MEC Mesh Duffle Bag Review / Product Description
NOTE: AS OF AUGUST 2014 IT LOOKS LIKE MEC MAY HAVE DISCONTINUED THE MESH DUFFLE BAG STYLE THAT THE FOLLOWING REVIEW IS BASED
. For those doing general research on a duffel bags, scroll to the bottom of the review for an extensive list of quality duffle bag manufacturers.
Here is a link to the new MEC Mesh Duffle Bag (I hope it performs as well as the discontinued style):
Mountain Equipment Co-Op/MEC Mesh Duffle Bag
For those looking for a specialized duffle bag for wet alpine gear, "Ops", hockey equipment/diving-swimming-140.6 gear, etc.
As the MEC online ad says:
"There are times when your equipment needs a little room to breathe. These mesh duffel bags allow damp items to be exposed to the air for quicker drying. Mesh fabric allows items to dry inside bag."
Weight 1.2kg (Medium)
Main Fabric: PVC-coated polyester mesh
Secondary Fabric: 1000-denier nylon
Length x Width x Depth / Volume
Small: 51cm x 25cm x 25cm /32 L, 1,953 cubic inches
Medium: 61cm x 30cm x 30cm /55 L, 3,356 cubic inches
Large: 76cm x 38cm x 38cm /110L, 6,712 cubic inches
X-Large: 87cm x 38cm x 38cm /126L, 7,689 cubic inches
Main: 2 #10 nylon coil zipper, Chrome-plated sliders (both with lock rings). Note these zippers do not appear to be YKK zippers, they have MEC imprinted on tags. Nevertheless, the zipper quality appears very good and YKK equivalent.
Outside pocket: 1 Chrome-plated slider #5 MEC nylon coil zipper
Inside pocket: 1 Chrome-plated slider #5 MEC nylon coil zipper
External side pocket has a slight accordion/expandable bottom to accommodate varying size contents
Internal side pocket has larger capacity than external pocket and internal pocket is constructed of a lighter-weight pack cloth than bottom duffle material.
For small size duffle pocket dimensions are:
external: 12.7cm x 21.6cm (5in x 8.5in)
internal: 17.75cm x 33cm (7in x 13in)
County of origin: Vietnam
1000-denier nylon bottom is looks very durable, but the bottom material could be made of even more durable fabric (or use a double fabric layer like some expedition duffle bottoms). Still the material should last for years with proper use/care.
Inside material is all black in coloration.
It's possible that the mesh material might crack over time if exposed to lots of UV light/long-term outside exposure. But then again, this is true of any duffle/softgoods left outside. Ditto for long-term exposure to swimming pool water (chlorine).
It is possible that the mesh might have a "weak" cold crack temperature. Also, super-heated, hot, desert-like temperatures in combination with unusual load/friction stress might render the mesh strength weaker than in a more moderate, temperate environment. But both of these are considerations are purely speculative. Top opening does not have a U-shaped opening (ideal) for access and packing and, in conventional duffles, ventilation. But the mesh features of this duffle negate the straight zipper opening.
Another thought: I would be hesitant to use the duffle as airline checked-in luggage on a regular
basis. Two reasons: careless/abusive/apathetic luggage handlers combined with the possible tendency to have the mesh snagged on loading/transport equipment; also the see-through nature might tempt thievery.
no internal D ring/key ring for tags or secondary pouches/lanyard attachment
no smaller/specific external D ring/for luggage tag/ID or lanyard attachment
1000-denier nylon bottom is laminated on inside face (coating will eventually de-laminate)
ALL seams double stitched and internal seam joints sewn-over/taped/covered.
shoulder strap hardware excellent quality
padded shoulder strap
Quality construction throughout the duffle
EXCELLENT Value compared to other conventional duffle bags with this type of construction/hardware
external pocket is ventilated with mesh
Sturdy and durable grab handles on both ends of the duffle
The mesh appears to be very high quality and durable material. If the material is sliced accidentally (knife-blade/axes/crampons, etc), it would be very easy to stitch a fully functional repair utilizing the existing mesh on the bag.
