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Old 12-04-2016, 04:42   #1
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Question Duffel Bag / Gear Bag Thoughts or Recommendations (For 2+ week trips)

Howdy everyone,

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 or opinions.
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.

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Old 12-04-2016, 05:31   #2
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Re: Duffel Bag / Gear Bag Thoughts or Recommendations (For 2+ week trips)

Hi Darren,

my wife and I are using the No Matter What™ Rolling Duffel L for some time (and quite some flights). Still going strong ....

No Matter Whatâ„¢ Flashpoint Rolling Duffel L - Duffels & Gear Bags | Eagle Creek

Very satisfied with them. Packs quite small when emptied and stored. Of course you want to carry the bag while walking on deck (and do not use the wheels ;-)) but will apreachiate the wheels otherwise ....

There is also an XL version but it would be over the max. allowed size for 'normal checked in luggage' (and some airlines might charge extra fees for bulky luggage).



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Old 12-04-2016, 11:56   #3
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Re: Duffel Bag / Gear Bag Thoughts or Recommendations (For 2+ week trips)

A few different things are important to me in a pack. I wanted something I could take as a carry-on, something I could fit a lot of stuff in, something completely soft that could stow easily, something that was spash and rain proof, but not necessarily submersion proof, something that could be used as a backpack well when heavy, and something rugged and unlikely to tear. I ended up with one of these: and have been pretty happy.
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Old 12-04-2016, 12:13   #4
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Re: Duffel Bag / Gear Bag Thoughts or Recommendations (For 2+ week trips)

A bit smaller (80L) you are looking for but very good IMO DUO HOLDALL (Registered pattern) - Guy COTTEN
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Old 12-04-2016, 12:16   #5
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Re: Duffel Bag / Gear Bag Thoughts or Recommendations (For 2+ week trips)

Maybe because I sort of lived out of them for so long I'm partial to the "Aviators kit bag"
here called a parachute bag, but large and tough and of course pack away into nothing, but mostly I like them as they are large.

Buy Olive Drab Parachute Bag / Cargo Bags at Army Surplus World
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Old 13-04-2016, 13:55   #6
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Re: Duffel Bag / Gear Bag Thoughts or Recommendations (For 2+ week trips)

When I go cruising in summer, I carry my kit in this: HPA Dry Duffel 150L 1,000d - Cape May Tackle TM Store
Not fully watertight but certainly showerproof and roomy enough: 150 liters!


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