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A duffel bag, duffle bag, or kit bag is a large cylindrical bag made of natural or synthetic fabric, historically with a top closure using a drawstring. Generally a duffel bag is used by non-commissioned personnel in the military, and for travel, sports and recreation by civilians. When used by sailors or marines a duffel is known as a "seabag". A duffel's open structure and lack of rigidity makes it adaptable to carrying sports gear and similar bulky objects.
A duffel bag is often confused with a hoop-handled hard-bottomed zippered bag, known generically as a gym bag.
The name comes from Duffel, a town in Flanders, Belgium, where the thick duffel cloth used to make the bag originated in the 17th century. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word dates back to 1677, used to describe ‘a coarse woollen cloth having a thick nap or frieze’. In most of the 20th century, a duffel bag typically referred to a specific style of cylindrical, top-entry bag. During the latter part the term began to be misapplied to a generic hoop-handled, hard-bottomed fabric holdall more commonly known as a "gym bag". It is to this bag that additional features such as wheels, zippers, internal structure, and small organizing pockets are often added.
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