Leather is luxe and nylon can be neat but when it comes to bags made from said materials they are often either exorbitant (the former) or affordable but hardly eye-catchers (the latter). Well-made bags constructed from sturdy cotton canvas, on the other hand, offer a happy medium between the two: they’re usually in the mid range price-wise, are virtually indestructible, easy to clean and have a rugged handsomeness about them that harkens back to when seafaring and prospecting were a guy’s best career options. Waxed canvas and sailcloth are especially durable, which is exactly why military suppliers and sailors have turned to them time and again for centuries now.
Shown here are 15 of my favorite canvas carryalls from a variety of brands in two classic shapes: the duffle, which gets its name from the Belgian town of Duffel which produced the strong cloth to make the first models in the 17th century, and the tote, named for the verb that means “to carry” and a bag style that first achieved mainstream popularity in the 1940s and ’50s after L.L. Bean launched its now iconic Boat Bag pioneer.
Take a look and then decide whether you want to pack your gear into an oblong or square-like valise on your next journey, whether that’s an exotic weekend getaway or merely your daily jaunt to the gym. Either way, with a canvas bag you’ll be sure that it will last that trip and many, many more to come – so you can literally keep calm and carry on….
Navy-inspired Bowery Duffle by Barking Irons (available June 6, the 72nd anniversary of D-Day), $325
Harbor Tote by Barking Irons (available June 6), $135
Greenwich Tote by Belber, $480
No. 233 Duffle Bag by Billy Kirk, $275
The Rambler by Bradley Mountain, $279
WWII Navy Gym Bag by Cockpit USA, $425
Aiden Wax Utility Tote by Ernest Alexander, $245
Medium Duffle by Filson, $395
Tote Bag with Zipper by Filson, $170
Ventile Canvas Duffle Bag by Fred Perry, $225
Yorktown Tote Bag by Hudson Sutler, $70
Butler Weekender by Hudson Sutler, $120
Peace Rocks Tote by John Varvatos, $65
Journalist Folio Bag by Workers Supply, $205
Pilots Weekend Bag by Workers Supply, $329