I’m not a member of the He-Man Woman Hater’s Club, but sometimes I just like guy stuff: betting on boxing matches in small-town arenas, drinking cheap beer in big-city dives, and traveling with a tough-as-nails duffel bag, like the recently introduced Fjällräven Duffel No. 6.
Here’s what I dig about this carryall. First off, the color is exceptionally cool, a retro khaki green that you would have seen on World War II army uniforms and gear. (You can also buy one in black, but, seriously, why would you?) The tightly woven canvas-like material, developed by a Swedish explorer in the 1950s, is coated in beeswax and paraffin for water resistance, while the duffel bottom is actually waterproof.
The handle is made of two strong straps held together by a leather grasp. Alternatively you can wear the duffel as a backpack, thanks to padded shoulder straps that are hidden away until you need them. There are also adjustable compression straps at both ends to tighten up a less-than full bag or in case you just want to lug it on the ground.
Some duffels are stingy with the zipper. Not this one. The zipper runs almost the entire length of the top, so it’s easy to get your gear in and out. When you do open it up, you’ll find a zippered mesh pocket inside for quick retrieval of essentials, but otherwise the interior is simply big and roomy. It does what a duffel is supposed to do, without any unnecessary fripperies.
The duffel is durable, too. Not only can you toss it casually from five feet away into the back of your F-150 pick-up or jam it roughly into a crowded baggage rack on the Heathrow Express, you almost feel an obligation to manhandle this thing, it’s so tough. The small and medium versions ($200 and $250, respectively) are good for a weekend away or even a weeklong trip. The cavernous large edition ($300) is just as appropriate for a kid heading back to college as it is for an adventurer on a month-long trip in Asia. Or even if you just want to look like a crusty, seen-it-all travel editor.