Hands-on Gear Review

Black Diamond Huey Duffel Review

Black Diamond Huey Duffel
Price:  $150 List
Pros:  Very durable, easy to load, carries nicely
Cons:  Heavy, doesn't zip all the way around and is a pain to close sometimes
Editors' Rating:   
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Actual weight of a 90-110 liter model:  4lbs 7oz (100)
Size options:  3 (60, 100,150)
Volumne size options (liters):  60, 100, 150
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond

Our Verdict


This is the most durable duffel bag we tested but also one of the heaviest. It is better for burly expeditions and not as great for airplane travel. It is designed to be taken on extended trips where durability and longevity are more important than weight. It is made of the some of the beefiest fabric and features no corners on the zipper of its main compartment opening. It is also one of the most water-resistant duffels in our review. It wears as a backpack well, which makes dashing through airports a little easier, and we loved its X-shaped grab straps on either end.

It is also the most weather-resistant model we tested, making it a great option for extended expeditions, long-term travel or storage use. It is one of the nicer duffels to drag around by any of its options backpack style, briefcase style or grabbing the end loops and dragging it on the ground. Its biggest disadvantage is the fact that it is nearly heaviest duffel in this review, with only the Mountain Hardwear Expedition Duffel being heavier, and is a little harder to zip shut than others. So if you are looking to save weight you might want look somewhere else. But if you are looking for one of the burliest duffels you can buy, then look no further than the Black Diamond Huey.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Ian Nicholson

Last Updated:
Wednesday
March 17, 2010

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Likes


The Black Diamond Huey is the most durable duffel bag in the review; no need to fear about random sharp tidbits poking through this burly bag. It is also one of the most comfortable to carry while in backpack mode. It has two zippers on on each side that allow a large opening for fitting whatever you might want to bring. Having no bends in its zippers extends the longevity of the zipper teeth. The Huey is one of the biggest duffels in the review; the only more voluminous model being the Gregory Long Haul Duffel. With our hosedown test we determined that the BD Huey is our review's most water resistant duffel. We liked its backpack straps as much as any duffel we tested and enjoyed how nice it was to drag its X-shaped end straps around. It features two mesh zippered pockets underneath its lid. It has a small clear information pocket that has a metal button to keep your information from accidentally falling out (a nice feature but we never noticed this to be a problem with other models). The Huey is one of the only models that allows the pad on the shoulder strap to be adjusted from both ends, allowing the backpack straps to be used as a single shoulder strap.

Dislikes


The main disadvantage is its weight; it is nearly the heaviest duffel in the review. Its pockets on the lid underside are a little small and inconvenient but most people will still use them and not think too much of it. It features large flaps that cover the zippers. These flaps help increase the water resistance and the longevity of the zippers, but sometimes they also make it difficult to zip the duffel closed when it is really full or nearly empty. The main opening doesn't zipper all the way closed; it uses Velcro on one end to seal itself. We never saw signs of an object forcing the Velcro open, but we were a little unsure of it. Some testers felt it might be easier for a thief to sneak their hand into the opening. After playing with this theory we found it somewhat unlikely it wasn't much easier than just opening the zipper. In our gut, we still didn't love the fact that it didn't zip completely shut, but this is probably because we are used to the full zip style.

Value


The Huey is about the same price as other bags with big D-shaped openings and backpack straps: The North Face Base Camp Duffel, Gregory Alpaca Duffel, and Mountain Hardwear Expedition Duffel. The Huey will probably outlast any duffel in this review, which makes it one of the best long-term values.
Ian Nicholson

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Most recent review: October 26, 2010
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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 (3.8)

67% of 3 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
5 Total Ratings
5 star: 40%  (2)
4 star: 40%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 20%  (1)
Climber

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Apr 16, 2010 - 06:32am
GZimmerman · Climber · WA
While yes this duffle is heavy is it "Ballin" it withstood 3 weeks of serious weather out in the Alaska Range…

Super psyched.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
Climber

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   Oct 26, 2010 - 12:06pm
sos · Climber · nyc
I own the 100L huey. It was (and still is) marketed as "the maximum check-in bag size allowed by airlines" (without an oversize fee). This may be true if measured by volume, but airlines, if they get the stick out, don't measure by volume, they measure by the three largest dimensions and since the bag is shaped like a trapazoid, not a square or rectangle, it measures out larger than permitted. The airline will still check the bag, but you will pay a hefty oversize fee. While I flew a number of times with this bag without being charged, after being charged once, it was no longer worth the $100 risk (both legs of the flight) to keep carrying the bag.

BD refused to offer a refund or exchange on their misleadingly marketed merchandise.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.

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   Aug 30, 2010 - 05:28pm
Brian · Climber · California
Zipper blew out on mine, though Black Diamond was quick to replace it (the bag, not the zipper). I like this bag quite a bit, but it's my second favorite after my old Patagonia Black Hole duffel. Just my preference.

Brian
Climbing The Line at LL.

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   Apr 16, 2010 - 05:26pm
climbinginchico · Climber · Modesto, CA
I've had a Huey 60l for five years now, and the thing is still virtually new despite being contstantly stuffed with all sorts of climbing gear. The only wear visible is on the shoulder carry straps where my inattentiveness let one of my pet rabbits chew on it, so there's some gnaw marks. Otherwise it's been beefy, withstanding everything the airlines can throw at it. Weight isn't a big deal to me, because it carries exceptionally well as a backpack- on short approaches I sometimes just cinch the straps down and don't bother with a "true" pack. I'd gladly take a heavier, more comfortable bag that's freakin bomber than something that will wear through but is lighter. I've never had anything try to sneak through the velcro, though sometimes the velcro can snag shoelaces.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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