For all intents and purposes, America invented the weekend getaway, with its Monday holidays and abbreviated vacations meant for instant rejuvenation. That's why it's so fitting that the quintessential weekend bag should come from Martin Dingman Leathergoods, one of a vanishing breed of leather craftsmen still operating in the United States.
The key to the perfect weekend bag is that it be versatile enough to pack the essentials for a getaway—two polos, two button-downs, shorts, jeans, khakis and a Dopp kit—handsome enough that you arrive in style, and small enough that it can stow away next to golf clubs in the back of a roadster or the overhead compartment of an airplane. Dingman does this perfectly with the Weekend Duffel from its Truman Collection ($1,350), named for the no-nonsense Midwestern president christened Harry.
The size is right at 24 inches long, 12 inches high and 10 inches wide, and the look is luscious. Glove leather from Germany is smooth and supple. The details are American alligator. The fittings are formidable brass. The zipper stretches completely around the bag to let it flop open for easy packing.
For a smaller but more rigid bag, consider the Truman Grip (shown, $750). It's also well suited for bringing paperwork and a laptop if your getaway might include some—pardon the expression—work. Because these leather bags might take a beating if you have need to check your bags on an airplane, Dingman also offers the duffel in a more rugged canvas side with saddle leather piping ($395).
Martin Dingman, which manufactures most of its leather goods in Diamond City, Arkansas, in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, also makes a complete line of belts from Italian leather and exotic American hides such as alligator, crocodile, lizard and ostrich. Its shoe line is made in Italy.