Finding the right travel bag for a 48-hour trip, whether for business or pleasure, is a tricky thing.
If it’s too big and bulky, you’ll end up treating it like a punchbag, too small and it’ll become the bag you always leave behind and as for wheelie trolleys? They might work for flight attendants, but they’re never going to be sexy.
So, let me transport you back to a time when a man’s weekend bag options seemed a far more straight forward affair. In the 50s and 60s, the likes of style icons like Steve McQueen and Paul Newman led the charge when it came to chic travel luggage. And what, pray tell, did they always opt for? A robust, well-made, well-proportioned holdall, complete with scarf or jacket thrown over their free arm.
These men understood the age-old style mantra: less is more. Particularly when it comes to travel. So, here are five hard-wearing weekend bags designed to make your life that little bit easier, if no less fast-paced. We’re sure our Hollywood heroes would approve.
Filson 24 hour tin cloth duffel bag
Filson was the brainchild of one Mr Clinton Filson. In 1897, at the start of the American gold rush, wily fellow spotted a gap in the market for hard-wearing, waxed jackets and bags for miners and set up shop in Seattle. His water resistant satchels were made for men seeking their fortune in the freezing rivers of North America, but his robust designs have long since filtered into the mainstream. This weekender is made from the company’s signature water-repellent cotton tin cloth – a hard-wearing but malleable waxed cotton. It’s fully lined inside and features an internal laptop divider. The two outside zip pockets are sized to fit all your essentials and inside there are two further pockets to help structure your overnight packing. There’s is even a handy strap at the back to loop over trolley handles for longer trips.
£385, shop now
LONB ‘Le Voyage’ natural calfskin holdall
If you’re after a leather goods manufacturer that understands what makes a chic, clean-cut bag, LONB has you covered. Co-founders Melissa Morris and Reinhard Miecks have form when it comes to meaningful design; their commitment to the best raw materials, fine details and flawless functionality has created an exceptional luggage collection. The Le Voyage weekend bag is one of their signature designs. It’s made in a traditional Italian workshop from matte calfskin, and packed with discreet details. There’s a magnetic slip pocket for easy access to cards, pens and other accessories, a shoulder strap that attaches with solid brass flip locks and the the bag’s lined in velvety yet durable alcantara. Even the stitching is considered; visible seams are painstakingly hand-stitched and hidden seams are heat-sealed using specialised bonding techniques. In short, it’s a luxurious investment piece from impressively thoughtful brand.
£2,350, shop now
Troubadour nylon and leather weekender
When two London based investment bankers couldn’t find the perfect bag, they went about making their own. Samuel Bail and Abel Samet designed a holdall that was contemporary and clean, made in lightweight canvas with leather straps and without any conspicuous branding. After a lot of asking around, they found an Italian factory that made them two samples. Friends soon began asking where they could get their hands on one too, and so Troubadour was born. Fast forward five years and the weekender is a signature piece. It’s available in either canvas or waterproof nylon, with leather components care of a traditional Italian tanner and military-grade zips. With it’s clean lines, it works for both business trips or casual weekends away. We recommend the nylon version – it’s cool, clean and thoroughly practical.
£525, shop now
Bleu De Chauffe Cabine holdall
Inspired by the blue workwear jackets worn by French industrial labourers during the early the 20th century, Bleu De Chauffe is a brand with a conscience. All it’s products are made with an intelligent commitment to social and environmental responsibility. It’s leather is vegetable tanned from natural dyes, the water it uses is cleaned and returned to the source, and all its creations are handmade by a loyal local workforce in Aveyron. A versatile design, this holdall is large enough to take all the clothes you’d need for a weekend away and includes two front pockets for easy access to travel documents, phone and other gadgets. It’s made from British Millerain Lickwax (that’s hard-wearing cotton canvas to you and me) and each bag is signed and dated by the artisan who made it, reaffirming the brand’s commitment to craft.
£330, shop now on Mr Porter
Bennett Winch weekender in olive
One thing you can be certain from this four-year-old brand, is its commitment to functionality along with the brands uncomprimising aesethic. Designed out of their studio in Farringdon and made in a factory in Carlisle, their hands on approach means nothing is left to chance and every detail has a reason for being there. This Weekender style is a good case in point and has become their signature bag. Ideal for a long weekend away, with a thoughtfully conceived interior comprising a series of functional pockets and compartments. Notably there are two separate waterproof compartments providing room for slightly fragrant shoes or gym gear that you need keep separate from your freshly laundered clothes. It’s made in a 24oz British dyed bonded waterproof cotton canvas with full grain leather trim handles stitched onto woven military grade webbed handles. Design details that deserve high praise indeed.
£575, shop now