Hey everyone, Kelly is one of the behind-the-scenes guys here at GearExpert and he recently got to try out the Maxpedition Fliegerduffel Bag on a trip through Europe and was kind enough to write up a bit about his experience. I have to say I’m super jealous of his vacation but I’m glad to learn a bit more about the versatile Fliegerduffel. Read on!
Last month, I was fortunate enough to take the trip of a lifetime with three of my closest childhood friends. It had been in the works for years, and we finally had pieced together the plans (and the money!) to make it happen: 10 days traveling to London, Barcelona, Rome and The Netherlands. Plane and train tickets were booked, hotels reserved, passports renewed…all that was left to do was pack our bags. And then it hit me: what type of bag does one bring on a 10-day European excursion?? I had nightmares of racing through foreign airports with a clunky wheeled suitcase trying to catch a flight, only to make it to the gate right after it had closed. With flexibility and mobility in mind, I set out to find a solution.
After reading several travel blogs and forums, it was clear that the Maxpedition Fliegerduffel has become a staple for short and long-term travel across the globe. Users marveled at Maxpedition’s ability to create 2,380 cubic inches of storage space in a bag that still falls under FAA carry-on regulations. And with the option of switching between backpack straps, a shoulder strap and multiple hand grips, it was clear that this incredibly flexible bag would be the perfect companion for my trip. I went ahead picked up the sleek black version, though I would have been happy with any of the five available colors.
The first thing I noticed about the Maxpedition Fliegerduffel was its rugged, durable construction. It was clear that this bag was made to be used and abused. And for someone that once had a zipper bust open mid-flight traveling from Austin to Syracuse, and watched in horror as their broken suitcase and articles of clothing come out of the baggage claim like some sort of humiliating dry cleaning carousel from hell, this durable build did not go overlooked. Maxpedition achieves this strength through 1000-Denier water and abrasion resistant ballistic nylon fabric, Teflon fabric protector and YKK zippers with paracord pulls. All these features would ensure my bag and (more importantly) my possessions stayed intact as I dragged them across Europe.
While I initially thought it would be impossible to pack for a 10-day trip in a carry-on size bag, the ample interior room of the Maxpedition Fligerduffel made it easy to pack everything I needed and still save some space for souvenirs. And it didn’t require sitting on top of an overstuffed suitcase and having someone else zip it closed either. All I needed to do was roll everything up nice and neat, stuff a few pairs of socks into my shoes, pack my toiletries and other essentials in one of the two internal or three external pockets and I was good to go.
With the amount of walking I had in front of me, I opted to initially configure the bag with the backpack straps. While I feared it might be a little heavy, the padded straps distributed the weight evenly, and the option to buckle them across my chest added a lot of stability for those brisk walks to our departure gates. The bag’s flexibility really shined when we arrived late for our flight from Rome to Eindhoven, and I was forced to check my bag as all overhead space was full. The airline employee expressed concern over the backpack straps being caught on baggage conveyors, and explained his plan of taping the straps to the bag for added security. In broken Italian I proclaimed “Non è necessario amico!” (It’s not necessary friend!), and proceeded to amaze him by unbuckling and storing them neatly within the back pouch in a matter of seconds (as a side note, this back pouch is also made to accept a water reservoir – up to 100oz). This feature came in handy several other times throughout the trip, and I found myself swapping between the backpack straps, the shoulder strap and no straps depending on the mode of travel.
All in all, the trip turned out to be a tremendous success, and I truly believe the Maxpedition Fliegerduffel played a large part. It served as a suitcase, a footrest, a pillow, a file cabinet, a safe, a laptop rest and so much more throughout my travels. As I watched my three companions drag traditional suitcases and duffels throughout the continent, complaining at every extra staircase and city block we needed to cover, I could not have been happier to have the Maxpedition Fliegerduffel on my back.