When I got word of Mission Mercantile’s acquiring of White Wing Label, I had to check out their incoming product line. I had heard of White Wing Label (WWL) having great canvas bags as well as solid choices in leather and hardware. I got a chance to interview the CEO of Mission Mercantile/WWL Chuck Bowen and they provided an opportunity to have a bag reviewed. For this review, I chose the White Wing Small Duffel. Being a frequent short-trip traveler, I got plenty of use with this bag over the last few months once putting it in my rotation.
Construction of this bag is quite hard to beat. They have purposely chosen some of the best materials, namely brass YKK zippers and solid brass hardware to outfit the bag. Each zipper is equipped with a sturdy tab of riveted bridle leather, the same thickness as seen throughout the bag. The 18oz duck canvas is also very thick and sturdy to support the bag along with the inner nylon lining. This model is also available a variety of colors as well as a cordura camo and a waxed duck canvas. The dimensions of the bag are 15.6’’ L x 9.8’’ W x 9.8’’ D. This is about the same length as some larger briefcases, but with sizable more depth and width.
One ability I believe is understated among duffel bags is their ability to fit into multiple situations. Due to the size and lining, this could easily transform from a luggage back to a gym/sports bag. I had no problem wiping clean the inside of the bag throughout my use and the material does not keep smells, favorable or otherwise, in.
Capacity is one aspect that one can expect slightly decreased limits over a medium sized duffel. I’ve found the bag can easily handle an overnight trip, but also an extended weekend trip with a little bit of room to spare. Aiming to over pack, I was able to fit in the following items:
- Two pairs of pants (one khaki, one jeans), rolled up
- 4 shirts, rolled
- Three pairs of socks,
- 4 pairs of undergarments
- Two pairs of shorts, rolled
- 1 light rain jacket, folded
- Dopp kit with men’s toiletries
- One pair of size 8.5 shoes in a duster bag (not in photo above)
- Shampoo and body wash in a 1 quart Ziploc
Packing with this setup enabled me a little bit of extra space at the top in order to ensure an easy zipper closure, but I could also add an extra item if needed, such as swapping the light rain jacket out for a hooded sweatshirt I was wearing. The shoulder strap has a black cushioned pad that is a little rough but did break in upon use. The black finish on the underside is textured enough to stay in place.
The side pockets and front zippered pockets are there for quick access items. On one side, I placed a field notes journal, small flashlight, and pen. The zippers remain just as sturdy and durable as the bag opening. One criticism I’ve had throughout the use of the bag however is the brass loops that connect the leather tab to the zipper. I have had to pinch them closed twice during my use as the stress of opening and closing the bag tends to bend the metal slightly. It is by no means broken, but I’d like to see a sturdier reinforced loop to make sure the leather tabs do not fall off.
This duffel bag fits in comfortably in outdoor settings as well as in gyms and fulfilling traveling roles. The pairing of thick duck canvas and bridle leather has held its beauty throughout many trips in the last couple of months for me. Due to its small size, I usually did not use the shoulder strap and was able to comfortably carry it via the handles. The duffel also easily accomplishes carry-on size requirements and the canvas and leather combination gives it a formal look. Mission Mercantile offers this duffel in many different canvas and leather colors as well as medium, a wheel-equipped version, and large sizes.
Overall, the White Wing Small Duffel is a great all-around duffel given its capacity and aesthetics. With the price ranging between $250-285 depending on color and material, I would say that is a fair price to pay for such a high quality bag and also being backed by Mission Mercantile’s handshake warranty. I anticipate continuing to use this through out the many short trips life takes me on.