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The North Face Longhaul 30" Review

The North Face Longhaul 30"
Price:   $300 List | $268.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Lots of pockets, easy access, nice handles, usable pockets
Cons:  Harder to cram full and too close when full, not as water resistant as other models we tested
Bottom line:  A more traditional roller bag, this model has a ton of pockets but isn't as weather resistant as other models.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   The North Face

Our Verdict

The North Face Longhaul 30" is a more traditional piece of rolling luggage utilizing a large "U" shaped zipper and a clam shell design. This design makes it a great option for travelers who want easy access to their main compartment without having to do a lot of rummaging around. The Longhaul 30" also features an extremely durable and mega-stiff frame that handles any load fantastically and its 36" extended handle height makes it easier and more wieldy than most rolling bags on the market; a feature even more appreciated by our smaller testers. The only downsides of the Longhaul 30" is that it's a little harder to utilize its full volume (AKA packed super full). The shallow lower half of the clam shell design burdens packing the Longhaul to the brim and as a result our testers think it feels a little smaller than its 88L volume would lead you to believe.

New Version Update — January 2017
There's a new Longhaul in town! The North Face has made some serious updates to this duffel. Keep reading to get the details.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Travel Duffel Bags of 2017


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Ian Nicholson
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Friday
May 15, 2015

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New Version - January 2017


This season's Longhaul 30" has a new look and a new price tag: down $31 to a sweet $269. We're still waiting for confirmation on details from The North Face, but in the meantime, check out the new look here, with the new version on the left and the original we reviewed on the right.

The North Face Longhaul 30"
The North Face Longhaul Duffel 30"
 

Hands-On Review


Ease of Transport


The Longhaul 30" is super easy to transport featuring two three inch wheels and a super stiff frame. A wheeled bag is obviously far easier than non-wheeled bag on any smooth terrain. The Longhauls larger than average wheels means it's slightly easier than most rolling luggage to pull across gravel or other uneven surfaces. Our testers could notice that the Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel was marginally easier to pull across grassy fields and a gravel driveways compared with the Longhaul 30", but the Longhaul was still better than most.

The North Face Longhaul 30" wheely bag
The North Face Longhaul 30" wheely bag

The round handle on the Longhaul 30" is the most comfortable among bags in our review and more comfortable than most bags out on the market. Its 36 inch extended handle height helps even smaller users manage it even when it's fully loaded down. The Longhaul 30" frame is particularly stiff meaning that it feels solid, the handle bar doesn't bend (putting more weight on the user) and the weight doesn't shift when we don't want it to. Basically, it just plain makes it easier to pull heavy things around.

The North Face Rolling Thunder was particularly good at managing a second bag. We think this is a combination of the stiffness and robust nature of the handle as well as the width between the bars and the length at which it extends. In fact if we know we are going to have a second 50+ pound second non-wheeled duffel  the Rolling Thunder is our top-choice to "piggy back" them.
The North Face Rolling Thunder was particularly good at managing a second bag. We think this is a combination of the stiffness and robust nature of the handle as well as the width between the bars and the length at which it extends. In fact if we know we are going to have a second 50+ pound second non-wheeled duffel, the Rolling Thunder is our top-choice to "piggy back" them.

The Longhaul features a burly rubber handle on the bottom end that makes it easy to grab off of the carousel but pulls double duty and keeps the bag upright even when it's empty.

The North Face Longhaul 30" wheely bag
The North Face Longhaul 30" wheely bag

The North Face Longhaul 30" wheely bag
The North Face Longhaul 30" wheely bag

Lastly the Longhaul 30" features a big central handle that we didn't expect to use as much as we did. It was the perfect for helping us lift the Longhaul off any surfaces above the ground.

The North Face Longhaul 30" wheely bag
The North Face Longhaul 30" wheely bag

Ease of Packing


Organization and ease of access is why you would buy the Longhaul 30". Featuring almost the most pockets and compartments of any duffel in our review, the Longhaul is perfect for folks who like and easy access and organization.

The North Face Longhaul 30" wheely bag
The North Face Longhaul 30" wheely bag

The Longhaul 30" opens with a big "U" shape opening to allow very easy access to any part of your duffel without having to unpack most of your stuff. Its main compartment isn't super deep and as a result feels a little smaller than its 88L (5370 cubic inches) claimed volume. Both of these design features do make it hard to maximize its space or pack super full.

The North Face Longhaul 30" wheely bag
The North Face Longhaul 30" wheely bag

The Longhual features two internal and very usable, zippered mesh pockets and its clam-shell opening and relatively shallow design make it's easy to get to all of the contents of your bag.

The North Face Longhaul 30" wheely bag
The North Face Longhaul 30" wheely bag

Lastly there are two external zippered pockets that are fairly sizable and great for items that you want easy access to. Our testers had no problem accessing these pockets even when the Longhaul was all the way filled up. Depending on where you are traveling, one point worth noting is that these external pockets are less secure as far as theft could be concerned. That said, there are two sets of zippers on them and for non-flying use a luggage lock could be used.

The North Face Longhaul 30" wheely bag
The North Face Longhaul 30" wheely bag

Durability


While the Longhaul 30" duffel is super burly compared to most rolling bags on the market, it's not be quite as beefy as the Patagonia Black Hole Black Hole Wheeled Duffle or The North Face Rolling Thunder as far as its materials are concerned. The Longhauls fame however; is super robust and we think it's the most durable frame that we have ever seen in a rolling bag.

Weight


The North Face Longhaul 30" tips the scales at 10 lbs 4 oz (4650 g) almost two pounds heavier than the Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled duffels which weighs 8 lbs 10 ounces and slightly heavier than similar volume version (80L) of The North Face Rolling Thunder 30" at 9 lb 14 oz and is the same weight as the 155L Rolling Thunder 36" at 10 lbs 4oz.

Weather Resistance


The Longhaul 30" is slightly above average among rolling duffels on the market for water resistance but wasn't quite as water resistant as several of the other rolling bags we tested. Its weather resistance also decreased a fair bit after the three expeditions we took it on and the fabric got more worn and lost some of its DWR (but was still WAY better than most other rolling duffels on the market).

Value


At $300 the Longhaul 30" is more expensive than average among rolling bags on the market. It does offer above average off paved surfaces performance, stellar access and organizational ability and handles heavy loads as well or better than most duffels. It will last most people a very long time but still isn't quite as long lasting as the Rolling Thunder or Black Hole Wheeled Duffels.

Other Versions


A smaller version of the Longhaul is also made called the Overhead. It shares many of the same design features but as you'd likely guess from the name, is designed to be used as a carry-on and is sized to do so. The Overhead costs $230, weights 7 lbs 1 ounce and offers 35L of volume.
Ian Nicholson

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Most recent review: May 15, 2015
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