Feb 13 2018

Review: Red Fox Duffels

Staying organized, at least for me, is a constant struggle. Whether on the road, or at home, when it comes to keeping my gear-life under control, too often I feel like the little Dutch boy with his thumb stuck in the dyke, staunching a sea of equipment ever ready to gush out across the floor, the cargo area of the car, or the campsite. Consequently, duffel bags of all sizes have become near constant companions. And, even with as many as I have, I always seem to be on the hunt for more—especially of late, a large capacity rolling duffel.

Red Fox Duffels - built for the abuse of adventure.

Red Fox Duffels – built for the abuse of adventure.

During my search for a mobile, high-capacity hauler, I serendipitously came across some of the best duffel deals I’ve ever seen — Red Fox’s Expedition Duffel and Roller Duffel. While planning a ski tour with Dostie, EarnYourTurns’ Grand Poobah who, among other things, helps Red Fox with their website turned me on to them. Unaware of my interest in adventure luggage, Craig asked if I’d take a gander at their site, curious to get some general feedback. The initial feedback he got, however, was not about their site, but rather, about the aforementioned duffels.

What first popped was their pricing which, at $165 for a rolling duffel, was exceedingly reasonable. My initial impression, in fact, was to think I had stumbled onto their wholesale pricing site accidentally. Most max-volume rolling duffels I’ve come across have been priced from 200 into the 300-dollar range. Granted, some of the pricier versions from other companies include more complex compartmentalization and a few more bells and whistles. However, that’s not what I was looking for. What I wanted had to be simple, burly, and voluminous; luggage that could swallow and protect my gear during the rigors of travel, especially during air travel. Essentially I was looking for a modern steamer trunk that could collapse when not in use. That is exactly what I came away with.

All of Red Fox’s PVC-coated duffels, rolling or otherwise, share the same fabric DNA: PVC-coated, 100 denier nylon “tarp” material. They are waterproof and super-duty durable. The large #10 YKK zippers were notable for easily sliding around the 90-degree corners of the flap—a common place for a zipper pull to offer resistance. Additionally the flap extends generously well past the zipper track for enhanced weatherproofness. Squarish in build, Red Fox’s Expedition Duffels come with all of the essential features, including one zippered mesh pocket under the flap, compression straps to secure smaller loads, removable shoulder straps, tarpaulin reinforced end-handles, and a double-velcro secured main handle.

Carry it all with a tough tarpolin Red Fox Duffle - from 50 to 100 liter capacity.

Carry it all with a tough tarpolin Red Fox Duffle – from 50 to 100 liter capacity.

To create their Roller Duffels, Red Fox’s 50, 70 and 100-liter Expedition Duffels went under the knife, splicing in telescoping handles, molded, supportive tub floors, added Cordura reinforcements around their bases, and replaceable, larger-than-average, three-inch wheels. The latter of which, just like 29-inch mountain bike wheels compared to old-school 26-inch wheels, allow your load to roll smoothly over larger impediments compared to standard two-inch wheels. Red Fox Roller Duffels also feature internal load-stabilizing compression ties.

While being pretty darn close to perfect, for a basic, bombproof duffel, if there is only one thing I’d add to both their Expedition and Roller Duffels, it would just be a few more internal mesh pockets. However, as they are, all of Red Fox’s tarp-fabric duffels are paragons of simplicity, utility—and value. Value, by the way, that does not come at the expense of quality. Highly recommended.

Red Fox
Expedition Duffel
MSRP: $72.50 (30l) – $106.50 (120l)
Volume:70 liters

Roller Duffel 100
MSRP: $164.50
Volume: 100 liters
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