North Face Basecamp Duffel

The more into something you get, the more stuff you accumulate for it right? What started off as just a pair of trainers and some gym kit soon turned into multiple pairs of trainers (for different purposes), specific technical clothing of all varieties, gear and tech. Then came the need for transporting it all to where it needs to be used…

I’ve always been a backpack kind of guy, but with so much kit mandated for events and the added travelling needs….enter the duffel! The North Face Basecamp was the choice and it hasn’t disappointed.

Basecamp Duffel 2

Although it’s a ‘bag’, you can wear it! The Basecamp Duffel is a stereotypical duffel bag in look/design terms but it comes with shoulder straps so you can wear it as a backpack. Genius. When a bag is big and heavy, a single shoulder strap just isn’t comfortable. I don’t want any of that over the shoulder, hip-bashing carrying going on in my life. No thank you. The straps  on this bad-boy are padded and easily adjusted offering a comfortable fit when wearing it on your back. I went for the ‘medium’ size bag. Size is relative though…

As I say, It’s a traditional duffel. Regardless of the size you get it has that one single main compartment that includes a zipped pocket (large) on the opening ‘flap’. One end of the bag is a zipped pocket also. Both ends of the bag are adorned with the North Face Logo. It looks classy and is available in a huge variety of colours (all with the base colour of black I believe).

Basecamp Duffel 3

The medium size version also comes with a separate bag  (not sure what to call this exactly) that can be used to pack the duffel down into a very small transportable/storable size. Basically you fold the bag end-on and compress it like an accordion, or at least that’s what I do (note, I’ve never played an accordion before). This separate bag can also be used for different purposes of course (unless you’re not a practical thinker!) – as a runner I put my trainers in it when travelling!

What I like

  • It’s built like a brick-shit-house. This bag is the bully on the school playground. The freak of nature that is twice the size of everyone else yet somehow still in the same ‘category’ as you. The material is tough and very durable. This isn’t going to produce faults or damage easily. You can basically throw it around on your travels, as you should a bag!
  • Its huge. Space for everything. Space even for things I can’t think of. I’ve not yet been able to fill it to the point I can’t close it easily.
  • Simplistic design in a wide range of colours. Being unadventurous I went for the all black. Because I’m boring like that.

What I didn’t like

  • A subjective one. Its predominantly a duffel bag – the ‘packing’ space is large and singular and designed for horizontal use. So, when used as a back pack, naturally the contents will shift. The more you include and the heavier it is, the more the content will sit differently when worn as a backpack. This can cause some discomfort and I find I do that ‘jumping up and down on the spot’ thing until the content sits more comfortably. Key for me to remembering though, it’s not designed as a backpack!


Superb. It’s so big! I call it the blackhole as it swallows everything I throw into it. I’ve used the bag for weekends away, including travelling for ultra marathons where I’ve packed it full of race kit, hydration bags, recovery kit, clothes, trainers, tech equipment, bags of nutrition, jackets and so on. It’s never come close to being full. It’s a solid bag that is going to last and is so usable given not only its size but functional carry straps. I love it.

Basecamp Duffel 1