I’ve resisted buying this bag for quite some time — originally because the pricing was silly. But now GORUCK offers these bags both from their Vietnamese factory, as well as the US factory. This is the Vietnam version, and it clocks in at a great price of $125 (at publication time).
I wish I grabbed this sooner, as this is a really good duffle/travel bag.
Size and Materials
The bag itself has a 32L capacity and is in a roughly rectangular shape — though it would be tough to actually get it to look like that under normal packing conditions. For how large the capacity is, it carries much smaller looking and feeling than other 32L bags I own. The dimensions on this are where a lot of the magic is: 11.5″ x 17.5″ x 9″. Compare that to the larger capacity (by rating) Filson 48hr Duffle: 11.5” x 19″ x 7″. The Filson feels large, packs small, where the Kit Bag feels small and packs large. The key to this is the width of the bag at the expense of a wider/longer bag.
9” in depth is a lot more useable than 7” when it comes to this type of bag, and 17.5” long versus 19” long is really noticeable when you are carrying it, but not when you are packing it. Especially when you consider that the bags will always look their length when not fully packed, but rarely look their depth unless they are stuffed.
Or, to simplify that statement a bit further: the dimensions of the Kit Bag make it feel nice and compact when you are carrying it around, whether that is full or partially full. This isn’t the case with many duffle bags and it comes together nicely here.
In typical GORUCK fashion the entire bag is 1000D Cordura, and while you might have concerns with a backpack made out that, this is the ideal material in this bag. It’s hefty, robust, and worry free. All in all, this is the perfect material for this bag.
Unfortunately, my overall testing of this bag has been limited. I’ve been using it a lot around my house (don’t ask, I am weird) but I have not been able to travel with it. So instead of really going into how it travels, I have a few quick comments.
The shoulder strap on this bag is both good, and fine. It’s nothing amazing, but is well made, and suited to making the bag comfortable to carry across your body. This is the ideal way to carry this bag, but will obstruct you if you want to carry a backpack too, and I don’t find this strap good for same-shoulder carry. Luckily shoulder straps are trivial to swap out, so I am sure you have one you like a lot, but it’s a solid offering and most will be happy with it. I’d personally prefer something easier to wad up and stow away, at the expense of the padding itself.
I really like the handles on the bag, they are nylon webbing, but the sizing and spacing is spot on. They are easy to grab, and yet never in the way when you are carrying the bag, or stowing it away. I am a big fan of these.
There is quite a few little extra pockets, open ones on the outside, and a few options inside the bag. None hold a lot of volume, but all of them are a welcomed addition which don’t detract from the bag if you never use them. I’m a fan.
Packing up, and pulling gear out of the bag is excellent. There’s an aggressively sized rain flap over the zipper (which seems unnecessary) that some how doesn’t get in the way. The design of the bag means that it can sit upright when almost empty and you can work out of it, or pack that way. It also lays on its side well enough for packing and loading. All in all, (and this is one area I used/tested a lot) this bag packs really easily. There’s no odd nook or cranny where space is wasted and the sizing is great for everything I’ve tried to pack in this bag.
For what I have tried using it for so far, it works well. In the tests I’ve done with 20lbs+ in the bag, it’s been comfortable enough that I wouldn’t complain using it to rush across an airport.
I wouldn’t pick this over the Filson 48hr for my travel needs, but if had the Kit Bag first, I would have never bothered with the Filson. I would pick this bag first to hand to my kids if they needed a duffle. It’s indestructible and simple to use, and does everything well enough. For smaller framed people, it will be less cumbersome to move about with as well, given the shorter length of the bag.
Where I really like using this bag (and where I am torn right now) is in the odds and ends. I think this bag offers a lot of what a tote bag generally gives me, but much better done. I love to stash a quick amount of gear into this to head out. I’ve also packed out my emergency bag (bug out bag) into this and found it to be perfect for that use. Where it lands, I am not sure, but it’s a great bag that doesn’t require a lot of thought to use — which is high praise for a bag.