This is our first bag ever - one that emerged from our fascination with materials rather than the need to create a bag. Featherweight yet bombproof, the compact duffel is made with the lightest and strongest leather in the world - Dyneema bonded leather. The body rests on a sheet of carbon fiber which gives it a defined but almost weightless structure from the ground up. At only 413 grams, it might just be the lightest leather bag ever made at this capacity.
It starts with a very special leather - an elite quality bovine skin that is bonded to Dyneema brand ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene. For those unfamiliar with Dyneema, it is the strongest fiber in the world, many times stronger than steel but light as a feather. By bonding a Dyneema composite fabric to leather, the resulting material is an exceptionally strong ultralight leather that looks like something from outer space.
Tanned and finished in the Netherlands, the particular leather we are using is skived from the top grain (also known as Nubuck). It’s less than 0.5mm thin and full of character, with distinguished grains, an incredibly supple hand feel, and the sensual aroma of premium leather. It comes in the form of a hide, with subtle nuances between each piece that makes them unique.
The entire bag is extensively constructed from this material except for the bottom panel. Usually, a sturdy duffel needs a padded base to give structure and distribute weight across the bag. We wanted to use the lightest possible material that could support itself without the need for additional padding.
Our search lead us to carbon fiber - a material used for the aerodynamics of Formula 1 racing cars, where strength needs to be engineered from ultralight materials. We're using a specialized carbon fiber that comes in the form of sheets. It can flex like fabric but has the strength and rigidity required to distribute load.
The carbon fiber sheets we chose are texturized with thermoplastic on one side to make it resistant to abrasion. The plain weave faces the interior of the bag, while the textured surface sits on the exterior where the bag will come into contact with the elements.
Although the product revolves around lightweight design, we did not compromise on functionality. There are two full length external zippered pockets lined with a strong power mesh that feels buttery smooth when you reach inside the pockets.
On the inside, you have two additional zippered pockets to store valuables you don't necessarily need access to all the time. Continuing our theme of lightweight design, we made the pockets with a 1.2 oz/yd² Dyneema composite fabric that also happens to be waterproof breathable.
The hardware, from the zipper pulls to the buckles, are made from aircraft grade aluminum and anodized in a matte black finish to match the aesthetics of the product.
At a rated capacity of 22 liters, it’s not a large duffel by any means. We designed it to be compact, airline friendly, and easy to carry distances. It perfectly complements a light backpack to accommodate a weeks worth of clothing along with some travel essentials.
Arguably the most important aspect of a bag is the experience of carry. Materials certainly play a role in the weight and structure but our primary contact points are the grab handles and the shoulder pad. We made sure both had the same premium feel by wrapping them in Dyneema bonded leather. The handles are also cushioned for a satisfying grip and the shoulder pad uses an ergonomic design for comfort.
Each duffle is cut and sewn by hand by master craftsmen and craftswomen in the mountains of Boone, North Carolina. Due to the nature of crafting these products in a boutique batch production process, there are minor imperfections that we consider to be part of the product itself.
We know a bag of this nature does not serve a particular need or solve any problems. But there's more to this product than its functionality: the feeling it evokes upon touch; the patina it will develop over time; and the simple beauty of natural and state-of-the-art materials coming together. It pushes boundaries to reinvent an object with more character than it could conceivably need.