Post Riposte: Weekender Bags

Reader Ted recently wrote:

Hey Brad, I was wondering if you can do a search on weekender bags? Thanks!

I sure can Ted. My top picks are after the jump.

Parrott Canvas

North Carolina’s Parrott Canvas has an array of US-made weekender options, including both small and medium-sized duffels and zip-top totes. Their recently released Rigger’s collection has some solid candidates as well (especially that zippered Mechanic’s Bag). The best part about these is that they’re all under $100, which is pretty nuts considering what you’re getting.


MAKR Carry Goods is another one to check out. They’ve got several weekender styles, including a fold-top tote that comes in both all canvas and canvas and leather, and a large utility bag, which can be worn as a tote, messenger or backpack. All MAKR products are designed and crafted in Florida, and I can tell you from experience, they age beautifully.

Heritage Leather & Klein Tools

If you want something a bit more utilitarian looking, you can always go the tool bag route, in which case Heritage Leather or Klein Tools will be your best bets. Both companies’ bags are made here, reasonably priced and both will last for decades (only one of them offers theirs in camo, however).


Of course, no bag round-up would be complete without some mention of Filson. They’ve got pretty much any style of weekender you could want, and every one of them will last you the rest of your life. There’s also their Red Label collection, which boasts the same quality and designs, but in non-traditional-Filson colorways (how gorgeous is that natural duffel?).

Beckel Canvas

Lastly, there’s Beckel Canvas out of Portland, OR, which makes a number of handsome and durable bags, any one of which would work great for a weekend trip. On top of being well made (and well good looking), Beckel’s bags are also affordable, with their most expensive models clocking in at around $90.

Honorable Mentions

And, if none of the above are grabbing you, here are a few others to check out. Ernest Alexander’s weekenders are some of the handsomest you’ll ever see, but also some of the most expensive. Same is true for the Holdalls from Chapman. The Cargo Bags from WM. J. Mills are also quite fetching, but also on the pricer side. And finally, there are the Market Totes from Duluth Pack, which come in canvas, leather and wool, have snap tops, adjustable straps, a reasonable price, and, now that I think about it, really should have been included in the main list. Oops.

Got a question you want answered? Send an email to brad[at]well-spent[dot]com.

  • Andy

    Congrats Brad, your posts like these are really awesome and extremely useful (I saved the one about men’s care products that you did a while ago).

    Chiming in on my experience: I own the Filson Sportsman, which is the lower left of the 3 Filsons. The canvas is very rugged, zippers are tough brass, and you can tell it’s high quality and will last a lifetime.

    It can work as a carry-on with no problems, and I use it to take to work on days when I plan on going to the gym and have to pack lunch, snack, sneakers and gym clothes and another change of clothes if staying over at the SO.

    Just a warning – it can get pretty heavy if you pack it chock full of stuff. I’m very happy with my purchase, and they go on sale from different retailers from time to time.

    Everlane also makes a weekender I think, but I don’t know if it’s always in stock.

  • P. Dobry

    I highly recommend Best American Duffel. The aesthetic is a bit different from the others you posted, but they are great looking, durable, and top out at $110 for a giant duffel. Made in Seattle, WA USA.

  • mixedyogurt

    Although many of these bags are nice, high-quality, and well-made, their structural and overall look is dull.

    Take Beckel Canvas – it’s a standard gym bag, with a logo slapped on it, and hideous black leather used incorrectly. A better option would be WM J MILLS, which should be at the top of the list rather than an “honorable mention.” This company is progressive, makes great designs, and stays true to who they are.

    The Filson bags are a snooze. Their only good collection was the Filson Red line with Nanamica. Those bags are amazing – durable and in great colors (black, white, navy, and red). I guess they’re not really “weekender bags” but none of these really are. They’re too small. The fact that a Makr tote is mentioned as a weekender bag is just confusing… a tote?

    Anybody reading should look into Engineered Garments – they make a great weekender bag for less than $200. South2 West8 is also a good bag maker.

    Another great made in the U.S. brand is Utility Canvas. They have bags for under $100, in an array of colors.

    You missed a lot of great brands that are doing interesting things. Step it up.

  • Yo Chi

    @mixedyogurt: I have to completely disagree with you, as I found the bags and companies that were picked out to be a pretty good sampling of different styles and forms. Nearly all of what you said can be summed up as “our tastes differ”. Aesthetics and the appreciation of them are a personal thing that varies from individual to individual, sooo…yeah. What’s hideous to you might be a beaut to someone else.

