First Ascent Maximus 80 Duffel Bag Review
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First Ascent Maximus 80 Duffel Bag Overview:
This bag has a great first impression when you open the box! The bright blue color which Eddie Bauer calls it’s Peak Blue jumps right out at you. I certainly thought it wouldn’t be any trouble finding this bag at the airport. Also, I really like the black color mixed with the peak blue. It was a nice contrast to make the bag look stylish. By the feel of the bag when I picked it up, I thought it would be a pretty tough bag as described on their website. The Maximus 80 duffel bag is rugged and sturdy the way a duffel should feel when using it to haul gear or travel like I do. It is lightweight (listed at 4 lbs 3 oz.), so I knew whatever I squeezed into it, I wouldn’t be stuck with paying overage fees at the airport due to a heavy bag.
My main use for this bag while testing was to carry supplies to Africa where I work with a nonprofit. The supplies included pencils, pens, notebooks, and shoes. I was very impressed with the strength of the bag while stuffing it all in. It has that durable feeling that gives you confidence. For this type of work, we’ve had issues in the past with duffel bags arriving in Africa with broken zippers and slight tears on the bottom due to the poor quality. With the Maximus 80L there was no doubt it proved to be solid as it made it’s way through 3 legs and 30 hours of flights!
Maxiumus 80 Duffel Bag Features and Performance:
First Ascent’s claim is that they make world class expedition and ski wear by the best mountain and ski guides in the world. I would say that even though my use for this bag so far hasn’t included trekking it into the mountains, the bag is certainly built and designed to take some punishment. I could tell straight away that the bag was going to be tough. The bottom is reinforced with stitched nylon webbing which adds to the strength, and helps avoid blow outs when the bag is tossed around. They call it the “Grind Guard Webbing System” and it will allow you to literally drag the bag without fear of it ripping. Hence, I wasn’t too worried about pulling it by the end handle while hustling through the airport. Unfortunately, I haven’t been in a position yet to try it out on the rocks!
I was also surprised at how big this Maximus 80 duffel bag version was. It was quite easy to pack with a large opening, and it has two zipper mesh pockets inside to store smaller items. The rip stop nylon fabric in blue is thin but durable, so pulling at it while packing the bag did not cause any issues.
The final features I want to talk about are are the carrying handles or straps. I did like the fact that they are padded, but I found issue with that when carrying the bag in my hand. The pads were a little harder to hold onto, so I periodically had to reposition my grip or find another way to carry the bag. Therefore, I would simply drag the bag, or throw it over my shoulders since the handles do double as a backpack straps.
I did like the fact that the straps doubled as a back pack, but with my narrow shoulders the straps kept sliding off. Hence, I had to hold both hands on the straps to keep the bag in place. This is really not a big issue but it does make it more challenging when carrying or toting other bags.
First Ascent Maximus 80 Duffel Bag Final Thoughts:
Overall I would rate this bag with a B+. That’s very good in my book and the bag is certainly a rough, rugged, and well-built duffel bag. The only issue I had was how to carry the bag with the shoulder straps, and then prevent them from falling off of my narrow shoulders. As I was traveling and having to carry multiple bags and suitcases it presented a bit of a problem. This shouldn’t be an issue for most people with an average to larger build. The size of the bag itself was great with a large opening and plenty of space to cram items into. The two end handles did make it nice to just drag around, and the reinforced webbing system on the bottom reassured me that the bag wasn’t going to rip. The bag is stylish, and the Peak Blue color they choose was excellent and got a few heads to turn when walking around the airport. I would certainly recommend this bag to anyone who travels a lot and wants to keep a bag for a long time. I can’t wait to stuff it full of my snowboarding gear this winter, and not have to worry about it ripping, wearing out, or having a zipper break. The Maximus 80 duffel bag will be my go-to bag for a very long time!
First Ascent Maximus 80 Duffel Bag Specifics:
- 1,000-denier nylon tarpaulin; 21-denier ripstop nylon
- Bombproof fabric and construction
- Five-point carry system for easy grabbing, dragging, tossing, and tying down
- Padded handles double as shoulder-carry option
- Weight: 2 lbs 10 oz
- Capacity: 4,882 cu. in. / 80L
- 29″L x 13.5″W x 12.75″H
- Retails at $149.00
You can visit www.eddiebauer.com for more info about First Ascent and their high quality bags and gear.