The North Face Base Camp Duffel Review
Price: $120 – $170
Sizes: 42, 72, 90, 155 (in liters)
Weight: 1250 g – 2240 g
Website: The North Face
Summary: Wherever you’re going, the Base Camp Duffel is a travel worthy companion. This simple, burly, and durable bag is ideal for weekend warriors or expedition adventurers. It will last forever.
Where are you going? Is you Base Camp Duffel packed? It should be.
I don’t know if I’ve ever had a bag that I abused as much as the The North Face Base Camp Duffel. I’ve completely beat mine up. It’s been to the Alps, New Zealand, Chile, Colorado, Washington, BC, and plenty of other places. As The North Face says, never stop exploring.
I’ve packed the bag to near bursting. It’s been tossed around in the back of diesel soaked pickup beds. It’s been abused by countless luggage handlers. It’s my go-to road trip companion. And it’s still going strong. Too bad it doesn’t have any passport stamps.
I like The North Face Base Camp Duffel so much that we have four floating around our house. We have an XL in black, 2 Larges in blazing yellow and fire red, and a Medium in black. They all serve their own purpose and I’m glad I have each one. Although if I was forced to choose just one size, the Large is the most versatile.
The Base Camp Duffel is a travel worthy piece of gear. My large is my go-to travel bag. It’s nearly impossible to pack it overweight for flights. The medium is small enough (when not over packed and cinched down) to fit in overhead bins. It’s also the perfect size to fill with your ski gear and head to the slopes. I’ve used mine as my daily commuter in Chile for years. Regardless of size, they all pack down to nothing when not in use. When you take a closer look at The North Face Base Camp Duffel, it’s incredibly simple. It’s just a giant duffel bag. There’s a “D” shaped opening at the top with a burly zipper. There are two carry handles that velcro together and there are two adjustable and removable backpack straps that make it easy to carry. I prefer carrying it backpack style – it allows you to carry two bags (one on front and one on back) quite easily.
The heavy duty zippers are guarded by a weather guard and have a small hole that makes the bag lockable. On the inside of the zipped flap is a large, zipped mesh pocket to store items you’ll need for easy access – like a passport, Buff, or bottle opener. Inside the bag there are no real nooks and crannies so it’s impossible to lose anything.
On the exterior of the pack is a clear ID window to display your contact info. There are also strong daisy chains so you can lash your bag to a yak for long approaches. Two compression straps per side allow you to cinch down the bag. On each end, the Base Camp Duffel features two haul handles to make it easy to drag the bag or team lift heavier items. The Base Camp Duffel is built out of Phthalate-free TPE fabric laminate, 840D Jr. ballistics nylon. That’s a fancy way of saying burly. They are pretty much yak proof. These things have been tested in some of the most remote corners of the globe and they still get the job done.
The material is essentially waterproof. It’s protected my stuff and kept it dry from splashing diesel, light and consistent rain, and heavy snow. I can’t say my Base Camp Duffel is indestructible, as I have pierced it once with a crampon and my wife did the same with a knitting needle, but it’s pretty darn tough.
The North Face Base Camp Duffel is simple and burly. Plus, the bag last forever. The North Face has made no major changes to the Base Camp Duffel since it was introduced years ago. This goes to show that it’s a solid product. I’ve had mine going on a decade.
Whether you’re going on ski expedition to India, a family reunion in Mexico, or a road trip to the Powder Highway, the Base Camp Duffel is a good luggage choice. Pair it with a Douchebag Ski Bag and your backcountry backpack and you’ll be set for any adventure. It’s only real competitor is the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel, which I’m looking forward to testing out.
The North Face Base Camp Duffel comes in a variety of colors. It’s available in the following sizes:
Extra Large – $170 – 155 liters – 4 lbs 15 oz / 2240 grams – 32″x19″x19″
Large – $145 – 90 liters – 4 lbs – 28x16x16
Medium – $135 – 72 liters – 3 lbs 8oz/1600g – 24x15x15
Small – $120 – 42 liters – 2 lbs 12 oz/1250g – 20x12x12
The North Face Base Camp Duffel Features
- Four compression straps
- Main compartment with internal mesh pockets
- ID pocket on top
- Locking zippers
- Alpine-cut shoulder straps
- D-zip opening with zipper flap
- Twin haul handles on ends
- Rugged construction with extra bartacks and double stitching
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