Have you heard? It’s Bag Week! It’s the most wonderful week of the year at TechCrunch. Just in time for back to school, we’re bringing you reviews of bags of all varieties: from backpacks to rollers to messengers to fanny packs.
WP Standard makes exceptional leather goods, and the company’s new leather duffel is no different. It’s fantastic and my go-to travel bag. There are downsides — it’s heavy and the shoulder strap slips on my boney shoulders — but the good outweighs the bad.
I travel a lot. Airplanes, bikes, cars and pretty much everything but trains — because I live in the Midwest and not because I don’t like trains. A few years back I got a lovely, low-cost leather duffel from Amazon and started using it instead of a roller bag. It’s fun and forces me to pack smarter. Besides, the duffel always fits in overhead spaces, in taxi cabs and is easier to handle on a busy subway.
But you don’t care about my life. You’re here for this bag.
WP Standard built the Weekender duffel for people like me. It’s a great size and I have no issue packing away a bunch of shirts, a few pairs of pants and an extra pair of shoes. This isn’t a bag built to hold suits, but rather a weekend’s worth of clothes — hence the name.
The full-grain leather is thick and tough and has so far held up nicely to the rigors of travel. There are scratches and scuffs, but those are souvenirs and badges of honor. It has ridden in the back of my pickup in downpours and down dusty lanes. It has survived several transatlantic flights and still looks like it has decades of life to give.
In the end, this isn’t a Patagonia or The North Face duffel constructed out of space-age fabric designed to survive the tallest peaks or the deepest valleys. WP Standard doesn’t play that game. This company makes goods out of full-grain leather that are naturally tough and will age gracefully.
The bag is constructed in a way to give the leather the best chance at survival. The hand straps wrap the bag to give it extra strength. The bottom is constructed out of two layers of stiff leather. The zipper is beefy. The shoulder strap is tough and hasn’t shown any sign of stretching.
A few years ago I reviewed WP Standard’s messenger bag. The Weekender duffel is just as lovely, but these two bags share the same downside: The shoulder strap’s pad is too slippery. It doesn’t matter if I’m wearing a t-shirt, jacket or parka, the shoulder strap doesn’t stay in place. To compensate, I often forgo using the pad and use the strap itself, which is thinner and can be uncomfortable after several minutes. To me, this isn’t a deal killer, but you, dear reader, should know about this downside.
The WP Standard Weekender costs $375. It’s a great price considering the thickness of the leather and quality of construction. Similar bags can be had from Wills, Shinola or Saddleback, but for nearly twice the price. Pad & Quill makes quality leather goods and sells a leather duffel that’s similar to the Weekend for $545; it’s also worth a consideration.