Mountainsmith Travel Duffel – Large
The Mountainsmith Travel Duffel is a thoughtfully designed, rugged pack for lugging all your gear to the places you want it. The duffle has ample space, the obligatory isolated storage compartment for small important items and a compression strap design that allows it to easily handle a variety of volumes. Visit Mountainsmith Travel Trunk for more details.
Mountainsmith Travel Duffel Performance:
Over the years of backpacking, skiing, and chucking gear in an out of cars Mountainsmith has been one of my go to brands. I have no patience for poorly thought out or cheaply constructed bags and as a result I keep coming back to Mountainsmith. They make durable no nonsense bags and this one is no exception.
The bag itself is constructed of Ballistic 600d Kodra and is reinforced with 1000d in key places. Ballistic Nylon is tough as nails and it is one of the things I like best about this duffel. Dragging it around in the garage, tossing it onto a log when I was camping I found it tough to scratch and nearly impossible to tear. The material is also fairly easy to clean if you get something on it, however it isn’t waterproof. My only issue, particularly with the black bag was that it picked up stuff like dog hair pretty easily.
The bag comes in multiple sizes. I had the large, and it is large. Choose carefully when picking sizes because it is not a nominal difference between them. The range from medium to XXL covers 2900-11000 cubic inches. The large fit all of my and my wife’s ski gear (minus the skis) without any problem. The combination of the size the durability meant I had plenty of confidence packing tons of heavy equipment into to. That said, be careful when thinking about how you are going to use the bag. While the price for the XXL is phenomenal, you may want wheels if you are going to be dragging that much through somewhere like an airport with any regularity. Given its large size the inclusion of compression straps is a really nice addition not seen some of the market competitors. That way even if its only half way full, everything won’t be sloshing around inside. You can also use them to strap things securely to the exterior of the bag.
Mountainsmith did a nice job thinking out the strap system on this series of bags giving you multiple ways to get them around. There are traditional handles in the middle and over the shoulder strap. The shoulder strap is both adjustable and detachable. Unfortunately the padding is in a fixed position on the strap. Not a huge deal, but the first time I needed to carry something heavy I had to play with it a little to get in in the correct position. It is also equipped with hauling handles. I have to admit when the bag is heavy, it is really nice to drag it which is why hauling handles are key. If you have a buddy to lend a hand, there is a handle on each end, making it easy to carry without feeling awkward.
Mountainsmith does make a pair of straps called strappets. They clip onto the bag and allow you to wear the bag as a backpack. I don’t have one of these (it doesn’t come with the bag) but I could imagine them being tremendously helpful if you are traveling any significant distance. They run about $25 and will work with other mountainsmith packs as well.
The travel trunk has storage options other than just the main compartment. On the exterior there is a medium sized zipper pocket. It’s the right size for stuff like a wallet or passport and is critical because otherwise you are likely to lose small things in the cavernous main compartment. On the interior there is a single large pocket that runs along one side of the bag basically from top to bottom. It’s a nice feature to separate clear and dirty gear that you are traveling with.
On the exterior there is a set of stretchy elastic rigging that is iconic of mountainsmith packs. Over the years one of my concerns was that these would lose their stretch, but it hasn’t happened with any of my other bags yet. On the duffle it is located on the front where the small exterior pocket is. Its a nice location because it’s easy to access but doesn’t interfere with the main compartment.
The zippers are YKK. The eyelets are large enough to add a carabineer, strap or even a lock if you felt so inclined. On the interior of the bag there is a nice zipper reinforcement that prevents snagging clothes. They zippers themselves are beefy and I never ran into any issues with them.
Even for a bag snob like myself, this duffle turned into a go to for long trips or gear heavy excursions. Its large, nicely engineered and seriously durable. Frankly, I think it is a steal for $80. It lack as few of the features you might want in a high end travel duffel but it leaves you with enough $ to take the trip necessitates a large bag…
Price [M] $69.95, [L] $79.95, [XL] $89.95, [XXL] $99.95
Colors: Heritage Black, red
Sizes: [M] 20 x 11 x 10 in, [L] 25 x 15 x 12 in, [XL] 30 x 16 x 15 in, [XXL] 33 x 17 x 16 in
Volume: [M] 2900 cu in, [L] 5900 cu in, [XL] 8500 cu in, [XXL] 11000 cu in
Weight: [M] 1 lb 14 oz, [L] 2 lb 11 oz, [XL] 3 lb 10 oz, [XXL] 5 lb 4 oz