I’m an outdoor gear tester so I have a lot of stuff in my garage. Really, though, only a handful of items in there are things I truly love, pieces I can’t live without. One of them is my Base Camp Duffel from The North Face.
I’ve had my duffel for several years and over that time I’ve dragged it around the world. What I like most is that you can beat the hell out of it and it just keeps going. I never worry about the bag getting ripped by angry baggage handlers because it’s made from a nearly indestructible, super high denier ballistics nylon. The zippers are also tough as nails so it never tears open even when it’s packed to the gills.
You can carry the bag like a duffel—one handed—but The North Face also threw regular backpack straps on, which is a nice feature. You can’t wear it all day, but the straps are totally fine for an hour or so if you have to negotiate the streets of some new country.
There are five different sizes—XS, small, medium, large, XL—and I went with the large (90 liters) because that’s usually plenty for most of the ski trips I take, which tend to last a week or 10 days. People headed to the Himalayas will want the XL.
What really seals the deal for me is that The North Face keeps the price down. The large will put you back $145 clams, which is a chunk of change, but the company could probably charge twice as much because this is one of those pieces of gear you’ll likely have forever.