For more than 40 years, Eagle Creek has been making products specifically with adventure travelers in mind. From accessories designed to make your life easier on the road, to lightweight backpacks and luggage capable of carrying your gear to the far reaches of the planet, EC has something for just about everyone. This legacy of creating high-quality gear has earned them a spot amongst my favorite travel outfitters, which was why we were so eager to test a couple of their latest products. As usual with this company, we didn't come away disappointed.
Cargo Hauler Duffel 90L/Large
Backpacks, duffel bags, and luggage have long been an important part of the Eagle Creek line-up, with many of their past products breaking barriers in terms of weight, capacity, and durability. Those are three qualities that we found to be integral to the new Cargo Hauler Duffel 90L, which is tough enough to withstand just about any punishment you send its way while remaining incredibly lightweight at the same time.
The Cargo Hauler that we tested was the large model, which features 90-liters of carrying capacity. That is an incredible amount of space, and similar duffels from other manufacturers would probably be bulky and heavy as a result. But Eagle Creek's new version weighs just 2.2 pounds (.99 kg), which is considerably less than similar duffels from the competition.
Just because this bag doesn't feel very substantial doesn't mean that it isn't tough. EC used a fabric called Bi-Tech Armor Lite to build the Cargo Hauler, and even though this material is thin and light, it still offers a surprising amount of protection. Those fabrics are water repellent and abrasion resistant and come equipped with lockable zippers that include a storm flap shield to further help keep moisture from reaching the interior.
Features of the Cargo Hauler Duffel 90L/Large
As if being spacious, durable, and lightweight wasn't already enough, the designers and Eagle Creek went out of their way to add some nice features that travelers will appreciate. For instance, the bottom of the duffel is padded to help protect its cargo from accidental drops. It also comes with grab handles on both ends, haul handles on the top, and removable backpack straps for those times when you want to move a little quicker or need to keep your hands free.
Other nice touches include a U-shaped lid that makes it easy to access the main storage compartment, as well as two organizational pockets located on each end. The Bi-Tech fabrics are also highly reflective, which makes it easy to spot the bag in the dark, while, the long, rectangular design gives the duffel the ability to be stacked neatly with other luggage. The Cargo Hauler even packs down incredibly small, and stores itself into a special front-end zippered compartment, which makes it incredibly easy to stash away when not in use too.
Reading about all of those great features still won't properly prepare you for just how impressive this duffel bag truly is in person. We have mentioned numerous times in this review just how lightweight it is, but until you've held it in your hands, it is difficult to fully convey exactly what that means. At 90-liters in size, this is a duffel designed for expedition-length travel, yet it weighs next to nothing, relatively speaking. For someone who finds himself on the road regularly, and often carrying a lot of gear, that is a pretty awesome proposition.
We'd be remiss in writing this review if we didn't mention Eagle Creek's No Matter What Warranty, which covers their products for their lifetime, and will either repair or replace them no matter what the cause of the damage. It is one of the best warranties in the industry, and it should tell you a lot about the products the company makes.
If you're in the market for a great travel duffel that is lightweight and tough, the EC Cargo Hauler is a must-have. If the 90L size is too much for you, it also comes in 45L and 60L capacities. And if 90L simply isn't enough, Eagle Creek even offers it in a massive 120L edition as well.
Fast Inflate Travel Pillow
If you travel with any kind of regularity, you probably already know the value of a good travel pillow. The designers at Eagle Creek do too, but they also know that there can sometimes be challenges to taking one with you. For instance, pillows can take up a lot of room in your bags, aren't always as comfortable as they should be, and they can add weight and bulk to luggage as well. Fortunately, all of those challenges can be overcome with the new Fast Inflate Travel Pillow, which deftly melds comfort and convenience in one well-designed package.
This travel pillow weighs a mere 5.1 ounces (.14 kg) when not inflated. It's exterior is covered in soft poly microfleece fabrics that help to make it feel a lot like a more traditional travel pillow as well, albeit one that you can adjust the level of cushioning on.
The real innovation on the Fast Inflate pillow is the new Windcatcher valve, which allows the user to inflate the entire thing using just a few breaths and without ever having to actually put their mouth on the valve itself. In fact, the first time we used the pillow, we were shocked at how quickly it inflated, as similar products that we've used in the past have taken longer, and required more breaths, something that can be a real challenge when you're traveling at altitude for instance.
Features of the Fast Inflate Travel Pillow
Some other features that we appreciate include the air-release valve, which allows the pillow to deflate nearly as quickly as it inflates. It folds down to a surprisingly small size, making it easy to carry with you anywhere you go. It even comes equipped with a handy stuff sack for easy storage too. And since this is a full-sized pillow when fully inflated, you'll soon be running out of excuses as to why you didn't get a good night sleep the evening before.
We've struggled for a long time to find a travel pillow that was both comfortable and convenient to carry on our excursions. Most that we've used in the past always required us to make some kind of compromise in order to lug them along. For instance, if they were very comfortable they also tended to be bulky and heavy, or, conversely, if they were lightweight, they probably weren't very durable. That isn't the case here, however, as this is a travel pillow that doesn't force you to make compromises.
It is simply a piece of gear that you want with you on all of your adventures.
As you can probably tell, Eagle Creek puts a lot of thought into their products, keeping the specific needs of travelers in mind when they design something new. Both the Cargo Hauler Duffel and Fast Inflate Pillow provide a great deal of convenience in lightweight, compact packages. Those are exactly the kind of things that we appreciate when we're on the road, which is why we're such a big fan of their gear in the first place.