I've been crewing
for the past 2.5 years, including a couple of offshore
passages. Up until now I've made do with either a cheap
soft-sided rolling duffel from wally world, (which wasn't ideal but mostly worked, except for having no room for my sea boots) or a 20+ year old gym-bag type duffel that is just miserable.
Since it seems like this year I've been picking up quite a few passages, and got on the crew list with a couple of delivery
captains, I figure it's finally time for me to get a good, solid gear
bag that will both work well and last me for a while. So, I want to ask the more experienced sailors, crewmembers, and delivery
skippers out there who've been at this long enough to have formed opinions for your thoughts about duffels / gear
bags, mainly for longer (2-week +) trips.
From my end, here's what I'm thinking I want/need:
- Large size (I'm leaning towards somewhere between 90L to 120L, probably 140L at the largest)
- Will fit all my gear, including clothing, full set of foulies, sea boots, PFD & tether, etc for 3-4 week passage
- Solid, reasonably heavy-duty material (something that'll stand up to airport baggage handlers when I need to check it)
- Ideally, will have removable shoulder straps to be able to wear it backpack-style when carrying it for long stretches
- Well made, so it doesn't fall apart after the first use (I don't want to be replacing it every year!)
- If it's at least somewhat water-resistant that would be great. Not sure I want to go the dry bag route, especially in the size I'm looking for, but something that won't let everything inside get soaked the first time spray or rain hits it would be preferred.
Are there any other qualities or features that you would suggest? Something I'm missing that you really wish you had on your bag, or that you DO have and are really glad about?
Does anyone have recommendations for bags that they've especially liked or that have held up well over time? Or on the contrary, bags that they've really disliked, or that haven't held up well? Or any other thoughts about duffel bags / gear bags for crewing
, when it comes to longer passages?
Just at a first glance around here (Atlanta) I've found a couple of bags that seem like they fit the bill. If anyone has any experience with either of them, I'd be especially interested to hear reviews
Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel - Large (90L) or XL (120L)
The North Face Base Camp Duffel - Large (95L) or XL (132L)
Thanks for any thoughts you may have to offer, and fair winds & following seas this season!
P.S. I did do a quick search of the forums
to see if any previous threads came up, but I didn't see any that looked especially relevant. If anyone recalls a previous discussion on the topic and can point me in a direction of a previous thread, thanks in advance.