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REI Co-op Big Haul Review

A lightweight, well-designed bag with versatile carrying systems and solid all-around performance
REI Co-op Big Haul
Photo: REI
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Price:  $139 List | $139.00 at REI
Pros:  Lightweight, comfortable, straps are removable or stowable
Cons:  Not as durable as others, compression strap buckles get in the way
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Nick Bruckbauer ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 20, 2020
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 12
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 8
  • Storage and Ease of Packing - 25% 7
  • Durability - 20% 6
  • Weight - 15% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The REI Big Haul 90 is an impressively built duffel bag with several useful features and multiple carrying methods that are comfortable and well-designed. With easily removable briefcase-style straps, stowable backpack straps that are very comfortable, and a heavy-duty padded grab handle on each side, loading the Big Haul into the car or lugging it through the airport are no problem. While its materials aren't as thick and durable as those found on some heavier duty competitors, its lightweight construction, versatile design, and extra features like compressions straps and daisy chains make it an excellent choice for any type of general travel.

Product Updates

The Big Haul is now available in some updated colors and is made with a new 400D recycled ripstop nylon. See one of the latest colors of the updated bag above.

February 2021

Compare to Similar Products

 
REI Co-op Big Haul
This Product
REI Co-op Big Haul
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $139.00 at REI$163.31 at Amazon$159.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$115.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$149.00 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Lightweight, comfortable, straps are removable or stowableRugged build, comfortable removable straps, variety of carry optionsDurable recycled material, easily removable shoulder straps, convenient pockets, stylish designDurable and weather resistant, comfortable carry options, convenient storage designEasy to pack, comfortable shoulder straps, excellent pockets, super durable
Cons Not as durable as others, compression strap buckles get in the wayOnly one small pocket, heavy, priceyThinner material than other high-end options, priceyShoulder straps are somewhat difficult to removeHeavy, not as comfortable as others, less refined style
Bottom Line Lightweight materials and solid construction make this bag a worthy choiceA simple, burly duffel bag ideal for all kinds of adventerous travelAn incredible all-around contender that falls just short of our top awardA solid all-around excellent expedition bag, this model was built with remote adventures in mindRemains one of our favorite all-around models with its simple and rugged design
Rating Categories REI Co-op Big Haul Sea to Summit Duffel Patagonia Black Hole Gregory Alpaca The North Face Base Camp
Ease Of Transport (25%)
8
9
9
8
7
Storage And Ease Of Packing (25%)
7
8
8
8
8
Durability (20%)
6
9
8
8
9
Weight (15%)
7
4
5
5
4
Weather Resistance (15%)
7
9
8
9
9
Specs REI Co-op Big Haul Sea to Summit Duffel Patagonia Black Hole Gregory Alpaca The North Face...
Weight (Pounds) 3.0 lbs (90L model) 4.3 lbs (90L model) 3.8 lbs (100L model) 3.8 lbs (90L model) 4.1 lbs (95 L model)
Volume Size Options (Liters) 40, 60, 90, 120 Liters 45, 65, 90, 130 Liters 40, 55, 70, 100 Liters 30, 45, 60, 90, 120 Liters 31, 50, 71, 95, 132, 150 Liters
Material 400-Denier TPU-coated nylon 1000-Denier nylon tarpaulin laminate 900-Denier 100% postconsumer recycled polyester ripstop with TPU-film 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
# of pockets (excludes main compartment) 4 1 3 3 2
Backpack Straps Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
D or I opening D D D D D

Our Analysis and Test Results

The REI Big Haul 90L scores well across the board with its lightweight construction, comfortable and versatile carrying capabilities, and well-designed extra features. It is a capable and impressive bag that comes at a reasonable price, but lacks a little in durability compared to other models, and doesn't have any standout features to propel it into our top rankings. Most general travelers will still be quite pleased with the Big Haul's versatile design and accessible price.

Performance Comparison


The Big Haul has multiple carrying options and is very lightweight...
The Big Haul has multiple carrying options and is very lightweight for its size and features.
Photo: Nick Bruckbauer

Ease of Transport


With its built-in stowable backpack straps, removable briefcase-style straps, and reinforced grab handles, the Big Haul 90 is versatile in its transport options. The two main carrying straps can be joined with a padded handle that snaps together. Our testers found that the snap design is somewhat tedious, and takes a little more effort than usual to align the buttons and snap them together. Once the handle is snapped together, it is comfortable to carry, although the length of the carrying straps leaves the bag in an awkward position against your legs with this carry method.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

For carrying the bag by your side, our testers prefer to use one of the heavy-duty grab handles on each side of the pack. These handles are a little more comfortable than the main carry handle, give you more leverage over the bag, and leave the bag in a more comfortable spot against your body.

