Buyer's Guide: Men's Leather Duffle Weekender Travel Bags
Genuine Leather & Faux Leather Both Impart a 'Premium' Feel
Often considered the traveling man's best friend, the weekender duffel bag blends together just the right amounts of style, flexibility, and durability. A lot of flexibility means there is a lot of variety and a lot of variety can make it difficult for newcomers to find the right bag. There are a number of important qualities that you need to consider before you make any final purchase.
What Styles Are Available?
Many weekender duffel bags share some similar design features. Most often, they are short and wide bags with one or two compartments located on the outside. They often have short handles as well as a singular strap that can be worn across the body. However, there are a few different style variations available with some key differences.
1. Standard Duffel Bag Style
This is easily the most common style you'll see worn in public. They are notorious for having much more space on the inside than they appear to. This is because of their short and compact design. The duffel bag is generally the most spacious of the available styles and should have enough room to carry several days worth of supplies while you travel.
2. Mobile Weekender Bag
Also known as carry-on weekender bags, this is often the smallest size available. The wheels located on the bottom of the bag are what make this such a useful investment. These bags are designed specifically who men who frequently travel by plane. They are even designed to specifications suggested by airports so that they can be carried on the plan.
A carry-on weekender bag isn't just a cool style choice, it can actually save you money. You'll pay far fewer luggage fees by packing this bag to the brim and taking it with you wherever you go. The best material for a mobile bag like this is going to depend on where you travel the most. Keep in mind that some climates are less forgiving than others when it comes to sensitive fabrics.
3. Backpack Weekender Bag
The backpack style breaks the traditional norm of the weekender bag. They abandon the short and wide design and add additional straps. These bags are specifically designed for travelers who plan to spend time hiking or backpacking. A backpack weekender bag is much easier to carry for long hours without causing discomfort.
This style tends to emphasize space efficiency and compartmentalization as much as possible. There are always plenty of pockets, zippers, and pouches. These compartments can be useful for bringing important safety supplies while exploring a new destination.
What Other Features Are Important?
Shape and style aren't the only things you need to worry about when shopping for a new weekender duffel bag. The material bag should be another major consideration. The most common options are leather, canvas, or some synthetic material. Leather is going to cost the most but is also the most durable. Leather travel bags are great for those tough journeys that take you off of the beaten path.
Canvas bags are more lightweight, breathable, and easier to care for. They are also considerably cheaper. You can't expect the same level of durability out of a canvas bag but it will last long enough if cared for. Their lower cost makes them easier to replace once they've served their purpose.
Knowing Your Travel Plans
There is no single style, shape, or design that is best for everyone. It depends entirely on your budget, personal preferences, and travel plans. Carry-on bags are great for businessmen who spend more time on the plan than in the office. Backpack variations are more suitable for travelers seeking outdoor adventures. And the classic weekender duffel bag style is never the wrong choice.
Buying Leather Products - Know the Difference Between Genuine and Faux Leather
Genuine leather is that which is obtained from the hides of animals, like cows, sheep, and even horses or deer. Rawhide will rot if all the water from its skin collagen is not removed, and to prevent this rotting it has to undergo a process of tanning, that converts it from stiff dehydrated leather to flexible leather.
The Tanning Process for Genuine Leather
In earlier times, vegetable tanning was the method used for tanning and gave thick and stiff leather in deep earthy colors that became supple, over time. This leather grows softer and darker as it ages, and absorbs water, heat, and oils. The leather has natural fibers that can be seen, is extremely durable and can last a life time. Minor scratches in this leather can be buffed out. This process of tanning is expensive and requires a fair amount of time.
