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REI Co-op Roadtripper 140L Review

For certain types of travel, a light and packable giant duffel is just the ticket. On those sorts of expeditions, the REI Roadtripper is our Top Pick.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $70 List | $69.95 at REI
Pros:  Light, simple, inexpensive.
Cons:  Limited durability, carry options and water resistance.
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 6, 2019
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 14
  • Ease of Transport - 22% 4
  • Ease of Packing - 22% 6
  • Durability - 22% 6
  • Weight - 24% 9
  • Weather Resistance - 10% 6

Our Verdict

In overall scoring, the REI Roadtripper 140 is nothing special. It is only in specific, meaningful ways that it edges ahead. This is precisely how we grant our Top Pick awards; when a product tops the charts for a particular, niche use, it earns our Top Pick award. The Roadtripper is easily a Top Pick. When you need a simple, light bag for part-time or human-powered use, the REI product is what we recommend most highly. For use as regular luggage and in extended rugged travels, it lacks the durability, weather resistance, and carry options that the top performers have. For Denali expeditions and for tucking into the corner of your vehicle or main luggage for auxiliary use, the Roadtripper is our Top Pick.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award 
Price $69.95 at REI$148.95 at Backcountry
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$115.95 at Backcountry
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$329.00 at REI
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$159.00 at Amazon
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Pros Light, simple, inexpensive.Easy to pack, comfortable shoulder straps, excellent pockets, super durableHighly weather resistant, easy to pack, comfortable shoulder strapsEasy to pack, bomber construction, burly frame, internal dual-zippered mesh pockets, very maneuverable, highly water resistantGood pockets for organization and access, lightweight, comfortable to carry as a briefcase
Cons Limited durability, carry options and water resistance.Not super light, fabric is a little stiffExternally accessed pocket is on the smaller side, shoulder straps take a little more work to removeSome organizational options but not as many as othersNot quite as weather resistant as other models, not as durable as other contenders
Bottom Line For certain types of travel, a light and packable giant duffel is just the ticket. On those sorts of expeditions, the REI Roadtripper is our Top Pick.While the Base Camp Duffel faces stiffer competition than it used to, it remains the duffel that all others are compared against.From its streamline design to its top notch weather resistance and multitude of lashing options, this is a solid duffel.This model offers a top-notch blend that makes it easy to transport and highly weather resistant.A top-notch model that is slightly less expensive than others, without giving up much in the way of features, pockets, carrying options or overall durability.
Rating Categories REI Co-op Roadtripper 140L The North Face Base Camp Gregory Alpaca Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Marmot Long Hauler
Ease Of Transport (22%)
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6
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9
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6
Ease Of Packing (22%)
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9
Durability (22%)
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6
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8
Weight (24%)
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Weather Resistance (10%)
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7
Specs REI Co-op... The North Face... Gregory Alpaca Patagonia Black... Marmot Long Hauler
Weight (Pounds) 1.86 pounds 4.06 pounds (95 liter model) 3.72 pounds 7.5 pounds (70 liter model) 3.5 pounds (105 liter model)
Volume Size Options (Liters) 40, 60, 100, 140 33, 50, 69, 95, 150 L 30, 45, 60, 90, 120 L 40, 70, 120 L 38, 50, 75, 105 L
D or I opening I D D D D
Back Pack Straps No Yes Yes No Yes
# of pockets (excludes main compartment) 1 3 2 3 4
Info window No Yes Yes No No
Material 610D Cordura Polyester 1000D phthalate-free TPE laminate body with additonal 840-denier Jr. ballistics nylon on the bottom 900D TPU diamond rip-stop material with additional layer of 630D nylon on the bottom 900D 100% polyester rip-stop (50% solution-dyed) with a TPU-film laminate 1000d TPE Laminate (Phthalate-Free) 100% Polyester with 1680d 100% Nylon Ballistics reinforcement material on end and bottom

