I have a real aversion to those wheely suitcases, that every man, woman and child now seems to use. I can happily and calmly stand for hours in an airport security queue waiting to be frisked but the minute I trip over one of those bloomin’ suitcases being dragged around I can flip into a fit of rage faster than the Hulk can turn green. Yes, I know it’s irrational, and yes, I probably should seek some help or at the very least look down a bit more…
So you won’t be surprised after that little confession to hear that my bag of choice when travelling is usually a backpack or some sort of duffel that can be picked up and carried. But I’ll admit sometimes they can get a bit heavy, particularly if your plane is waiting at gate 704. So this Lifeventure wheeled duffle seems to offer the best of both worlds. It’s got a great selection of handles allowing the user to sling it over their shoulders, but it also has wheels for a when a fit of wimpy-ness strikes.
The first thing about this bag that made me go “oooh” is that it packs down really rather small when empty – brilliant for storing. As the picture shows it rolls down smaller than the family dog, and when empty it weighs approximately the same as his weekly biscuit intake (2.1kg)
When unfurled it holds a seriously impressive 120 litres, this means it has ample space for not only a couple of weeks clothes, but you can probably get the dog in there too. Okay… on a serious note it means that it’s highly likely you’ll also be able to bung in your activity gear minimising the amount of bags you’ll have to take.
Myself and ‘im indoors are currently away for a weeks holiday, ordinarily we would normally take two separate bags. He has one of those wheely things (shudder) and I have a 70 litre duffel which I am more than capable of filling. For the purposes of this review however both of our belongings plus two big fluffily towels have been popped into the Lifevenutre duffel and as you can see from the above picture they’ve barely touched the sides!
However, it is has piled on the pounds. I can still lift it and thanks to the detachable and adjustable shoulder strap I can sling it over my shoulder, but walking any real distance will cause me some shoulder and neck pain, so that’s where the wheels come into their own. Because the bag is so large the end dragging handle is actually in a good position for me – I was initially concerned that being a bit on the taller side (5ft 10ins) I would have to slump a bit.
There are quite a few nice little bells n’whistles to this bag:
- Internal adjustable straps, great for tethering your clothes down – especially when you haven’t filled your bag to the brim.
- A reinforced, sturdy base meaning it doesn’t fold and flop about too much given it’s size.
- The drag handle has a brother down at the wheeled end, meaning you have an alternative carrying option, or two of you could feasibly carry the bag between you.
- Detachable shoulder strap can be tucked away when stored in a plane or bus/coach hold minimising the risk of it getting damaged or going missing. You could also use the strap as tether. The loops on the bag are metal, but the caribener style fasteners at the end of the straps are plastic so I do have some concerns how durable those will be when lugging around a heavily laden bag.
- The two smaller handle straps can be poppered together by two fairly industrial looking poppers, again reducing the risk of any ground crew vandalism. Those straps are big enough that you can carry the bag up onto your should with them, but not roomy enough that you could turn it into an impromptu backpack.
- The zipper is the full length of the bag meaning getting things in and out of the bag is very easy and you can see what you are doing. The zips can also be padlocked together for a bit of security, but as the bag is textile (albeit a a pretty tough 1280 denier textile) all a very determined thief would have to do is slash their way in.
As the bag is so roomy I would be inclined to invest in some pack dividers to break your items down into manageable bits. If you invested in some waterproof ones this would also add an extra level of weather protection which isn’t built-in.
As you can see our test version is a rather muted grey, if you like a bit of colour in your life you’ll be pleased to hear that Lifeventure are releasing a veritable rainbow of colours for 2015 which we got a sneak peak of at a recent trade show.
We are now handing this bag over to a long-term reviewer, who has several trips planned over the next few months, including a long road trip through Canada and the USA, a beachy R&R trip to Turkey and an archaeological trek and explore through Petra in Jordan (no we’re not jealous… honest) She will be back towards the end of the year to let us know how the Lifeventure wheeled duffle performs when packed & repacked, loaded into cars and buses and bashed about by various airport staff.