GET THIS BAG!
I am the type who wants the absolute maximum in technical ability for my money...I don't buy "fashion" items and I usually shy away from brand names because of the low build quality. I also HATE wasting my money on products that don't last more than a few seasons. However, North Face has delivered everything promised with this bag.
I have loaded the XL duffel up with clothes, i shoved my entire rolling suitcase in there, i have carried DJing cables and hard-case contained equipment. I have carried it on my back, by the hand straps, and bear-hugged it. I've dragged it across the ground. I have put heavy loads in and shaken it up and down by all straps. It has performed.
I am going to Africa in the new year and needed a bag which would hold up to the rigors of travel on airplanes, buses, trucks, on animals, walking...it is EXCEPTIONALLY comfortable on my 140 pound athletic female frame because the straps adjust from the top & bottom to sit it right. I could probably carry a decent load for a mile or two without having issues (I am an experienced backpacker).
I am 5'9" and the bag is large, but not too tall too carry on the back. Others have said the XL is unnecessarily large, but I prefer one big bag to lots of small ones, and the compression straps on the sides are A+ for decreasing the bag size & locking in the loads for ease of carrying.
Material on the bottom is VERY thick nylon, similar to a motorcycle jacket. Zippers are big and tough without being difficult. All seams look sturdy, daisy chains and other loops and handles made of thick, durable material and sewn on very well. Build quality is exceptional in a world of disappointing products. Inside pocket is decent mesh. Not the toughest, but not at all flimsy or cheap. And it doesn't make your things smell like plastic or rubber.
Red color is bright enough to ID at the airport but not tacky.
Have not yet tested the water-resistance, but I will be doing so soon in Whistler and the Pacific Northwest camping in our rainy and snowy season. From the hundreds of reviews I've read, I trust it.
I would buy more XL AND all other sizes except for the extra small, which I feel could be better served in my activities by a proper day pack. I ordered one in XS from another site and returned it because I feel for the price or a bit more, I could buy a good quality daypack. However it is within Airline regulation size for a carry-on, so if you are looking for an extremely tough, simple carry-on without frame or pockets etc, this is a perfect choice. Undoubtedly the best in it's field.
The ONLY thing I would change is to have compression straps at either END of the bag as well as the sides to decrease the actual length of the bag. I may purchase some loose ones and use them/sew them on, though I doubt any sewing I could do would be comparable to the quality of the existing straps.
GET ONE, GET TEN. You will be so happy you did.
Wow, what can I say? This duffel is a MONSTER. The massive capacity of the XL makes it perfect for hauling gear, traveling, car camping, etc. I live in central Texas and while there is plenty to do here from an outdoor perspective, I prefer bigger country and so that means traveling with gear to other destinations.
For air travel, the duffel is perfect. I recently filled it with tent, pads, two stoves, fuel bottles, cookware, fly fishing gear, snorkeling gear for two, rain gear, clothes, and more odds and ends than I care to list out. After all of that, there was plenty of room to spare, even though there was 50 lbs. of gear therein. The duffel went through baggage handling 5 times between outbound and inbound flights on that trip, and it was clearly very durable showing no issues.
A handy feature is the backpack straps --- especially when changing terminals in airports, moving to and from rental cars, hotels and the backcountry. With no frame, you certainly won't want to backpack with this thing, but the straps are strong and comfy, so it works really well for short distances. Sturdy top carry and drag staps on either end round out the carry options.
A massive, heavy gauge YKK zipper with big, easy to use pulls make the top access easy. Inside the flap is a zip up, mesh internal pocket which is handy for smaller items that you may want to access quickly, which is important because the only other storage is the giant main compartment, in which stuff can easily become elusive. The main access is U-shaped vs. the straight zip on most duffels. This makes opening up the main compartment very easy and you have a lot more room to access or reorganize contents. The flap closure also has a significant lip (~1") the protrudes beyond the zipper which is handy for keeping gunk out of the zipper.
All in all, this is a handy piece of gear for your gear.
This is the bag I use (in addition to other sizes of the same base camp duffel) for all my travels. From military assignments to backpacking and climbing trips it is the only bag I trust to survive being checked on an airline. I pack my backpacking backpacks into them to prevent the frames and hipbelts from getting damaged during travel (primarily air). I get compliments from airline personel all the time. They say it's the main bag they like to stand up to the test of being checked. Its also a great bag for regular travel and storage. I use the different colors to organize my things in storage and during trips. The only thing I would love to see on it is a sternum strap. The straps tend to slide out a bit when its heavily packed and requires repositioning when walking with it. Some complain about the lack of compartments. I think this is a plus; it allows me to organize everything how I want for maximum safety and ease of finding things. It's a tad heavier than some competitors but well worth it for the ruggedness. I find it also easy to zip up when its really stuffed due to the tough big zipper. Overall great investment that will last for years with little maintenance.
The best way to travel the world!
