A singularly excellent product

I won't get any free gear out of this, because I'm afraid I don't think as highly in general of The North Face products as I did 20 years ago, but their Base Camp duffel is outstanding.

We stuffed one with all our ancillary gear on the way to Australia. Multiple handles facilitated grabbing easily whether it was on an airport luggage carousel or deep in the recess of our vehicle's cargo compartment. The 1000-denier laminated nylon material is tough and easy to clean, and a D-shaped main zipper makes loading easy as well. Shoulder straps—which are actually contoured—meant I could sling it over my shoulder and leave two hands free for other luggage. And compression straps kept everything in its place. The giant TNF label ensures everyone in the airport knows you're on your way to do something ADVENTUROUS.

I'm something of a duffel-bag snob (or connoisseur if you prefer), but I'll put the Base Camp right up with my top two duffels, the B.A.D. (Best American Duffel) and the classic standby Filson. One of our Filson duffels has been to Africa a total of nine or ten times; we'll see how the TNF compares in a few years.