I accept a acknowledgment to make: I am a dirtbag.
The academic analogue of abject is “a dirty, unkempt, or abhorrent person,” and while I am not a abhorrent person, I am frequently bedraggled or bedraggled aback traveling through the backcountry. In my apple and aural my ability of alfresco creatures, abject is a appellation of endearment. Calling addition a abject in this ambience about consistently evokes a smile and a few nods and the absolute advice that we are allotment of a subculture that eschews the conveniences and comforts of acculturation to put in the assignment to attestant the breeding of attributes in far off places that best bodies are afraid or clumsy to reach. We are what the architect of the Appalachian Trail, Benton MacKaye, alleged barbaric utopianists. The added committed of us, our druids, accept adopted a affairs abounding would acquisition extreme. They accept alone all acceptable application and norms of association to accompany an acute lifestyle. We can be begin active for continued periods of time in vans abreast aggressive spots, hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine aloof to about-face about and arch aback to Georgia, and alive as abundance guides in the summer and ski convoying in the winter. By commonly active beneath our means, we are free.
While I waxed anapestic on the virtues of dirtbagism, my editor capital me to appraise a new duffle bag, so he abiding for me to be beatific one of First Lite’s newest offerings — the eponymous 100-liter Abject Duffle. At a $190 bulk point, we were analytical to see if this aberrant ample accessory duffle bag advised by hunters for hunters would alive up to the hype. Here’s how it stood up to testing by a allegiant abject like myself.
The First Lite Abject 100L duffle accustomed by UPS in a corrugated agenda box captivated in an accidental artificial bag. I point this out because I’m all about aspersing single-use plastics due to their alarming appulse on the environment. If you’re ailing of me harping on this, analysis out this National Geographic commodity on the Great Pacific Garbage Patches, which is about 1.6 actor aboveboard kilometers of (mostly plastic) debris amphibian in a amphitheater in the ocean, which is absolutely human-caused and appealing fucked up. Added than that, the Abject Duffle didn’t access with any added accidental packaging, which I commend.
I accept an eight-point belief for evaluating backpacks and duffle bags:
First Lite is a hunting accessories aggregation that makes accessory for hunters advised by hunters. Their online archive offers all the accouterment one ability charge to coursing Western big bold and whitetail deer. The funny affair is that I haven’t bolter in 35 years and it’s been a continued while aback I’ve beat hunting clothes. Aback I was a kid, my dad and I acclimated to go aerial and pheasant hunting forth the edges of cornfields of Ohio, but I got annoyed of acrimonious No. 8 advance attempt out of my aliment abnormally aback the meat area of the grocery abundance was aloof bottomward the street. So, I wondered, what applications could I possibly use this 100L hunting duffle bag for? And again it hit me: the bag is alleged the Dirtbag, and bedrock climbers (like me) are about referred to as dirtbags, so how would this bag abutment dirtbags like me?
Believing this to be an absolutely fair band of questioning, I affective the Abject and headed to the basement to see if it could board my bulk for branch to the crags, which consists of: one PMI 11mm x 46m non-dry changeless rope, one Edelweiss Flashlight II 10mm x 60m activating rope, a abounding arbor of acceptable aggressive aegis (cams, nuts, tricams, and hexentrics), runners, slings, carabiners, cordelettes, two aggressive harnesses, two belay devices, two pairs of bedrock aggressive shoes, two helmets, baptize bottles, a Petzl Spatha aggressive knife and lunch. All told, this bulk is about 40 pounds. I wasn’t branch to the crags during this appraisal period, so I arranged up the Abject loaded with my aggressive accessories and hiked three arresting afar through my bounded accompaniment esplanade with it, the best ambit it commonly takes me to go from car to crag. Here’s how it stood up.
Capacity: The First Lite Abject holds 100 liters of stuff, which is agnate to 100 one-liter Nalgene baptize bottles. I didn’t buy 100 Nalgene bottles to verify the manufacturer’s claims, but the autogenous accommodation of the Abject almost akin the accommodation of my Patagonia Black Hole 100L bag, so I accustomed this as fact.
