I have the TNF bag in an XL and use it quite often for travel. It's endured on the tops of vans, flatbed trailers, airport baggage handlers, and more while showing only a few nicks. I actually use the backpack straps all the time because I'm too cheap to pay for a cart. It's a great and durable duffel, but sometimes it's nice to use a lightweight one like those listed above (which I have used similar styles as well) because you can save a fair amount of ounces. This only makes a difference when you start reaching the airline weight limits.
As for the ice axe, I have to side with the school of just keep it. IMO, the difference between a 65cm and a 70cm is so little that the "benefits" of being quicker to swing, less digging, and snagging is for practical purposes insignificant. If you are going to use it as a technical tool and want to go shorter, then get an ice tool (something around 55cm). If you're using it only for self arresting, then just get a superlight CAMP Corsa or something similar. But, throughout the history of the ice axe, I believe it's fair to say that it has been a multipurpose walking stick; and it still has that legacy. Thus the two schools of thought.