Mountain Hardwear Expedition Duffel Review
Cons: Expensive, must attach straps together to make a grab handle, overkill for the everyday traveler
Manufacturer: Mountain Hardwear
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Mountain Hardwear Expedition Duffel
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|$205.62 at Amazon||$149.95 at Amazon||Check Price at REI|
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|Pros||Comfortable backpack straps, unique features, internal organization system and compression straps, durable, extra-large opening||Rugged build, comfortable removable straps, variety of carry options||Durable and weather resistant, comfortable carry options, convenient storage design||Easy to pack, comfortable shoulder straps, excellent pockets, super durable||Lightweight, affordable, packs into own pocket|
|Cons||Expensive, must attach straps together to make a grab handle, overkill for the everyday traveler||Only one small pocket, heavy, pricey||Shoulder straps are somewhat difficult to remove||Heavy, not as comfortable as others, less refined style||Limited durability and weather resistance, no backpack straps|
|Bottom Line||A proper expedition duffel bag that is durable, comfortable, and has unique packing features, but comes at a high cost||Our favorite model due to a heavy-duty build and versatile carrying systems||A fully-featured duffel with a sleek and durable design that's ready to tackle your next adventure||The longtime standard for expedition duffels that we have recommended for a decade||A light, packable, high-volume duffel with an affordable price tag|
|Rating Categories||Mountain Hardwear E...||Sea to Summit Duffel||Gregory Alpaca||The North Face Base...||REI Co-op Roadtripper|
|Ease Of Transport (25%)|
|Storage And Ease Of Packing (25%)|
|Weather Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Mountain Hardwear E...||Sea to Summit Duffel||Gregory Alpaca||The North Face Base...||REI Co-op Roadtripper|
|Weight (Pounds)||3.8 lbs (100L one size)||4.3 lbs (90L model)||3.8 lbs (90L model)||4.1 lbs (95 L model)||1.6 lbs (100L model)|
|Volume Size Options (Liters)||100 Liters (one size)||45, 65, 90, 130 Liters||30, 45, 60, 90, 120 Liters||31, 50, 71, 95, 132, 150 Liters||40, 60, 100, 140 Liters|
|Material||840-Denier carbonate coated plain weave nylon||1000-Denier nylon tarpaulin laminate||900-Denier TPU diamond ripstop with additional bottom layer of 630-Denier nylon||1000-Denier phthalate-free TPE laminate body with additonal bottom layer of 840-Denier Jr. ballistics nylon||610-Denier coated Cordura polyester|
|# of pockets (excludes main compartment)||3||1||3||2||1|
|D or I opening||I||D||D||D||I|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Expedition 100 is made to carry heavy gear to remote corners of the world, and the evidence of this speaks for itself in its design that includes all the bells and whistles of a proper expedition bag. It shows great signs of durability and remains lightweight, making it the obvious choice for expedition travelers who want a bag that will last and won't weigh them down in the airport or in the mountains. For the serious adventurer, the features this bag provides will be worth its high price tag. But you can find durable bags for half the price, making it a bit much for the everyday traveler.
Ease of Transport
The designers behind this duffel bag anticipated long flights and layovers to places with extreme weather, bumpy roads, high peaks or roaring rivers, and everything in between. This bag was made with ease of transport in mind, and it shows.
Its curved, padded, and ergonomic straps come already arranged in backpack style with an additional sternum strap but can be quickly adjusted to accommodate other carrying methods. Folding back a flap on each strap reveals velcro attachments, turning the backpack straps into a quick and easy grab handle.
Storage and Ease of Packing
The Expedition 100 also earns high marks for its unique storage and packing design, which allows you to keep the large duffel organized and make access and packing a breeze. The most intriguing aspect of this bag is its opening design, in which you unzip the main compartment with a single, straight zipper that extends all the way down and out to two wings that can be released from each side of the bag with nine-hook closures.
Once the wings are released, the bag's opening becomes much larger, making it easy to access what's inside. There is also a stiff collar that can be folded out to give the bag rigidity and structure so you can easily pack and unpack with full, unencumbered access to the inside.
Bags with D-zip closures often have a floppy lid that can make it harder to really pack everything in the way you'd like. This unique system allows you to have full control over how everything fits in your duffel. Internally, compression straps allow you to organize your things into two different layers if you would like. You can put equipment or heavier things on the bottom, for example, cinch them down with the straps, and then fill the top layer with lighter items like clothing. Two grab handles allow you to pick up and move the bag around when it is open, making moving around base camp a simpler process.
The interior also boasts two medium-sized zipper pockets on either end of the bag, one mesh and one nylon, for extra storage and organization.
While maybe not the highest-rated fabric out of all the high-end duffel bags out there at 840-Denier carbonate coated plain weave nylon, this bag is burly enough to withstand most extreme adventure travel. While the outside fabric is only 840-Denier (while other high-end expedition bags are typically 900 to 1000-Denier), there is also a bottom base fabric that is 1000-Denier Cordura nylon with a face coating to withstand abrasion and provide water resistance. The bottom of the bag is also reinforced with a layer of foam for more structure and extra abrasion resistance.
This bag is a quality product, and its price tag certainly reflects that. Our testers threw the loaded duffel around a gravel parking lot, lashed it to the top of our car, left it out in the rain, and wore it while bushwhacking through some manzanitas, and it came out with barely a scratch.
Our testers were surprised that a bag with so many bells and whistles could also be so light. Weighing in at a mere 3.8 pounds, the Expedition 100 is an excellent choice for those who want a durable adventure bag that is also lightweight. The comfortable backpack straps combined with the light weight of the bag itself are a winning combination.
The Expedition 100 provides good weather resistance, with its burly exterior and protective coating, tight seams, and a flap to protect the main zipper that can be cinched down to create a tight seal. However, it only has an 840-Denier exterior, which is still more fabric-like than the rubbery 1000-Denier of other expedition bags on the market. Its zippers and seams are also not treated to be completely waterproof, and we would not suggest submerging this bag or subjecting it to places where you might expect extended periods of heavy rain, as water will eventually get through.
The biggest downside to the Expedition 100 is its hefty price tag. Bells and whistles, durability, and lightness all come at a cost. Because we've tested other expedition duffel bags that are just as impressive at a quarter or even half of the cost, it is hard for us to say that this is a good value bag for anyone but the most invested expedition adventure-seekers.
Though this bag may be too expensive for the everyday traveler, it is a great choice for someone going on a long expedition to a far-off place where durability, storage, and weight are key elements for a bag that will have to keep up. Ultimately, we wish it were a more cost-effective duffel, especially since there are expedition bags out there that are more durable and weather-resistant at a much lower cost.
— Miya Tsudome