I'm picky about duffle bag quality (gee - can't you tell?). I don't give five stars lightly (actually, I give this MEC duffle a 4.8 rating for the above reasons, but I'm willing to round up due to SummitPost's rating scale). The MEC mesh duffle gets my five stars
But heck, don't just take my word for it. Check out the reviews
on MEC's website. Also additional reviews here: Hocky US
TMI? The Search for the Ultimate Swimming Duffle Bag
The quest for the perfect swimming duffel bag. Interested? ¿Sí? Then read on...
Increased pool time (hey, water, handguns and smartphones are the great equalizers
, right?) and a worn-out swim duffle got me thinking about a duffle replacement.
I wanted a swim duffle with:
! - specifically: chrome-plated sliders (or quality nickle-plated) YKK nylon coil zippers #7 or higher
Durable material and construction
Outside mesh pocket with zippered opening
(for wet swim shorts)
32L - 49 L capacity (2,000 - 3,000 cubic inches)
Sound simple? Not necessarily
Try searching for an athletic-oriented duffle/gym bag that meets those above requirements and see what you come up with. The list would appear to be short. After two weeks of on-and-off Google Fu I paired the list down to these contenders (all duffles had various feature/price/quality tradeoffs). Each has something to offer
. I'm hoping this list will help those doing research and making a potential purchase decision:
Speedo Pro Duffle (medium):
The Speedo bag was my distant runner up to the MEC Mesh duffle
. I inspected this duffle first hand. It's an OK quality bag for the money (i.e., it's a good value - especially if you can find it on sale; as often happens). If you think of this Speedo duffle as having a max five-year life span (i.e. disposable swim duffle
), then I don't think you will be disappointed.
reason rejected: doesn't have heavier-sized zippers. The zips are ok quality (not chrome-plated), but I just looked at it and thought: eventual zipper failure
Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) Camp Duffle (medium):
reason rejected: no chrome YKK zippers/no exterior mesh pocket
Marmot Kompressor Duffle
reason rejected: Side Mesh Stash Pocket did not appear to have a zippered closure/ long-term durability of fabric questioned
Tough Traveler Fitness Duffle
reason rejected: YKK zippers not chrome-plated/high price
Cilogear Small Duffle
reason rejected: no external mesh pocket/high price
Best American Duffel (BAD)
BAD Duffel #3
reason rejected: no external mesh pocket/high price
reason rejected: no chrome-plated YKK zipper, no zippered external mesh pocket
As a side note, I own 3 Jandd duffles of various sizes and, generally speaking, really like their duffle bags (they are the lighter-weight variety duffle, not really expedition duffles). I used their jumbo-sized duffle on for the sled portion (below 14 Camp) on the West Buttress route on Denali. The duffle is very lightweight and durable for its size: a great combination for the sled. Also: If you have the patience, sign up for Jandd's email newsletter. Every 3-4 months they have a special email offer (e.g., items 25-30% off or 2 for 1).
Wild Things Carry On Duffle
Word: Wild Things makes GREAT duffles, don't get me wrong.
however, reason rejected: no outside mesh pocket/high price
Inertia Designs Race Duffle (page 19 on their 2012 catalog)
This is an interesting company based in Carpinteria, California, USA. I have one of their Bike Mount Seat Bags. The quality is excellent and the price is reasonable. I ordered the Bike Mount Seat Bag through www.hammernutrition.com.
The point? I like their US-made bicycle wedge and quality focus so much I figured I would inquire about their duffle bag. As the catalog doesn't presently have the tech specs, I list them here:
"#5 nylon coil zippers with closed bail nickel plated heads with cords not metal pulls (like on all our bags).
Mesh side pockets are open, the end mesh pocket has a zipper.
500 denier Cordura with a Urethane coating
Bottom is single layer (it is only carry on size) the changing mat goes in a small pocket behind the zip off end pocket.
Hope you are sitting down it is $110."
Reason rejected: zipper# gauge/price. Still, for the athlete looking for a quality bag, this might fit the bill if price is less of a consideration.
Jan 2015 update:
The Orange Mud Modular Gym Bag
might be a contender for the ultimate swimming duffel. Made in U.S.A
TMI2X? More thoughts: Medium Weight & Expedition Duffles
Medium Weight = between lightweight Cordura/nylon material and PVC/truck tarp material.
