A man carrying a weekend bag is a man to be envied: Such packs signify purpose, goals, a destination, and, of course, free time (even if it really means the carrier is headed to his fifth wedding of the summer). There comes a time, however, when a man needs to leave behind his loveworn college duffel in favor of something a little more refined – though that doesn't have to mean stuffy. The keys are versatility, durability, and totability. Bonus points if the bag looks good, doesn't cost its weight in gold, and can handle being shoved both under the airplane seat in front of you and into the bow of a canoe.
That's why we're stashing our stuff in the War Bag from Beckel, a second-generation Portland company much loved for its sturdy tents, lean-tos, tarps, horse panniers, and the like. The War Bag is cut from Beckel's strong 20-ounce canvas, with two-inch-wide cotton webbing straps and leather reinforcements at key stress points. It's sized for carry-on capability and, like the ideal traveling companion, hits that resourceful midpoint between rugged and sophisticated without a hitch. [$72; beckelcanvas.com]
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