When High Sierra approached us about testing some of their new line of luggage it could not have come at a more perfect time. As a freelance photographer and filmmaker I travel a lot for work and am constantly wishing my luggage options were more diverse and more compatible to the type of travel. High Sierra met my needs in two ways: one in the carry-on compatible 22″ Duffel Backpack and two in the wheeled 32″ Duffel Upright. Both of these bags are made from 840 Denier Nylon that is a high strength, durable material with excellent wear properties.
HIGH SIERRA AT8 22" DUFFEL BACKPACK
After testing this duffel backpack on several trips, both weekend and week or so in length, I would highly recommend it as your extra carry-on piece of luggage, or as a go-to bag to bring on a weekend-long car trip. The 22″ duffel has a large U-shaped main compartment opening, two side-loading water resistant gear compartments as well as a front panel waterproof zipper/fleece lined pocket. The methods you can use to carry this pack are diverse as it has a 3-in-1 handle, grab handle/backpack strap turn into cross body shoulder strap as well as convenient side grab handles. The exterior of the pack has daisy chain webbing loops for attaching extra gear. You will find an interior mesh zipper pocket that is great for stashing little things you want to know where to locate at a moments notice. The pack has a 48L capacity and weights a mere 1.9 lbs.
The key awesome feature of this convertible duffel – is that it converts from duffel to backpack with stow-away shoulder straps making it easy to trek across an airport with or walk from a bus station to an air bnb. The spaciousness of this pack was perfect for giving me enough space to store the clothes, shoes and accessories I need for a short trip, or the emergency necessities I may want to make sure stay with me on a cross-continental trip – if let’s say I am also checking a bag like the one below.
HIGH SIERRA AT8 32" WHEELED DUFFEL UPRIGHT
I owned one of High Sierra’s previous wheeled upright duffels so was very excited to see what the AT8 line updated from their original bags. I was not disappointed. This bag is so full of features I could write a novel about it, but for the sake of your attention span and my finger’s fatigue, I’ll keep it short. This wheeled duffel is AWESOME. I know we aren’t supposed to gush, but sometimes I can’t help it. This bag is truly revolutionizing the way I travel for long periods of time. It helped me across Europe this winter and all around Montana this spring and I’m sure it will last me plenty more adventures to come. The bag has a multiple compartment design; a Duffel style large front compartment and a Large drop-bottom compartment. These two main compartments can be accessed from a top zipper as well as a zipper down the middle of the bag. There is a small front panel waterproof zipper/ fleece lined pocket as well as two side-loading water resistant gear compartments. The recessed, telescoping handle with soft gel-bottom handle is as deluxe as it sounds – rolling this pack across the miles of London Heathrow was only made possible thanks to this cushy handle. While they do not have gel inserts, the convenient grab handles on top, side, and bottom are equally plush and very gentle on the hands. Oh, and to top it all off, the bag has hidden backpack straps! The only downside of this pack is that it weighs in at 11 lbs empty, which means you have 39 lbs of leeway before it (very quickly) becomes overweight according to most airlines regulations. The two separate inner compartments are great for separating clothes from outerwear from shoes from etc…
Both of these bags are high quality, durable and at $76 and $186 are an affordable grab for the adventurous type wanting some luggage that will last and not get in the way of having a great time on their travels.
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Gretchen Powers is a Maine based freelance filmmaker and photographer. She specializes is branded content creation and outdoorsy weddings. When she’s not wielding a camera she loves xcskiing, hiking, knitting, drinking tea and exploring with her pup Ella. www.gpowersfilm.com