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For centuries, people all over the world,  have needed to find solutions to carrying important items around with them. From large backpacks for carrying supplies to sacks filled with ingredients, we’ve always to find a means of transporting our goods from A to B. However, one of the most significant changes to the world of travel bags for men and women, was the invention of the duffle bag.

These large, cylinder-shaped bags have been around for many years and come in many shapes and sizes. From standard canvas duffle bags to the more eloquent leather duffle bags, all manner of styles and formats exist for you to pick from.

However, the duffle bag goes back a lot longer in history than many people realize.

Indeed, these unique travel bags aren’t a new invention; they’ve been used, in one way or another, since the 15th-16th Century.












The cloth that was once made to create such sturdy overnight bags originally came from the Belgian town of Duffel, hence the name of the bag. While the spelling has changed over the years, its origin has not. The tightly woven cloth was soon exported to countries like Portugal and Spain originally the cloth eventually called canvas was used to repair ship sails, and soon was used to make seabags- eventually called Duffle bags -the canvas cloth became extremely popular due to its durability and ability to withstand the elements.














Wartime Storage

The duffle bag, though, was mostly used during World War II, the term, duffel bag first mentioned by E.E. Cummings, a poet who also served an ambulance driver in Europe.  He wrote letters detailing his experiences in the war and military and actually uses the term, duffel bag. The original duffle bags were rather crude with brass eyelets the canvas bag was long and cylindrical, and used rope as a draw string to tie closed. 

By WWII, the "doughboy" duffle bag has served as a critical source of transport and movement for weaponry, equipment and arms. This bag, the perfect solution for carrying around military kits, holding supplies and medical aid, made them vital for the battlefields of the Second World War.








By the end of the war, these Duffle travel bags were commonplace in civilian life in America, Australia and Europe. At the time, the canvas duffel bags that were so regularly used and had become a common part of fashion as much as utility. After the war, they became commonly held because the military surplus meant they could be purchased for pennies; soon people would begin obtain this versatile, stylish Duffle bag for civilian needs.

Modern Duffle Bag Usage

By the 1960s, the Duffle bag was a huge fashion statement in places like Australia, where surfers made it their own and carried their tools within. While it may have been replaced by the ‘swag bag’ in the late 1960s, it maintained a popular part of culture around the world. Today, it’s not uncommon to see everyone from fitness fanatics to band musicians carrying around their equipment in one of these iconic travel bags.

They are famed for their quality and their smart, spacious design, but it’s the durability that wins out most of the time. Not only is this a product that knows how to stand out from a normal bag, making it much easier to see, the material commonly used – leather or canvas – tends to be strong and sturdy enough to last for years.

Durable, strong, reliable and versatile; it’s no wonder that the duffle bag has managed to become a essential travel bag in use today all over the world.


From offering protection from the elements to making sure everything can be carried in the one spacious location, the duffle bag took the concept of bag-based storage and opened up a whole wealth of new opportunities.

leather duffle travel bag overnight bag

Modern day town of Duffel - Townhall

WW2 B-17 Bomber Painted Duffel

The history of the Duffle bag - Potenza Travel bags


Travel bags

Time for an upgrade? For years Duffle bags have been a lightweight durable alternative to bulky hard sided luggage.

Our Duffle - Travel bags are Heavyweight Vintage style canvas and Crazy Horse leather, with deluxe YKK Zippers and Gun Metal or Antique Brass hardware, its a retro rugged design with modern refinements, please see our bags on

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