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If you travel like the SNEWS® team does – everywhere and anywhere at a moment’s notice – then you know the value of having a small duffel that you can stuff into a larger suitcase or travel pack as a just-in-case bag or a regular tote for cruising around town.
We’ve tested plenty and we have a few favorites, to be sure. Add The North Face Flyweight Duffel to our quiver of preferred compact duffel choices. Weighing just a smidge over 12 ounces, according to our postal scale, the duffel is certainly lightweight, but unlike other lightweight bags, it’s plenty beefy to keep the airport baggage gorillas from destroying it. Plus the Flyweight has great pockets as well as and other helpful features.
First, the bag deploys easily from its own integrated pocket/stuffsack. Once in use, the handles are very comfortable, both in hand and when used as a makeshift backpack – not really its design, but hey, who hasn’t schlepped a duffel over the shoulders that way? It features a removable shoulder strap, and the bag compresses loads very efficiently using pull-wing straps at each end and two across the middle of the bag. As for size, its 1,950 cubic inches are more than sufficient for day use, and the bag works very well as a just-in-case bag to package up laundry or, say, 20 pounds of chocolate and gummy bears when coming home from Germany – hey, we all have our needs!
One thing we could do without are the double-wall pockets at the each end of the duffel. Sure, they are marginally useful when you need to stuff and stash things when traveling around town, but their bulk and weight overshadows their benefit. Plus, the pockets are just more things that airport baggage equipment can sang. And the thin nylon straps on the end pockets kinda dangle around, making the bag a tangle of straps. In terms of needs, it would be very nice to have a key fob in the interior pocket/stuffsack – yes, a small thing to be sure, but when traveling, little details do count.
SNEWS® Rating: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $55
For more information:www.thenorthface.com