In the world of travel, there are stuffers and there are packers. I fall naturally toward the stuff-it-in end of the scale, and anything that helps organize my gear is always appreciated. I have been on the hunt for a duffle bag to take to races and campsites that suits my yardsale unpacking style, and the numerous dividers in the Refuge Waterproof Duffle Bag from Showers Pass take me numerous steps in the right direction.
The bag has three main pockets, with smaller pockets sewn inside them, and another holster in the main flap. It almost forces me to pack properly, despite the wadded-up condition of my clothes.
One of the most thoughtful features of this bag is the fold-out changing mat that gives you a place to stand while you disrobe.
After you have changed into or out of riding gear, the vinyl mat folds back into this discrete side pocket. It is held in place by a velcro strip, so you can find plenty of other uses for it, like a fireside chalkboard. Maybe they made it detachable so you can spray the mud off?
The main pocket divider is held in place by two strips of velcro and can be moved or removed as you like.
Either end of the duffel has a pocket large enough for a pair of shoes. This holster on the left side has a fleece-lined laptop compartment that the company says will fit a 15″ notebook. The fleece pocket stops short of the bottom of the bag to prevent your device from hitting the ground when you drop the bag. I use it to hold goggles and other items that I want to keep free of scratches.
These two pockets inside the right wall hold all of my favorite snacks.
On the opposite end, I cram toiletries and attach my keys and wallet to the orange anodized carabiner-style hook.
A mesh pocket beneath the main cabin door holds the quick-access goods.
All packed and stuffed up. I recently took this bag on a few longer trips, and while I was able to fit nearly all of my riding and hangin’ gear inside, I wouldn’t mind if it were 50% larger. For a 3-day excursion, I had to strap my helmet to the bag’s handle and carry my camera gear in a separate satchel.
You can carry the Refuge by the adjustable shoulder strap, or the two shorter handles. The setup could be even better with a simple set of backpack-style straps for those quick sprints across the airport. Running with it between tight transfers in Amsterdam, as it dangled by the single strap, required several shoulder swaps and more than one spirited apology when the bag brushed other travelers.
- $189 (available at Amazon.com)
- Material: ballistic strength nylon
- Weight: 2.81lbs
- Capacity: 51.3 liters
Finally, the zippers on the Refuge are fantastic. I can be a bit ham-fisted when opening and closing luggage, and this burly toother was made to put up with people like me.
We would like to thank Showers Pass for sending the bag for review.