Adventure Travel BagsStylish Adventure Gear
Adventure gear is many things: portable, practical, ultra-durable. One thing it typically isn’t? Fashionable. The prevailing mantra of adventure-gear design is “form follows function,” which is perfectly fair – until, as happens with regrettable frequency, form doesn’t follow at all. And what’s the fun in an epic whitewater rafting trip or biking tour without some stylish designer duds to come along for the adventure?
The good news is that, though rare, a select few adventure gear-makers design with aesthetes in mind. And every so often, a top fashion label will turn out its own adventure pack or duffel. This may still mean only a small range of attractive adventure bags will be on the market at any given moment – but if they’re as durable as their purely utilitarian counterparts, we won’t need more than one.
The quick way to turn a high-performance duffel into high-style is to slap it with a luxury logo. Watch collectors and Swiss Army enthusiasts know that Victorinox balances sleek looks with practical features, and the company’s Mountaineer Duffel Backpack flashes that name while preserving its characteristic balance.
Herschel’s Little America Backpack is deceptively easygoing, which lands it extra points in the style department. Laid out like the backpack of a hip college student – if a particularly ambitious, book-hoarding one – the bag cinches open to hold up to 24 liters and boasts contoured shoulder straps with air-mesh padding, which is a lifeline on long hike or bike tours.
Its white shell – a gutsy choice for a potential outdoor bag – isn't the only thing that makes the Adidas by Tom Dixon Duffel Bag a bold statement piece. The stylish collab between designer and sporting company is startlingly minimalist, with major straps and compartments carefully arranged internally (except, that is, for the gold-toned handle).
True style, it’s often said, is in the details, which may be why the mostly straightforward Arc'teryx Cierzo 18 in Black exudes an undeniably stylish sensibility. That “mostly,” of course, is apart from its reflecting and contrasting zippers, echoed by a chic skinny belt. Waterproof polysilicone coating over the surface ensures those details, and the polished appearance they create, remain intact.
Preppies have always turned to The North Face for no-frills outerwear, but the Base Camp Duffel is more than just a camper’s companion. Between the sunny color, the blue piping and colorblocking, and the playful (and practical) buckles, it reminds us of retro Boy and Girl Scout swag from the ‘60s and ‘70s (which is, of course, so in right now).