Monday, June 9, 2014

Gear - Duffel Bag

Our duffel bags have been with us through south-east Asia before joining us on this big trip. We love them, although they are not without flaws.

• One big opening
This makes you rethink how you pack your bag. You need a system of bags (we use packing cubes) or all your belongings will end up in one big heap. But something you propably could use/need in a normal back pack as well.
• Not made for hiking
Lets face it, its a bag not a backpack. Without proper hip support you don't wan't to haul this baby far. 
• One big opening
This makes it a breeze accessing all your stuff without having to empty it halfway. Also makes it easy to lock it and the opening faces your back when you wear it, no fear of pick pocketing. We usually just throw our valuables in one of them and lock it before leaving the room, just so if somebody comes by isn't tempted.
• Waterproof
If you don't submerge it it will keep your things dry, no problem. No worries about the occasional down pour while you look for shelter, rain fall when your bag is riding on top of the bus or where they drop it in the little launch out to your island paradise.
• Easy to clean
The plastic material makes it easy to clean it if you spill anything or just think its time after all the dirty laundry it has seen ;)
• Compact
You can compress it to make sure your material doesn't slide all the way to the bottom and you end up with pear shaped lump on your back. Also good to fit in any uneven compartments in tight spaces like a sailing boat!
• Colors!
Sounds silly but I love to have a colourful bag. Easy to spot in the mirad sea of dull black luggage. They come in every color and combination, just pick one you like.
• The look
You don't look like the next best tracking-sandals-lover-back-packing-hippie ;)

All in all we think the pros definitely outweigh the cons and are quite happy with them. We got the North Face Medium version, but I guess these points apply to all different brands. Don't buy anything bigger than a Medium if you plan on carrying it (yourself). I made the mistake of buying a size L for our trip to Thailand back in 2010 so I could fit my fins inside. But then you just end up filling it with stuff you won't need and have to lug it around.

Across Lago de Atitlán in Guatemala