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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 Co-op
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Price:  $139 List | $139.00 at REI
Pros:  Lightweight, comfortable, straps are removable or stowable, large interior pockets for organization
Cons:  Not as durable as others, must un-do compression straps to open bag
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Miya Tsudome & Nick Bruckbauer  ⋅  May 26, 2021
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 16
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 8
  • Storage and Ease of Packing - 25% 8
  • Durability - 20% 5
  • Weight - 15% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 5

Our Verdict

The REI Big Haul 90L 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 and comfortable backpack straps, and a heavy-duty padded grab handle on each side, loading the Big Haul into the car or lugging it through the airport is no problem. The updated model from REI features a rugged, ripstop nylon upper and a ballistic nylon base for increased durability. 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.

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 Best Buy Award 
Price $139.00 at REICheck Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$115.95 at Backcountry
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$139.00 at Backcountry
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$64.95 at REI
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Pros Lightweight, comfortable, straps are removable or stowable, large interior pockets for organizationRugged build, comfortable removable straps, variety of carry optionsDurable and weather resistant, comfortable carry options, convenient storage designEasy to pack, comfortable shoulder straps, excellent pockets, super durableLightweight, affordable, packs into own pocket
Cons Not as durable as others, must un-do compression straps to open bagOnly one small pocket, heavy, priceyShoulder straps are somewhat difficult to removeHeavy, not as comfortable as others, less refined styleLimited durability and weather resistance, no backpack straps
Bottom Line A lightweight, well-designed bag with versatile carrying systems and solid all-around performanceOur favorite model due to a heavy-duty build and versatile carrying systemsA fully-featured duffel with a sleek and durable design that's ready to tackle your next adventureThe longtime standard for expedition duffels that we have recommended for a decadeA light, packable, high-volume duffel with an affordable price tag
Rating Categories REI Co-op Big Haul Sea to Summit Duffel Gregory Alpaca The North Face Base... REI Co-op Roadtripper
Ease Of Transport (25%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
4.0
Storage And Ease Of Packing (25%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Durability (20%)
5.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
8.0
4.0
5.0
4.0
9.0
Weather Resistance (15%)
5.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
Specs REI Co-op Big Haul Sea to Summit Duffel Gregory Alpaca The North Face Base... REI Co-op Roadtripper
Weight (Pounds) 2.1 lbs (90L model) 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) 40, 60, 90, 120 Liters 45, 65, 90, 130 Liters 30, 45, 60, 90, 120 Liters 31, 50, 71, 95, 132, 150 Liters 40, 60, 100, 140 Liters
Material 400-Denier TPU-coated 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) 4 1 3 2 1
Backpack Straps Yes Yes Yes Yes No
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.

Performance Comparison


This duffel packs a lot of features into a bag at an affordable price.
This duffel packs a lot of features into a bag at an affordable price.
Photo: Miya Tsudome

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.

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 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.

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 and one external zippered pocket that also provides access to an ID window to show your contact information.

This bag has a spacious interior and also has two large mesh pockets...
This bag has a spacious interior and also has two large mesh pockets for extra organization.
Photo: Miya Tsudome

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.

You must un-do the compression straps to access the bag's interior.
You must un-do the compression straps to access the bag's interior.
Photo: Miya Tsudome

Durability


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.

This duffel may not be the most durable on the market, but it is...
This duffel may not be the most durable on the market, but it is plenty burly enough for everyday travel.
Photo: Miya Tsudome

Weight


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.

The REI Big Haul is an impressively light, full-sized duffel bag.
The REI Big Haul is an impressively light, full-sized duffel bag.
Photo: Miya Tsudome

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.

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 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.

This bag is a great value, everyday duffel with thoughtful and...
This bag is a great value, everyday duffel with thoughtful and convenient features.
Photo: Miya Tsudome

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.

Miya Tsudome & Nick Bruckbauer