The $40 Waxed Canvas and Leather Weekender Duffel Bag

A fully-featured bag perfect as a weekender, duffel, gym bag, and more.

Gone are the days of your dad’s ragged sports-brand gym duffel that he used for everything.

Nowadays, many guys are opting for quality, function, and a touch of style in their day-to-day carry pieces, and the venerable duffel is no exception.

We recently discovered the S-Zone Waxed Canvas and Leather Duffel on Amazon and found it to be a fantastic buy for the price. If you’re looking to upgrade your gym or weekender carry, or want something with a touch more class than nylon, look no further.

Watch our full review:


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The Elements of a Duffel

A duffel should fulfill five basic functions to meet a threshold of versatility, form, and function:

  • Carry a fair amount of cargo, even if the cargo is oddly shaped or sized
  • Carry cargo comfortably (i.e., be fitted with shoulder strap and handles)
  • Carry cargo conveniently (i.e., be easy to load and unload; at or under the carry-on size limit)
  • Be durable and long lasting
  • Have an aesthetic that complements your style instead of detracting from it

The origin of the duffel bag’s name speaks to the durable and long lasting requirement: The name “duffel bag” comes from the Belgian town of Duffel, where the thick cloth used in the original duffel bags was made.

Functionally, this means a proper duffel is not made from easy-fraying nylon, but something sturdier like leather or canvas.

water running off of waxed canvas

In Praise of Waxed Canvas

The S-Zone duffel fits neatly into a distinct product segment: The waxed canvas and leather bag. It’s a popular style for a reason. Waxed canvas is functional, with a simultaneously contemporary and heritage connotation.

It’s contemporary because modern sewing technology and quality control make waxed canvas an extremely durable and cost efficient option for water-repellency compared to leather or all-synthetic materials.

It brings an added heritage feeling because, simply put, it’s been in use for nearly 200 years. Waxed canvas was pioneered and perfected in the mid-19th century by sailmakers in England and Scotland. Fast-forward to the 1950s and your grandfather likely shipped off to Europe or the Pacific with some waxed canvas gear.

After a little use the S-Zone waxed canvas will show texture and scuffing, which give it dignity well beyond its years and price point.

After using the S-Zone Waxed Canvas and Leather Duffel as a daily gym bag and small weekender for more than six weeks, we can certify it meets all the above metrics – and does it at a very attractive price point.

s-zone waded canvas weekender duffel

While you're on Amazon, pick up these $12 sunglasses too!

Fully-Featured Value at a Corner-Cutting Cost

Perhaps the best way to evaluate this waxed canvas bag is to compare its features to the premium brands it is undoubtedly meant to emulate. We’re talking about well known names like Filson, Saddleback Leather Co., Frost River, Billykirk, and others.

We love these premium brands and they all make a bag you’d be happy with for decades. But with prices running into the $400s for a leather and waxed canvas carryall, it’s great to know there’s a quality option for well under a hundred bucks.

So how does the S-Zone stack up?

The first thing you notice is the sturdy waxed canvas material. Canvas is basically a beefier cotton and waxed canvas is infused with a paraffin or natural-based wax, either woven into or applied to the cloth, that makes it highly water resistant. On the S-Zone duffel water beads or runs off well.

affordable waxed canvas duffel

While the leather build quality is good, leather is one feature that noticeably separates the  S-Zone from it’s more expensive cousins. Basically, there’s a lot less of it than on a Filson or the insanely leathered-up Saddleback models. This is almost certainly a cost-saving measure.

The bottom of the S-Zone bag does feature four metal studs, however, that provide some protection from wet floors or questionable locker room benches.

inside

The interior of the bag features four small open pockets and one small zippered pocket. Otherwise, it’s a straightforward one-chambered hauler lined with functional brown nylon.

Pick up the S-Zone Waxed Canvas and Leather Duffel:

On Amazon for $40 or less.

What’s your go-to duffel bag? Let us know below!

Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.

  • Wondermutt

    I picked up a similar bag from the same brand a year ago and it’s been great. I figured for the price it was worth it if it fell to pieces after a few uses. I’ve used it a couple dozen times now and the quality has held up. I have no doubt now that it will last for quite awhile.

  • Paul H.

    Good find, thank you. Although as far as using it as a daily gym bag, and then as an occasional weekender, any tips for preventing the “gym funk” from making my other clothes stink?

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      I would recommend keeping dirty/wet clothing/towels in a plastic bag within the duffel. And you don’t want to just forget about wet stuff that you put in there, you need to try to take it out in a timely manner.

  • Zac Silk

    I went for a leather and canvas bag from Amazon a while ago that was featured on primer a while ago.

    It’s holding up really well but if I’d need a replacement this S Zone one looks like a great find. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/12be7fd661e8a12e55d48254838310eb114ffdaf508c7cd477a6044ef5c61307.jpg

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      Nice! That’s the other one I mentioned in the video. Glad to hear you like it.

      • Zac Silk

        Thanks it was a great buy, this one also from S Zine with the waterproofing makes much more sense for me.

        Also, the bags changing colour in the video was great. I love waiting for the next Primer videos because you always knock it out of the park.

      • Zac Silk

        Any info on the jacket and jeans you were wearing in the video Andrew? They really complimented the bag well.

        • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

          Hey Zac, You’re going to hate my answer haha. The jacket is that $35 chore coat I got from American Eagle awhile back and the jeans are my DSTLDs which I love.

  • Ross

    As someone who likes to support brick and mortar stores and companies I think Amazon is okay but ultimately think it’s bad for the economy as a whole. So I’m supporting Buffalo Jackson dry goods and purchasing one of these bags. I’m leaning towards the first option (the Elkton) but would love to hear what you guys all thought. Links below:

    https://buffalojackson.com/travel-duffle-bag-elkton-mens-waxed-canvas-sienna-brown.html

    https://buffalojackson.com/dakota-vintage-travel-duffle-bag-tan.html

    • Armando Godinez Jr.

      I’m all for supporting local, but as Andrew said “not everyone has $350 to drop on a canvas bag” as is the case with this brand that you linked which is in that range.

      • Ross

        Armando, glad you support local businesses as well. I completely understand the budget concept of this bag and it’s great to hear the positives of this bag, but as my personal preference I rather invest in a single versatile bag that will last years longer than the lower priced alternatives. Even with the positive words from Andrew I would still prefer a higher quality of duffle. I also don’t care for the shape of the bag. It seems quite loose as far as its frame goes so it reminds me too much of a tote bag. Like the interior compartments though!

  • jp

    Hi i was wondering what color bag is in this review? black? gray? army green?