We live overseas and we are planning to live here for awhile. Every so often, we go to the states because we can not find the right gear or the right size for our clothes. I am 6'2" and use XL or 2XL and the size of my shoes are 12. We live in a country where the average size is Small or Medium. The X Large Base Camp Duffel give us sufficient room to pack everything we are bringing home. As you imagine, the amount of clothes is not large quantity, but it just bulky.
The Alpine-cut shoulder straps are very convenient if you need to carry it around. It balance the weight very efficiently.
Four compression straps help you adjusting the duffel bag to the right dimensions to compress whatever is inside.
As you may guess, we are in love with the Base Camp Duffel. We have 3 of them and the oldest of them already has been around the globe!
Now, when it is empty, you can folded and storage it with out a problem!
Still the Best
This is my 2nd TNF Base Camp Duffel, I also have the L size. The killer feature about these bags is the ability to carry it as a backpack with the straps on the topside. Obviously not as comfortable as a real backpack but for carry through an airport or to a boat dock this is the way to go. I'm using my XL as a scuba gear bag. With it worn as a backpack and the tank on a shoulder I can carry everything to the boat in one trip. Some similar duffels put the backpack straps on the bottom, which is inconvenient and the straps get very grungy. Be aware that the construction quality of the newer Base Camp duffels isn't as good as earlier models. The cordura fabric appears to be thinner, the backpack straps are noticeably thinner, the inside pockets at the bag ends are gone, and overall quality appears to be less. However, this bag is still the best at what it does.
XL - HUUUUGE, DURABLE, RELIABLE
I bought this bag for an extended trip I was going to take in the Middle East; I thought "Oh, it's a 2 month trip, I guess I'll forgo the large, go straight to the XL, and pack for just a month". This bag could fit an infinite amount of months, with room to spare. Maybe I'm just a light packer, but this bag was waaaaaaay bigger than I predicted (I just used the image of all the sizes of the bags next to each other on the website for guessing its size, not dimension specs or anything else). Before I left I fit all the clothes I have plus half of my wife's clothes plus bedsheets (I used it to take to the laundromat). My only criticism for this bag was that there could be inside pockets on the sides. Other than that this bag has made my day.
GREAT BAG BUT ZIPPERS ARE NOT WATERPROOF
THIS IS MY SECOND PURCHASE OF THE YELLOW XL BAG. AS EXPECTED, IT IS A HEAVY DUTY BAG THAT WILL LAST FOR YEARS TO COME. THE ONLY PROBLEM I HAVE EXPERIENCED IS THAT THE ZIPPERS ARE NOT WATER TIGHT. I RECOMMEND YOU PURCHASE COMPRESSIBLE DRY SACKS OR THE "SPEEDY SPACE MAKER" HAND-PRESSED COMPRESSION BAGS. THE LATER OF THESE IS MADE OF CLEAR PLASTIC AND IS REUSABLE. THE ADDED BONUS TO THESE IS THAT YOU'LL BE ABLE TO FIT EVEN MORE GEAR IN TO A BAG THAT IS ALREADY VERY ACCOMMODATING WITH SPACE. I DO RECOMMEND THE YELLOW/BLACK COLOR AS IT MAKES IT MUCH EASIER TO SPOT WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR IN DIM LIGHTING SITUATIONS. IF YOU NEED A STRONG AND DURABLE BAG, YOU NEED NOT LOOK ANY FURTHER, BUT DO MAKE SURE TO PROTECT YOUR GEAR FROM GETTING WET.
Bulletproof duffel (Not literally though
Use the bag as my travel bag when I get out of town. Can pack a lot into it very easily. Only downfall is that you can put so much in there that it can be difficult to dig a particular item out later.
I use it for ski gear, hunting gear, etc depending on what I'm leaving town for. Would make a great bag for anytime that you need to bring 5+ days of stuff with (or large/bulky stuff i.e. ski gear/hunting clothes).
Overall, great bag. Should last for a very long time based on the materials used and construction. It's not fancy. Definitely function over form.
This bag is serious, It is large, substantial and well made. It is not a lightweight, thin material bag, This bag could easily last a lifetime with frequent usage. It is large enough for my 4200 cubic inch backpack and all of my gear that goes into the pack. It even has shoulder straps attached to it so you could carry it like a backpack though it would not be real comfortable since there is no real support system. There is a mesh zippered section on the inside of the lid for small items or for keeping items separate. Well worth the money especially the [$] from Campmor!!!
Best expedition duffel!
The Base Camp Duffel is positively the most durable and accessable travel duffel on the market. The fabric is ultra-burly, feel free to drag this thing up a gravel road, it'll be in one piece when you get to the top. I've had friends who had this bag (full) fly off their car at 70 mph, and the thing survived fine.
I have several, in all different sizes and colors. The Medium is a great weekend bag, the Large is a great weeklong trip bag, and the XL is a perfect expedition size. All the sizes come with cinch straps, duffel carrying handles, backpack shoulder straps.