Continuing on with products I proudly endorse:
Champion Duffle Bag from Costco: This particular duffle bag was available at Costco for a short time period in the summer of 2003. After reading this post, you’ll get an idea as to why it flew off the shelves like winged hotcakes. While this duffle bag is imminently qualified to be honored on this site, I admit I did have reservations about writing this piece. First off, I don’t want to get too nostalgic about how great the duffle bags used to be in the good ol’ days of 2003 (commonly referred to as the “Renaissance of Duffle Bags”). Second, it seems kind of unfair to endorse a product that is no longer sold in stores or readily available on the black market. I realize that it’s blatant cruelty to recommend a product that is almost impossible to obtain. Sorry about that. And finally, let’s face it, most people already subscribe to publications like Duffle Bag Enthusiast for the latest in duffle bag news. In light of all that, it seems pretty pointless to continue writing this, but that’s never stopped me before…
It started out like any other trip to Costco: driving around the parking lot for an eternity waiting for a spot reasonably close to the store to become available, having a mental breakdown, and ultimately settling for a spot several time zones away from the actual store. This exact scenario seems to play out every time.
Anyway, once inside the store, I always try to snake my way up and down each aisle. Costco is one of the few stores I’ll actually browse through. Usually I don’t have the stamina for this kind of endeavor, but Costco provides the occasional sample of toaster oven pizza to help keep my strength up. It was on one of these jaunts that I came across the Champion Duffle Bag. For the record, I own several duffle bags. And frankly, I didn’t need another one. However, as I inspected the quality of the display model, and noticed the price ($14.99), I had one of those “I can’t afford not to buy this duffle bag” moments. (On a side note, as a man, I have moments of spontaneous frivolity such as this about twice a year. My wife, on the other hand, has these moments about twice a day.)
In the interest of keeping this post under 10,000 words, I will mercifully provide the reasons why this duffle bag is so great in list format…
Top Ten Reasons Why the Champion Duffle Bag is So Great:
10. Adjustable, removable, padded shoulder strap. (Making it padded was a nice touch.)
9. Shoe bag. (Also useful for dirty clothes, wet swimsuits, etc.)
8. Cell phone holster. (Located on the outside of the bag, you never have to fish for your phone when it rings…)
7. Mesh coin and money pouch. (Mesh, in general, is underrated.)
6. Detachable hanging cosmetic bag.
5. Masculine color scheme. (Not to be overlooked.)
4. Clips for car keys. (Admittedly, I don’t use this feature, but nice to have nonetheless.)
3. Price (14.99, as mentioned above…)
2. Fleece sunglasses pouch. (It’s official: they’ve thought of everything.)
And the #1 reason: Size. I love this duffle bag because it is truly the perfect size. As far as I’m concerned, that is really the quintessential duffle bag litmus test. Is it big enough to comfortably carry enough gear for a three-day weekend, and yet still small enough to be considered “carry-on” size for air travel? Very few bags can meet both of these criteria. I acknowledge there are few things more imprecise than “carry-on” size, as generally most people use the definition that if their bag can somehow be shoehorned into an overhead compartment it must be carry-on size. Because of this, it also happens to be one of the most under-enforced airline infractions. Somehow airline personnel never miss an opportunity to peevishly tell a passenger that their tray or seat is not in the proper upright position, but yet they would allow that same passenger to pass off an Oldsmobile as a carry-on.
Sadly, these individuals that disregard the carry-on rules are never punished. They are free to block the aisle and use anything short of a forklift to wedge their ridiculous carry-on in place while an annoyed line of people forms behind them. Of course, the flight attendants are oblivious to all of this. I’ve even seen flight attendants assist these passengers by shuffling other bags around to clear room for their mockery of a carry-on. Just once, I’d like to see these individuals get their comeuppance in a form other than my angry glares and frustrated sighs.
That’s why I love the Champion Duffle Bag. It’s easily worth the $14.99 just to board a plane with a clear conscience that my bag meets a reasonable definition of an airline carry-on.