REVIEW: Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel 40L
In the summer of 2021, fans of travel gear company Eagle Creek were dismayed to learn that it would be closing up shop after more than 45 years in the business. EC’s Parent company VF Corp had announced plans to shutter the brand, citing struggling sales, due in no small part to a global shutdown of travel during the pandemic. Fortunately, the company found a white knight in the form of Travis Campbell—a VF Corp veteran. He is committed to navigating Eagle Creek through the lull in travel and rebuilding it to prominence. It’s a good thing too, because travelers are in need of EC’s products, including its outstanding Cargo Hauler Duffel.
A mainstay in the company’s line-up, the Cargo Hauler, is a classic product that never fails to impress. It offers everything an adventurous traveler could ask for, including plenty of space to store your gear and bulletproof construction designed to take plenty of abuse. The bag is priced right, too, making it easy to recommend for everything from weekend getaways or globe-spanning journeys.
Design (5) ★★★★★
The Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel is one of those rare pieces of luggage that manages to look great and offer top-notch performance at the same time. It features a long, well-padded strap for slinging it over your shoulder and a separate pair of shoulder straps that transform it from a duffel to a backpack in the blink of an eye. The backpack straps can be stowed when not in use, keeping the Cargo Hauler streamlined and simple. It comes with grab handles on multiple sides and integrated lash points to secure the bag to a roof rack.
The interior compartment of the Cargo Hauler 40L actually offers 42.5 liters of space, which is enough for most active adventures. Those who could use a bit of extra room can upgrade to the 60L or 90L versions if they feel the need for more carrying capacity. Zipped pockets on the ends make it easy to keep your gear organized and separated, with an additional interior mesh pocket available for smaller items. The duffel itself even compresses down into one of those pockets for easy storage.
Weight (4) ★★★★
If there is one knock to be had on the Cargo Hauler, it’s that it is a bit on the hefty side. The 40L version tips the scales at just under two pounds before you’ve even started to fill it up with gear. That could be an issue for anyone who is counting every ounce when they travel, as other bags on the market weigh less. Eagle Creek’s model walks a fine line between durability, functionality, and versatility, giving it a leg up on most of the competition.
Durability (5) ★★★★★
There is a good reason why the Cargo Hauler weighs as much as it does. The bag is built to withstand serious abuse and come home looking as good as it did when it left. Made from high-quality fabrics designed to resist abrasion and moisture, the duffel includes heavy-duty zippers and reinforced construction. Chances are, you’re going to wear out before it does.
Overall (5) ★★★★★
The Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel is the perfect example of why many people love Eagle Creek. It is a well-designed, well-constructed piece of luggage that delivers outstanding performance at a great price. The fact that it can function as a backpack or can be slung over the shoulder is a testament to its versatility and thoughtful design. The 40-liter model tested here is compact enough to function as a carry-on for travelers who hate checking a bag.
If you’re in the market for a new pack to take with you on your next adventure, the Cargo Hauler 40L is an incredible bargain at just $99.00. Once you use it, you’ll understand why Eagle Creek is so beloved, and chances are you’ll never want to leave home without it again.
Own a piece of gear that you're dying to review? Read our submissions page and let's get it up on the interwebz!