Present day genuine leather manufacturers, 80 to 90 percent of them, prefer to go in for a process of tanning using chrome. This is cost effective and highly efficient. It makes for tanned lather that is thinner and softer. You can make the leather in a wide range of colors. All leather develops a patina over time, but chrome tanned leather will not do it as quickly as leather that has used vegetable tanning. This leather still has a fair bit of resistance to stains and water. It is not very durable, and cannot be stamped. It does have a lesser natural look as its fibers are never visible. Th use of chemicals and acids during the tanning process, does make this method of producing genuine leather environmentally unfriendly. This leather will crack and break as it grows old and scratches on it are not responsive to buffing.
Pros and Cons Of Genuine Leather
Genuine leather becomes richer in appearance and softer as it ages. It is hypoallergenic and this makes it easy for use for people with allergies. It is a product that is biodegradable and can be used to nurture plants. Any product made using genuine leather looks stylish and luxurious. Properly maintained, genuine leather can last for a life time because of its durability and strength. It is naturally porous and this makes it more comfortable for the user.
The tanning process, where chrome is used, does make it environmentally unfriendly. Leather comes from animals leading to an association with animal cruelty. It is far more expensive than faux leather. It requires special care if stains and cracks are to be prevented.
This is leather that is made from synthetic materials which will give it the texture and appearance of genuine leather. Faux leather does not contain any part of real leather. Polyurethane(PU) is the most commonly used raw material, though polyvinyl chloride(PVC) is also used. PU leather is softer and looks most like genuine leather. The leather is made from a polyurethane laminate being applied over a base material. This base material can be cotton, polyester, nylon, or rayon. The laminate is impressed with a roller that gives the needed leather pattern to the faux leather. These artificially induced patterns make for a very uniform grain, unlike the more delicate and varied patterns you will find in genuine leather. In the case of PVC faux leather the PVC is combined with stabilizers plasticizers and lubricants to protect and give softness and flexibility to the finished product. Similar base materials are used as for PU faux leather as are the rollers for imprinting the needed patterns.
Pros and Cons of Faux Leather
Faux leather is cheap and makes for leather that has been very realistically imitated. It wrinkles just like genuine leather when it is stitched or tufted, thus making it impossible for most people to differentiate it from genuine leather. You will never be concerned with animal cruelty if you use faux leather. The leather is very durable, resists cracking and peeling and rarely fades, while it is resistant to stains. Properly maintained furniture that uses faux leather can last for a couple of years. The leather is soft and supple and easy to maintain and clean. As it can be easily dyed and printed in any number of ways, its fashion quotient gives a lot of freedom to designers. It is easier to cut and sew compared t0 genuine leather. It makes use of lesser natural resources compared to genuine leather.
Faux leather does not have the breathability of genuine leather and this makes it difficult for users during hot and humid weather. It has a distinct smell of plastic and can cause allergies on sensitive skin. It does not develop a patina over time as genuine leather will do, and tears or gets punctured more easily.
There is another variety of leather called bonded leather that is made from scraps and fibers that are left over from the manufacture of genuine leather, by mixing them with a polyurethane binder. Coating and embossing are similar to faux leather. It rarely contains more than 20 percent of real leather, and is not part of this buying guide for choosing between genuine and faux leather.
This can be your main consideration when you choose between genuine and faux leather. Genuine leather is expensive and is made rom real leather that makes it hard for its manufacture, where every hide needs different treatment. The automation processes used in manufacturing faux leather greatly help in reducing costs.
If that is your main concern, then you need not look beyond genuine leather. It will never wear out and will develop a patina over time. Faux leather can crack and puncture if used roughly.
Appearances and Textures
Genuine leather has an appearance that can never be matched by faux leather, which will in most cases show a regular pattern, and not the natural changes that genuine leather will exhibit. The more expensive faux leather will come as close as possible to genuine leather where more care is taking in developing patterns for embossing.
Care and Cleaning
Real leather easily absorbs liquids and this makes it susceptible to staining and more difficult to clean. It also needs to be treated regularly to prevent it from drying out, a problem that faux leather never has. Faux leather is easier to clean, as genuine leather needs cleaners that are kind to it.
Your ultimate choice of leather products can be a personal preference besides cost and other factors.