THE duffle bag has been around for many, many years and has remained the popular choice for vehicle-borne adventurers.
This type of load-lugger is popular for their basic design, cavernous volume (for minimal weight), and tough build and fabrics. Duffle bags can be tied to a yak or donkey for a climbing adventure, or just thrown in the back of a 4x4.
Numerous brands have duffle bags in their luggage range, and they all follow a very similar design DNA – a cylindrical space with a small enclosure (lid) up top. So it’s interesting to see highly regarded Aussie brand Sea To Summit (STS) enter the competitive duffle-bag market. The designers at STS have definitely done their homework with this duffle, addressing a number of design points and aiming to improve them.
The most obvious new design feature – and one that we reckon most people will applaud – is the oversized lid. For those used to shoving their hands in the (often) smallish opening of their duffle and scrabbling around blindly in the hope of finding a particular item, this bag’s large clam-shell-type lid opens to expose most of the space inside, making access far simpler. Access is made easier again by the simple design tweak of using brightly coloured fabric inside, allowing gear to be more easily spotted.
The Sea to Summit Duffle is constructed using heavy-duty nylon material and features a padded base and lid. There are external compression straps and lash loops for securing the duffle to a roof rack. The lid is also built tough, and a dual-zipper ensures it won’t break when pulled or tensioned (or if you have over-packed) and aids in upping the security of your gear inside.
The handles can be attached/detached to suit three different carrying options for when you’re out and away from your vehicle: a backpack-style harness, an over-the-shoulder set-up, or just carrying it with the two straps like a piece of carry-on luggage. Two small magnets in the handles mean you no longer have to fiddle with Velcro tabs to secure them together – they just snap together once each handle is close enough to the other. It’s simple but it makes a difference.
The 130-litre duffle has proven faultless over the past few months. Nothing much can go wrong with a duffle bag anyway, but little things like faster joining of straps for carrying, the three-way strap/harness system, and – most obviously – the awesome large lid have been much appreciated. Add in the bombproof construction and I reckon it will do excellent load-lugging service for many years.
The Sea to Summit Duffle is available in four sizes (45L, 65L, 90L and 130L) and in three colours (blue, orange and charcoal). It’s available now.
RRP: $179.95 (45L); $199.95 (65L); $229.95 (90L); $249.95 (130L)
WE SAY: durable, easy to access contents.