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Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Packable Review

A simple, ultralight duffel that packs down to the size of a tennis ball
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Price:  $50 List | $49.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Incredibly light and packable, decent weather protection and durability for the weight
Cons:  No additional storage pockets, only one carrying option
Manufacturer:   Sea to Summit
By Nick Bruckbauer ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 20, 2020
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54
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 12
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 5
  • Storage and Ease of Packing - 25% 4
  • Durability - 20% 3
  • Weight - 15% 10
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 7

Our Verdict

With a measured weight of just 2.8 ounces and the ability to pack down to about the size of a tennis ball, the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Packable Duffel impresses with one of the most streamlined designs we've ever seen. The 30-denier Cordura nylon construction is less robust than most other competitors with heavier-duty materials, but is surprisingly durable and weather-resistant for its feather-like weight. With limited features and only one carrying method, the Ultra-Sil Duffel won't compete directly with full-sized expedition duffels, but makes an excellent choice as a carry-on, gym bag, laundry pouch, or all-purpose storage bag that can easily be packed along on any trip.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Packable Duffel is an impressively light and packable bag that makes a convenient companion for any travel. While it doesn't score as well as heavier-duty models in some of our performance metrics, it does a great job at filling its intended niche as a convenient carry option to stash in the car, your purse, or your full-sized luggage. It makes an excellent choice for trips to the gym, grocery store, beach, or laundry mat, and easily stashes away in the attached stuff sack when it's not in use.

Performance Comparison


The incredibly lightweight Ultra-Sil duffel lacks the durability of other models but makes a great choice as a second bag or for daily use during a long vacation.
The incredibly lightweight Ultra-Sil duffel lacks the durability of other models but makes a great choice as a second bag or for daily use during a long vacation.

Ease of Transport


The Ultra-Sil Duffel falls within a unique subcategory of our duffel days lineup with its ultralight/packable design. As such, it only includes one carry option. The nylon carry handles are permanently attached to the bag with reinforced stitching, and contoured panels extend from the main body to help strengthen the connection and distribute forces from the handles more evenly throughout the pack. The handles feel well-balanced and are reasonably comfortable even though they don't include any padding. This duffel is one of the only in our lineup that doesn't include adjustable handles or any shoulder straps, even among the ultralight/packable models.

The two main carry handles provide the only carrying option  but aren't padded and can get uncomfortable after a while  especially when the bag is fully loaded.
The two main carry handles provide the only carrying option, but aren't padded and can get uncomfortable after a while, especially when the bag is fully loaded.

Once you're done using this duffel, it stashes away into the attached stuff sack and packs down to the size of a tennis ball. The included carabiner clip makes it easy to lash the small stuff sack onto a backpack, purse, or larger duffel bag until it's ready to be deployed again.

The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil packs down to the size of a tennis ball.
The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil packs down to the size of a tennis ball.

Storage and Ease of Packing


The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil's 40-liter storage volume is impressive considering its featherweight design, and is among the largest volumes of the ultralight/packable models that we tested. The primary storage compartment is accessed with a single straight-shot zipper that completely reveals the inside of the pack. While we typically prefer D-shaped zippers on duffel bags, the combination of this zipper design and the shape of the pack is quite effective.

The main straight zippered opening provides easy access to the storage compartment.
The main straight zippered opening provides easy access to the storage compartment.

The cavernous main storage compartment is handy and accessible, but we always would appreciate an additional storage pocket to help organize smaller pieces of gear. The other ultralight/packable styles that we tested include an external zippered pocket. As such, the Ultra-Sil Duffel still works great for hauling groceries, shoes, or dirty laundry.

Durability


The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil has one primary material throughout its body. The 30-denier Cordura nylon is silky smooth and is one of the thinnest and lightest materials of any duffel in our lineup. As would be expected, this bag's durability is undoubtedly much lower than heavy-duty 1000-denier expedition duffels. However, weighing in at less than three ounces and packing down to the size of a tennis ball, this bag's durability is very impressive when considering its tiny footprint and lack of heft. For its intended use as a carry-on bag, gym bag, or secondary travel bag for laundry or souvenirs, the durability is certainly appropriate. It gave us no durability issues during our testing period, and we would expect no problems with regular use. Further, Sea to Summit guarantees their gear against defects in materials or workmanship for the lifetime of the product.

The ultra-sil Cordura nylon is lighter and thinner than most other materials  but is reasonably durable for its weight.
The ultra-sil Cordura nylon is lighter and thinner than most other materials, but is reasonably durable for its weight.

Weight


The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Duffel weighs in at just 2.8 ounces (0.2 pounds) for its 40-liter size, making it one of the lightest duffels that we've ever tested. With such a lightweight and packable design, you're sacrificing the durability, carrying options, and storage features found on more robust duffels, but for its intended purpose, this bag sure impresses.

Weight is an important consideration  but shedding the pounds or ounces usually means sacrificing durability or features. Here  some of the lightest bags in our test demonstrate their packability.
Weight is an important consideration, but shedding the pounds or ounces usually means sacrificing durability or features. Here, some of the lightest bags in our test demonstrate their packability.

Weather Resistance


While this bag's 30-denier nylon material is waterproof, the seams are not fully sealed and provide a potentially vulnerable spot through which water can enter. The zipper has a water-resistant protective flap but also isn't fully waterproof. While the Ultra-Sil won't be fully submersible underwater and might not withstand extended downpours, it's plenty protective to keep its contents dry from splashes and short trips out in the rain.

The weather-resistant zipper and water-repellent coating provide worthy weather protection.
The weather-resistant zipper and water-repellent coating provide worthy weather protection.

Value


With one of the more affordable price tags in our lineup, even among the smaller ultralight/packable options, the Ultra-Sil has a very reasonable price. Even though you're sacrificing durability and certain features with such a light-duty bag, its size, weight, and lightweight price tag make it an excellent value for its intended purpose.

The Ultra-sil duffel provides great value with its versatile  lightweight design and affordable price.
The Ultra-sil duffel provides great value with its versatile, lightweight design and affordable price.

Conclusion


The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Packable Duffel is a convenient ultralight model that works great for a variety of everyday uses. The thin and light material is surprisingly durable and weather-resistant, storage capacity is impressive for its size and weight. While we ultimately preferred other ultralight models with additional pockets or carrying methods, the Sea to Summit is one of the lightest and smallest we've ever seen and would make a great choice to pack along on your next trip.

Nick Bruckbauer