Delian says that will always be an impetus for Bubba Goose Design products to embody his strength and good-natured friendliness.
All Bubba Goose Design bags are made using top-quality repurposed US-made materials upcycled from the military and outdoor industry, including mil-spec zippers and webbing. Each bag is designed in-house by Delian and cut and sewn in Seattle, Washington. The use of repurposed materials that were set to go to the dump or had been sitting, gathering dust in other brand’s warehouses, allows Bubba Goose Design to offer its bags at great prices. It is good for the environment too. And of course, made in USA means that all Bubba Goose Design bags are Berry Compliant.
The Heavy Duty Bubba Goose Duffle is designed for rugged daily use. It comes in two sizes: “medium” and “large.” You have the choice of two colorways: black and coyote. The bags are identical except for their size.
I opted for the large duffle in coyote. The dimensions of the large duffle are 22″ long and 11″ across. It can hold up to 34.26 liters / 9.05 US gallons of volume. It weighs just 26 oz / 1.6 lb unloaded. It complies with most airline carry-on size requirements. It is spacious enough to easily hold a weekend’s worth of clothes or more, depending on how it is packed. The coyote colorway has an outdoorsy look that takes its cues from vintage hunting gear.
The Heavy Duty Bubba Goose Duffle is the first product I have evaluated from Bubba Goose design. I liked what I saw on the company website and the fact that all the products were American made. I was not disappointed. The high quality and craftsmanship were immediately evident when it arrived. It is definitely not your run of the mill duffle bag. Bubba Goose Design opted for only the very best materials in its construction. The company wanted a super-strong duffle that would hold up no matter what adventure was thrown its way.
The shell is made from X-Pac® VX21. I wasn’t familiar with it so I looked it up. Turns out X-Pac VX21 is the worlds most popular laminated pack fabric. It is a high-tech fabric purpose built for packs and provides what is widely considered to be an ideal balance between weight and durability. It is a rugged, flexible and 100% waterproof high-performance 4-layer laminate fabric from Dimension Polyant USA, the world leader in manufacturing advanced, high-quality sailcloth. Made of 60% nylon and 40% polyester, it features a 210D face fabric, patented X-PLY® fiber reinforcement technology, and has a lightweight 50D polyester taffeta backing that provides enhanced stitch-hold. It is 100% climate neutral.
The bottom is two layers of durable US mil-spec 1000D CORDURA® with a sturdy closed-cell foam insert for rigidity and padding. CORDURA is a tough, high-tenacity, nylon-based filament fiber fabric with a superior weight to strength ratio. It’s a very durable fabric that’s resistant to tears, punctures, and abrasion. It is also water-resistant and resistant to mold and mildew.
The carry handles and shoulder strap are made of rugged US military nylon webbing for heavy-duty use. The removable shoulder strap is fully adjustable and has quick-release buckles. Many airlines require you to remove duffel bag straps. The shoulder strap has a sewn no-slip rubberized liner. The shoulder strap is 1” wide, which is narrow. I would have gone with a 1.5” to 2” wide shoulder strap and one that is padded for comfort. That being said, slip-on shoulder strap pads are available aftermarket for just a few bucks.
The bag uses Duraflex® brand plastic hardware and self-healing YKK® coil zippers, which are durable and easy to use. The main zipper is a large #10 YKK dual-pull zipper. The zippers have paracord pulls attached. The bag is hand-sewn with strong bonded nylon thread, with double stitching and bar tack reinforcement at critical points. Bias taped edges prevent fraying.
The bag offers classic duffle bag functionality. There is a single large main compartment and a front exterior pocket for smaller items. Both are zippered. There are no internal organizational pockets. There is a 3”H x 5”L VELCRO® loop patch on the front of the bag where you can attach your ID or other patches. The bag ships with a VELCRO hook-backed embossed leather Bubba Goose Design logo patch. The bag also has a small American flag label that says MADE IN USA.
The care label is tied to the bag with beeswax-soaked hemp twine known as Fire Wick. While most people will remove the cardboard label, the Fire Wick is an excellent fire starter in windy or wet conditions.
The bag is easy to care for. It may be hand washed with mild soap and water. Do not machine wash.
The Heavy Duty Bubba Goose Duffle is an excellent high-end duffle bag. It has high-quality craftsmanship and a stylish appearance. It is also proudly made in the USA. Based on the durable materials and solid construction, I believe that it will last for a long time with proper care. I have not used the bag enough to confirm its durability, but I am confident that it will not disappoint me.
Price for the large Heavy Duty Bubba Goose Duffle is $200 USD. The medium size is $180 USD. All Bubba Goose Design products are available for purchase on the Bubba Goose Design website.
Bubba Goose Design
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
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