The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Bago Packable Review

A compact, stowable duffel for occasional and secondary use.
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Price:  $35 List | $21.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Lightweight, excellent organization, compact storage
Cons:  No backpack straps, limited durability and water resistance
Manufacturer:   bago
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 21, 2019
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58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 12
  • Ease of Transport - 22% 5
  • Ease of Packing - 22% 7
  • Durability - 22% 3
  • Weight - 24% 9
  • Weather Resistance - 10% 3

Our Verdict

The Bago is an excellent bag for what we'll call "secondary" use. It is intended that you carry it, collapsed and zipped, inside your main luggage (or vehicle) for later and occasional use. When you collect more stuff than your main luggage capacity can hold, the Bago is the ticket. Among the various entries in this subcategory, the Bago is a better choice for absolute weight savings.

This is the duffel you keep in the trunk of your car for carting unexpected thrift store purchases up to your apartment. Or it is what you take on an expedition to carry the food from the local grocery store to destination. Or, maybe you use it for dirty laundry around your tiny house or to carry back gifts from vacation. We can think of hundreds of uses; just be aware of the limitations (carrying options, durability, weather resistance).


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Pros Lightweight, excellent organization, compact storageRugged, stiff and wide opening, variety of carry optionsEasy to pack, comfortable shoulder straps, excellent pockets, super durableExcellent shoulder straps, thick waterproof coatingHighly weather resistant, easy to pack, comfortable shoulder straps
Cons No backpack straps, limited durability and water resistanceOnly one smaller pocket, heavyNot super light, fabric is a little stiffRelatively thin fabric, extra unnecessary featuresExternally accessed pocket is on the smaller side, shoulder straps take a little more work to remove
Bottom Line A compact, stowable duffel for occasional and secondary use.The best darn duffel bag for all kinds of adventuresome travel.While it faces stiffer competition than it used to, it remains the duffel that all others are compared against.Carries on your back better than any other duffel we’ve assessed and is a top contender.From its streamline design to its top notch weather resistance and multitude of lashing options, this is a solid duffel.
Rating Categories Bago Packable Sea to Summit 90L The North Face Base Camp Osprey Transporter 130 Gregory Alpaca
Ease Of Transport (22%)
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7
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7
Ease Of Packing (22%)
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7
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9
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9
Durability (22%)
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3
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Weight (24%)
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Weather Resistance (10%)
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Specs Bago Packable Sea to Summit 90L The North Face... Osprey Transporter... Gregory Alpaca
Weight (Pounds) 1.38 pounds (80 liter model) 4.30 pounds (90 liter model) 4.20 pounds (95 liter model) 3.44 pounds 3.72 pounds
Volume Size Options (Liters) 60, 80, 100 Liters 45, 65, 90, 130 Liters 33, 50, 69, 95, 150 Liters 40, 65, 95, 130 Liters 30, 45, 60, 90, 120 Liters
D or I opening I D D D D
Back Pack Straps No Yes Yes Yes Yes
# of pockets (excludes main compartment) 4 1 3 3 2
Info window No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Material Honeycomb ripstop Tarpaulin Laminate 1000D nylon 1000D phthalate-free TPE laminate body with additonal 840-denier Jr. ballistics nylon on the bottom 840D Nylon TPU Double Coated 900D TPU diamond rip-stop material with additional layer of 630D nylon on the bottom

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Bago is a lightweight, niche bag and is best used as a sort of secondary bag on your travels. It sits small and lightweight and can be stored empty into its own pouch, in your luggage, or vehicle until you need it. When you need it, it opens up to a large volume, with excellent organizational and usability attributes. It is nearly the best secondary luggage we tested, surpassing some but not quite matching others.

Performance Comparison


Two contenders in Pucon Chile. When you are a long way from home  your luggage really matters. In this context  the black Bago Travel Bag was handy for deploying for around town organization between longer moves.
Two contenders in Pucon Chile. When you are a long way from home, your luggage really matters. In this context, the black Bago Travel Bag was handy for deploying for around town organization between longer moves.

