The History of the Duffle Bag

Leather Duffle Bag

Named after the Belgian town of Duffel, the duffel bag is a durable travel accessory that dates back to the days when Sir Isaac Newton told the world about a thing called gravity. Even before this time, there was a basic human need to carry items from one place to another. What the duffle bag did was make it easier to accomplish this goal, albeit with a bit more style and function. So, the next time you grab your favorite leather duffle bag or shop for a new one, keep the rich history of this versatile bag in mind.

Durable Cloth Bags Popular in Europe

The bags made in Duffel, a town in Flanders, Belgium, in the 17th century were originally crafted from a tightly woven cloth that would later be called canvas. These well-made bags soon became popular throughout Spain, Portugal, and other parts of Europe.

World War II Popularity

Poet E.E. Cummings is credited with officially coining the term "duffle bag" during World War II. The bags commonly used during this period were long, cylindrical bags closed with a drawstring rope. These "doughboy duffle bags" mostly carried military supplies. After the war, they became popular for civilian use because there was a huge surplus that made them affordable.

An Alternative to Bulky Luggage

Commercial flight took off big time following World War II. Soon, travelers began to see the appeal of using sturdy duffle bags made of leather that could withstand the demands of being transported from one part of the country or world to another.

Part of the Surfer Culture

In the 1960s, duffle bags became part of a popular trend in Australia linked to a favorite water-based pastime. For the better part of a decade, light khaki or faded duffle bags were routinely carried by surfers to hold essentials like swimming trunks and towels.

Convenient 'Grab-and-Go' Accessories

In the decades that followed the surfer craze, duffle bags became convenient accessories for musicians, fitness fanatics, and anyone else who prefers to have certain items easily accessible. They've also remained popular with travelers preferring a combination of durability and classic elegance.

Even in today's high-tech world, there's still something instantly appealing about a leather duffle bag. The ones available from Floto include selections that retain this bag's timeless elegance while offering modern design features. For many users today, duffle bags come in handy for storing everything from pens and shaving kits to chargers and smartphones.