BAG IT UP
This Base Camp duffle has been dragged and/or carried from one end of the planet to the other, on everything from high-altitude treks to canoe journeys…
YEP, IT COULD BE viewed as ‘just’ a bag; which it is, of course. But The North Face duffle is also much more than that. This robust, well-worn, always reliable TNF duffle has been my constant adventure companion now for more than 10 years. And that’s not a decade of the occasional trip here and there; this 95L (Large) Base Camp duffle has been dragged and/or carried from one end of the planet to the other, on everything from high-altitude treks in
Africa and South America, to canoe journeys in Canada, through to remote outback 4WD expeditions. In that time, it has been lugged by ponies, thrown in the back of 4WDs, and carried by porters (and myself) - and has always kept my clothing and gear safe and undamaged.
The duffle is tough: the outer laminated nylon material is thick and strong and the double stitching and extra bar tacks ensure it won’t burst when over-loaded. Helping this are compression straps, allowing you to easily cinch a full load down to a more manageable size. Conveniently, it has shoulder straps as well, so you don’t have to drag it around the ground unnecessarily. Even though you wouldn’t want to carry the duffel this way for a full day, for shorter lengths of time the straps have enough padding to be relatively comfortable. The handles at each end are also handy for when you need to lift it in and out of vehicles. The zips are lockable, there's an ID pocket for your business card or details, and the mesh pocket inside the lid can be used to stow any number of items, such as keys, mobile phones, wallets, etc.
The only slight negative for me is, when packing (or searching for something) it would be great to have a wider opening. Other than this one small complaint I have never been disappointed in the Base Camp. This 95L Large model is probably the optimum size, too; I have managed to fit enough gear in to cover multidisciplinary trips, such as a combo mountain biking/ hiking expedition. Bulky items such as my MTB helmet and shoes, as well as hiking boots, etc., have all been jammed in there successfully. I have also been able to cinch it down when lugging less gear, too.
The North Face Base Camp duffle is available in a number of sizes (I also have a 70L medium and 130L XL) all of which share the same bombproof DNA. The Base Camp has been in production for 31 years now, and I am never surprised to see old, seriously beat-up ones doing duty in remote corners of the world – they really are that dependable. I look forward to many more years of service from mine.