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History Top-loading duffle

The top-loading duffel – a cylindrical bag with a single opening at the top – has a long history as a common-issue item for the U.S. military since the 1940s. They were first created to fit a full allowance of clothing and equipment for overseas journeys. The bag was provided with a double-purpose handle so its owners could carry it like a suitcase at their sides or sling it over their shoulders.

 2017 Nylon Top-Load Duffle Bag

History Top-loading duffle

top-loading-duffle

The top-loading duffel – a cylindrical bag with a single opening at the top – has a long history as a common-issue item for the U.S. military since the 1940s. They were first created to fit a full allowance of clothing and equipment for overseas journeys.

A vast improvement over the earlier, unmanageable ‘barracks bags’, the duffle was fashioned out of durable olive-drab duck or – when there was a shortage – denim. The bag was provided with a double-purpose handle so its owners could carry it like a suitcase at their sides or sling it over their shoulders.

In the post-war decades, the bags became popular with an unlikely audience: surfers. In Australia and California, surfers packed military-issue duffle bags or canvas reproductions with towels and swim trunks, slinging the single strap over their shoulders.