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TripSavvy / Joy Merrifield
Doesn’t show dirt
Lots of inner organization
Real leather details
Durable canvas exterior
Shoulder strap is very long
Strap padding is poorly placed
The iBlue Weekend Travel Duffel Bag is constructed from nice materials, but it’s sized for only the biggest and tallest.
We purchased iBlue Weekend Travel Duffel Bag so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
With vintage, masculine styling and an emphasis on rugged materials, the iBlue Weekend Travel Duffel Bag is designed to handle rough treatment with style. Marketed to men, but really for anyone who likes a nod to iconic military and motorcycle style, the popular weekender puts on a pretty tough face. We wanted to see if the iBlue could live up to its looks and stand up to some serious traveling.
At first impression, the iBlue weekender is a lot to take in. Hefty washed cotton canvas exterior, heavy-duty metal hardware, and an outsized zipper make for a tough, road-ready appearance. Also, everywhere you look, there’s a top-grain leather detail. There are leather zipper pulls, a broad leather panel around the base of the bag, cushioned leather handles, and various leather belts and straps of unclear function. Even the top zipper has a leather binding.
The detachable shoulder strap is enormous, heavy, and inexplicably long.
The actual base of the bag, however, is just riveted canvas. The leather bounty does give the bag structure, but if you’re already taking this far, why not the bottom as well? A leather bottom would’ve been nice for the added durability and weatherproofing.
Top-grain leather means its top surface has been sanded down to minimize imperfections and create a uniform appearance. Usually, a finish is applied after the sanding. As we used the bag, we noticed that the coating scratched fairly easily, but that wasn’t really a problem. We thought it looked better as it got more weathered and lived in.
The bag arrives with a detachable 30-plus-inch drop shoulder strap, which is really the Achilles heel of the whole thing. It’s enormous, heavy, and inexplicably long. The length is adjustable, and when fully extended, the strap lets the bag hang almost to the knees. When we shortened it, the leather panel on the strap that’s supposed to cushion your shoulder was forced to slide all the way over to the attachment D-ring, rendering it useless.
Hooking the top corners of the bag down to its sides eats up a bit of the strap length, but even still, it’s a low-rider. This might be the perfect length if you’re over 6-foot-3 and like to carry your bags slung across your body. Most of us aren’t, though. Why is this strap so ridiculously long? What are we missing?
The weekender gets big convenience points for its abundant partitioned storage.
In contrast, the weekender gets big convenience points for its abundant partitioned storage. Two exterior zippered pockets provide easy access to keys, passports, and critical snacks. The interior, lined with substantial plain-weave cotton, features another zippered pocket big enough for a full-sized iPad. There are also organization pockets for a cell phone, notebooks, and pens.
You’re going to have to be careful with this one. It’s called a weekender, but it can definitely hold more than a couple day’s worth of gear. With the potential capacity of 43 liters, this bag holds as much and maybe more than your standard carry-on rolling suitcase. We packed four pairs of pants, six shirts, a long sweater, a sweatshirt, a towel, and a dopp kit and still had room to spare. We didn’t even use packing cubes. You’re probably going to be tempted to overpack, but haulers beware: You still have to carry all of this.
The good news here is that the bag’s construction is capable of handling the weight. Everything from the oxidized silver D-rings to the heavy leather handles, to the thick stitching thread is designed to handle heavy cargo. Just make sure you are, too. Considering the bag itself weighs 4 pounds, if you haven’t been doing your deadlifts, this fully packed weekender could topple you.
The iBlue Weekend Travel Bag is the perfect size for a three- to seven-day trip. It can fit in both an overhead compartment and under an airline seat. If you’re looking for something that can double as a weekender and a duffel bag for the gym, though, this probably isn’t going to check all of your boxes.
Something this oversized, not to mention this heavy, feels too cumbersome for daily use and will probably be heavier than the sum of its gym-bound contents. On the other hand, maybe that’s just potential for a bonus workout. Does carrying a heavy gym bag count as cardio or weights?
Something this oversized, not to mention this heavy, feels too cumbersome for daily use.
As an alternate use, iBlue suggests this bag could be good to pack in your suitcase as a backup for souvenirs or family gifts acquired on the road. With all of its rigid leather and hardware, it didn’t pack down all that well for us. Leave the heavy shoulder strap at home, though, and it could work in a pinch.
iBlue recommends that you wash this weekender separately, without soap, and hang to dry out of direct sun exposure. We guess that means they want you to throw it in the washing machine, but we’d encourage caution with this much heavy, dangling hardware and leather. The rugged canvas won’t show dirt easily, and seeing as leather can be unpredictable with water, we’d suggest spot cleaning instead—unless a deep clean is absolutely necessary.
iBlue’s Weekend Travel Bag retails from around $65 to $100, which we think is a reasonable price for a lot of quality components. The cotton canvas is robust, the leather is of nice quality, and the hardware is heavy and durable. Comparable bags are available on Amazon for half that price, though, so you may want to look around a bit before you make a final decision.
If you like the overall aesthetic and capacity of the iBlue but would like to dial some of the extraneous details (and weight) down (and the quality way up), then nothing beats the classic Medium Rugged Duffle Bag from American heritage brand Filson.
The bag is rugged but completely refined, with bridle leather details and a solid brass zipper. However, you have to be ready to pay for it. The price tag of about $400 may give you some light sticker shock, but it carries a lifetime quality guarantee, ensuring that you will never have to buy another weekender again.
We think the iBlue Weekend Travel Duffel Bag could use a little paring down to lighten the weight, and we’re confused by the shoulder strap. There’s a lot of room, and it’s a sturdy, well-made bag, but we’d probably go in another direction.
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