Marmot Long Hauler Review
Cons: Not as durable as others, backpack straps are thinly padded
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Marmot Long Hauler is a top-notch duffel bag with a well-rounded design. It is one of the more durable models out there without being too heavy, and sports a majority of the storage features and carrying options that most users are seeking. While it doesn't have the most comfortable shoulder straps or the best weather resistance, it performs well across the board with no significant weaknesses. Most folks would be quite happy with this model for expedition use, more general travel, or simply going to the gym.
Ease of Transport
The Long Hauler has all of the carrying features you'd expect from a high-end duffel to make transporting your gear as easy as possible. It has two main adjustable shoulder straps that can be carried backpack-style, over one shoulder or briefcase-style. The padding is noticeably thinner than on most other high-end models, though, which reduces the carrying comfort when the bag is fully loaded.
Unique to this model, the shoulder straps have a wide range of adjustability at both ends, allowing you to lengthen them enough such that the padding stays centered along the straps even when fully extended, allowing a comfortable over-the-shoulder sling-style carry. Most other model's shoulder straps are only adjustable at one end, which prevents the padding from being centered along the fully-lengthened straps, leaving an imbalanced and uncomfortable shoulder sling type of carrying.
You can also shorten the shoulder straps quite a bit to optimize a traditional briefcase-style carrying method. They each have a notched handle and are connected with a velcro clasp for this carrying method, resulting in more comfort and less fatigue for your hand.
You'll also find a grab handle on all four sides of the Long Hauler. While these are a useful feature and are similarly found on most high-end duffels, they are unpadded and are thinner than what is on most other models. They are still helpful for grabbing the bag off of a baggage claim or a luggage cart, but they are noticeably less comfortable than most others. Besides the grab handles, several stitched loops allow you to strap the bag down to jeep roofs, sleds, llamas, or anywhere else you might need.
Storage and Ease of Packing
The Long Hauler features a large D-shaped zippered opening that reveals the massive main storage compartment. We tested the 105-liter version (size XL), and this model is also available in 35-liter (size S), 50-liter (size M), 75-liter (size L), and 125-liter (Expedition) volumes. The material is a nice balance between soft and rigid, allowing the bag to keep its shape while packing without being too difficult to manipulate. A pair of compression straps inside the main compartment help secure and compress the bag's contents.
The Long Hauler also features two large internal zippered pockets and two large external pockets. All of the pockets are easily accessible and very convenient for keeping smaller pieces of gear organized, or separating wet or dirty contents. One of the external pockets also has an additional smaller zippered pocket inside with a convenient keychain clip.
Finally, a pair of compression straps on each side of the bag further help secure the load or minimize that pack volume if things are less than fully loaded. The buckles that house these straps have unique removable clips that allow them to be removed or adjusted. One side on the duffel has an extra set of clip loops on the top lid, allowing you to secure the bag further and protect the main zipper from the elements.
The Long Hauler is constructed from a 600-denier TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) laminate body material with a 600-denier pebbled laminate on the sides and the bottom. These materials are plenty durable for general travel and even rugged expeditions but fall short of the 900 and 1000-denier materials found on our top-ranked duffels. Many other models also have additional padding or reinforcement layers along the bottom for superior protection.
The Long Hauler's construction quality and fit and finish are excellent. It looks and feels like a high-end product. The stitching, seams, zippers, and hardware are all of a similar high quality as the other top contenders on our lineup. Marmot also warrants their products to be free from manufacturing defects.
The Long Hauler checks in at 3.8 pounds for the 105-liter (size XL) model and is one of the lighter full-sized expedition duffel bags in our lineup. This model provides a nice balance of durability and extensive features with a reasonably lightweight. Most similar models are either heavier, lack the extra storage pockets, or are less durable.
Compared to the vast majority of duffel bags on the market, the Long Hauler is exceptionally water-resistant. Still, it falls short of other top models in our lineup in both our side-by-side garden hose testing and out in the field. While the TPE laminate material is virtually waterproof, the number of seams and zippers leave vulnerable spots where water can eventually penetrate. A tradeoff with the convenient external zippered pockets is that the zippers are not watertight, and the contents could subsequently get wet. We'd still take this duffel on a rugged expedition in a heartbeat, but if extremely wet conditions are in store for you and your duffel, other choices will prove more weather resistant.
The Long Hauler is comparable in price to other models of a similar size and doesn't give up much in the way of performance. While it isn't as water-resistant or durable as others in our fleet, it's pretty dang close, and includes storage pockets and carrying options that most others don't. If the design and features meet your needs, it would be a solid value.
The Marmot Long Hauler is a versatile and high-quality duffel bag, plenty burly enough for rugged expeditions but user-friendly enough for general travel. It includes a wide range of storage pockets and versatile carrying systems and balances a reasonable weight and reasonable price.
— Nick Bruckbauer