A duffel bag is not strictly hiking gear, but for any type of “rough and ready” trips, when you need to pack a bunch of “just in case” items and extra clothing, this near-indestructible duffle is a very useful addition to any outdoor enthusiast’s bag collection.
Price (at time of writing): R1490
Dimensions: 63.5cm x 35.5cm x 35.5cm
Access Points: Top
Material: 500D PVC fabric, Ballistic nylon bottom
That looks familiar..
Right, let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room: The GoGravel Maluti duffel is basically a carbon copy of The North Face’s medium Base Camp duffel. However, that is not a bad thing.
To copy a legendary bag that has been on every expedition imaginable is a daunting task, but GoGravel has done the original design justice, even adding a slight improvement for everyday use. But first, the similarities…
Bomb proof outer fabrics, with a reinforced bottom, ensure the bag can be dragged along without any remorse. Need a place to store some sensitive items that might get damaged by the rest of your cargo? Chuck it in the duffel. The outer fabrics can withstand a ton of abuse. Worried about condensation or moving your luggage around in the rain? Chuck it in the duffel. Although the zips are not waterproof, the PVC exterior will keep your items dry in all but the worst conditions.
The same hardcore utilitarian design of The North Face Base Camp, is alive and well in the Maluti. I’ve been throwing mine around for almost a year with no signs of wear.
The 70L size feels like the perfect compromise between “enough” and convenience. It’s small enough for me to want to grab it for a weekend trip, being able to comfortably take 2 pairs of shoes, for different activities, as well as multiple layers for colder weather, but also big enough to handle the amount of additional gear or clothing required for an extended adventure.
Designed for daily use
The one area that GoGravel has improved on the original design, in my opinion, is with easily detachable shoulder straps.
Having the option to carry the bag on your back is extremely useful, but most of the time you’ll be carrying it by the handles and living out of the big, D-shaped top opening, in which case, fixed shoulder straps are always in the way. I have the shoulder straps stashed away almost permanently.
The grab handles on either end of the bag are more useful then I would’ve imagined – pulling it out of the boot is a pleasure.
There is looped webbing all along the length of the bag, allowing it to be strapped to a roof rack (or the back of a lama…), as well as compression straps to keep things from sloshing around too much.
Under the lid is a zippered mesh pocket, allowing you to keep smaller items out of the way and more organised, as well as a key fob to make sure you don’t lose your car keys.
The lid also has a transparent “card holder” for easy identification when travelling.
Value for money
If you’re in the market for a hardy duffel, you can’t go wrong with the Maluti. A replica of a legendary expedition bag, at a much friendlier price point, is an easy sell and I have found myself reaching for it on almost every weekend trip.