How To Design The Perfect Bag For A Heist

It’s about durability . . . and discretion.

From Ocean’s Eleven to Beverly Hills Cop II, heist stories are usually meticulously choreographed, and often hinge on the smallest details. For example, thieves need the right carrying case for loot, something that will hold the goods and allow them to escape under the radar. Now, there’s a bag for that–the Hauly Heist, made by SDR Traveller. Not that we’re condoning crime.


The first rule of heist bag design? Make it durable with little heft so that the weight in tow is loot, not excess fabric. The Hauly Heist is made from a nearly indestructible material called Cuben fiber, which is waterproof, four times stronger than Kevlar, and around half the weight. Second, ensure the bag doesn’t draw undue attention—no fancy frills or logos that signal the bag’s value. All of SDR’s products, including the Heist, are nondescript, often dark in color, and reveal little about their contents.

Third, the bags need to have an impressive volume: the 1M Hauly was designed to hold $1 million in cash and the D3 duffel is tailored as a bag within a bag so that it never looks over-stuffed (there are also pouches for $1K, $10K, and $400K denominations). It even has a few bells and whistles that might help: for heist masterminds on the run, the bag is equipped with a radio frequency–shielded “Faraday” cage to block tracking.

SDR specializes in “ultra-light, strong, and very discrete” luggage. The company is an offshoot of the San Francisco–based consultancy Studio D Radiodurans, which was founded by the self-proclaimed “James Bond of design research” Jan Chipchase. The company trades on that international-man-of-mystery vibe, explaining that its products were born from the type of work its clients enlisted it to do–which often unfolds “in places that have an unconventional rule of law, from dealing with border guards and checkpoints, dense-urban, to edge of grid.”

A bag that makes carrying money safer is a smart idea–and not just for wannabe spies, but international business travelers who don’t want to become victims of theft due to their flashy luggage, or anyone who has to transport major quantities of cash for vendors who don’t accept personal checks or PayPal. So while the Hauly Heist’s name suggests bank robbers or jewel thieves, there are plenty of completely legal ways it could come in handy.

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[via PSFK]

About the author

Diana Budds is a New York–based writer covering design and the built environment.