Let’s talk duffel bags.
If you are sending someone to summer camp (or going yourself!) the chances are that you’re packing all of the campers-list mandated ‘stuff’ into a duffel (Unless you're packing for a camp that requires trunks).
The questions we’re most often asked about duffels are:
1. ‘How many duffels should I send to camp?’ followed closely by 2.‘What size should I get?’
- Almost always, the answer is that all of your camp-bound gear, clothes, bedding and personal effects should fit into two duffel bags*. Most camps will not allow more, and would like you to send less if you can manage it. Space on busses, trucks and in cabins is always tight.
- If you are sending a first-time young camper, or just packing for a 1 week (or less) trip you likely can get away with our size 38 duffel (38”X18”X18”). Generally, campers going for longer need to pack into our larger size 40 duffels (40”x20”x20”). The size 40 is the duffel bag we always recommend for campers. In extreme cases (pronounced ‘You're packing too much stuff. No. Seriously.’) you’ll want to send one size 40 and one size 42 (42” x 22” x 22”) duffel. The majority of campers we outfit go with two size 40 duffels,*
*Both answers do have a caveat: Check with your particular camp. Rules vary from place to place
A question we are sometimes asked is:
Are the duffels waterproof?
Yes, and no. All of our duffel bags are built with fabrics that are lined or coated with a waterproof layer. This is there for strength, durability, and protection against a rainy pick-up or drop-off day when the bags might have to sit outside for a little while. The stitching and zippers are not waterproof, so the duffel is not going to help keep your stuff dry if you dump it overboard into the lake.
‘Should I take a wheeled bag?’ is another occasional question.
No. There’s not a lot of concrete or asphalt to roll over at most of the camps I’m familiar with. Little luggage wheels do not play well with grass, gravel and dirt.
A question we are never asked (and really wish we were) is:
How do I carry my Duffel?
Let’s start with how you PACK your duffel. Specifically, the size 42 bag. It is built so big that if you actually loaded it up with everything it could hold, you run the risk of injuring yourself if you try to pick it up. If you must take this size, remember that it is designed for all of the bulky, light items in your list: foam pads, comforters, pillows, etc. If you can’t lift it (properly) yourself it is too full and you will likely ruin the bag! Double Tough Duffels with ripped handles are not covered by our Guarantee.
Our Duffels are designed to be lifted by one person using both the center straps, held together. Don’t grab a heavy bag by one strap, or split the straps between two people – You’ll put a lot of stress on stitching that’s not designed to handle it. If you need two people to carry the bag, use the end handles – and be sure not to just drag it across the ground. Try not lo load any bag so heavy that it takes two people to lift.
A last piece of advice on duffel bags: When you are stuffing it full before camp, think about who will have to stuff it full to come home – will they be able to pack the duffel on their own, or is there too much stuff?