On a recent day hike out of Estes Park, Colorado, we set out with some friends for what was supposed to be a pleasant hike to have lunch by a rushing waterfall. I loaded up the main compartment of my Eagle Creek Systems Go Duffel Pack with my camera, field guides, lunch, water, and notepad, stashing my collapsible tripod in the long side pocket. I lashed my raincoat to the front webbing lash points for quick access. Most people who spend any time in the Rocky Mountains know that thunder showers often come up without warning at a moment’s notice. I’ve been tricked before, but this time I was ready. And I’m glad I was.

When we headed out, it was relatively sunny and warm, but the clouds were coming in. We had a beautiful hike through forest canopy, over a few small streams, and then through some wildflower meadows. No sooner had we set up for lunch at the base of a waterfall than we thought we heard thunder. Yep. Within minutes a cloud burst of rain began dumping on us. We quickly gathered up our gear to head for the trail head. My rain coat was easily accessible on my Eagle Creek Systems Go Duffel Pack, and I stuffed my camera gear safely back inside the bag, glad it was water-resistant.

My friends’ packs were not as hardy as mine, so I volunteered to take some of their perishable gear that would have otherwise been soaked by the rain. When I strapped on my Eagle Creek Systems Go Duffel Pack I was pleased with the fit and how it stayed well-centered because we had to jog back down the trail. I pulled out the hidden hip straps, and snapped them into place around my hips. The pack held firmly against my body as we jogged. I was happy for the chest strap, too, because it just added to the pack’s stability as we continued running to get out of the rain. In the back panel of the pack, the mesh material was very breathable and moisture-wicking, which helped keep me comfortable even as I was heating up from the run.

We finally ended up taking a shortcut trail to drop down to the main park road to catch a shuttle back to the trail head. While waiting for the shuttle, we converted the pack back into a duffle bag by easily removing the shoulder straps and restoring the hip straps back to their hidden compartments. While on the shuttle I remembered that I had a bag of M&Ms in my pack. Although the label for the Eagle Creek Systems Go Duffel Pack had said it was water-resistant (not waterproof), I was pleased when I opened it to see that all of the contents were completely dry and in the same condition as when I first packed them earlier in the day.

A few extra points about the Eagle Creek Systems Go Duffel Pack that I noticed: First, it’s super sturdy but also lightweight and extremely weather- and abrasion-proof. Also, it comes with two main compartments. One is the perfect size for half-cube packers like me. For the flight home I reorganized and folded my clothes into four collapsible cubes that fit into the main compartment, and then I loaded the rest of my gear in around them. The lid has an inner mesh compartment that offers a little bit of organization and a key fob that helps me store my keys, making them easier to find. Even with all of my clothes and camera equipment, I was able to tote it all on the plane as a carry-on bag. At times I changed it up and wore this duffel as a front-panel-load travel pack. I also liked:  how the zippers all have built-in loops so they can easily be secured with carabiners or locks.

Also comes in 35L and 60L sizes. Colors: Black and Clay Red.

Bottom Line: All in all, I am very pleased with the Eagle Creek Systems Go Duffel Pack, and am sure that because of its sturdy water-resistant construction, and the fact it can be easily used as a pack or a duffle, I will be able to use it in lots of different situations. It’s a keeper!

Manufacturer’s Site: www.eaglecreek.com

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