Have Duffel, Will Travel

Most of my friends and I are addicted to travel.  But as addictions go, I’d say it’s fairly healthy.  The real money gets spent when you invest in solid travel gear.  But what happens when your trusty travel sidearm of many years is finally run too ragged?  And you’re about to leave for an around the world trip heading West, always chasing the setting sun.  My friend Ravi was looking for a new duffel and there were a few I had in mind.

My friend Ravi is one of those super consultants.  The kind that spend 300 days in hotels out of the year. Whose company is so good at what they do, that if you don’t know who they are, they’ve done their job.  Always traveling to locales both domestic and internationally mystical it’s good to have a solid travel bag.  Except Ravi’s Adidas duffel has finally hit the skids, and with a three month sabbatical where he’ll be hitting stops in Asia, India, Europe, Chicago, and L.A. it was time to re-equip. Hence, the phone call.

The Standard – Army Universe Duffel

Victor: What about this standard issue bad boy from Army Universe?  It’s not flashy, so likely not to get robbed.  They double-stitched the Hell out of all the straps, and at a little over 2ft long it should fit in the overhead quite nice. For $37 it’s kind of hard to beat for the cheap.

Ravi: Yeah.  That’s good.  But I need it to hold up to a lot.  It’s likely going to be taking some damage, and even though I want a duffel that one is just one big space.  What about that one you’ve been using all this time?  Do they still sell it?

The Clam Shell – Samsonite Marc Newson Scope Duffel

Victor: Harder to find now, but yeah you can still find it.  We’re talking $140 bones on this one, but it’s quite worth it.  I’m going on four years with this one, and it hasn’t let me down for short weekend trips  or longer treks.  Remember Greece?  This was that bag.

Ravi: Oh yeah.  Does it fit as carry on though?

Victor: Totally. I originally thought it wouldn’t, but slide it in vertically in the overhead compartment and no problem.  I also dig that it has a somewhat firm bottom shell, which helps it keep it’s shape.  The clam shell design is great too.  Much like the old McDLT (keeping the hot side hot, and the cool side cool), you can do stuff like separate shoes and dirty laundry from all the clean stuff.

Ravi: That is slick.  But I was kind of thinking about these sail cloth bags.

Victor: Ah! Now I see.  You already have a bag in mind but you’re trying to rationalize the cost I bet, huh?

The Bulletproof – RAGGEDedge Airstream

Victor: I remember reading about these.  Sail cloth and carbon fiber or Kevlar right?  It’d definitely fit the rugged bill.  Plus aren’t they waterproof.

Ravi: I just got finished calling them too.  They were awesome.  Ran everything down about it.  Everything is marine grade and then some.  Plus there are some exterior pockets for various other small items.  Apparently the more you use the bag, the softer the material gets too.

Victor: Their whole line up is pretty impressive from smaller bags to this guy.  But damn they’re pricey.  The Airstream runs $250-$285.  But I guess this is the kind of thing that you shouldn’t have to buy another bag for 10 years.

Ravi: Yup.  Maybe I should get two of whatever duffel I decide on.  That way I can fold one up and put it in the other when I need it.

Victor: You could, but that’s up to you.  You could save some money and just get one of these stowaway bags.

The Accessory – Stowaway Bag

Victor: For $30 you get a bag made from water-resistant crinkle nylon that’s 24in x 18in x 7in, and folds up to the size of a passport.  It’s a perfect just-in-case bag should you end up bringing back gifts or someone asks you to be a drug mule at the last minute.

Ravi: Ha.

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