While your dad may still proudly have his old duffle bag from ‘Nam up in the roof space, duffle bags have changed a lot in the last fifty years. The green canvas one piece has been replaced by tactical duffle bags that would barely be recognizable to the average GI from those days.
They still do the same job of course, and that is carrying all your gear. However, there is an almost dizzying array of styles and variations on the market today, with specialist bags for every imaginable purpose. Made from the best of today’s high-tech, ripstop, waterproof materials, they also come with features that will cover just about anything you could hope to be doing. Whether going off to war, a trip into the wilderness or even just a vacation, these bags are made tough and will put up with anything that you can throw at them.
After reviewing all the top tactical duffle bags available, we’ve selected our top 7 picks in the comparison table below. We’re confident you’ll find the perfect model for your needs.
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Tactical 5.11Patrol Ready Bag (our top pick)
Why do I need a tactical duffle bag?
Those in the service will know exactly, why but some people may be put off by the name. In reality, these are just bags that have been designed to the highest specifications and feature materials of unparalleled quality. They have so many additional specialized features that are even useful for weekend campers.
It’s enough to make you wonder how you managed with a zip up hold all that you have been throwing in the back of your SUV all these years. And let’s be honest, tactical duffel bags look great. They may cost a little more, but the years of service you will get from them more than balances out the cost. It will also save you money in the long run as these bags are as tough as they are practical and versatile.
What types are available and which will suit my needs?
There are many different styles available for many different purposes. Today we are going to take a look at a few options across different price ranges and designs. We feel these are some of the best on the market.
Rothco Double-Strap G.I.-Style Duffle Bag Olive Drab
This bag is the new generation of the old style and comes with a 1960’s price tag to boot. While it may be basic, this bag is made from tough canvas. It has two adjustable shoulder straps and Rothco have been making bags like this for more than sixty years, so you can be assured they know a thing or two about making a strong duffel bag.
The minimalist style and retro color will also appeal to those who like the ‘less is more’ or retro look, and at this price you can hardly go wrong. Ideal for weekends away, camping or festivals, this is a basic but tough bag that will look better the more it is used.
5.11 Rush LBD Lima
Then there is the 5.11 Rush LBD Lima, which is at the other end of the spectrum. This 72 litre duffle bag is suited to everyone from active military personnel to student world travelers and everyone in between.
One of the reason we like this bag so much is the ease with which it transforms from a traditional duffle bag to a backpack. Some large holdalls do have a backpack conversion straps but make for very uncomfortable carrying as everything slips to the bottom of the bag. With the Rush LBD Lima the internal compression straps hold all your gear exactly where it should be, ensuring an even weight distribution when it is being used as a backpack.
It is made from tear and water resistant 1050D nylon, which is as tough as it gets . The MOLLE internal platform allows for internal compartmentalization so you can customize the storage areas for all your different types of gear. Self healing YKK zippers and Duraflex hardware will ensure everything stays secure during transport. The bag also has grab handles and a shoulder strap so you can carry it in three different ways, depending on how far you are traveling. This is a great bag and comes highly recommended.
5.11 NBT Duffle Mike
For those that would like something a little more compact, the 5.11 NBT Duffle Mike is a fantastic little number that has almost Tardis like capabilities. Coming in at 10″x19″x10″ it has a 27 litre capacity and more features, bells and whistles than you could shake a stick at.
It can be used as a day trip bag or as your go-to travel bag, and its size means it is ideal as a carry on too. With grab and go handles on three side and a shoulder strap with removable padding, you have multiple carrying options. The linking compression straps and laser-cut internal web platform allows you to store your gear in whatever manner suits you best for each individual trip. The removable mesh zipped bag acts as a see through organizer or a toiletry bag. And the waterproof treatment of the 1050 ripstop nylon composite fabric will ensure everything stays clean and dry.
So, you can see things have come along way in the world of carrying your gear. Today’s tactical duffle bags are much more than a simple canvas sack with a drawstring.
It is hard to pick a favorite between the three bags because they are all so different. If money isn’t an issue, the 5.11 Rush LBD Lima is quite simply one of the best bags on the market today. It is not a stretch at all to consider this bag as a very worth while investment as you will have it for many, many years to come.
So there you have it. If you don’t have one already, you need to get yourself a tactical duffle bag. We highly doubt you will regret it.
Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: John P
- EDC Forums – I need a duffle bag! Anyone have recommendations?
- Survivalist Boards – Why I prefer a military duffle as a BOB