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Field Tested: Sea to Summit 90L Duffle

Sea to Summit, the ever expanding brand from Australia, is not afraid to dive headlong into product categories others might consider already saturated. Although I didn’t think the market needed another bag, I’m glad Sea to Summit didn’t feel the same. Their new duffle will undoubtedly be my go-to for all of my future gear-hauling needs.

Available later this spring, the Sea to Summit duffle will be offered in 45, 60, 90, and 130 liter sizes in blue, orange, and charcoal colors. As one of just a select few to get an early test sample, I selected the 90 liter bag with the intention of using it to portage my heavier travel and camp items.

The quality of the components is superb. Metal fasteners attach the shoulder straps to reinforced anchor points. The double-track zipper promises to hold fast when under pressure and even the adjustable sliders on the straps feature Sea to Summit’s own field replaceable buckles.

Like other duffles in its class, it’s constructed of heavy-duty waterproof and abrasion resistant fabric throughout. The Bottom has an extra layer of heavy nylon fabric for added durability and every seam has been internally reinforced with nylon tape. The perimeter of the bag is banded with a secondary layer of fabric anchoring an assortment of well-placed handles, compression straps, lash points, and strap attachments. Sea to Summit’s product engineers used common sense and good design restraint when fitting the exterior with the necessary grab points––but no more than needed.

Whereas other bags have rectangular or rounded shapes, Sea to Summit  sculpted their duffle with a wide base and a slightly narrower top. The trapezoidal stance keeps the bag from tipping over and allows for larger/heavier items to settle towards the bottom. The real star of the show is the massive opening secured by a beefy double-tracked zipper secured by two large slider toggles. With the wide base and large lid, it opens like a trunk exposing its cavernous interior. Better yet, the lid aperture is large enough it stays open when I want it to, unlike most other bags which have the irksome habit of continually slamming shut.

In an effort to keep the exterior as unfettered as possible, the design foregoes a primary top handle and instead uses the two pack straps as the main upper grab-point. Multiple attachment loops allow the pack straps to be used for a traditional backpack carry, or as an over the shoulder sling. Because the straps are so well contoured and padded, I find I can haul heavy loads for long distances in relative comfort.

I have a tendency to develop lasting relationships with inanimate objects I like and trust. I have one duffle which has been with me to multiple continents spanning more than two decades. A testament to how impressed I am with Sea to Summit’s new hauler is the realization that on my next outing, my trusted duffle of years past will for the first time ever––stay at home.

www.seatosummit.com

Even when it’s empty I love how it keeps its shape, ready to swallow anything I throw in its general direction.

 

Christophe Noel is Expedition Portal's Editor and the Senior Editor for Overland Journal. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.