Our Analysis and Test Results

Duffels get more and more durable, on average. For some sorts of travel, this is only a good thing. The flip side of that, though, is that duffels also get heavier and heavier. With tight baggage allowances and some duffel bags going on human-powered adventures, weight can matter. Among our test team at OGL, we often want a simple, giant duffel bag that does the job but is relatively light. The REI Roadtripper 140 strikes that balance. It could be lighter, it could be cheaper, it could be larger, it could have more features, and it could be more durable. However, for relatively simple travel (put bag on plane, remove bag from plane, begin a different sort of adventure that doesn't beat up your duffel bag) and for any trip that involves extensive transport of your duffel by human power (think about a Denali expedition; you put your gear in a bag, put that bag in a sled, and then drag it all up North America's highest peak), the Roadtripper is perfect. Pack carefully to keep hard objects from causing abrasion, organize your stuff inside, and count on the REI Roadtripper being more versatile and handy than you could imagine.

Performance Comparison


Top Pick award winners seldom score high on our overall chart. We build our scoring rubric to replicate how most people will use a product most of the time. With duffel bags that rewards durability, ease of packing, and some packing options. For the sorts of adventures the REI Roadtripper excels at, there are different and competing criteria. Mainly, for human-powered adventures, your bag has to be just durable enough, then as light as is possible. The Roadtripper 140 walks this delicate tightrope. We like it for certain types of travel.

A few award winners  lined up for testing. Left to right: Editors Choice The North Face Basecamp  Top Pick Yeti Panga  Top Pick REI Roadtripper.
A few award winners, lined up for testing. Left to right: Editors Choice The North Face Basecamp, Top Pick Yeti Panga, Top Pick REI Roadtripper.

Ease of Transport


No backpack straps, no wheels, no padding; this is a simple bag. Fill it all the way, and you're essentially dragging it or carrying it between two people. These things are no problem if you are dragging it in a sled, if you don't need to move it very far, or if you don't fill it all the way. The scenarios in which the Roadtripper excels are those that don't require any of the "traditional" carry methods.


Virtually every other bag we have assessed carries easier than the Roadtripper 140. The good news is that the REI bag is lighter than almost every other model. If you're going to wrestle with your gear through the airport, at least this Top Pick winner isn't adding much mass to that load. The shoulder straps of the Editors Choice The North Face Basecamp are much more comfortable. The wheels on the Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled bag make moving 50+ pounds, across level ground, a breeze. Drag many of the burlier bags like the Best Buy Marmot Long Hauler and you won't see much damage to the rugged fabrics.
Fully loaded  the simple straps of the REI Roadtripper require some wrestling. Short grab loops like those on the foreground duffels are easier for moving short distances.
Fully loaded, the simple straps of the REI Roadtripper require some wrestling. Short grab loops like those on the foreground duffels are easier for moving short distances.

Ease of Packing


The long, straight-shot zipper of the Roadtripper opens pretty wide for an "i-shaped" zipper but doesn't reveal all the nooks and crannies as our preferred u-shaped zippers do. Again, this ease of packing drawback is a tradeoff for lightweight and reaching a price point. For a wider central opening, you pay with weight and cost. You choose the Roadtripper 140 for its low cost and low weight, and you accept the limitations.


As compared to other bags with i-shaped zippers, the REI Roadtripper has a large opening. It opens much further, relative to the bag size than the Yeti Panga 100 and the Bago Travel Bag. The u-shaped openings of the Editors Choice The North Face Basecamp and Osprey Transporter are much easier to work with but add weight, bulk, and expense.
The classic shoulder strap carry is certainly not preferred for long distances  but it is light  simple  and readily deployed. For medium distance  it is worth the compromises made.
The classic shoulder strap carry is certainly not preferred for long distances, but it is light, simple, and readily deployed. For medium distance, it is worth the compromises made.

Durability


Simple construction goes a long way towards durability. There are precious few parts of the Roadtripper 140 to fail. Nonetheless, to keep the weight and packability low (attributes for which we grant this bag our Top Pick award), REI has kept the fabric and zippers relatively lightweight. This bag, packed carefully, will last through a few big airplane trips and countless human-powered adventures. It won't hold up to extensive luggage use and the heavy beatings that typical travel entails.