When carrying the bag by your side, our testers found that the...
When carrying the bag by your side, our testers found that the reinforced grab handles provide are a more comfortable and efficient option than the main carrying straps.
Photo: Nick Bruckbauer

When hauling the bag over long distances, the more comfortable and efficient carrying method is to use the built-in backpack straps. The top of these straps are permanently affixed to the bag, but are stowed in a padded compartment on top of the pack while not in use. To engage these straps, simply remove them from the padded compartment and attach the bottoms to the reinforced connection points on the bag. To re-stow the straps, simply remove the bottom connection points and replace them within the padded compartment. These backpack straps are well-padded, ergonomically shaped, and adjustable in length.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The only carrying method missing with the Big Haul 90 is a comfortable way to sling the bag over one shoulder. The main carrying handles are too short to do this, and the backpack straps aren't ideal for this. While you can adjust the strap lengths and the bottom connection points, the location of the fixed top connection points and the fixed padding on the straps make slinging the bag over one shoulder imbalanced and uncomfortable.

Storage and Ease of Packing


The Big Haul 90 is relatively easy to pack with its large main storage compartment accessed by a D-shaped zipper. There are two zippered mesh pockets inside the top lid of the pack, as well as one external zippered pocket that also provides access to an ID window to show your contact information.

The main D-shaped zipper reveals the huge main storage compartment...
The main D-shaped zipper reveals the huge main storage compartment and two internal zippered pockets.
Photo: Nick Bruckbauer

There are a couple of minor drawbacks to the design of the Big Haul that make packing and accessing the storage compartment a little less convenient. The two compression straps on the front of the pack are buckled into the top lid of the bag and must be unbuckled every time you wish to open the zipper completely. Similarly, the main carrying handles and the backpack straps also provide minor obstructions to opening the pack and take a little extra effort to adjust or move out of the way.

The two front compression straps are buckled to the top lid of the...
The two front compression straps are buckled to the top lid of the pack and need to be unbuckled each time you access the main storage compartment.
Photo: Nick Bruckbauer

Durability


The Big Haul 90 is a well-constructed pack, with high-quality materials and hardware, reinforced seams, and well-placed material reinforcements. The main body of the pack is constructed from 400-denier nylon, which is much thinner and less durable than most other bags in our lineup. However, the bottom and sides of the bag are lined with a much heavier-duty 1680-denier coated nylon to provide extra reinforcement in high wear areas. While this bag may not be our top choice for a rugged climbing expedition or jungle safari, it is perfectly suitable to handle the rigors of most general travel.

Most of the pack is constructed with relatively lightweight...
Most of the pack is constructed with relatively lightweight 400-denier nylon, which won't stand up to abuse like other bags with over twice the fabric weight.
Photo: Nick Bruckbauer

Weight


The 90-liter version of the REI Big Haul that we tested weighs in at 3.0 pounds per our measurements, making it his makes it one of the lightest bags in our lineup and is impressively light for both its size and its high-quality materials and construction. Other bags that outshine the Big Haul in durability have much heavier materials and typically weigh a pound more in the same size.

At 3.0 pounds in a 90-liter pack, the Big Haul is very lightweight...
At 3.0 pounds in a 90-liter pack, the Big Haul is very lightweight for its size and features.
Photo: Nick Bruckbauer

Weather Resistance


Like most bags in our lineup, the Big Haul is weather-resistant but not waterproof. The main body's 400-denier nylon material does an excellent job of standing up to the elements, but the seams and the zippers leave vulnerabilities where water can eventually penetrate. The heavier duty bottom and side panels are coated with a water-resistant finish, making the bag equipped to handle quick splashes, puddles, and light rains, but leaving it vulnerable to more torrential rain and prolonged submersion.

The Big Haul will withstand shorter exposures to the rain or...
The Big Haul will withstand shorter exposures to the rain or puddles, aided by its thicker bottom and side material.
Photo: Nick Bruckbauer

Value


The Big Haul 90 provides excellent value with its reliable all-around performance and reasonable price tag. It is not the most inexpensive bag in our lineup, but it is certainly more affordable than some other bags in similar sizes and with similar features. Its versatile and comfortable carrying options, large capacity, and lightweight construction make it a great value.

The Big Haul 90 provides a great value for general travel.
The Big Haul 90 provides a great value for general travel.
Photo: Nick Bruckbauer

Conclusion


The REI Big Haul 90L duffel bag provides high-quality construction, versatile carrying capabilities, and an efficient 90-liter volume in one of the lightest packs in our lineup. An excellent choice for general travel, the Big Haul is easy to lug around and durable enough for all but the most rugged uses, and comes at an accessible price.

Nick Bruckbauer