The Story Behind the Jackson Wayne Leather Duffle Bag | Made in USA - Jackson Wayne Leather Goods

The Story Behind the Duffle Bag

Our Duffle Bag may look minimal in design aesthetic, but each detail was carefully thought out and planned. Every feature and material used is intentional. We wanted to build the perfect Duffle, one that balances minimal design aesthetic with modern functionality, using materials second to none.

The overall design of the Duffle Bag was inspired by duffle and weekender bags from the 1930’s to 1940’s. We incorporated many of the design queues and structures from that era but built our Duffle Bag to be a slightly modern interpretation. So it’s not a replica, but it is heavily inspired by that era. We didn’t want to do a replica piece because it would not be practical in today’s world. For example, our Duffle is specifically designed to accommodate your smart phone, chargers, boarding passes, etc. It also comes with a shoulder strap to free up your hands, which was not common back then, but is crucial in today’s world. 

The Specific Type of Leather Used

Weight & Thickness

For the Duffle, we use a 6 oz. version of our custom latigo leather. A 6 ounce piece of leather is usually about 2.4 mm thick. The nature of any leather hide is that the thickness will vary slightly across the hide, so it could be closer to 5 or 7 ounces in some places, but we shoot for 6 oz.

Our selection of 6 oz. leather was very intentional. We experimented with different thicknesses and determined that 6 oz. was the perfect choice for this bag. Because this is a bag that will get tossed around a lot, we needed the leather to be durable yet pliable. It’s also a larger bag and we didn’t want it to be unnecessarily heavy - 6 oz. leather solved both of these issues.

When you pick up this bag, you’ll instantly know you’re holding something unique. It doesn’t feel flimsy or mushy like most mass-market duffle bags. Yet, it’s not as heavy as its solid construction would suggest. It feels substantial, like something that will last a long time – because it will. 

Finish

The finish of our leather for this bag has three elements.

First, the front side of the leather is our pure full grain latigo leather. Latigo leather is a very unique type of leather, often used in the equestrian industry. Our latigo leather is both chome and vegetable tanned. This gives it the best characteristics of both tanning methods. So it is both durable and ages well. The leather is also gently distressed, which makes it more pliable and creates a very rich character.

Second, the backside of our leather is refinished. This is a very important step and one of the things that makes our bag so unique. Refinishing refers to the art of staining and texturizing the backside of a leather hide after it has been split or cut to the desired thickness.

(Note, we do NOT split from the top side, only from the bottom side. So the leather is not weakened at all; it is just a sizing adjustment. In fact, nearly all leather is split this way at some point because an un-split hide can be 13 oz. or more, making it way too thick for any normal uses.)

Third, the edges of our bag are dye finished. The Duffle Bag is by nature a casual bag but can be used in professional settings if needed. We wanted a bag that was rugged and refined, all while paying homage to the 1930’s & 40’s bags. So we have finished the edges with a dye that leaves a somewhat rugged edge to the bag. We’ve also turned in the edges in some places to break up the aesthetic.

Lining

We use a top shelf lining that is second to none. You would be hard pressed to find a lining this good in any mass-market bag or even most high-end bags. It’s a 10.10oz. army duck canvas that is water repellent. This lining is the same thickness as many bag makers use for the outside of the bag! In other words, it’s an extremely durable lining.

It’s probably overkill, but I can't tolerate cheap linings that rip so I wanted to make sure we did the opposite of that for this bag. The lining is made in America by a heritage textile manufacturer. If you want to know more about this company, click here.

Colors

We only make this Duffle Bag in our Whiskey color. We felt this color was a perfect match for everything this bag is. Not too casual, not too formal. And it’s a very rich color with nuance throughout. Best of all, it pairs perfectly with our Pine Green canvas lining. 

Hardware

The star of the hardware show is our copper rivets. These rivets are set by hammering them by hand. Copper rivets are known for their strength and durability, which is great for a 21” bag like this. The Whiskey colored leather already has some copper hues in it, so the copper rivets are a perfect pairing. As the copper ages, it will take on more of an antique look. The rest of the hardware is antique brass, which is consistent with the look of a vintage bag.

Our hardware is solid, but specially formulated not to be too heavy. We use a custom American made heavy-duty zipper. When you zip this bag, it feels solid; it practically zips itself. Even the inside pocket uses the same heavy-duty zipper. There are no cheap or fake closures that will break. Our shoulder strap uses a buckle just like a belt. I prefer this to the sliders that are common in the mass-market bags. It seems like the sliders always slide when they’re not supposed to. With our buckle, you can set it and forget it.

Thread

We use heavy gauge bonded Nylon thread. This thread is so strong, they used to use similar threads in parachutes during WWII. The thread we use is stronger than the cotton and polyester thread used in most other bags. And we went with a heavier gauge than necessary for added durability and aesthetic. Our master leather crafters who make our bags also use the best stitching and finishing techniques to ensure that the thread won’t fray and unravel like so many other bags.

Features

Despite its fairly minimal design, this Duffle is actually packed with some very useful features. Here’s a list of some of the key features: 

  • The top grab handles are rounded to fit your clenched hand comfortably, double-layered, stitched & riveted for durability.
  • The shoulder strap pad is double layered for comfort and durability.
  • We included pull tabs on either end of the zipper for easy open/close, as well as a leather pull handle on the zipper slider.
  • The backside features a convenient pocket for your smart phone, boarding pass or other items you may want quick access to without opening/closing the bag.
  • Inside features a large durable built in zipper pocket for your personal items, charging cords, etc.
  • The main interior area is quite large and can be filled to capacity, while still easily zipped shut with our heavy duty zipper.
  • Water repellent, thick army canvas lining that will hold up.

There was a lot of attention to detail that went into developing this Duffle Bag. And while it has the look of a classic Duffle, it’s versatile enough to use it as a weekend bag or carryall.