Friday, February 09, 2018

Gear Closet: Osprey BigKit Duffel Bag Review

For a long time, the trusty backpack was the favored way to carry your gear when exploring the world. Not only does a good backpack allow you to haul all of your stuff with ease, but the fact that you could throw it over your should and move quickly is always a plus too. But, in recent years we've seen duffel bags start to creep into the mix, offering a more versatile and easy to access option, while retaining some of the elements that make a backpack such an attractive piece of luggage. So with that in mind, who better to design the perfect duffel bag for our outdoor pursuits than Osprey, a company that already makes some of the best packs in the world?

Recently I've been testing the company's new BigKit, which is one of three duffels that make up the "Gear Kit" line. The BigKit is specifically designed for travel and includes features that come in handy when hitting the road. The other two bags in the line are the SnowKit and TrailKit, which are built for skiers/snowboarders and trail runners/mountain bikers respectively. Each bag is meant to serve as a mobile base camp, making it easy to bring all of the gear and equipment you need no matter where you go.

The BigKit offers the most capacity of any of these duffels with 75 liters of total storage. Thats enough too carry enough gear to see you through just about any adventure, and keep you moving from the airport to the backcountry.

As someone who tends to pack light, I found the bag's cavernous interior offered plenty of space for everything I've needed to take with me on recent journeys, with plenty of room to spare. For instance, I traveled with this bag to Outdoor Retailer in Denver a few weeks back and packed it with everything I needed for the four-day trip. Normally, this much space would be overkill for such a short excursion, but I also knew that I would probably pick up a few new items while at the trade show, and would appreciate the extra space for the return trip. This proved to be a highly accurate predication, and I was glad to have the extra room when I headed home. Even with plenty of new swag in my possession, the BigKit could have still swallowed up more stuff.

Made from a durable blend of several different types of nylon, the BigKit is rugged and durable, which is exactly what I would expect from a product from Osprey. This bag has already been put through the ringer, making several flights, getting pulled in and out of trunks of cars, tossed around hotel rooms, and dragged all over town. I've even had to check it with the airlines once or twice, and it still looks completely brand new.

But the BigKit – as with the other "Gear Kits" in the line-up – isn't built strictly for travel. This is a bag that you can take with you when you go trail running, skiing, mountain biking, climbing, or just about any other outdoor activity. It is meant to carry what ever equipment you need for the adventure you are embarking on, whether that's for a day, the weekend, or weeks at a time.

Some of the nice features that I really love include stowaway shoulder straps that quickly convert the duffel into a backpack, a dedicated compartment for carrying shoes that is ventilated to allow odor and moisture to escape, and a large U-zipper that provides excellent access to the interior of the bag at all times. There is also a dedicated helmet carrier that can be tucked away, a dry pocket for storing wet clothing, and extra pockets for keeping important items close at hand. Many duffels only offer one or two total storage compartments, but Osprey has wisely provided more options here.

If you've ever read my gear reviews before, you probably already know that I put a high premium on versatility. I like my equipment to be able to be used for multiple activities or serve multiple purposes. That's exactly what the BigKit delivers, making it an excellent choice for what ever your favorite outdoor activities may be. It is nice to have a bag that you can toss everything you need into and be ready to head out the door on a moment's notice, knowing that you are organized and have the stuff you need to get moving. Whether that means heading to the trailhead with your running shoes, hydration pack, and jacket stored inside, or flying out to dive the Great Barrier Reef. The BigKit delivers that kind of performance, making it the one duffel you need for all of your adventures and expeditions.

Osprey has delivered all of this at a fantastic price point too. The BigKit sells for just $150, which is a bargain considering how much functionality it delivers. If you've been searching for a versatile, durable, and well designed duffel to add to your own gear closet, the search is over. Just go ahead and order one of these and be done with it already.

Osprey Packs | Gear Kit | Product Tour from Osprey Packs on Vimeo.

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