Thursday, March 10, 2016

Gear Closet: Eagle Creek Gear Hauler Duffel 90L

For most adventure travelers standard luggage is not an option. Those bags are usually too bulky, cumbersome, and not durable enough to survive in the environments that we take them. Instead, we often resort to carrying a backpack, which is more convenient, but offers some limitations as well. But a good compromise between these two very different types of packs is the duffel bag, which often boast some of the same features as traditional luggage, but in a much more durable package that is easier to carry. The new Cargo Hauler Duffel from Eagle Creek is just such a bag, offering plenty of capacity and conveniences in a surprisingly lightweight package.

Recently I've had the pleasure of testing the 90-liter version of the Cargo Hauler, and I couldn't possibly be more impressed. The cavernous main pocket swallows up an incredible amount of gear, allowing you to carry everything you need with you on your adventures, and then some. Two exterior and zippered organizational pockets located at either end of the bag make it easy to keep smaller items close at hand so you can quickly find them when you need them most.

Eagle Creek didn't skimp on the important details when it came to designing the Cargo Hauler either. It has side grab handle, padded handles on the tip to grab and go, and removable shoulder straps for when you need to wear it like a backpack. It also features an easy to access U-shaped opening to get into the cargo area and foam padded bottom to help keep its contents protected from accidental drops.  The bag even stores inside its own built-in zippered pocket for super-easy storage.

But the most surprising feature of the Cargo Hauler is just how lightweight it is. This duffel bag weighs just 2.2 pounds, which is considerable lighter than most other on the market. For instance, the iconic North Face Base Camp Duffel – which is admittedly 5-liters larger in size – tips the scales at 4.1 pounds. If you're looking for a lightweight bag that can lots of gear, this is it!

Despite its lightweight, the Cargo Hauler doesn't compromise on durability in any way. It is made from a new fabric called Bi-Tec Armor Lite, which has been engineered to be thin, light, and water resistant but incredibly tough too. As a result, this duffel is extremely resistant to tears and abrasions, without adding any bulk. Those same fabrics are also very reflective, making it easy to spot the bag in the low-light conditions.

Everything about this duffel bag screams high quality. From the zippers and pulls, to the straps and buckles, you get the sense that this is a pack you'll be able to carry to the ends of the Earth and back, without seeing much wear or tear. And since it comes with six individual lashing points, you can throw it on top of a vehicle, and lash it to a roof rack without fear of damaging it in anyway. Try that with a regular piece of luggage.

As you can probably tell, I'm a big fan of this duffel bag. It has everything I could ask for in pack, but in a very lightweight package. I love how strong and durable it is, and how much stuff it can carry. if you're heading out on a trip that requires you take a lot of gear, this duffel will handle the job with ease.

The large Cargo Hauler 90-liter version costs $109, which is very affordable for this type of bag. If you don't need something quite so large, it also comes in a 45-liter and 60-liter version as well. But if you need even more capacity, Eagle Creek makes an extra-large Cargo Hauler that has a capacity of 120-liters. All exhibit the same great traits, and are priced appropriately to their size.


yamalink said...

Besides weight compared to the NFBS, how would you rate the Eagle Creek to the Black Hole? Lots of sales right now and the Eagle Creek comes out about $20 less than NF or Patagonia. Do the straps come completely off or just stowed away?

Kraig Becker said...

I believe the Eagle Creek is lighter. And the straps are stowaways.