- Buyer's Guide
Tanner Goods Nomad Duffle Review: Drive By
Tanner’s Nomad Duffle is a rugged and durable bag that is suave enough to be carried everywhere short of a black tie event. I spent a couple of months traveling with the Nomad Duffle to get a feel for how the heritage materials this bag is constructed with stand up to modern life. Spoiler alert, pretty damn good.
Who It Suits
Someone looking for a premium weekender bag with some real character.
Who It Doesn’t
Someone looking for just a duffle. At $400 this bag is an investment, but it will keep up with you for decades.
After a couple of months’ worth of business trips and weekend getaways with the Nomad Duffle, there’s a lot of things I like about this bag.
The first is the craftsmanship of this bag. It’s made by hand in the U.S. out of waxed 18 oz canvas. It’s thick, durable and absolutely gorgeous. Heaps of vegetable-tanned Cambara English bridle leather adorn the exterior of the bag. A chunk of brass hardware rounds out this bag on the clasps, hooks and buttons. This is a piece that just feels and looks good at my side.
Second, I appreciate how the Nomad Duffle is appropriate for nearly any setting I found myself in. It’s durable enough for a weekend in the woods, looks great with a pair of jeans, and can even play the business casual look. I’ve carried this bag into a few offices and didn’t feel out of place.
Third, this bag wears in very nicely. While the Nomad Duffle isn’t the lightest bag on the market, the beefy leather and waxed canvas make for a nice patina once it gets worn in. After a few months of use I dig how the bag looks even better than when it first arrived.
This is a bag that just feels and looks good at my side.
Finally, the Nomad Duffle finds the sweet spot for a weekender in terms of its size and organization. At 36 liters I can toss in a change of clothes, a pair of shoes, a camera and a bottle of booze with room to spare. The main pocket is accessed with a zipper that can be expanded slightly on either end. When not in use the ends of the bag can be buckled down which I found useful when flying.
Beyond the main pocket there are just a few other carry options. The outside of the bag has two button pockets which often hold my cords and headphones. Ducking back inside, either side of the bag is lined with a row of pockets, perfect for a Kindle and some toiletries. Anything I need for a weekend trip has a spot in the Nomad Duffle.
The Not So Good
Despite how much I like the Nomad Duffle, there are a few things about the bag that bother me.
While the leather and brass hardware that deck out this bag look really, really good, I found it very cumbersome to open and close. The two exterior pockets and the handles have a button closure that requires some time and choice words to secure. As the leather has broken in, these buttons have become easier to open and close, but it’s still a far cry from the convenience of a plastic buckle.
After a few months of use I dig how the bag looks even better than when it first arrived.
The other thing that I found missing with the Nomad Duffle was a more waterproof bottom panel. On its own the waxed canvas can withstand a fair amount of water. More than once I got caught in a downpour. And while the exterior pockets were wet, my gear on the inside of the bag stayed dry. However, I ended up setting the bag down on wet pavement and water slowly seeped into the bottom of the bag. Some sort of waterproof bottom would be nice, though I recognize that this would change the aesthetic of the bag.
The final thing I noticed about the Nomad Duffle was that it is only a duffle. I personally don’t like to carry duffles as backpacks as gear tends to shift around and it is never very comfortable, but it is an increasingly popular mode of carry. So just a heads up, if you’re looking for a backpack duffle, this isn’t your bag.
I found it very cumbersome to open and close.
After a few months with Tanner’s Nomad Duffle at my side, I’m convinced this is one of the best weekender bags on the market. Yes it’s at a premium price point, but every bit of this bag is constructed with premium materials. I can’t remember the last bag I reviewed that didn’t have any plastic on it? The bits about this bag that bothered me ultimately come down to the style and material of the bag more than any glaring design defect. I plan to have Tanner’s Nomad Duffle at my side for a long time to come. Heck, it might just become one of those hand-me-down pieces. Recommended.