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Pathfinder Gear 32-inch Duffel Bag Reviews

The Pathfinder brand caters to travelers who prefer a lightweight structure, an increased durability on adventures, a functional style with multiple pockets, and the possibility of extra packing capacity. Typically, this brand is favored by athletes, backpackers, rock climbers, sport fishermen, and more! However, this isn’t just any rolling-duffel, and what you’ll easily see with the design of Pathfinder’s Bottom Duffel is their facility to branch out and provide luggage for all travelers on the move. This is a bag designed for the masses, capable of comfortably holding the adventurers ski-boots and poles or the professional’s computers and unwrinkled travel suits. It maximizes on its durability for all terrains and conditions in addition to its multiple weight-distributing compartments and ability to meet different airline requirements.

Design: 97 out of 100
Storage: 98 out of 100
Weight: 95 out of 100
Durability: 99 out of 100
pathfinder bag

Design

The Pathfinder Gear Duffel has been tailored to fit the modern traveler on the go. With added zipper extensions, bottom compartments for bulky items, and haul handles for easy lifting, this hybrid-design removes the hassle of constant repacking between flights. Since 1991 the Pathfinder brand has designed luggage targeted toward the fast-moving traveler with minimal packing and lightweight luggage needs; this bag embodies their lightweight brand – with a soft-side honeycomb fabric top – but also expands their catalogue for all traveler types by incorporating a thick ballistic-nylon bottom compartment with reinforced sides. If you often pack light before a trip, buy more on a trip, and end up buying a second bag before returning, there are clear benefits from having a drop-bottom expansion with 20% more packing capacity. And yes, the compartments are zipper-separated!

pathfinder bag

Storage

Unlike many uniform ballistic-nylon made bags – which typically lack exterior pockets – this extended bottom is paired with an oversized main compartment that features two gusset front pockets into two sperate sections. Meaning you’ll easily be able to store those travel documents, or quickly tuck your laptop away if you’re running late through security and intend to check your bag at the gate. This Pathfinder bag utilizes top, side, and middle zippers, with the middle zipper separating the added bottom storage from the oversized fabric top. The nylon honeycomb top includes two inside pockets for socks or loose rolling items and a zipping mesh lid insert for cosmetics and bathroom supplies. The bottom compartment features tie-down straps to hold items in place, but also the minor downside of a long push-button handle that does take up some room. With its hybrid design this rolling duffel will hold all your large bulky items below – with an increased 20% capacity – and more fragile items padded above.

pathfinder bag

Features

The main compartment utilizes a u-shaped top zipper closure that creates a more uniform shape which can’t be top-heavy and therefore will be easier to lift or wheel around. For lifting purposes, this Pathfinder rolling duffel features nylon-strengthened twin hauling handles on either side of the suitcase (while laid flat); hauling handles will also make luggage retrieval from any carousel much easier! Additionally, the bottom compartment holds a telescopic push-button handle with easy extension, although it should be noted that this element is made from neoprene rather than quality grade aluminum. The suitcases thin plastic inner lining provides added protection against water damage, though with this bag’s nylon design its more water-repellant than it is water-proof; other elements of the liner include two open pockets and a floating zippered pocket. All exterior zippers have a T-bar pull design, further negating possible breakage or snagging, and are self-repairing coil type zippers. When hauling your bag is inconvenient, this model features corner mounted in-line skate wheels that distribute the rolling weight more evenly and also handle rough surfaces and carpet better than most other wheel-designs. Included with these wheels is a natural ‘stopper’ function which will keep your bag in an upright position while standing in line or set beside you in a waiting area. All features considered, it’s clear this Pathfinder bag was designed for hardier elements and different carting methods for whatever weight you’ve packed.

pathfinder bag

Weight

At a 32-inch standing height, this Pathfinder bag won’t be your carry-on item for any journey, but it is an ideal choice for packing and meeting most airline weight standards (typically 50 pounds) for checked luggage. A typical rolling duffel would initially weigh less than this case, however with the extended drop-bottom the final empty-weight is 9.8lbs before packing. This won’t be a problem so long as you know your airlines’ weight requirements and then pack accordingly! Heavier items like boots and sporting equipment can be placed in the bottom compartment with its secure straps for ideal weight distribution; while lighter clothes, makeups, suits, and chargers/etcetera all have their own zippered spaces or pockets in the upper duffel. Fully packed, this suitcase is the average example of a two-week trip amount, assuming you aren’t doing laundry. It’s lighter than most hard-shell cases, but slightly heavier than most soft-side brands.

