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What’s The Story Behind Duffel Bags?

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Hey, Curious Campers!

Ever wonder about the history of your camping gear? How long have people been using duffel bags to transport and store their belongings and various camping supplies? It’s a question that takes a good amount of consideration. After all, what qualifies as a duffel bag?

Perhaps to some people, a duffel bag need only be a bag for carrying what you never High Sierra Water Bottle Duffelcould with just your arms. In this case, any ol’ rucksack could be considered a duffel bag. Predecessor of both the backpack and the duffel bag, rucksacks have been around for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years.

Early rucksacks were typically made using the skin of an animal or wool if it was around. These carrying bags were primarily used by hunters to carry back their prey. These bags were usually strong enough to carry a good load, however, they didn’t do anything to protect their contents in a rainstorm.

It wasn’t until the early 1600s that a new material was found to replace animal skins. It was sailors of the time from Spain and Portugal who stumbled upon this new material. They would sometimes need to make bags with what they had around. Using scraps of the fabric they used for their ship sails, they realized that this material provided perfect protection. Unlike animal skin, sail scraps were stiff and waterproof!

This sturdy material at the time was imported from its one supplier. This supplier was located in the town of Duffel, Belgium. So you can imagine where Duffel Bags get their name. So despite the fact that rucksacks are ancestors of Duffel Bags, you can’t really call Duffel Bags Duffel Bags until after the early 1600s when the bags got their name from their original supplier’s location.

We can assure you that the Duffel Bags that we offer here at Everything Summer Camp are authentic Duffel Bags, made without using any animal hide.


- John


Posted in History Lessons


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