Ease of Transport


Ease of transport is a function of carry options and comfort. Bags can be wheeled, dragged, briefcase-carried backpacked, or carried over one shoulder. Of these, the Bago Travel can be briefcase carried and carried over one shoulder. None of the other methods are possible or reasonable. Bags with more options and exceptional comfort and mobility in each of the options score better; if you load this thing up, it maxes out reasonable briefcase carry or one-shoulder carry. With more normal loads (say, under 30 pounds), either option is serviceable for short distances.

The one-shoulder carry of the Bago Travel Bag is the only practical way to move it when fully loaded. We wish it also (or instead) had backpack straps.
The one-shoulder carry of the Bago Travel Bag is the only practical way to move it when fully loaded. We wish it also (or instead) had backpack straps.

Ease of Packing


The Bago gets high marks for organizational options and for the wide-opening main compartment. The straight "I-shaped" zipper is less than ideal, but the soft, flexible fabric still allows a wide opening. The four different accessory pockets are great, and we especially liked the segregated, variable-volume "shoe section" of the bag. One end of the Bago is a wide-opening, zippered, externally accessed pocket. This pocket shares volume with the main compartment and can hold wet gear, dirty clothes, or stinky shoes separate from the remaining contents. When there is nothing in this pocket, the main pouch benefits from greater volume. No other bag we reviewed has more accessory pockets, and none have the clever shoe/wet storage.

Two of the organizational pockets on the Bago can be used whether the bag is full sized or zipped to compact carry. This photo shows one of those pockets.
Two of the organizational pockets on the Bago can be used whether the bag is full sized or zipped to compact carry. This photo shows one of those pockets.

Durability


Compact and lightweight construction comes at the expense of durability. The "normal" pack cloth of the Bago will contain your items for gentle and short use, but for life-long and rough treatment, you may experience issues with zippers and wear holes. This bag is for occasional, "supervised" use. We would think twice and hard before handing it off to the airlines or donkey drivers.

You do not choose this product for durability. You pick it for what proves to be the exact opposite. Durability and compact, lightweight portability are almost always at odds. This product is no exception.

The Bago packed up with an iPhone SE for size reference.
The Bago packed up with an iPhone SE for size reference.

Weight


The Bago is a big winner in this category. At just over a pound for the 60-liter version we tested, its weight per volume is light years ahead of most. Note that Bago claims its weight to be .9 pounds, while our scale found it to weigh 1.38 pounds. We expect differences in what we observe and what is claimed, but this difference is significant.

The Bago is light  especially for its volume (this scale is reporting in pounds  ounces  and eighths of an ounce).
The Bago is light, especially for its volume (this scale is reporting in pounds, ounces, and eighths of an ounce).

Weather Resistance


The fabric of the Bago is waterproof. We tested it under pressure and had no water seep in. The seams and zippers, though, are not sealed at all. In minor splashes, your stuff will stay dry.

A few hundred pounds of the world's lightest ski gear  packed into various duffels. Some of the tested bags are here in Santiago  Chile. Including the black bottom of the Bago Travel Bag. For much rough use and piling like this the Bago will break down.
A few hundred pounds of the world's lightest ski gear, packed into various duffels. Some of the tested bags are here in Santiago, Chile. Including the black bottom of the Bago Travel Bag. For much rough use and piling like this the Bago will break down.

Moisture will sneak in during any robust, long-term weather exposure. For occasional and short-term use, especially as long as you keep the Bago "supervised", the sacrifice in weather resistance shouldn't be a big deal.

Stowing the Bago into its pouch is as easy as can be expected. It isn't a tight fit  but it does require a little effort.
Stowing the Bago into its pouch is as easy as can be expected. It isn't a tight fit, but it does require a little effort.

Value


For intended, occasional use, you don't want to spend a ton on your luggage, and this is a great deal.

Conclusion


For use as a secondary bag, the value, size, weight, and organizational options of the Bago Travel Bag edges it ahead of most. We don't expect a specialized, lightweight, compact product like this to compete favorably with the beefier and larger bags we assessed. And it meets these low expectations. Overall, this bag is nothing special. It shouldn't be the first thing you look for; but if you need what it can do, none will do better.


Jediah Porter