As much as I love leather, I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it’s not the ideal material for certain situations. The strength and rigidity hinder its pliability, and packing it down when not in use is usually not an option. That’s when I usually opt for natural textiles, especially waxed cotton. In the search for a bag that has a good marriage of both materials, I came upon the Tucker & Bloom London Duffel.
Tucker & Bloom is a family owned business with a culmination of over 30 years in the bag industry. Founded by David & Case Bloom, the father and son duo started the company after 9/11 when the travel wear industry saw a large decline in activity. David Bloom was actually the director of Coach travel products in New York at the time and with his son Case who has a background in art, encouraged the birth of the company. Another interesting note, Case Bloom’s great grandfather is William Feinbloom, the founder of Champion Sportswear and inventor of the first hooded sweatshirt. All of their products are made from nationally sourced materials and fabricated in their Nashville factory.
Coming in at 20” Long x 14” High x 10″ Deep, the London Duffel is a large bag. The main body is made from American 18oz (per square yard of material) filter twill waxed canvas. Filter twill is a weaving method that utilizes diagonal threading over a plain weave, the result being a stronger, tighter fabric. The leather panels and straps are sourced from Kentucky. They are waxed and vegetable tanned. The shoulder strap is padded and has a very comfortable shearling lined pad. The interior is an orange four-ply Taslan Nylon lining and beefy #9 Riri zipper pulls contain all that awesomeness.
The London Duffel is a classically styled bag with some great modern features. The properties of the Taslan lining make the material water resistant yet breathable, making this great for gym clothes and such. The bag’s capacity is ample – the savvy traveler will be able to pack for a week and a small family could get away with one London Duffel for an entire weekend.
The interior compartments are spacious but are pretty loose and don’t keep contents contained very well, an elastane strip along the top of the pockets would have been great. I would also like to see a zippered pouch near the top for quick retrieval of smaller items. The adjustable shoulder strap is easy to adjust and the shearling pad makes carrying the bag, even when loaded down, a surprisingly pleasant experience. And thanks to the waxed canvas this bag holds up great in wet conditions. So you can take this bag camping just as easy as you can to Disneyland.
The London Duffel is like a Toyota FJ40 Landcruiser. It can handle anything and looks good doing it. The coloring seems to dance from brownish to green depending on the lighting. Quality just seems to exude from the bag and it looks just as good on a bellman’s cart as it does thrown next to a pile of logs. It’s not the type of bag you’ll want to baby, thank goodness, and the waxed canvas does a great job of repelling stains. When at the airport, I’d definitely keep a close eye on the baggage carousel or else you might not get it back.
There’s a lot to choose from in the big bag market, if you’re not getting anywhere in your search, I heartily recommend Tucker & Bloom’s London Duffel. The capacity has you covered no matter what you’re doing and the solid construction will see you through it.