I’ve tested duffel bags of various shapes and sizes over the last few months and this one, the Arc’teryx Carrier Duffle 55, is certainly the lightest and most packable.
It weighs just 600g, so about the same as a can of soup, and when you don’t need it it can be stowed away in its own little mesh stuff sack to make for a package about half the size of a shoe box. This is easily done – there’s no complex folding technique or tedious cramming required.
And don’t go thinking this light weight makes it brittle and flimsy. It’s made from an ‘advanced composite nylon’ which is as impressive as it sounds, and this has a PU coating and ripstop construction to boot, ultimately making for a fabric that’s capable of withstanding some very harsh abrasion. It’s the same stuff that Arc’teryx use for many of their climbing packs, including the alpine focussed Alpha FL 30.
Arc’teryx don’t use the term ‘waterproof’ on their website to describe this and play it safe with ‘exceptional water resistance’. I’d say you could certainly rely on it to keep your belongings safely sealed during extended heavy rainfall or for activities like kayaking, just as long as you keep the WaterTight zip done up fully with the storm flap folded over it. Basically, you can count on it to stand up to anything but full submersion.
The shoulder straps can be configured so that the duffel can be carried either like a backpack or slung over the shoulder as a courier bag. They’re simple in design and padding but they feel comfortable enough to support a heavy load of around 10kg, as I tried this duffel bag out with. It helps that they can be adjusted quite easily, and they’re simple to remove as well. When worn like a backpack, it’s necessary to stow any lumpy and hard items on the side of the duffel away from your back as they’ll otherwise be felt through the thin fabric.
There are four grab handles for hauling the Arc’teryx Carrier Duffle – two on each end and side – and these can also be used if you need to lash it, say to a car roof.
At £130 it isn’t cheap, but the materials are great quality and the design is well thought through. I’d say it would be a good investment if you’re out in the rain or on the water fairly often and have stuff that needs to be kept completely dry – laptops, tablets, work or travel documents for instance. It’s also a very useful option if you’re living out of a suitcase while travelling and need an extra pack for roaming with.
If you need bigger, there’s an 80L version, and there’s a 40L if you need something a bit smaller.
Arc’teryx Carrier Duffel 55 Review
- Price: £130
- Weight: 600g
- More info arcteryx.com
N400r-AC2 nylon 6 ripstop fabric | Advanced Composite Construction (AC²) seam taped | removable padded shoulder straps | WaterTight zip with storm-flap | grab handles top, bottom and side | height: 25cm, length: 61cm, width: 39cm.