* Prices may differ from that shown
Traveling around the country mostly by train, I need to bring a couple of nights clothes, my books and some toiletries. So for my needs this duffel style bag suits me down to the ground. And in the rare chance that I may need to travel abroad by plane, this North Face Camp Duffel bag, with its little name and address pouch on top, has been of great use as a simple carry on.
It's cylinder shape design is deceptive, when it comes to how much it can actually hold. In fact you can pack so much into this bag that it becomes impossible to carry. The straps are strong and are sown onto the sides and under edge of the bag itself to help support and balance the weight.
There are a few different ways of carrying this bag, depending on how much you have inside. Each different carrying style has it's advantages and disadvantages. The most obvious way to carry it is by the two handles joined by Velcro in the middle. I find this can make my hand get a little raw after a while, again depending on the weight. There are loops on each end of the bag these are not of much use, apart from if your trying to drag the bag out of the luggage carrier of a coach or overhead compartment on a plane or train.
I use the shoulder strap mostly with this bag, I find this the most comfortable way to carry it. This way the strap distributes the weight across my shoulder and having the bag on the side of my body means it's not getting in the way. The shoulder strap is well padded so it doesn't bore a trench into my shoulder like other bags have done.
The main body of the bag is made of a thick, strong, waterproof fabric. Water just beads off the laminated exterior, this covering also makes it very easy to clean if you were to take it camping or to a music festival, mud just simply wipes off with a damp cloth. The opening on the top, opens in a crescent moon like shape. The zip is good and strong, you don't get the feeling it's going to snag or break at the blink of an eye, overall this bag has a very good quality feel to it.
The only fall back I can see with this bag, is that there are no wheels on it. A lot of theses Duffel style bags have two sets of roller wheels on one end and a telescopic handle on the other. But this is meant as a Duffel not as a cabin bag, so I can't really deduct a star for that.
This isn't a cheap bag, and it shows. I've had this for years now, and have used it in appalling weather conditions and haven't treated it with care. Yet it still looks as good as new, in my book it was money very well spent.
I do a fair amount of travelling and flying on business, and often just need to pack an overnight bag rather than a suitcase. With the normal delays ensued at airports waiting for your baggage etc, I normally like to have a carry on bag as my overnight bag, which would then allow me to get through the airport and on to my destination quicker. Hence, a few years ago, I purchased this North Face Duffel Bag for £55 to use on my travels, and thus far, after many miles of travel and a significant amount of use, it has served me well.
The bag itself is basically a rugged sports type bag which is completely collapsible. This Base Camp Duffle comes in 3 basic sizes - Medium, Large and X-Large, where I went for the medium version because I wanted to use it as a carry on bag on to aircraft. For the fashion conscious it also comes in 10 different colours, ranging from varieties of pink and red, through yellow, blue and green right up to the one I have in black. I chose the black version because previous experience with lighter coloured bags has shown that they very quickly begin to show the dirt and wear, and hence, start to look scruffy. With a black bag, the colour tends to better hide those scruffy details.
Size wise it has a capacity of 70 litres, with outside measurements of 61cm by 38cm by 38cm. The tough PVC/canvas like fabric used to make the bag is wipe cleanable and water resistant, and is also further strengthened by the use of double stitching at the joints, and the bag is also further reinforced through the use of 4 compression straps around the outside of the bag. So overall, this bag has been well made, is durable and will take some abuse.
The top opening D shaped flap has a twin zip arrangement where you have the facility to lock the zipper tags together, which also has a protective flap over the zip to prevent damage and any rain getting in. There are 2 fabric carry handles which can be locked together with a padded cuff, and there is also a detachable adjustable shoulder strap that runs diagonally across the bag.
What's it like in use? Inside it is quite cavernous and deceptively spacious, and I've always liked this style of bag because you can really pack some stuff into them. There are a few internal mesh pockets for your small items but basically it is just a large centre hole to put your stuff in to. Now with some of the budget airlines getting very tight with their carry on baggage sizes, I never tend to totally pack the bag out because if I only ¾ fill it, it allows me some room to crush it down slightly to get it in to an overhead locker, or to crush it slightly if I get challenged by the airline over the sizing (which has happened a few times). As yet, I've never had to check the bag in to the aircraft hold.
