REI Co-op Big Haul Review
Cons: Not as durable as others, must un-do compression straps to open bag
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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REI Co-op Big Haul
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|$149.95 at Amazon||$65 List|
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|Pros||Lightweight, comfortable, straps are removable or stowable, large interior pockets for organization||Rugged build, comfortable removable straps, variety of carry options||Durable recycled material, easily removable shoulder straps, convenient pockets, stylish design||Durable and weather resistant, comfortable carry options, convenient storage design||Lightweight, affordable, packs into own pocket|
|Cons||Not as durable as others, must un-do compression straps to open bag||Only one small pocket, heavy, pricey||Thinner material than other high-end options, pricey||Shoulder straps are somewhat difficult to remove||Limited durability and weather resistance, no backpack straps|
|Bottom Line||A lightweight, well-designed bag with versatile carrying systems and solid all-around performance||Our favorite model due to a heavy-duty build and versatile carrying systems||A classy-looking duffel bag that performs well across the board with its tough, weather-resistant design||A fully-featured duffel with a sleek and durable design that's ready to tackle your next adventure||A light, packable, high-volume duffel with an affordable price tag|
|Rating Categories||REI Co-op Big Haul||Sea to Summit Duffel||Patagonia Black Hole||Gregory Alpaca||REI Co-op Roadtripper|
|Ease Of Transport (25%)|
|Storage And Ease Of Packing (25%)|
|Weather Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||REI Co-op Big Haul||Sea to Summit Duffel||Patagonia Black Hole||Gregory Alpaca||REI Co-op Roadtripper|
|Weight (Pounds)||2.1 lbs (90L model)||4.3 lbs (90L model)||3.8 lbs (100L model)||3.8 lbs (90L model)||1.6 lbs (100L 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||40, 60, 100, 140 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||610-Denier coated Cordura polyester|
|# of pockets (excludes main compartment)||4||1||3||3||1|
|D or I opening||D||D||D||D||I|
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. With its newly updated durability specifications and a small weight reduction, this duffel becomes a competitor with some of the more expensive bags on the market. Most general travelers will be quite pleased with the Big Haul's versatile design and accessible price. The fact that it is now made with recycled materials adds sustainability to its list of attractive qualities.
Ease of Transport
With its built-in stowable backpack straps, removable briefcase-style straps, and reinforced grab handles, the Big Haul 90L is versatile in its transport options. The two main carrying straps can be joined with a padded handle that connects via velcro. Once the handle is 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. We appreciated that the briefcase-style straps are removable, making carrying the bag in backpack mode more streamlined and allowing easier access to the compression straps and daisy chains.
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 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, remove them from the padded compartment and attach the bottoms to the reinforced connection points on the bag. To re-stow the straps, remove the bottom connection points and replace them within the padded compartment. These backpack straps are well-padded, ergonomically shaped, and adjustable in length. Our reviewers appreciated that these backpack straps placed the duffel higher up on our backs for a more ergonomic carrying experience and better weight distribution, and that they could stow easily away when not in use.
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 and one external zippered pocket that also provides access to an ID window to show your contact information.
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 Big Haul 90 is a well-constructed pack with high-quality materials and hardware, reinforced seams, and well-placed material reinforcements. The pack's main body 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 recycled ballistic nylon to provide extra reinforcement in high wear areas. Ballistic nylon has a slick finish and a heavy weave, making it a strong and tear-resistant fabric best for hauling heavy loads and withstanding abrasion. While this bag may not be our top choice for a rugged climbing expedition or jungle safari where a bag might get tossed around and risk abrasion on all sides, it is perfectly suitable to handle the rigors of most general and mid-level adventure travel.
The 90-liter version of the REI Big Haul that we tested weighs in at 2.9 pounds, making it one of the lightest full-size bags in our lineup. It 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.
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 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 are all high-value features. Now with its more rugged ripstop upper and even tougher ballistic nylon base, this bag proves to be not only a great all-around performance bag, but can withstand more rugged adventure travel. Its increase in quality materials and decrease in weight make this duffel a great bang for the buck.
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.
— Miya Tsudome & Nick Bruckbauer