When you’re in the market for a new bag, you—of course—want it to look good, but durability should also be a top priority. Why? Because we put our bags through a lot. We shove them into too-tight quarters in the plane’s overhead bins. We toss them carelessly onto hotel room floors, in a hurry to get out and explore the new city we’re in. We stuff them too full with our crap, always.
That’s why, when looking for a new bag to buy, you should look for one made out of waxed canvas. With roots in the sailing industry, waxed canvas has long been the preferred material used for various hard-working products—everything from jackets to bags—mainly because it’s waterproof while still boasting the durability of canvas.
If you want a bag that’s going to stand up to whatever—literally, whatever—you throw at it, invest in waxed canvas. Luckily for you, your research is already done: we rounded up 15 of our favorite bags crafted out of the durable material. Whether you’re looking for a laptop bag, a backpack, or a weekender bag, we’ve got something on the list for you.
United by Blue Lakeland Laptop Bag
United by Blue is an eco-conscious company dedicated to making high-quality goods while helping to preserve the ocean, and with this Lakeland Laptop Bag, they do exactly that. Crafted out of waxed canvas, the bag is available in a variety of colors (and all-business black), has leather straps and brass hardware, and a ton of pockets (both interior and exterior) to keep your stuff organized.
Best Made Co. Best Made Ditty Bag
You might feel weird buying (or owning) something referred to as a “ditty bag,” but relax—you can call it whatever you want. Ditty bags were popular amongst sailors back in the day (they would craft crude ditty bags out of old sailcloth), and this one will be popular with you, not only because it’s durable as hell, but because is unstructured and top-loading, allowing you to access your stuff easily. Made out of sturdy duck canvas with solid brass grommets, the bag closes with a rope that you can also use to sling it over your shoulder when you’re in transit.
LL Bean Heritage Waxed Canvas Duffle
Legendary Maine-based LL Bean is a trusted brand when it comes to gear that’ll stand up to New England weather, and this Heritage Waxed Canvas Duffle will surely do that. Available in tan, navy, and olive, this bag boasts full-grain leather accents, and is roomy enough to serve as a proper weekender bag or carry-on.
RAWROW Laptop Backpack
Somewhere in between the backpack you carted to high school and the messenger bag you’ve been dragging to work is the RAWROW Laptop Backpack, which takes the basic construction of a backpack but makes it slimmer and more stylish. Made from durable waxed canvas, the interior features dedicated pockets for things like your laptop, keys, phone, and more. Bonus: it’s also convertible—you can carry it as a backpack, messenger bag, or briefcase. That’s about as versatile as it gets.
Filson Tin Cloth Duffle Bag
Filson has been crafting gear since 1897, so you can be assured that whatever they create is going to last a lifetime. The Tin Cloth Duffle Bag is without bells and whistles, and in this case, that’s a good thing. Made from water- and abrasion-resistant waxed canvas (available in black or tan), it’s tough-as-nails and roomy enough to fit a long weekend’s worth of stuff in it.
Fjallraven Rucksack No. 21 Backpack
Fjallraven is a trusted brand among the outdoorsy set, making high-quality backpacks like this one. Crafted from durable, water-resistant waxed canvas and natural leather, it features a padded bottom to keep your breakable stuff unbroken, and a removable seat pad so you’ll be comfortable while your buddies are sitting on the bare ground.
Frost River Flight Bag
Minnesota-based Frost River prides itself on making quality outdoor gear out of quality materials, and its Flight Bag is one of the brand’s best offerings. Available in four different sizes, it boasts premium leather handles and accents, solid brass hardware, and a waxed canvas exterior that looks more beautiful the more you beat it up. It’ll show the wear and tear of your world travels in a good way.
Alite X Boreas Collab Pack
San Francisco-based Alite teamed up with Boreas to create the ultimate rucksack, perfect for your daily commute and beyond. Made of durable waxed canvas and featuring Boreas’ road-tested Supertramp Suspension System, it’ll keep your back cool and your stuff secure, wherever you’re headed.
San Francisco-based Joshu+Vela has only been around for a few years, but they know how to create a lot of great accessories, chief among them—their signature duffle. Crafted out of waxed canvas, it has a premium leather handle, and solid copper rivets. It’s available in a variety of color combinations so you’ll be sure to find one you like.
Owen & Fred Flight Brief
Brooklyn-bred Owen & Fred has a ton of high-quality men’s accessories on offer, but we’re particularly taken with one of their newest releases—the Flight Brief. Crafted out of navy waxed canvas, the bag has harness leather straps from Wickett & Craig (one of America’s oldest leather tanneries), and solid brass hardware. It’s slim, but roomy enough to fit a laptop, and slightly padded on both sides to keep everything intact while you’re on the go. And while you don’t have to be leaving on a jet plane to use it, but it’ll fit nicely underneath the seat in front of you. Just sayin’.
Ernest Alexander Walker Wax Messenger
Founded 5 years ago with the mission to create the perfect men’s messenger bag, the Walker Charcoal Messenger is the fruits of Ernest Alexander’s labor. Made from wax cotton canvas that will develop a nice patina as you kick it around through the years, the bag also has sturdy leather straps and multiple zippered pockets to keep your valuables safe and sound.
Billykirk No. 166 Carryall
Brothers Chris and Kirk Bray have been crafting quality men’s accessories since 1999, and their No. 166 Carryall is no exception. Made from a combination of US-sourced waxed canvas and leather, the bag features a bonus leather luggage tag that is monogrammable for an extra $15.
Jack Spade Waxwear Zip Brief
Jack Spade is known for creating quality bags, so this chocolate brown Waxwear Zip Brief is a good choice. Its slim profile will automatically make you look put-together while the exterior, coated with weatherproof Waxwear, will repel wear and tear like a champ.
Tanner Goods Wilderness Rucksack
Portland-based Tanner Goods is known for their incredibly high-quality leather goods, but its series of rucksacks are some of the brand’s best products. The Wilderness Rucksack was field tested out in the elements, so you know that it’ll stand up to miles—whether they’re the frequent flyer or the trail variety.
Teranishi Venture Pack
Created by a musician who knows a lot about spending inordinate amounts of time on the road, Teranishi’s Venture Pack is made for wayward travelers—regardless of whether your travel is across the globe or just to the office. Crafted out of rugged black waxed canvas, it has a Cordura lining, a roll-top closure, padded laptop sleeve, and side zippers for quick-access to the main compartment.
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