It is durability that sets the Roadtripper 140 ahead of the former Top Pick winner Bago Travel Bag. The Bago has more zippers, thinner fabric, and a less robust "feel." With neither bag did we experience any failures, but we are confident that the Roadtripper will last longer. As compared to other award winners, the Roadtripper durability is very low. It will wear out far faster than the Editors Choice The North Face Basecamp, the Best Buy Marmot Long Hauler, and the Top Pick Yeti Panga.
The long shoulder strap of the Roadtripper is held on by this metal button-in-loop style attachment. It does the job and maintains a low profile and saves weight. A carabiner style clip would be faster but bulkier and more expensive.
The long shoulder strap of the Roadtripper is held on by this metal button-in-loop style attachment. It does the job and maintains a low profile and saves weight. A carabiner style clip would be faster but bulkier and more expensive.

Weight


In the two specific contexts for which we recommend the REI Roadtripper 140, weight matters. Whether brought on a human-powered adventure or carried as auxiliary luggage, you want your duffel to be lightweight. The Roadtripper, on our calibrated scale, weighs 1.86 pounds.


The close competitor Bago Travel bag weighs less, but not by much. At that lighter weight, you lose a lot of space and durability. Similarly, the Patagonia Lightweight Black Hole is a little lighter, in absolute terms. But the Patagonia light bag is much smaller. In informal calculations of weight to volume, the REI Roadtripper is way ahead of the rest. The other giant bags in our review weigh 2-3 times as much as this Top Pick winner.
The Top Pick Roadtripper  packed into its built-in storage pocket. The same pocket is an accessory pocket on the larger version of the duffel.
The Top Pick Roadtripper, packed into its built-in storage pocket. The same pocket is an accessory pocket on the larger version of the duffel.

Weather Resistance


Like durability, weather resistance is compromised for light, packable and simple construction. The main fabric of the REI is coated and waterproof, but the seams and zippers let water right through. With use and time, the waterproof coating of the 610 denier fabric will wear through and further reduce weather resistance.


Virtually all the other bags in our test are more weather resistant. The Bago suffers from the same issues as the Roadtripper, but the other close competitor Pagatonia Lightweight Black Hole is way more waterproof. The Osprey Transporter is far more cartable, but is made with similar fabric to the Roadtripper. Its water resistance is similar. The vinyl type bags (like Editors Choice The North Face Basecamp and Best Buy Marmot Long Hauler) are more protective than the nylon bags like the Top Pick Roadtripper. For maximum weather protection in the wettest of climates, check out the other Top Pick Yeti Panga. The Yeti is burly and fully submersible.
The one external pocket of the REI Transporter helps organize and is used to tuck away the duffel bag when not in use.
The one external pocket of the REI Transporter helps organize and is used to tuck away the duffel bag when not in use.

Best Applications


This is the bag to choose for two distinct and unique scenarios. Most people will choose it as a giant duffel that is easy to store and move around when not in use. In this context, it is the best in our review. Secondly, this is the bag that the expedition guides on our test team recommend most for mountaineering expeditions that involve dragging a sled. This sort of use isn't common, but it is demanding. You want a bag that is light, simple, water-resistant, giant, and easy to get in and out of. Some of these criteria are conflicting. The REI Roadtripper 140 strikes the balance we are looking for. Even as compared to many much more expensive options, the REI Roadtripper is the bag that we will choose for spring Denali mountaineering expeditions
Two recent close competitors. Bago Travel on the left  Top Pick REI Roadtripper on the right. The REI is larger  more durable  and simpler.
Two recent close competitors. Bago Travel on the left, Top Pick REI Roadtripper on the right. The REI is larger, more durable, and simpler.

Value


Not only is the Roadtripper high performing in specific instances, but it's also an excellent value. The price is low, the performance is optimized for certain situations, and the construction is durable enough to last through many memorable adventures.


Conclusion


Denali guides that have access to many different duffel bag options choose and recommend the REI Roadtripper 140. For regular use, others will be more durable and easier to move around, but when you need a light, big, durable bag, this is the one we suggest.


Jediah Porter