We review a lot of luggage and bags on this gear blog, but most of it won’t cut it if you’re someone who is climbing a mountain in extreme conditions or needs to protect a whole bevy of tools and equipment.
Brooks-Range produces high-quality, made-in-the-USA products that are meant to stand up to more than just an airport luggage handler in a bad mood. This duffel bag is a great example. It’s tough as nails and will take on years of abuse from you, the weather, or wild dogs and bears.
When they say “This is not your average duffel bag,” they’re not kidding. It’s got a practically impenetrable laminate construction and heavy-duty zippers with flaps that go over them. Heavy double stitching and extra bar tacks keep buckles and carabiner-ready straps in place. It’s not advertised as waterproof, but I doused it with a hose and the clothes inside stayed dry, so I think you’re in good shape if it rains or you’re in a snowstorm. There’s nothing to soak up water, so it’ll dry in a hurry.
The interior is fully lined and there are several organization pockets, including a mesh one on the flap.
The smallest version is the size of a gym bag and comes with regular carrying straps on both the top and side, plus a shoulder strap. It has a capacity of 42 liters (2560 cubic inches) and retails for $92. Larger sizes come with tuck-away straps allowing you to carry it as a backpack as well and go up from a capacity of 70 liters. For something so strong though, they’re not all that heavy: 2 pounds 12 ounces for the smallest and less than 5 pounds for the monster 140-liter version, which is $135.
There’s just one big problem with Brooks-Range products: they’re almost impossible to find outside of a few specialty retail shops. They’re pretty much invisible online, so you have to order direct from their site if you’re not near one of these retail stores. (Ignore the REI and Backcountry logos: if you search “Brooks-Range” on either site you come up empty.) These guys had a booth at the winter Outdoor Retailer show I attended in January though, so hopefully this dearth of distribution will improve in the near future.
See more at Brooks-Range.com
Related post: Brooks-Range Field Organizer with Waterproof Notebook