This week’s Buy Once, Buy For Life is about bags. Too often, we purchase cheap luggage or bags at the local big-box or discount store, only to have them start disintegrating a short time later after a few times around the block. Wouldn’t it be better to spend the money on a well-made product once and have it last a lifetime? Doing so reduces materials needed for manufacturing and significantly cuts down on landfill waste.
The following companies sell everything from duffel to messenger to gun bags, and some also sell luggage and accessories. Materials include leather, waxed cotton canvas, and metal hardwares, all designed and manufactured to survive a lifetime of use. Stop buying cheap crap and invest your money in well-constructed, American-made goods that last forever. Buying quality from the start saves money while reducing the environmental impact of your purchase. Sound like a good idea? It is.
Frost River – Canoe packs, tents, duffel bags, messenger bags, gun bags, briefcases, totes… Frost River sells a lot of bags. All products are handmade and guaranteed for life. I had occasion to buy a product from them and they couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful, including when someone personally dropped my item off at UPS on the way home from work so it would go out to me that day and not the next.
Saddleback Leather – Saddleback offers a 100 year warranty against defects on all products, even if you aren’t the original owner of the said item. A tongue in cheek message on the website states that the warranty does not cover if you take your bag shark diving in salt water, if an elephant stomps on it and creases the leather, or if a crocodile bites it. Messenger and travel bags, belts, wallets, luggage, iPad accessories.
Drifter Sport & Travel Bags – Drifter began as a parachute rigging business in 1977 and the entire product line is handcrafted in the US. Made in the USA with a lifetime warranty against any defects in materials and workmanship? Definitely check them out if you are looking for backpacks, messenger bags, purses, or briefcases.
Fox Creek Leather – A small family-run company in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Fox Creek offers trunk bags, tool bags, and motorcycle travel bags made in the USA with a lifetime guarantee against defects in craftsmanship.
Coronado Leather – Coronado sells luggage, handbags, briefcases, and waist packs made here in the US from quality materials. All products are guaranteed for life due to defective materials or workmanship, including leather, snaps, zippers, seams and some hardware.
Eagle Creek – The brand’s “No Matter What” Warranty entails a lifetime warranty covering all materials and workmanship against defect plus repair or replacement due to damage, regardless of the cause for 5 years. Some of their products are manufactured here in the U.S., but not all of them. Best to check out individual items you may be interested in. They sell duffels, luggage, and backpacks, along with travel accessories.
Duluth Pack – Camping, flying, hiking, school, boating, or work; no matter where you are going or what you are doing, Duluth probably sells a bag or accessory you can use. Handmade bags and packs are made in their factory in Minnesota and come with a lifetime warranty covering all craftsmanship and hardware. “If at anytime during the life of your Duluth Pack product you have problems in these areas, return the product and it will be repaired free of charge.”
Timbuk2 – Timbuk2 does warranty their bags for life from defects in the materials or workmanship, and made-to-order bags (where you choose the colors, etc) are sewn in their San Francisco factory. Ready-made products are manufactured in China and the Philippines, but Timbuk2 states that they work to ensure good working conditions and enforce materials and construction details to ensure the products meet their standards. I have had a Timbuk2 messenger bag for nearly 10 years now and it’s still going strong. Messenger bags, backpacks, tote bags, laptop, and camera bags.
Red Oxx – Goods are handcrafted in Billings, Montana and come with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. “This product is guaranteed forever, be sure to include it in your will.” The company sells carry-on luggage, briefcases, duffel bags, day and backpacks, and rifle cases.
Filson – Not everything sold by Filson is made in the USA, but as far as what I could find out from reading forums and reviews, it’s all well constructed and made to last a long time. On the site it says “guaranteed to withstand the test of time” but I couldn’t find any formal warranty information. Filson does sell all sorts of bags and luggage made here in the US from quality materials.
There are probably many more companies out there selling bags that would fit the Buy Once, Buy For Life mantra, but this list should be a good starting point for anyone shopping for a quality product that should last them many, many years.
Do you have a favorite company that should be on the list? Be sure to let me know in the comments. Also, if you would like a particular category of goods covered here one week, I would love to hear from you about that too.