The North Face Base Camp Duffle - Large
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The North Face Base Camp Duffle Large is an extremely hard-wearing gear bag made from thick PVC for super durability. The Large Base Camp Duffle takes up to 90 litres worth of kit.
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The North Face Base Camp Duffle - Large Reviews
Reviewed by Roger K (London/Chamonix) on 2006-04-11:
General comments: What a great bag, doesnít everyone have one of these already? No better advertisement for the North Face Base Camp duffle is when walking through Londonís Heathrow airport where a variety of people can be seen carrying, pushing and dragging these bags in a multitude of colours around the terminal en route to an adventure or two. Pick up a copy of a climbing magazine or book and you will see many of them strapped to the sides of yak bound for a Himalayan base camp (hence the name?). I bought my Large Base Camp Duffle a couple years ago prior to a trip to Canada. At a massive 90 litres it holds the kitchen sink, the cooker and a fridge freezer. When flying, I have stuffed it full of climbing gear including rack, boots and tools in order to only have to carry on a small back pack. The material is bomb proof although do make sure to protect it from your ice tool picks. I do like to put a small padlock on the zips to stop wandering hands of baggage handlers, etc. If you are off skiing, the duffle is also a great partner as you can use the adjustable shoulder straps to carry it on your back whilst leaving one hand for your ski bag and the other for your precious duty free! The North Face has been onto a winner for ages, long may they continue.
Pros: Size (Bigger than a big thing on a big day). Shoulder straps. Durability to last a lifetime.
Cons: Be careful that you don't carry too much or you will get hit for excess baggage when flying.
Reviewed by Michael Read (Andover) on 2006-08-04:
General comments: I originally purchased the North Face base camp duffle in size medium for my first skiiing trip, so that I could pack all my bits of gear in. First impressions were that the bag was very well constructed with a very durable tarpauline like fabric and sturdy webbing and stitching. At 75 litres the medium was an excellent 1 week skiing bag but I later decided that as I was skiing eariler in the year (more down and thicker layers) and for longer periods I required a large version of this duffle. I order the large and was initially disappointed that the material had changed but it appears to be equally as hard wearing if not so nice to the touch. The bag is near waterproof with the zip and stitcing being the only weak areas. When I originally got this bag I was at an advantage as when I was waiting for my luggage in the airport it could be easily spotted due to the brightly colour and obvious logo, but due to the popularity of the design there are now too many similar bags in geneva airport and care needs to be taken to avoid picking up the wrong one. There are no partitions with the holdall and therefore on occasions you have to take everything out to get to things at the bottom (although less of a hastle than a single compartment rucksack). The rucksack straps I felt were initially a bit gimicky but they have proved invaluable when carrying large amonuts of gear around airports, railway stations and from the car to the tent at campsites (although not suitable for anything more than short journeys). The way these rucksack straps neatly fold away give a normal large holdall appearance and therefore they can go onto the standard luggage converyor belt rather than having to take it to the none standard luggage area. All in all this is the best large holdall / duflle I have found and definatley the most durable. The only downside is that the more gear I get the more likely I am to need an XL size !!!
Pros: Very durable
Avaliable i varying sizes
Good rucksack straps
Different colours avaliable
Cons: New material is in my opinion not as nice to the touch
Reviewed by Pete Baars (Merseyside) on 2006-08-10:
General comments: I love these North Face Base Camp duffle bags, they make everything accessible relatively easily, massive volume, they're bombproof, durable, fairly water resistant (the only real weakness being the zip), comfortable to carry and very easy to pack (just stuff it all in) I've had one for several years now. However, we recently decided to buy a second one for my wife for an extended trip. We bought it online from a French store making a considerable saving over the UK price, but we hadn't realised that The North face people have altered the design. They've squared it off and it doesn't pack as well as the older more bulbous design, nor does it carry as comfortably. One area of improvement is the new Rucksack straps for carrying it on your back, these are a lot more comfortable. The new straps are thermoformed like you find on the padding of most modern rucksacks or climbing harnesses. Making the whole experience of carrying 100 litres plus of kit nicer as you trek through the airport.
Overall, I'm not happy with the change in design though, certainly not for the kind of money that The North Face want for this bag. My personal preference now is for the Rab Expedition Kit Bag, made from the same heavy duty durable fabric as the Macpac Ascent & Pursuit packs and at £50 RRP for the 100 litre version, it's a lot cheaper. The rucksack straps aren't as good, but I can live with that for the saving and the better (IMHO) shape.
The Rab fabric also lends itself to putting an Iron-on transfer on it, so as well as being less common than the TNF bag, I've been able to personalise it with a huge Iron-on version of my business logo, making it really stand out on the baggage carousel another advantage over the TNF bag!
The original Base Camp Duffel wasn't broke, so they shouldn't have tried to fix it!
Pros: Excellent Shoulder straps
Cons: Shape, price
Reviewed by Rachel S (Stockport) on 2007-09-30:
General comments: This has to be the classic duffle bag really, you can really see just how staple they are in the outdoor freaks kit when you head off to Geneva airport and see just how many of them are trundling round the baggage carousel! They are pretty much bombproof, they do get a bit bashed once you've used them for a few years, but it's purely aesthetic and in fact adds to the look a bit! Available in several different colours (white, red, yellow, green, blue, black) they will carry a whole shed load of stuff. The heavy duty zips can take a small padlock for extra security and there is also a mesh pocket inside the lid with a key holding thingy for putting bits and pieces in to keep them separate.The handles at either end are strong, and you can strap stuff to the sides using the compression straps. The rucksack type straps are much more comfortable than I ever thought they would be and I have carried this bag pretty far with a heavy weight in. As far as capacity goes, in my experience, a well packed large duffel should be just about bang on the usual 20kg baggage limit on most airlines. Just remember to mark it in some way so you dont get it mixed up with all the others in arrivals!
Pros: Bombproof. An outdoor classic.
Cons: Would be nice if there was a separate compartment for dirty/wet kit. But only a small gripe!