A Bag for All Seasons
September 10, 2013 6:16 AM   Subscribe

I need a duffel bag that will, essentially, withstand the Apocalypse. Particulars within.

As great as rolling suitcases are, they're not exactly convenient for the kind of travel I'm doing lately (lots of dashing about, cramming luggage into small spaces). The duffel bags I've bought from Target and Walmart did not last very long. I'm wondering, then, if you all have recommendations for especially resilient duffel bags (or brands).

I'm hoping to spend no more than fifty bucks. Something flexible, the better to squish it into overhead compartments and the like. Something I can sling over the shoulder. Something that'll take a lot of punishment. (I guess hardcover books are tough on certain materials.)

posted by xenization to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
The North Face Base Camp duffel is everything you want, except you're going to pay more for quality. They are extremely well made and water resistant.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:24 AM on September 10, 2013

At that price point you're looking for clearance sales of bags made from heavy nylon or other synthetic material (i.e., you're not likely to find a nice heavy canvas or leather duffel) from companies like Timbuk2, Patagonia, Chrome, &c.

I'd also check the army-navy stores or look online at a place like cheaperthandirt.com (which has, apparently, evolved into a mostly guns & ammo seller since I last bought any gear from them -- I don't know how you feel about that and don't intend to steer your purchase that way if you'd rather not support them.) Old military duffels take a beating and are usually easy to repair anyway.
posted by gauche at 6:29 AM on September 10, 2013

Best answer: I adore my LL Bean duffel bag, which is within your price range. I think I got the medium, which fits into overhead compartments. Plus they guarantee their products forever.
posted by the_blizz at 6:30 AM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Don't remember the exact model, but I have one from LL Bean that went into the wilds of Africa and Peru and New Zealand, etc, for years and barely shows a scar or scratch. Can't look it up now but it's black, with detachable strap, just small enough to be a carry-on but large enough for lots of stuff. Decades later, it's still perfectly usable and presentable.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 6:32 AM on September 10, 2013

Best answer: I bought a friend of mine an earlier version of the LL Bean Adventure Duffle 12 years ago, and it looks as good today as it did then. There's not a pill or scuff or anything else on it. She has used it a lot for all kinds of trips (car, plane, train, camping). It comes in small, medium and large, all right about your price point. There's also an extra large that's a bit more expensive.

Of course, materials and construction standards might have changed since then, but if I was going to buy a duffle bag, I'd get this one.
posted by OrangeDisk at 6:35 AM on September 10, 2013

http://www.redoxx.com/ - they make very strong bags that could withstand an air drop, they are worth the money.
posted by rabbitsnake at 6:39 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Was going to pipe up for the LL Bean Adventure Duffle. I got mine on a camping trip in Maine in 2003. I use it for several weekend to week-long trips each year, often in grubby outdoorsy places. It looks brand new, no rips, resists dirt, all the hardware is in place and functioning fine, it is good at squashing a bunch of stuff inside and holding it in without bursting zippers - and comes in fun colors. Awesome bag.
posted by Miko at 6:46 AM on September 10, 2013

Response by poster: I should have remembered L.L. Bean. Thanks!
posted by xenization at 6:48 AM on September 10, 2013

I'm a really big fan of Osprey packs. Someone suggested them on MeFi a while back and I have not been disappointed.
posted by sanka at 7:35 AM on September 10, 2013

My daughter has had a medium LL Bean duffle for years which has been very durable. Hers has a separate waterproof shoe compartment with an outside zip opening on the end. Very handy for not worrying about bagging up dirty shoes. If this is still an option, I'd look into it. They have very helpful customer service people.
posted by readery at 7:59 AM on September 10, 2013

Fish Gear makes big wall climbing gear -- including duffel bags made to be literally hauled by rope up giant pieces of rock like El Capitan in Yosemite. They also make smaller duffel bags. I have a "pro bag" I bought in the late 1980s that is still going strong; the pro bag currently retails for $36.

I can also recommend the Patagonia Black Hole duffel, however, it doesn't fit your price constraint of $50. I have seen it discounted down to those levels at mail order places like Everestgear.com, which is how I acquired mine.
posted by kovacs at 6:48 PM on September 10, 2013

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