I need a waterproof duffel bag!
Do you really? What most people mean when they say this is that they need a very water-resistant duffel bag but sometimes you do indeed need a waterproof duffel bag
Waterproof Duffel Bag Marketing
What most bag manufacturers mean when they say ”waterproof” is that if you get caught in a storm for 30 minutes your stuff will be dry. This does not mean that you can chuck the bag in a lake or leave it lay in the elements all day. It means that the fabric wont soak through with a moderate amount of exposure and the seams are sealed. The zipper may or may not hold up and some of the seams may not be sealed. The more honest companies refer to this as “waterproof fabric with water-resistant construction”.
If you need more than this then you need to look for the keyword ”submersible”. A submersible bag you really can chuck in a lake.
Helly Hansen HH WP DUFFEL BAG 40L
The Helly Hansen HH WP DUFFEL BAG 40L is a 100% waterproof bag. Waterproof fabric, construction, and zipper. It even has an inflation tube to make it boyant.
If you are going to be spending a lot of time at sea then this is a great bag. In fact sailing apparel companies are some of the best when shopping for truly waterproof duffel bags.
Do you really need this much waterproofing? Probably not. And if you do I have a solution for you. A compromise of sorts.
Dry bags are 100% waterproof and come in all shapes and sizes. They are reasonably durable but they aren’t usually meant to take a beating they are meant to be waterproof. Dry bags come in all shapes, sizes, and costs. They are usually roll top and their sole purpose is to protect stuff from water.
Put your important stuff in a drybag and put your drybag in the water-resistant bag of your choice and blamo, waterproof duffel bag.
I have a SealLine EcoSee for when I go sailing. I have a tiny 14 ft catamaran which means you get wet when you sail. This bag keeps my electronics, wallet, and what not safe and dry.
It is basically a watertight roll top bag made from urethane. You can get opaque versions but I like being able to see what I have stashed in it.
Water-resistant duffel bags
So I have convinced you that a waterproof duffel bag is overkill. Great! You still want a pretty water-resistant duffel. Unfortunately these bags tend to look like the love child of outdoor sport and tech fabric. If you are interested in a more traditional look I have a few options in mind and if you can stomach some sport tech I have two more options for you.
Filson Tin Cloth Duffle
Filson makes a Medium Tin Cloth Duffle. This bag is made from 15-oz. oil finish Tin Cloth with a nylon lining.
Filson’s tin cloth is a waxed cotton duck with an oil finish. This makes it stiff water-resistant and tough as nails.
Fjallraven Duffel No.4
Fjallraven makes their Duffel No.4. This is a waxed fabric bag at a really good price for the quality. The fabric in question is a cotton poly blend called G-1000 Fabric. The handles are a sturdy leather and there are two exterior pockets.
The North Face Base Camp Duffel
Made from ballistics nylon The North Face Base Camp Duffel is one of the most popular in the world. It is not unusual for people to get 10 to 12 years of heavy use out of them. The base camp comes in many sizes but the medium is best for air travel and weekend getaways. If you have more gear to haul then consider a size up.
Patagonia Black Hole
The Patagonia Black Hole Duffel duffel is a much loved bag. It features waterproof fabric with water-resistant construction. It is a little too shiny for my taste but there is no arguing about its quality construction.
If you do need a truly waterproof duffel bag then there are many to choose from but they lack style and can be expensive. Choose the best all around duffel bag and pair it with a good dry bag for maximum versatility.