I'm heading to Lapland this winter on a dog sledding holiday and need a soft sided bag to carry kit for the 4 flights and the 5 days on the sled. I've checked out the Berghaus Leviathan 70 litre and North Face Base Camp Duffle Medium on the Net, and read a few reviews. Both seem to offer the features I think I would need, but does anyone have first hand experience of either of these, or could anyone offer a recommendation?
I've got a north face duffle 90L (not sure is thats madium or large) for 5 or 6 years now and in that time it has been on at least one flight a year as well as being dragged in and out of at least a dozen scout camps each year and it shows very little sign of wear. There is one small wear patch where I think it has run alon the side of some airport conveyor but it doesnt affect performance at all and its still as strong as ever. One thing i would say is find a way of making yours identifiableas there are now loads on airport conveyors - another sign that they work well and last so well
Never used or seen the berghaus but I would buy another tnf one when (if) the one I have wears out
In reply to paul walters: I bought a TNF duffle in 1999. It has accompanied me on every trip away from home since then. It's been everywhere from arctic, desert, jungle and dartmoor. At least 4 foreign trips (business and pleasure!) through airport handlers each year. It has been strapped to the roof/sides of buses, cars and boats, dropped in the sea, buried in sand and frozen almost solid. The only mark on it is a slight patch on the inside where my jungle strength DEET leaked and dissolved the rubber... The material is still holding it together though. I don't normally post on forums, but i really can't recommend it enough. TNF Duffle... Don't even consider anything else..
Why the only choice? I've got one Decathlon duffle, and an own-brand one from the Nordic sports chain "Stadium", both quite a lot cheaper the TNF ones. The Stadium one is about 15 years old, the Decathlon one about 10. Both have been used loads for all that time, including loads and loads of flight. They've both been absolutely superb and have no nicks, holes, tears, seams failing etc. I'm sure the TNF ones are great too, but the cheaper options can be pretty bloody good also!
> (In reply to maybe_si)
> Why the only choice?
Cos it gets consistent reviews, and is readily available pretty much anywhere? Paying a premium for a fancily branded item isn't a totally daft option compared to gambling on something with far fewer (or zero) reviews...
I have a TNF duffel I bought from Bicester Village outlet in 2004. It has been battered, dragged through the dirt, used as a pillow/seat/shower tray/spittoon for a paan chewing Burmese man to no ill effect. It is looking a bit scuffed now but still my go-to bag.
Zips are bomber, straps great, would whole-heartedly recommend it.
> (In reply to TobyA)
> Cos it gets consistent reviews, and is readily available pretty much anywhere? Paying a premium for a fancily branded item isn't a totally daft option compared to gambling on something with far fewer (or zero) reviews...
It seems daft to assume a cheaper product is lower quality, when its such a simple item, in almost identical designs made from identical hypalon type material...
I've had a big hi-gear one for years, it's lasted well in use (sometimes as frequently as weekly), and neither I or my friends with ME and TNF versions of the same bag have been able to work out what the difference is that makes the branded versions worth about twice as much.
In reply to paul walters: I got a leviathan and simply don't like it. Impossible to wear on your shoulders without the straps sliding of your shoulders, the straps pads get all tangled up all the time, zipper broke after 4 uses.
> It seems daft to assume a cheaper product is lower quality, when its such a simple item, in almost identical designs made from identical hypalon type material...
I'm not assuming cheap gear is crap. I'm assuming that well reviewed gear is adequate, and spending an extra £10, £20, £50 that will be amortized across the next 10 years of use is a reasonable tradeoff *for me*. YMMV.
A few folk have said that gelert/hi gear duffels are great. A few have said they're not so great. Ultimately, they don't come in eye-searing orange.
In reply to paul walters:
My TNF duffle is showing many signs of wear. I find the fabric is very prone to abrasion, from bagage handlers, from being slid along loading platforms, or being carried by ponies through bushes. The base reinforcing material is a different story - that IS tough.
If I was replacing it, I would go for something in a tougher fabric like cordura. Which is also lighter - the TNF duffle itself may be up to 10% of your baggage allowance, depending on flights. I would go for the Osprey Transporter as being cheaper, lighter and tougher.
In reply to needvert: doesn't include the Decathlon bags, like Toby, I've had one for several years & its been very good with very few signs of wear so far. My only complaint is that its a bit too big much of the time but thats my fault for buying a large rather than a medium (or one of each)