For medium weight duffle I use the new-style Patagonia Black Hole Bag
. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE
Design/style/durablity is SUPERB. The only thing I would change is reduce the Patagucci
lettering to something smaller and less pretentious (kinda like Yvon Chouinard's ego I suppose). Also, Patagonia used a shorter zipper slider than the conventional length YKK zipper slider. As a result, even with the attached zipper pulls you need to grab the slider a bit more firmly you would a standard length slider. That's my only (very small) gripe. Perhaps Patagonia will change the slider length in the future?
The Black Hole Bag is my go-to bag when my lightweight Jandd
duffles are underkill and my expedition duffles are overkill.
Bottom line: you can't go wrong with this duffel
Expedition Duffels (PVC coated/Truck Tarp material)
In the market for an expedition duffle? A lot could be said here. I will try to keep it to some brief thoughts.
I've used Gregory's Long Haul Duffels
(in various sizes) for years. They are a great duffel and have served me well.
The only things I think could be improved are:
1. to have an zipper flap covering the main zipper on the main compartment opening. Currently, the #10 zipper is only thing between the elements and the internal contents (minor, but worth noting).
2. Shoulder straps could be added. I've lost count of the number of times I've shoulder-carried that sucker, Képi blanc-style, through SEA-TAC. Ughh.
I still think the Gregory Long Haul Duffel is still the best VALUE (Quality vs. Price) for an expedition duffel currently on the market (especially if you get them on sale).
Though I generally hesitate to recommend North Face (TNF) products, I believe in credit where credit is due. TNF got this one right
The TNF Base Camp Duffel
is a GREAT duffel. If I had to buy exp. duffels all over again, I would go with these TNF duffels.
¿Por qué? Materials/ZIPPERS/Design and SHOULDER STRAPS (sometimes you can't find that taxi/bus/porter/pack animal and have to hoof it yourself). Also, these TNF duffles are ubiquitous and they seem to always be on sale somewhere out on the web. Me thinks you can't go wrong with these duffles. As a side note, I have a TNF old-style Base Camp Messenger Bag
and I absolutely love the thing. Still, if you just can't bring it to yourself to buy an TNF product (I understand
), consider the Brooks Range Duffel
or Singing Rock Expedition Bag
as an alternative.
Lately, I've taken a second look at Mountain Hardware's expedition duffles
. Not bad. Or, to loosely paraphrase something Wayne Gregory told me years ago (about another manufacturer/product): they make a good duffel
If you don't like the heavy, PVC-based duffle material and are looking for an expedition duffle made of the more traditional, Cordura, nylon-like material:
If I had to do it all over and TNF/PVC-material wasn't an option, I'd go with Wild Things.
Other contenders (All U.S. made):
Best American Duffle (BAD)
Mountain Tools Warrior Duffle Bags
Mountain Tools Travel Bags
Anyway, just one person's opinion.
For other opinions/viewpoints, check out Outdoor Gear Lab's duffel bag review
Buzzillions duffel bag reviews
Duffel Bags at GearReview.com
Duffel?/Duffle? Bags....Other Quality Manufacturers of Various Types of Duffel Bags (go figure..)
List of Manufacturers of Quality Duffle Bags
* = notable dbag(s)
Bontrager Pisgah Gear Duffel
First Ascent/Eddie Bauer
Gill North America
Expedition Portage Packs (I know, I know...)
Hyperlite Dyneema Duffel Bag
John Hart Design
Mountain Equipment Co-op
Mountain Tools Warrior Duffle Bags
Mountain Tools Travel Bags
Orange Mud Modular Gym Bag
Outdoor Research Range Finder Duffel
Sea to Summit
Surf to Summit
Terra Nova Equipment
UpSki Express Creek Sled Duffle
A final thought: you may have a "problem" if you start needing additional duffle bags to store your existing duffle bags..
Zippers: useful linksZippers Explained in Detail
Structure of a Zipper
YKK Zippers: Why So Many Designers Use Them
“A zipper will never make a garment,” says Turk. “But it can break a garment.”
A wee bit more on YKK
Wikipedia on Zippers