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Helly Hansen Duffel Bag 2 Review

The HH model is a weather resistant contender with a few sleek features, including the easy to stow shoulder straps and dual internal mesh pockets.
Helly Hansen Duffel Bag 2
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Price:  $140 List | $140.00 at Amazon
Pros:  More durable and weather resistant than previous version, dual inside pockets, tuck away shoulder strap design
Cons:  Larger size would be appreciated, shoulders straps could be better, not as durable as we expected
Manufacturer:   Helly Hansen
By Jediah Porter & Ian Nicholson  ⋅  Oct 21, 2019
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60
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RANKED
#10 of 12
  • Ease of Transport - 22% 5
  • Ease of Packing - 22% 7
  • Durability - 22% 6
  • Weight - 24% 6
  • Weather Resistance - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Helly Hansen Duffel Bag 2 is the updated version of the Helly Hansen Duffel. It keeps the same basic design but makes a significant fabric upgrade that has proven far more durable and weather resistant. Adding to the increased durability, the stitching around the shoulder straps are reinforced beyond that of the older version. The only downside of the new bag? It's no longer a crazy good deal, as the price has increased; it's now about the same cost as most of the other models in this review. Despite the price increase, if you are looking for a 90-liter or smaller travel bag, the Helly Hansen holds its own and is a solid contender in all of our performance categories.


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Pros More durable and weather resistant than previous version, dual inside pockets, tuck away shoulder strap designRugged, 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 Larger size would be appreciated, shoulders straps could be better, not as durable as we expectedOnly 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 The HH model is a weather resistant contender with a few sleek features, including the easy to stow shoulder straps and dual internal mesh pockets.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 Helly Hansen Duffel Bag 2 Sea to Summit 90L The North Face Base Camp Osprey Transporter 130 Gregory Alpaca
Ease Of Transport (22%)
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7
Ease Of Packing (22%)
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9
Durability (22%)
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6
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Weight (24%)
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6
Specs Helly Hansen... Sea to Summit 90L The North Face... Osprey Transporter... Gregory Alpaca
Weight (Pounds) 3.94 pounds (90 liter model) 4.30 pounds (90 liter model) 4.20 pounds (95 liter model) 3.44 pounds 3.72 pounds
Volume Size Options (Liters) 30, 50, 70, 90 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 D D D D D
Back Pack Straps Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
# of pockets (excludes main compartment) 3 1 3 3 2
Info window Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Material PU Laminated Polyester 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 HH Duffel Bag 2 is ideal for most travel applications or some expedition use. The largest size, at 90 liters, is a little small for bigger expeditions or extended trips. It was just the right size when we had a few heavy items; a 70m rope and rock protection plus clothing fit perfectly, but if we primarily had bulky items like sleeping bags, boots, or big down jackets, it was a little small feeling before we hit 50 pounds.

Performance Comparison



Ease of Transport


The Duffel Bag 2 sports some features that make it easy to carry (and drag) around. First off, it has two backpack-style shoulder straps that our review team found above average for comfort, even for extended periods. Our review team liked how easily these straps unclipped and tucked away into their specific pocket (very similar to most rock climbing haul bag designs). Not only did we find this feature beneficial while checking the bags at the airport, but it also meant we never had to look for them once we picked this bag up off the luggage carousel or at a train stop.

Check Out the Duffel Bag 2 Size Options
Helly Hansen makes this great duffel in a variety of versatile sizes. Check out all the options that come in the Helly Hansen Duffel Bag 2; 90L, 70L, 50L, 30L. Whatever size you need, this duffel has got you covered for whatever adventure you're on. We only wish it was also made in a 100+ Liter size.

The backpack-style shoulder straps on the Helly Hansen Duffel Bag 2 were average in comfort compared to most other duffel bags we tested but they are far nicer than not having them at all.
The backpack-style shoulder straps on the Helly Hansen Duffel Bag 2 were average in comfort compared to most other duffel bags we tested but they are far nicer than not having them at all.

In addition to the shoulder straps, there are two grab loops on either end of the HH Duffel Bag 2, which help facilitate dragging the bag anytime it's needed or while pulling it off a luggage rack or baggage carousel. Similar to all the other models in our review, it also sports two shorter briefcase-style carrying straps that are relatively thin and attach with plastic buckles that didn't break during our testing.

One of our favorite features of the Helly Hansen Duffel Bag 2 is how nicely and conveniently the shoulder straps tuck-away into their own little pocket.
One of our favorite features of the Helly Hansen Duffel Bag 2 is how nicely and conveniently the shoulder straps tuck-away into their own little pocket.

Ease of Packing


The Duffel Bag 2 has a large "U" shaped opening that is easy to pack and search for items in. It features a large mesh zippered pocket under the opening, which was handy for easily lost items, as well as a single internal zippered mesh pocket that our testers found extremely useful. Overall, the HH Duffel Bag 2 was as easy to pack as any of the highest-scoring bags and but it featured less overall pockets and fewer organizational options than several other models.

The large "D" shaped opening on the Helly Hansen Duffel Bag 2 was easy to pack and allowed for easy searching for more buried items.
The large "D" shaped opening on the Helly Hansen Duffel Bag 2 was easy to pack and allowed for easy searching for more buried items.

The HH Duffel does feature a small zippered pocket on the exterior of the bag that is nice but wasn't super easy to get into while the bag was full. We liked the ease of packing of the previously mentioned models much better.

The side zippered pocket on the Helly Hansen Duffel Bag 2 is nice but was a little tough to get into when the bag was full.
The side zippered pocket on the Helly Hansen Duffel Bag 2 is nice but was a little tough to get into when the bag was full.

Durability


The Duffel Bag 2 is more durable than the previous model though slightly below average among others in our fleet. It is more durable than a majority of models on the market but below average in our robust selection. We certainly abused ours, and it does have the scars to show it.

While we think the new fabric has undoubtedly proven itself as being more durable, as do the stitching on the backpack straps, we witnessed two separate failures with the straps blowing out. The new beefy reinforced bottom portion of the Duffel Bag 2 has also proven itself more durable and is a significant improvement. While ours hasn't failed yet, we do wonder how long the plastic buckles holding the primary briefcase style straps will last.

We think the Helly Hansen Duffel Bag 2 is far more durable than the previous version and is as durable as most of the bags in our review. The only thing we question is the plastic buckle holding the straps on. Our hasn't broken  but this doesn't seem too burly.
We think the Helly Hansen Duffel Bag 2 is far more durable than the previous version and is as durable as most of the bags in our review. The only thing we question is the plastic buckle holding the straps on. Our hasn't broken, but this doesn't seem too burly.

Weather Resistance


Just like with durability, Helly Hansen significantly upgraded their weather resistance with the new fabric on the Duffel Bag 2. It's as water-resistant as other top performers and performed well both in real-world use and in our direct side-by-side testing.

Value


We no longer think this duffel is the insanely good deal that it once was. It's now more closely in line with most other similarly designed duffels, at least price-wise. We like this HH duffel, but for the cost, we like most of the other competitors in this review slightly better.

Conclusion


The Helly Hansen Duffel 2 is no longer the crazy good deal it once was. However, with recent updates to its fabric, additional stitching around the shoulder straps, and just generally dialing-in small features, this model certainly holds its own against others in our fleet. While it's no longer the excellent deal it once was, it's also not unreasonably expensive. It is a well-performing duffel at a reasonable price.


Jediah Porter & Ian Nicholson