Using the twin handles to carry the bag is also comfortable and easy, where the padded cuff really does cushion the load. Of note, the handles are also long enough and wide enough apart to enable you to be able to carry the bag as a rucksack with ease. Not something that I would want to do for a long duration with this bag, but there have been occasions when this ability has proved to be very useful.
In summary, after a few years of 'abuse' this bag is still looking very good with no rips or tears - proving it to be a typical example of the durable quality products that The North Face produce. Cavernous inside, it will easily take enough clothing to last you overnight, if not a couple of days. Hence, a 5* recommendation for another The North face quality product.
*The infamous Duffel*
The North Face Camp Duffel is a classic bag that will last you years. I have had mine for nearly seven years now and it is still going strong. The bag is made from thick fabric and uses a combination of double stitching and bartacks to made the bag extra secure. No handles getting pulled off by the baggage handlers here!
The bag I own is the medium sized duffel but there are two other sized duffels to choose from; a larger and smaller variation. The medium has a capacity of 72L which suits my travelling style very well. The majority of times I use the bag now is for camping; it is the perfect companion for camping as it is waterproof. The exterior of the bag is laminated making it easy to wipe down and offers protection from the rain. The bag has plenty of give in it but if you are really struggling for size there are four compression straps that can squeeze the bag smaller by a few valuable inches.
*Straps, zips and more straps*
The bag has a number of carrying options:
You can carry by the two handles in the middle of the bag, these run right around the bag which evenly distributes the weight. They do tear at the hand a little and are not the most comfortable to hold when the bag is filled to capacity.
There are two haulage loops on either side of the bag. You can drag the bag by the handle but bear in mind that there are no wheels to assist you. These loops are useful for grabbing the bag quickly when it is on the airport conveyer belt.
There are also shoulder straps so you can wear it as a backpack or wear it across the chest. I occasionally use the shoulder straps as they are padded and comfortable to wear, my boyfriend prefers to carry it across the chest though. Whatever way you choose to carry it, you can be assured that the straps are strong will not break.
The bag opens in a D shape with a sturdy robust zipper which is lockable. Opening this way makes it easy to get to your belongings. Having easy access is a real key element in a good bag.
This is the only real downside to the bag; there is a significant lack of pockets. I am of the opinion that you cannot have enough compartments in a bag. This bag has the main section and then only a mesh zippered pocket on the inside. I like to be able to keep my dirty laundry away from my clean clothes, I personally find this a real failing for the bag.
There are a number of hooped daisy chains on the side of the bag, these allow you to hook things to them. When we go camping, we clip our camping pans to the side of the bag using carabineers and have also attached other small items, simply to keep them all together.
At the top of the bag is a little ID pouch for you to slip your name and details in incase the bag gets lost.
The bag is fantastic quality. North Face claim it is bombproof! It is very robust and stands up heroically to any amount of abuse you give it. My bag is quite old and none of the straps are frayed or loose and even the main body of the bag is still in good condition. The only part to have broken is the clear ID pouch on top; this got ripped off accidently many years ago.
I would definitely recommend this product. To buy one brand new, you would have to part with somewhere in the region of £80.00. Now this sounds like a lot of money for a mere bag but the quality speaks for itself. The bag comes with a variety of carrying options so that you can find your own comfortable way to carry it and it is really sturdy and robust.
The only downside is the lack of pockets but so long as you expect that before purchase you will not be disappointed.
This is probably the most durable bag I have ever owned and ideal as a weekend get away bag either for home or abroad. In fact because of the size you can usually get away with taking it onto some flights as a carry on bag however that will depend on the airline and how picky they are at check in. Even if it does have to go into the hold it is such a durable bag that it will easily cope with the worst things baggage handlers can throw at it. The important thing is to make sure that the handles and straps are secured away as these are the main weak points.
What love about this duffel bag is the fact that it has so much room inside of it given the relative size of the bag. There are a number of sizes available and for me the medium works well, you have to remember that you get no wheels with these so you have to be able to carry the weight on your back or just with good old arm power. The bag comes with a set of shoulder straps similar to a standard rucksack however they are not quite as comfortable and certainly would not be something I would want to use for a long days trekking however for getting around on trains and planes they are perfectly fine. The other reason is that they are not suitable for all day trekking is the fact that there is no waist strap either. There are also two conventional carry straps as well and the webbing for these goes completely around the bag. There is also a webbing strap running lengthways as well to add extra strength to the bag. In addition there are handles at either end of the bag as well so there are lots of carrying options.
