North Face Basecamp Duffle

BACKGROUND: For our latest adventure, My wife and I traveled across the globe to New Zealand. With a varied itinerary, from tramping to mtn biking to simply being tourists, we were a bit uncertain on how best to pack. In addition to our wish list of activities, the reality of international travel, with multiple airport layovers and transfers, was challenging us to pack light. For us, it made the most sense to find a piece of luggage that was as versatile as our itinerary. We shied away from bringing our big backpacks because we considered them a bit singular in purpose as well as simply too large.
We settled on the idea of a bag that was both a piece of luggage (in the traditional sense) and a backpack. Something to be schlepped through multiple airports, taken on a long day hike (maybe even an overnighter) while also potentially used to hold a hydration bladder for day rides on the mtn bike. After scouring the web and polling our travel-minded friends we came up with a few options. Our criteria was simplicity of design, affordability and usability. Ultimately we chose The North Face Base Camp Duffel. We assured ourselves we could pack light and ended up purchasing the small size, one for each of us.

PRODUCT DETAILS: A small nylon duffel with a hearty rubberized coating. I chose neon Green, Tina the bright orange. The top flap has a mesh zippered pocket on the underside. The duffel comes with two removable, padded shoulder straps. The bag itself is one chamber with no internal pockets. Along the outside, lengthwise, is pre-sewn webbing. The webbing is sewn intermittently to the body of the bag resulting in small loops (big enough to easily clip a carabiner). Two adjustable straps on each side for increased carrying capacity. base-camp-duffel-small-ASTC_RT2_hero
The North Face Basecamp Duffle ON SALE HERE.

THE VERDICT: The small North Face Base Camp Duffel worked incredibly well. While it wasn't perfect, we were psyched with its versatility. First off, we packed it about as tight as possible. The zipper was hearty and durable, never felt like it would fail. The integrity of the bag itself was strong. For the record, the hard goods for backpacking were supplied by our kiwi friend living in Wanaka (Thanks John!). That being said, we did pack our bike shoes and our own SPD pedals, along with the usual adventure travel necessities; rain gear, running gear, travel clothes toiletries etc, etc. Our bags were bulging. I packed the duffel for a two night overnighter along the Tasman Sea, stuck a hydration bladder in the mesh pocket for a mtn bike ride, and of course, schlepped it across the globe. The North Face Duffel worked great.
PROS: We appreciated the ability to easily remove the backpack straps. It easy converts from basic duffel to basic backpack in seconds. Makes rushing from terminal to terminal with coffee in one hand and boarding passes in the other super easy.
-We also liked the rubberized coating on the exterior. While not a true dry bag, the
Base Camp Duffel will keep your clothes dry when the unexpected rain shower surprises you.
-We also liked the hearty feel of the duffel construction; strong zipper, stout stitching, and durable fabric.

CONS: Not surprisingly, the rubber coating doesn't breath well. Not ideal for those sweaty rides / hikes.
- No internal pockets in the main compartment.