    As for the remark about missing out on a lot of great brands, that’s somewhat valid but this post would be ridiculously long if Brad were to try and list off every single company out there making quality bags with the capacity for a weekends worth of stuff.

  • Eric

    In response to mixedyogurt,

    There is nothing offered by WM J Mills that you can’t get from another company for a hundred dollars cheaper. That is why they aren’t at the top of the list.

    Your own recommendation for a better bag is Filson’s “Red Line” which you mention is not necessarily a weekender. Beckel’s is a standard gym bag? So is any bag. Every thing a either a reproduction of the original or a derivative….based on the original. A gym bag made from alligator is still a gym bag. A bag is bag is bag. A bag is what you’re using it for. A bag on your back is a backpack. A bag on your fanny is a fanny pack. So any bag that you carry in your hand may as well be called a handbag. Oh, wait, women have already been calling them that. If I take a “weekender” to the gym it ceases to be a weekender. If I take a gym bag somewhere overnight it ceases to be a gym bag. If I take a dump in a suitcase it ceases to be a suitcase. Every bag is a tote bag because you tote shit in them.

    So to sum up, the honorable mentions are as such because they are more expensive and not necessarily of higher quality. WM J Mills makes nothing out of the ordinary: totes, dopps, and utility bags. Nothing you can’t get somewhere else at a lower cost. So, let’s not fight opinion with opinion. Fight opinion with experience with goods or with facts that prove them better. Otherwise, you can start your own blog and step things up.

  • Andy

    Mixedyogurt – so you recommend Filson’s Red Label, for which the only difference is different colourways with a huge premium?

    Why don’t you start your own blog and step it up yourself? What a useless, obnoxious contribution.

  • Duluth Pack Molly

    Thanks for the mention Brad! I appreciate that you thought we should be on the main list :-) I guess you realize 130 years of hand crafting products continuously in Duluth, MN does matter! All our cutters, sewers, and riveters thank you.

  • DD_X

    I really want to like the Beckel Canvas bags, but the seams of the bags aren’t sealed or even serged and they start to fray almost immediately. I’d gladly pay more for it, it may not be visible from the outside but it’s a hassle.

  • Ted

    Sweet thanks a lot Brad for taking your time and researching all these bags!

    • Brad

      @ Ted – My pleasure. Thanks for the question.

      @ Molly – Thanks for stopping by!

      @ mixedyogurt – We’re all entitled to our opinions. That said..

      @ Andy, Eric & Yo Chi – …My opinion is that I agree with you all.

  • Kyle

    Good post; why so bitter mixedyogurt? :P They’re just BAGS.

    Anyway, good post; I just wanted to throw out a few I like. Billykirk and Wood and Faulk make excellent bags in the same style as the tool bags above. Billykirk is more finished (liner, more organizer pockets) and has interesting color options, but also more expensive. Wood and Faulk is stripped down, pretty basic, which makes it useful for more utilitarian purposes.

    KILLSPENCER Weekender 2.0 is also really nice, though expensive.

  • Beckel Canvas Stephanie

    Thank you for the write up! As a third generation Beckel, I take pride in the fact our bags and tents are still hand crafted one at a time in Portland, OR! I look forward to reading more of your blog. Keep up the fantastic work!

    Stephanie Beckel

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  • Amit

    I completely agree with mixedyogurt. Also a dearth of leather bags.

  • Graham

    Interesting list, glad to learn about some brands I had previously not heard.

    Just wanted to throw out a few things.

    Glad to see Duluth Pack mentioned. I have one of their backpacks and I can’t say enough good about the quality of the construction. Their bags don’t always look as finished as other brands but their utility and durability more than make up for this in my mind.

    Also, with the fairly significant presence of totes I’m surprised there’s no mention of LL Bean’s Boat and Tote. They’re not as interesting as other options listed here, but they’re USA made and of ridiculously high quality given their price. And if you get the ziptop models they’re even more useful.

  • Mark

    I recently picked up the Blk Pine Workshop Boston bag which is the perfect size for weekends/gym ect (dont let the measurements fool you, you can fit a lot in there). Theres black and natural 18 oz canvas available on their site for $140 and a couple totes in the $80 range. Or hunt down the canvas/pendleton version if you’re into that. They’re all made in the US and bomber construction, cant say enough good things about it.

  • ADV

    Great blog! Fantastic. One thing…how are many of these bags Eco friendly? Went to the websites looking to buy and found nothing indicating they are Eco friendly other than they are made locally…lower impact for sure, but doesn’t necessarily mean that that alone makes them Eco friendly. If someone could provide more info, that would help me make a decision. Thanks!