It’s difficult to not compare the Mountain Equipment Wet & Dry 70L Duffel Bag with The North Face’s Basecamp Duffel as they both look and even feel so similar. However, there is certainly something that separates them...
The Wet & Dry is made from a PU coated polyester that I’d guess has about a 850 denier strength, then on the base, there’s a 1000 denier nylon, so it’s certainly made of some very robust stuff. I'm sure it could last dozens of trips squashed at the bottom of a car boot or strapped to the roof. Granted it’ll scuff at the edges, especially if it’s thrown down when filled with a heavy load, but still, I’d say it’ll be a long, long time before it wears through.
It’s not waterproof, and it’s not supposed to be. Weatherproof is a better way to describe it; the PU coating on the fabric will keep the rain out, and the flaps over the zips will help, but if the zips get exposed then they will leak. The seams aren’t taped either.
I loaded the Mountain Equipment Wet & Dry Duffel with 14kg of kit and walked for around 2 hours with it to test the carrying comfort, and it was decent. The shoulder straps are comfortable enough and did feel like they helped to manage the load – they’re the right shape and are nicely padded plus easy to adjust. You don’t see many duffel bags with a sternum strap either (for some reason), and it’s a welcome feature.
If you don’t need the shoulder straps they can be removed quite easily which is useful if you want the duffel to pass through hold luggage check-in without being asked to stick it in a big plastic bag or whatever airlines make you do to backpacks these days.
For hauling and quick handling, the duffel has strong webbing handles on both ends and sides, and there are daisy loops to make it easy to securely lash it down (or up) with rope.
The main compartment is accessed through a large U-shaped lid which has two zipped mesh pockets for small stuff like your keys and passport, then inside the main compartment itself there is a large zipped sack that’s intended for keeping wet kit separate from your dry stuff – hence the Wet & Dry name. There’s one more zipped pocket at the end of the duffel on the outside which is big enough to take a few book-sized items.
As far as duffel bags go, it’s a comfortable carry, plus it’s extremely durable and will provide the contents inside it with good protection from all but heavy rain. You could say that the downside is that it’s fairly heavy at 1670g and it’s not packable or easy to fold or compress to a small size like some duffels.
As already mentioned, it is very similar to The North Face’s Basecamp Duffel, but where they both differ is in price – Mountain Equipment is definitely the lower cost option. So that’s certainly something to consider.
If you are thinking of buying one of these, and from the internet, make sure you order the right one for you, because as well as coming in different sizes, they also come with either a single or a double shoulder strap.
Mountain Equipment Wet & Dry 70L
- Price: £90
- Weight: 1670g
Main fabric: PU coated polyester; Base 1000 denier nylon | 1 zipped external pocket | 2 zipped lid pockets | 1 internal wet compartment | nylon webbing handles and daisy chain loops | removable shoulder straps | 1 sternum strap | 40L, 70L and 100L available | Numerous colours.