The bag is very tough and durable and is also waterproof although when camping I do use dry bags as well as there is always the risk of some water getting in around the zipper. The zip is absolute quality, it never snags and is large and well made, it opens in a D shape which makes this bag very easy to pack and also to retrieve items when they are needed. The outer also travels well and does not show the marks.
It comes in a range of colours, I actually have a rather gaudy, bright yellow one but the reason for this was it was £40 in a sale when the conventional black one was £75, also being yellow it is a lot easier to find on the luggage carousel.
For a rugged travel bag you cannot go far wrong with this product and there are larger options available if you are want something for a longer trip.
Normally girls don't buy duffel bags. We usually tend to use purses (very large ones) or little (or large) carry-ons. Men are more the Duffel bag type, and that's just how it's always been. That might start to change here in the near future if North Face continues to make ultra-comfortable, durable, easy-to-cary, and dare I say "fashionable" Duffels.
Now, even women can start to enjoy the wide spaces and convienence that men have been enjoying for eons. Welcome to the world of the "Duffel" ladies.
Let me give you a brief background about my purchase of this bag. Once upon a time I lost my luggage (or should I say GATWICK lost my luggage), at the airport. Suffice to say I was pretty stressed out. Not only did I have well, nothing, but I had to now go out and buy a lot of, somethings. I also had very little time to accomplish all these purchases, and even less time to find something to put them all into. Enter the North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag.
Picture a 20something (ok i'm 30) short girl running through the streets of London with dirty airplane clothes and bags upon bags of new clean clothes dragging her arms. I decided I had to get something, ANYTHING, to make my walking easier. A store pops up on my left that had camping and outdoor supplies and I rush inside and grab the first thing that looks big enough (and cheap enough).
At the time, it was just a quick fix. I didn't really intend to treasure, love, or even like this Duffle bag much. It was a means to an end. That means though, was one of my best spontaneous last minute purchases i've had in a long time. As soon as I stuffed all my new buys into this bag, there was still room for about a million other items. This was great! More Shopping for me, yay! Let me get to the details though, of why this might be a bag for you to indulge in other than just "lots of space"....
1.) The Straps:
Yes, straps are important. Especially for wimpy , whiney, "hate-to-carrry-heavy-things", women. Not just the shoulder ones mind you, but the hand straps as well. These straps are phenomenal. Even though I had probably put around a good 3 stone of weight into this bag, it felt light and also never chaffed or hurt my shoulder/hands. They are also adjustable for you to find the perfect lengths.
2.) The Design:
While men may not be too overly concerned about this, the females interested should note that this came in several different colors/styles. The one I got was a blue and white pattern that was feminine without being flowery or over the top. I've gotten several compliments everytime I use it by people coming up to me saying, " Where did you get that!?". So, the style of this bag is definately a plus.
3.) The Uses:
I use this bag for staying over the night as someones house, or going to the gym, or taking a mini-break, or going grocery shopping, or as my carry-on luggage and about a few dozen other reasons. It's extermely versitile.
This thing has been put through the RINGER. I've dropped it from about 100 feet (on accident...long story), I've had it crushed, I've spilled coffee on it (and tea), I've banged it into things, i've pushed, prodded, and pulled on it and nothing happens. Sometimes I think it's made out of some new age sci-fi indestructable material. You, will never need to worry about it falling apart on you, or ripping a hole in it. Believe me, I'm extremely careless ( yeah I'm working on fixing that), so if it were going to have a tear I would have put one in it by now.
I rate this bag as a 4.5 star in terms of value, durability, comfort, etc..I'm leaving off a half of a star because i'm a little bummed that this didn't get made with wheels.
While i'm extremely happy with it and feel it was worth the 70 pounds I spend on it, the fact that it's a little more expensive than normal duffels, and that you can't roll it around when your extremely tired, is a downside.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend this if your looking for a new "Use-for-Everything" type of carry-on rucksack. You probably can find this at most North Face endorsed outdoor stores or even online (of course).
The North Face Base Camp Duffel is a classic bomber expedition bag and is one of the most rugged, versatile holdalls you will ever own. The exterior is extremely durable and is finished with a wipe-clean, water-resistant laminate fabric in traditional TNF colours.