Updated on September 3, 2017
The North Face Base Camp Duffel Review
A lot of gear manufacturers are getting smarter these days by adding great features to their packs and bags but even with all these features, few can boast an almost indestructable durability in their products. The North Face Base Camp Duffel is the best of both worlds offering a ton of features and convienences as well as a super durable, “bomb-proof” design.
Highly recommended by reviewers, the Base Camp Duffel is a duffel bag and backpack all in one. It offers two primary ways of carrying the duffel, a standard carry handle on the top as well as the unique alpine cut shoulder straps to sling it over your shoulders and free up your hands. The shoulder straps are adjustable to fit any size person (even us petite folks) and offer nice thick padding to support heavier loads. Also on either end of the bag are durable grab handles.
The design of the duffel is in the standard cylindrical shape however to make the bag a little more water resistant the zipper doesn’t cut across the top center of the bag like most duffel bags. Instead the top of the bag has a flap much like you would find in luggage, that covers the top of the bag and also the zipper seam. So as long as the bag is sitting upright, the flap will prevent any rainwater from entering. The construction of the duffel also includes added features to stand up to extreme usage including double stiching and extra bartack reinforements.
The North Face Base Camp Duffel is built with super rugged materials including phthalate free TPE laminate fabric which is waterproof and 840D Jr. ballistic nylon on the bottom, handles, gear loops and compression straps. The ballistic nylon is very durable and is the same material used in police duty belts and motorcycle jackets. It comes in many different colors from black, blue, orange and yellow to red, green, beige and even printed designs.
The duffel has gear loops on the sides making it convienent to attach caribeeners or tie items on the outside of the bag.
Underneath the top flap is a mesh lined zippered pocket that is perfect for storing smaller items.The zipper on the main bag is lockable for traveling and is the only entry point on the bag.
On each side of the bag there are two compression straps to prevent the load from moving around when the duffel isn’t completely full. On the outside top of the bag is a small plastic luggage tag pocket.
Performance-wise this duffel is super durable and heavy duty and lives up to its ‘bomb-proof’ name. The overall weight of the bag is comparable to the weight of similar volume high end backpacks. Sometimes the zippered flap opening can be a little difficult to open especially if the bag isn’t completely filled but this isn’t a great concern. The highly adjustable and comfortable shoulder straps are an awesome feature to throw this gear bag on your back and free up your hands.
Although the fabric is waterproof and the zippered flap will prevent rainwater from entering it wouldn’t be recommended to be used as a drybag as if it were to be submerged, water could still seap in through the zipper. The gear loops and compression straps are nice added features and add to the bags versatility. The only con to this bag is the lack of a single shoulder haul strap. This feature would come in handy at the airport and traveling when you have your carry-on on your back and need to have your hands free to carry other items.
Use this bag as a gear bag for watersports, snowsports, camping and any of your favorite sporting activities or throw a TSA lock on it and check it in at the airport for your worldly travels. Trekking somewhere awesome? Buy the 72L medium for $125 (a little easier to carry as a backpack for petite individuals) or the 90L large for $145 and pack it on the yak. Overall we’d highly suggest every gear lover and indoor/outdoor sports enthusiast pick one up!
|Manufacturer Model||The North Face Base Camp Duffel|
|Model #||Styles: ARLZ, ASTC, ASTD,|
|Size||XS (25L), S (42L), M (72), L (90L), XL (155L)|
|Cost||$100 – $170|
|Pros||Very durable materials, backpack straps, zipper flap prevents rain penetration|
|Cons||Lack of typical single shoulder strap as on most duffel’s, heavy duty zipper can be difficult to use|
|Best Uses||Traveling, Kayaking, Camping, Anything using a gear bag|
|Luggage and Bag Specifications|
|Weight||XS (2lb 5oz), S (2lb 12oz), M (3lb 8oz), L (4lb), XL (4lb15oz)|
|Size||M: 24″ x 15″ x 15″|
|Compartments||1 main compartment|
|Pockets||1 zippered mesh internal pocket under the lid|
|Material||Phthalate-free TPE fabric laminate, 840D Jr. ballistics nylon|
|Additional Features||Multiple gear loops on outside of bag, backpack straps|