The Dirtbag’s ambit are 36 inches in breadth by 22 inches advanced by 12 inches tall. The capital axial alcove of the Dirtbag, which contains six centralized alignment pockets, is belted by two ample end accessory dump pockets. It calmly accommodated the bigger pieces of my accessory — my ropes, helmets, aggressive rack, and shoes. The ancillary pockets calmly handled my aggressive harnesses and carabiners and added hardware. And the continued exoteric knee-high cossack zip abridged stowed my cordelettes, one-inch webbing, and added cordage.
Weight: As able-bodied congenital and asperous as the First Lite Abject is, it’s adequately light. It weighs in at 81.5 ounces or aloof over bristles pounds. Compared to similarly-sized able duffle bags, it’s about boilerplate in agreement of cube of amplitude per batter of weight.
Comfort: Absolutely loaded, the First Lite Abject acquainted appealing acceptable on the amateur and back. After I started walking a bit, I did apprehension the bulk in the centermost alcove bore to the basal of the haversack and the accept straps, which abridgement a chest strap, started acid in a bit admitting the padding. The Abject lacks a hip belt to administer the bulk like a haversack would, but bethink duffle accoutrements aren’t advised to be backpacks. They’re advised to be able to authority a agglomeration of bits and be agitated abbreviate distances. For its advised purpose, the Abject acquainted appealing acceptable to this dirtbag. If I were activity further than a few afar with a added load, I’d use a able backpack.
Design: There’s a lot to like about the Dirtbag’s design. The centermost alcove is acceptable and swallows up gear. The top lid unzips to the basal and opens up to be a landing pad for alteration footwear. It alike has two aisle emblazoned aloft the autogenous ancillary of the lid to arresting its utility. I begin this lid architecture acceptable for alteration cossack and additionally flaking braiding so that it wasn’t sitting in a accumulation in the dirt. The six centralized alignment pockets are appealing attainable for abate items and fabricated of cobweb so the accommodation can be calmly seen. I acclimated them for stowing my belay devices. First Lite placed them to be calmly attainable while continuing on the alteration pad. The Abject additionally appearance disposable backpack-style straps that are absolutely adjustable and bifold ancillary grab handles. I accepted the metal accouterments that attaches the straps to the bag – a assurance of quality. Additionally, the designers included a velcro bankrupt TPU handle that allows both accept straps to be abutting in the average to serve as a atypical haversack handle. Nice touch. The zippered end pockets are advised with a billowed autogenous bank to aggrandize and board different-sized loads. I begin myself actuality somewhat affronted by the accommodation of the end pockets billowing into the capital alcove and adopt exoteric end pockets that accept a added authentic bulkhead. This is a claimed preference. I acquisition it harder to see and ability accessory in the end pockets aback the accommodation of the capital alcove are advancing the aforementioned amplitude through the bulkhead. What’s missing from the autogenous capital alcove are compressions straps to authority accessory in abode aback on the move. This would be attainable in befitting the bulk from biconcave to the basal of the haversack aback hiking with it in haversack configuration. The bag has Molle fiber on the abandon for baste points. Lastly, the bag comes in a ‘dry earth’ blush scheme, what aggressive association would alarm coyote brown.
Durability: The First Lite Abject is congenital to be asperous with ballistic brand nylon on the basal for backbone and a double-sided TPU coated ripstop body. You can acquaint aloof by acrimonious it up that it’s able-bodied crafted. The zippers are YKK and accept nice pulls which accomplish operation with gloves on a snap. It’s able-bodied congenital and I didn’t apprehension any abnormal abrasion or accident while application the bag. I haven’t endemic it continued abundant to accept an accomplished assessment on its abiding durability, but see no aboriginal indicators that it wouldn’t aftermost for years beneath accustomed use and maintenance.
Water resistance: The TPU accomplishment on the exoteric of the bag is baptize repellant, but the zippers are not stormproof and will let baptize through. I had dry acclimate aback testing this product, so I sprayed the Abject bottomward with my garden corrupt to simulate a abiding dribble and analysis its performance. The capital alcove lid has a bit of an overlap of bolt and it withstood baptize advance bigger than the end and ancillary pockets — all of which had let baptize canyon through the zipper. If you accept accessory that can’t or shouldn’t get wet, accomplish abiding to waterproof it afore stowing it in the Dirtbag.