pathfinder bag

Durability

Although nylon luggage is typically more expensive than cotton or polyester-made bags, it’s also easily one of the most durable materials. The duffel-top of this suitcase is made from Duramax ballistic-nylon, meaning not only is it shinier and sleeker looking than most nylon-bags but it’s also extremely resistant against abrasion! It’s drop bottom also uses these elements and can take extensive damage without harm to your belongings. This bag will protect your valuables from hard-handling, being dropped, and minor water damage while sitting on an uncovered trolley outside. Its assembly maximizes durability with a screw and bolt design, and all corners in the drop bottom are reinforced for added strength. Where most soft-sided bags lack the ability to protect your belongings, this suitcase is created to be just as lightweight as checked soft side bags but close in durability to some hard side models. Previous owners have complained about the durability of the neoprene handles – which makes sense seeing as handles are the most likely part of a suitcase to break (unless made from good quality aluminum). Also, unlikely many four-wheelers which can break on shoddy rivets, the two-wheeler in this case is less likely to break and more likely to handle any and all urban sidewalks.

pathfinder bag

Style

Pathfinders Gear Drop bag comes in olive green or black, with an interior neon-orange lining and black T-bar pull zippers. It features the trustworthy Pathfinder name and logo on its sides and bottom, ensuring what you pay for is what you get and not some cheap knock-off. Subtle orange stitching makes the dual carry handles and zippers stand out impressively and will even assist you in a dark room or at night outdoors while trying to open your luggage. The telescopic neoprene handle has an orange easy-push button and extends with a non-reflective silver coloring in a strong screw assembled design. With a look like this – olive or black coloring with orange highlights – this is a great bag for the avid fisherman, camper, backpacker, or even active/retired army professional. Furthermore, standing upright it looks most like a duffle bag with a hard-shell bottom, though all components are nylon-made and these materials will keep your suitcase from getting dented, scratched, or otherwise damage. This is a great pick if you want a suitcase looking good for years to come.

pathfinder bag

Size

This bag from Pathfinder is too tall to meet the carry-on requirements and classification for most national and international airlines – Skywest, American Airlines, United, Jet Blue, and many others. Its dimensions are 32 x 15 x 14 inches, with the standard carry-on height being 20-inches (or around 30-liters of space). Therefore, make sure you bring this bag to the checking counter before going through security, otherwise you can incur extra charges at the gate when your bag is too big to ‘carry-on’ and is therefore classified as an “extra bag”. The great news is that with such a large checked bag, you can easily fit up to 90 liters with room to spare. Now you can see why athletes and rock climbers love this luggage piece so much, because it will easily fit all their heavy or bulky gear. Just remember, check this bag before security.

Warranty

Pathfinder offers a standard 10-year limited warranty on all of their full-sized products including this Gear 32-inch Rolling Drop Bottom Duffel. This manufacturers warranty will cover the interior and exterior material in the event of any manufacturing defect, however this coverage does not extend to misuse or mishandling. In the event of broken-zippers, for instance, your warranty should cover the damage! Additionally, natural wear and tear over time isn’t included in the warranty and should be expected to happen for any regular travel luggage. Therefore, make sure you take good care of this suitcase if you want it to last a long time. Odds are, with a brand this good – and its company tradition of using strong nylon materials – this rolling duffel with a drop bottom should easily outlive its warranty! After all, the Pathfinder brand’s motto, ‘Quality in Everything’, should set the precedent for all their luggage before it’s ever delivered to your door.

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Pathfinder Gear 32-inch Rolling Drop Bottom Duffel
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9.8 Total Score

Pathfinder Gear doesn’t just promise ‘Quality in Everything’, instead they deliver on their promise with top rated luggage like their Rolling Drop Bottom Duffel. This bag has in-line skate wheels strong enough to handle all those rough city streets and other unpaved roads, it’s designed to repel most hard weather while keeping your clothes warm and dry, and the packing space it offers is easily 90-liters with room to spare. Nylon materials, reinforce T-bar zippers, and an amazing 10-year warranty! Who wouldn’t love this bag?

PROS
  • Uses Nylon in its design which is one of the most durable materials for soft bags.
  • Will hold everything you need.
  • Plenty of separate inner pockets for organizing your belongings.
  • With drop bottom, 20% more packing capacity.
CONS
  • This is checked bag; not a carry on.
  • There will be extra fees for checking a bag, especially if over the 50-pound limit.
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