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How We Tested Duffel Bags

By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor
Tuesday
First we talked to our friends and co-workers to come up with a list of their favorite burly duffel bags. We begged, borrowed, and dealt with friends and some companies to let us test them.
We tested by running through airports and racing after buses, trains, and boats around the world. We brought them on a climbing trip to the French Alps, spent a month dragging them in sleds across the glaciers of the Alaska Range and ditched them in the forest for three rainy weeks in Patagonia. Our trips through South America even resulted in two getting stolen, which we had to replace. After having carried nearly all of these on various expeditions to three different continents, we also did side-by-side testing by overloading each one with 55 pounds ("Because that's the weight I sometimes try and get away with when I check my bags") and walking through Sea-Tac airport to fairly compare each model. We beat them up intentionally to see if any showed more early signs of wear than others. We placed towels in each and then sprayed them down with a hose in our driveway to test weather resistance.

Ian Nicholson conducting side by side testing by spraying each bag with a hose then checking the dampness of the towels inside to compare weather resistance.
Ian Nicholson conducting side by side testing by spraying each bag with a hose then checking the dampness of the towels inside to compare weather resistance.

During our real world side by side testing  Graham Zimmerman and I are traveling with over 250lbs of food and gear see here at a bus station in Calafate  Argentina. Lugging these duffels around way too much helped give us valuable side by side comparison.
During our real world side by side testing, Graham Zimmerman and I are traveling with over 250lbs of food and gear see here at a bus station in Calafate, Argentina. Lugging these duffels around way too much helped give us valuable side by side comparison.


Ian Nicholson sitting in a Bus stop sorting food at a bus station in Argentina on a trip to Patagonia.
Ian Nicholson sitting in a Bus stop sorting food at a bus station in Argentina on a trip to Patagonia.


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