Sturdy, reliable, dependable; words that describe the US serviceman’s best friend, the military duffle bag. From its humble beginnings as a knapsack in the American Revolution to its current well recognized cylindric look, the duffle bag has been a famillar sidekick to the GI around the globe.
The first military duffle bags were shoulder strapped haversack canvas bags used by the Continental Soldier during the American Revolution. Made out of a burlap canvas and the size of a modern women’s purse, the Continenal soldier would hold everything from his food rations, to ammunition, to whatever personal effects could be fit into it.
For all intents and purposes this would remain virtually unchanged for the American soldier for the next hundred years.
When our soldiers went ‘over there’ to fight in the First World War, the doughboy took with him a new designed bag. Still called the haversack, that would soon change. At that time, the British and French were using coats made of a heavy cotton material. The material, which came from the Belgian city of Dufel, was known for its durable, thick qualities. The name stuck and somewhere between 1915 and 1920, the soldiers began calling it by the name we know today, the duffle bag.
World War 2 would see another change.to the military duffle bag. It was now in a olive drab heavy duty canvas material and had gotten more elongated. Instead of the flap, the duffle bag would now be drawstring. The navy variant, called the seabag, would in some cases be made of the older burlap canvas, but by wars end, the heavy canvas was the mainstay of the US serviceman.
The Korean and Vietnam Wars would see little changes to the familar military duffle bag, with the exception of an outside pocket being added. The seventies and eighties would see the introduction of nylon bags. But for the most part, the US serviceman can travel around the world secure in the knowledge that his military possesions are safe in his home away from home, the military duffle bag.