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Arc’teryx Carrier Duffle 50 | Review

Excerpt Light, minimalist, surprisingly tough and water resistant too - Canadian precision engineering meets the outdoors duffle...

The Carrier Duffle 50 is what happens when the world’s leading technical outdoors brand levels its sights on the humble duffle. It’s a tough, light and highly water-resistant that’s been precision engineered using all the technology that the Canadian outfit has developed on its top notch clothing, harnesses and pack designs.

That means tough but light Nylon fabric with taped fully waterproof seams, removable shoulder straps that double as courier bag ones, an Arc’teryx WaterTight, water-resistant zip – the brand was first to use this type of zip remember – and even a reflective white interior to make things easier to find in low light conditions.

Basics

  • £100 / 540g
  • 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

Performance

We’ve been using the Carrier Duffle for a year now, since the 2014 Arc’teryx Alpine Academy in fact, and it’s become a bit of a go-to staple in any situation where we want reliable, water-resistant carrying capacity without excessive weight. And it’s been brilliant.

How so? First it weighs just 540g for its 49 litres of internal space, but it does it without being fragile. Next, it’s impressively water resistant. Not only are the seams fully taped – clever cutting has reduced the number of these as well – but the water-resistant WaterTight zip also has a stiffened laminated flap which fits closely and protects it from direct water spray. The combination means that while it’s not submersible, it laughs in the face of rain, particularly if you carry it so the flap opening faces down.

And it’s easy to carry too. The removable shoulder straps are padded and work fine for short stints, come off for finnicky airliine baggage control folk and also double as courier bag-type straps if that’s how you roll. On top of those, there are carry handles on top, bottom and at both ends, so there’s always something to grab hold of.

The shape’s also easy to stow in racks, though it’s slightly too long to meet flight baggage size limits without some squashing.

And because Arc’teryx sweats the details, the inside of the bag is a reflective white colour to make it easier to pick out the contents in low light or no light conditions. Finally, it has a proper quality feel to it and the whopping great reflective bird logo running across the storm-flap tops it all off nicely.

And if it’s empty, it packs down smaller than any other duffle we’ve used. Which is nice if you need to carry some extra stowage for some random reason.

It’s not quite perfect. We’d maybe like locking zip-pulls and if you were fussy and planning on, say, lashing it to a yak, then some classic webbing daisy chains might come in handy, but we suspect the handles would work out just fine in most scenarios. Oh, and a holder for a luggage label would be handy too.

Verdict

A beautifully-engineered lightweight duffle that’s also deceptively tough and weather resistant and stuffs down into a bundle smaller than a football. Little things like the multiple grab-handles, versatile padded shoulder straps and the thoughtfully white interior coating all work and the snug storm-flap over the WaterTight zip doesn’t just look good – it sits close and flat enough to be properly unobtrusive – it does a practical job too.

We’ve used the Carrier Duffle for everything from lugging random camping sundries about in the outdoors through to general business travel and it’s been excellent. Sure, £100 is a lot for what’s basically a nice kit-bag and someone will be along in a minute to tell you that a bin-liner and an IKEA bag will do much the same job, but trust us, it won’t do it anything like as well.

Unbeatable combination of lightweight, relative toughness, weather resistance, portability and stowage, albeit at a price.

Pros:

  • Lightness and packability
  • Arc’teryx build quality
  • Weather resistance
  • Portability and handles

Cons:

  • Not 100% waterproof
  • Relatively expensive

Ratings

Performance: 5
Value: 4
Overall: 5

Full details at www.arcteryx.com

Detachable shoulder straps make short carries straightforward.

Storm flap covers water-resistant, WaterTight zip and gives useful extra protection.

There are carrying handles on all four sides so there’s always something to grab hold of.

White interior fabric makes stuff easier to find in low light conditions.

All seams are taped and cunning cutting has minimised the amount of fabric used.

Oh look, there’s another grab handle.

Those shoulder straps can be unthreaded for pernickety airline check-in desks.

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