This leather duffle bag is our most popular overnight travel bag and is the most versatile one we have. It is just one solid giant piece of leather and with no breakable parts like zippers, snaps, buttons, etc. Any place that might get stress has been reinforced with rivets or hidden polyester strapping between the leather. The reason it's built with just one solid piece of leather is to reduce the amount of seams (watch video above with bull to understand this better). Since we sew at only 5 stitches per inch, there is more leather between the needle holes. You see, a sewing machine is really just a perforation machine and so the fewer the holes to start a tear or let water in, the better. When it comes to seams, less is more.
Leather- The cow leather I chose for this leather duffle bag is the strongest there is (full-grain boot leather, but thicker). Leather is like a roof. The shingles are the toughest and most protective layer. Leather has what is called "Grain" and it makes up the top layer of the hide. Some companies shave off the top layer to get rid of scars and blemishes because they don't want to throw any leather away. That's money. But in doing so, they shave off the shingles from your roof. It's really dumb, but they do it. We don't. We use leather with the full amount of grain still there to make all of our leather travel and overnight bags.
Liner- The bottom of the leather duffle bag has a liner covered in tough pigskin, which is stronger than the cow skin. It gives it form, but is removableand the removable liner is covered in pigskin, which is stronger than the full-grain leather.
Thread- Our thread is super strong industrial marine grade UV resistant polyester thread. It's the most expensive for a reason. It's so strong and doesn't turn into dust like the half priced nylon thread does. Watch out for low quality companies that use nylon just to save a buck or two.
Hardware- Using 316 Stainless Steel for hardware is like killing a fly with a shotgun, but we've never once had a problem because of this hardware. A lone tear just dropped from the eye of a metallurgist somewhere. Our clips were tried and found they can hold up to a 750 lb bag of cats over a cliff without breaking. It's the kind of hardware people use when their life depends on it. Ocean and parachuting stuff. And the metal of fancy watches and iPhones. There's no other overnight leather duffle bag or any bag that we know of who uses hardware this complete.
We haven't heard of any other leather duffle bags as versatile as this Waterbag.
Backpack- The shoulder strap makes it quickly to a backpack.
Tote- It can has aa built in handle so it can be carried as an 18" high wide open tote. I used it more than once in Africa this way carrying a whole bunch of toothbrushes and toys and dolls and you name it. The removable handle can be disconnected and reconnected to the corner d-ring so it doens't rub against your leg when walking.
Two Shoulder Strap Anchors- Attach the shoulder strap to the lower d-ring to wear the bag angled across your back or attach it to the upper d-ring if it's more full.
Watertight- If the top is rolled closed, this leather travel bag turns pretty much watertight. It can be left in the back of your truck in the rain and what's inside should stay dry. It's worked for me many times. But if you try to test the limits and dunk it in a river, make sure your last change of clothes isn't in there.
For 1 Day or 5- It can be strapped down to lay 4" flat if you're alone or folded over on top to be 14" full.
Carry On Approved- As carry on luggage, it is within all international limits. This leather duffle bag fits into all overhead compartments and under seats. It's our go-to travel bag for sure.
Dual Closures- It can be closed with one strap while the other two tuck through slots to the inside or strapped down with all three. The three straps can be pulled tight to compress it small.
Holds Long Objects- Because of the nature of the closures, fly rod tubes or architectural plans can be put deep down on one side and stick far out the other and still buckle down nicely. If you need to, stick longer objects under the three straps and then cinch them down tight.
Shoulder strap adjusts long from 34" - 59"
Dimensions (W x H x D)
20" x 18" (unfolded) x 9" or 20" x 14" x 9" folded closed
Weight: 7.0 lbs.
How this leather duffle bag got its name, "The Waterbag"
Since I grew up in Oregon, there were some things we used to do that I didn't realize aren't all that common. One kind of weird, actually. Since it was usually really cool and rainy, when the sun came out and it hit about 70 degrees, almost all men took their shirts off to bask in the sun. I didn't think much of it until I went back to visit with my wife in the summer and, no kidding, one third of the men walking around downtown, in shape and not, were bare chested. My wife started laughing and then I did too. I forgot how common it was. I thought everybody in the world did it too.
The other thing that we did in the short summers was float down one of the dozens of rivers on innertubes and little rafts. Seemed like every other weekend maybe. The river was usually snow melt and super cold, but that didn't matter, we took our shirts off and floated. Anyways, something that pretty much everybody had with them was some sort of way to keep their things dry from the water on those floats (and for the 8 solid months of rain for the rest of the year). It was usually some kind of a dry bag or smaller bag for gadgets that would tie to the tube or raft and make the 5 hour float with you. It was a long plastic or rubber bag that rolled up and then half way rolling down the bag, a strap or clip or ziplock thing was there to keep the rubber duffle bag rolled up.
I figured the whole world knew about them, but have since learned that they're not very common away from oceans of rain and watersports. But it was common to me and when I started this company, I knew but I knew that I just had to make one out of strong water resistant leather. And so I did. And I made it with as few seams as possible because that's the only vulnerability where the water could get in when it's rolled shut. Now don't submerge this bag or anything, but it is really good at generally keeping water out when it's in a rainstorm or for when you're using it in backpack form on a hike. I just recently walked all over London in the rain using my own leather duffle bag in backpack form to carry little things we bought along the way. Quite the duffle bag it turned out to be.