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The Most Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Duffel Bag

Factors to Consider When Buying a Duffel Bag
A duffel bag is perhaps a must-have for all of us, without any exception! Be it for travel, sports, gym, or anything else, the variety of shapes, sizes, and designs of this accessory, makes it useful for one and all. This Vacayholics post throws light on some essential factors one must consider when it comes to buying a duffle bag. Remember, these tips will help you avoid mistakes that are commonly made otherwise.
Shalu Bhatti
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2018
Did You Know?
The duffel bag gets its name from a Belgian town with the same name: Duffel. This is because the earliest versions of this bag were made using a thick fabric that originated in this town. Earlier, this bag was made in army green color and was mostly used by military personnel.
Known by many names―gym bag, kit bag, sports bag, and so on, a duffel bag is this must-have accessory that one should possess no matter what; it just makes life so much easier and stylish! Yes, with time, it has drastically transformed, or you might say, experimented with different looks. While once it served the nation wearing its green uniform, it has now become more adaptable in terms of colors, patterns, designs, shapes, and sizes. Not only this, now civilians too, may get the honor of its services, where it can function as a bag that carries your gym, sports, dance, and travel clothing, and perhaps your work items, as well.

The market has innumerable options where you'll get these bags with different makes, using different fabrics, designs, and functional features. Some are made of leather while others are made of canvas. Some might have straps while others have wheels at their base. There are light and 'squishy' ones, and those that are hard and rigid. From this multifariousness, you might have gauged that your selection would depend upon many factors. These are discussed in the following section.
Points to Remember While Choosing a Duffel Bag
Before you decide to buy one, consider various factors such as purpose, usability, durability, trendiness, cost, and quality of the bag. Look for essential features like capacity, closure systems, and seams. All these parameters are discussed as follows.
Rolling duffle bag
Black travel bag
First things first, ask yourself, why do you exactly want this particular make? Is it because of its color, design, or perhaps its low price? In order to avoid all the unnecessary confusion, be absolutely clear as to why you need the bag in the first place. Do you want it for travel purposes or to accommodate your gym wear? Would you be carrying it or dragging it along? An example in reference to these aspects would be: If you want to use it for travel, it would be advisable to opt for one with wheels so that it can be dragged easily through busy airports and train stations. On the other hand, if you wish to use it for your gym apparel, excuse the wheels. Get a bag that is lightweight and has strong supportive shoulder straps to make it easier for you to carry it without any problem.
Bag without pockets
Duffel bag with pockets
The next parameter is to carefully check the capacity of the bag. How many compartments does it have? Are they easily accessible? Do they promote effective organization of items that need to be placed inside? Does it have hidden pockets and other interesting features, similar in nature?

Easy access to compartments comes in handy especially during travel, when you've been asked the ticket, and you have to go through the process of unlocking the bag and digging into the various items to find a small piece of paper. Which is why, having pockets of different sizes―perhaps a few being outside the main compartment, like side pockets at the outer portion of the bag―may definitely be a time-saving help.
Closure Systems
Drawstring bag
Green duffel bag
Another point you cannot afford to miss is the closure system or mechanism of the bag. Depending on where you intend to take the bag and what you want to carry in it, ensure that the piece you pick is relatively secure. You will get endless variants with this feature, from drawstrings to belts to zippers; choose what suits you best. For example, using a duffel with drawstrings while traveling especially if you are carrying something 'valuable', is undoubtedly unsafe. Also, having metal zippers with locks, for a bag you use for coaching, isn't that necessary, unless you're carrying a golden pen with diamonds on it. That being said, what we're trying to put across is that don't go for a highly secure one if it's not needed.

PS: When opting for zipper bags, the bigger the zipper, the better it would be. Also, it would be good if these are taped inside the bag, in the seams. This prevents fraying.
Sport bag
Good sports bag
Durability perhaps plays the most crucial role when it comes to taking the final call. The bottom line is that whatever we select, we want it to be long-lasting and durable. Seams of the bag play an important role in this respect. The more you wish to load the bag, the stronger the seams should be. These not only give shape to the bag, but also support the weight of what lies within. A good-quality duffel bag will have lock-stitched seams which will be taped from the inside. The exterior seams will have piping, which provides additional strength. Your purchase would last longer if you realize its load limit and place items accordingly. For instance, most of us tend to forcefully close the zippers because we want to fit too much into too little space. This not only affects the zippers, but also the fabric, deteriorating the functionality and durability of the item.

Speaking of fabrics in terms of durability, while leather seems to be a high-end option, it is susceptible to mold and mildew when exposed to constant moisture. Canvas bags, on the other hand, are highly durable. Ensure that whatever fabric you choose, it must be completely washable and easy to maintain. Don't just go for the 'wowness' of the bag, think logically.
The Price
Bag of money
This is a fairly straightforward and obvious point. Though we do not imply that the cheaper the bag is, the lower would be its quality, or vice-versa, but yes, don't base your choice on the cost of the product. With endless options on websites such as eBay and Amazon, getting a good brand at a lesser price is not a difficult thing to do. The most successful brands include Nike, Adidas, The North Face, L.L.Bean, and Eagle Creek, to name a few. The price range would depend upon the kind of bag and the source of purchase. For instance, a retailer might cost you much more than buying directly from the manufacturer. The prices usually start from USD 6, and may go as high as USD 500, depending upon the make, brand, and kind.
Additional Points
variety of bags
  • Avoid opting for a bag with thin straps, they may hurt. Choose a bag with wide and flat straps which are more comfortable.
  • Check the weight of the empty bag, is it heavy or light? Light bags are ideal for sports and gym, while heavy ones are suitable for travel.
  • If you wish to use a duffel bag as cabin baggage on your flight travel, ensure that it is compressible and not hard-structured.
  • Most established manufacturers sell every bag with a warranty. Check the warranty policies carefully while making the purchase.
  • A rectangular duffel bag has more storage space than its counterparts. If that is your primary requirement, you know which shape to choose.
  • Choose colors/design/prints that go well with the purpose of the bag. For instance, getting a pristine white piece for carrying sports gear is pointless as it'll get dirty in a jiffy. On the other hand, a bag for ballet classes shouldn't have the typical rough sporty look. Keep these factors in mind while making a choice.
  • Always check for defects before making the payment. If you are in a physical store, check for possible scratches, faulty zippers, broken straps, and the like. If you are shopping online, check for exchange/money back guarantee.
The aforementioned points will definitely help you know what to look for and what to avoid, when it comes to choosing one. Before we bring this article to an end, another important piece of advice would be to go through the reviews of the particular item. They will help you immensely. Shop smart.