TravelTravel Advice

Can you help me find the quintessential duffel bag?

I looking for the quintessential duffel bag. I want it to be large, but no larger than 100 liters. I looking for a bag with shoulder straps, like those found on a backpack. The bag will be used for car camping, airplane travel, and international travel. Lockable zippers would be nice. A bag that is weatherproof is also important. I have in mind The North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag or the Black Diamond Huey Duffel Bag. Thank you very much for your help! Arek Ashland, WI

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Ah, the humble duffel. So overlooked, yet so valuable. Take away the duffel, and nobody would be climbing anything more than a foothill. When I climbed Denali? Duffel bags held nearly everything. When I interviewed Ed Viesturs for Sports Illustrated shortly before one of his Everest climbs? They photographed him atop…mounds of duffels full of gear.

The Black Hole Duffel

As a slight digression, I will say that the most useful all-around duffels—particularly for the price—are L.L. Bean's Adventure Duffel ($29-$59). They’re tough, well-designed, and affordable. I must have a half-dozen.

But...they do lack shoulder straps. The North Face Base Camp Duffel ($135 in large) is just under 100 liters, has shoulders straps and side pockets, and is made from tough nylon fabric. Waterproof? No. But very water-resistant.

Black Diamond's Huey Duffel ($150 in large) does have nearly waterproof fabric, plus the other stuff you want. So that might be one way to go.

But…I like Patagonia's Black Hole 110 Duffel ($175). Waterproof bottom, water-resistant uppers, the size you want, very well-designed with lots of tough handles and accessory pockets. Take a look at one.

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Filed To: Duffle Bag
Lead Photo: courtesy, Patagonia
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