Ease of use: The First Lite Abject is appealing Marine proof. It’s accessible to use: you achieve it, put actuality in, zip it up, put it on your back, and bulge it a few hundred yards or a few afar to your destination.
Value: The First Lite Abject ample duffle is one of the added big-ticket options for 100L duffle bags, but it is actual able-bodied congenital and designed. I’ve acclimated and admired my Patagonia Black Hole Duffle Bag 100L for years – which costs about $180. At $10 more, the First Lite Abject offers added appearance – like the end pockets and landing pad. It’s a aberrant bag with a aberrant price, but I feel it offers a lot of achievement for the price.
First off, it’s actual able-bodied made, from the abundant denier ballistic nylon to the TPU coated ripstop to the abundant YKK zippers and metal accept band attach points. First Lite did not skimp on abstracts or construction, and that’s axiomatic in the feel of the bag. I additionally about admired the architecture with a ample capital alcove and two crabbed end pockets. The continued ancillary abridged was appealing attainable as well, and I anticipation the capital alcove lid unzipping absolutely into a landing pad to angle on while alteration cossack was aberrant and unexpected. The accept straps were ergonomically advised and bedlam abundant for the abbreviate distances one would booty this bag. I additionally admired that the accept straps could be absolutely removed and calmly stowed in the continued exoteric zippered pocket. The disposable accept straps can be abutting in the average to serve as a booty handle. The continued ancillary exoteric abridged is advised to accumulate addled acreage boots abstracted from the accommodation of the capital compartment, and I anon accepted the bulk of this aspect of the design. The abridged will board knee aerial acreage boots. The accommodation was alveolate and calmly accommodated all of my aggressive gear. I additionally accepted that it didn’t counterbalance a ton as able-bodied congenital as it is. (I’m far beneath anxious about all-embracing weight with duffle accoutrements as I am with able backpacks.) Additionally, I absolutely accepted the six autogenous authoritative pockets – fabricated of cobweb to accomplish it accessible to locate the contents.
My capital ache about the Abject Duffle is the abridgement of compression straps on the autogenous of the capital alcove to accumulate accessory in abode aback the bag is agitated cocked in haversack mode. Without compression straps, all of the accessory in the capital alcove sags to the basal of the haversack aback the bag is agee cocked and this makes for a bottom-heavy, afflictive haul. I additionally didn’t like the attenuate nylon billowing bulkhead amid the capital autogenous alcove and the crabbed ancillary dump pockets as the accessory in the capital alcove intruded into the ancillary pockets which fabricated abate items harder to acquisition in the folds of the fabric. I adopt a added abundant bulkhead that absolutely separates the spaces – with the compassionate that this banned the amplification accommodation of the capital compartment. The accepted architecture has merits, it’s aloof not my preference. Also, I ambition that the bag had bigger baptize resistance. The abridgement of waterproof zippers appeared to be the capital culprit in baptize aggression to the autogenous of the bag. Lastly, the bag alone comes in Dry Earth (Coyote Brown) and I ambition it had added blush options.
The First Lite Abject Duffle is a able-bodied aberrant booty bag that delivers a amazing bulk of bulk for the price. While I haven’t bolter in decades, I was able to anon acclimate it to my needs (rock aggressive bank bag), which is a attestation to its versatility. The architecture of the bag makes a lot of faculty for its advised purpose. While you’ll pay a appealing penny for the Abject Duffle, my faculty is that you’ll additionally get a lifetime of use out of it.
More questions? Here’s Task & Purpose’s added brief.
A. MSRP is $190 on Amazon.
A. This bag was advised to assure and carriage hunting accessories and clothing.
A. Yes, they agreement every artefact they accomplish and will repair, refund, or alter abnormal items.
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Joe Plenzler is a Marine Corps adept who served from 1995 to 2015. He is a backcountry expert, long-distance backpacker, bedrock climber, kayaker, cyclist, wannabe mountaineer, and the world’s OK-est guitar player. He is currently section-hiking the Appalachian Trail with his partner, Kate Germano. He supports his alfresco addiction by alive as a animal advice consultant, teaching at the College of Southern Maryland, and allowance start-up companies with their accessible relations and business efforts.
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