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Customized Promotional Giveaways Since 1979

Custom Printed Duffel Bags, Imprinted Duffel Bags

When you think of a promotional duffel bag, you may picture in your mind's eye a big bag stuffed with athletic equipment or gym clothes. Or, the idea may conjure images of sailors with oversized laundry bags heading onto ships, every worldly possession tucked safely inside in a most minimalist fashion.

But the term has expanded over the years and now refers to a slightly broader range of bags. Several styles fall into the category of "duffel bag," and this is important to remember if you happen to be an advertiser toying with the idea of using imprinted duffel bags as promotional gifts.

The duffel bag dates back to the days of World War II.  Originally referred to as "seabags," the familiar, bullet-shaped bags were issued to Navy sailors as a means of transporting their belongings when they went to sea.  The bags were compact and made efficient use of the limited space in ships' barracks.  Seabags eventually acquired the nickname "duffel" bags because the thick, heavy cloth that they were made from originally came from Duffel, Belgium.  As time passed and the bag crossed military lines and entered into pop culture, as they did after the war, the name "duffel bag" stuck.  Eventually the term came to refer not to the cloth but to the characteristic bullet/barrel shape of the bag.

The early duffels that were issued to sailors were simple, single-compartment bags, with and without smaller outside pockets, with an opening at one long end.  The openings were usually secured with a drawstring.  The bags had handles on the sides for carrying.

When duffel bags began to catch on with the civilian public, producers began to get more creative with their design.  In the ensuing decades the duffel bag evolved into more elaborate designs.  Makers added more pockets (both for practical and decorative reasons).  They sometimes divided the inner compartment into two or more smaller compartments.

The size of the bag also began to morph.  Smaller versions began being  manufactured.  This made them more practical for everyday use rather than just for traveling.

Today, the term "duffel" is still associated with the bullet or barrel shape of the bag.  But contemporary versions come in all sizes.  Small, hand-held versions are used as promotional lunch bags, promotional purses, promotional cosmetic bags and overnight bags.  Bigger ones are preferred by athletes for going to the gym or for transporting sporting equipment to the playing field.  Large duffels are still used by the military and by travelers.  They're gaining renewed popularity with frequent flyers, thanks to ever-tightening restrictions on both carry-on and checked luggage on airplanes.

In contemporary terms, the "duffel bag" can refer to a bag of any size, as long as it is bullet/barrel-shaped.  A majority are outfitted with loop-style carry handles on one long side of the bag as well as one long and usually adjustable shoulder strap.  This allows the user to sling the strap over one shoulder and thus carry the bag hands-free.  They may come with any number of outside pockets and compartments.  They usually feature one large, central inner compartment, although some models may have divided or separated inner compartments.  Unlike the early seabags, most modern versions open along one long side instead of at the end.  They are usually closed with a zipper.  However, there are still end-closure duffels out there and they are often used as laundry bags.

The bag shows no sign of waning in popularity.  In fact, as mentioned earlier, their use is actually increasing among people who fly often.  The opportunities for advertising with custom printed duffel bags are rife, especially for advertisers who are trying to target travelers.  Smaller imprinted duffel bags are excellent for advertising to a wide range of customers because they have so many potential uses (lunch bags, cosmetic bags, purses, overnight bags, shoe bags).

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