Helly Hansen Duffel Bag 2 Review
Cons: Larger size would be appreciated, shoulders straps could be better, not as durable as we expected
Manufacturer: Helly Hansen
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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