What We Like
Plenty of packing space
Variety of pockets
Durable and versatile design
What We Don't Like
Bulky to carry
Easy to exceed airline weight limits
Packing for a two-, three-, or even four-week getaway requires much more than a simple carry-on duffel. Sure, super-savvy packers with access to laundry may be able to travel more compactly, but for the rest of the world, the size and functionality of the Mercury Tactical Gear Mini Monster Deployment Bag is highly appealing. It has multi-sized, versatile pockets for organization within the oversized compartments.
But, the sturdy suitcase—which weighs 12.5 pounds without any packed clothes—can get bulky. Is it worth lugging around on an upcoming trip, or are there better uses for the bag? We loaded it with clothes, accessories, and more and traveled with it to find out.
Design: Versatile pockets inside and out
This bag may be massive, but with a variety of internal and external pockets, it’s much more functional than meets the eye. Inside, a roomy mesh pocket easily fits a pair of sandals or slippers. Externally, the bag has a roomy side pocket for shoes or soiled clothes, and the zip-off accessory bag (found on the bag’s longest side) acts as an outside pocket with adequate room for toiletries, jewelry, and cords or chargers.
If aesthetic is important, this bag’s not for you.
Beyond pockets, the Mini Monster Bag has an internal and detachable foam divider, adding extra packing organization to the oversized main compartment. We found that the bag’s sturdy carrying handles and heavy-duty wheels made carrying it relatively easy. However, after lugging the full suitcase around, we definitely wouldn’t recommend it for long commutes. In fact, while the bag can and does work for extended trips (or short ones, for overpackers), we think it’s equally useful for home storage.
If aesthetic is important, this bag’s not for you. This duffel is all functionality, no fuss, which appeals to the rugged and efficient traveler, but its basic exterior will turn off any style-focused travelers.
Portability: A massive checked-luggage bag
Given the Mercury Tactical Gear duffel measures at 13 x 31 x 16 inches—the maximum size for an airline’s checked bag allowance—it’s definitely not fitting in those overhead compartments. In fact, even though you can check it for your long international trips, it may be better used as a storage compartment back home if you have trouble rolling awkward or ultra-heavy bags.
The wheels are heavy-duty to support the potentially enormous weight; while they don’t swivel, they do maneuver back and forth with the third wheel, making the lug a little smoother. The bag has reinforced handles over the center, but it’s unlikely we’ll actually use them given the bag can get quite heavy when filled to the brim.
After lugging the full suitcase around, we definitely wouldn’t recommend it for long commutes.
When packing, take caution: As we quickly learned, it’s easy to throw in too many clothes or shoes that will push your bag over the typical checked-bag limit of 50 pounds. To avoid overpacking your suitcase, we recommend weighing the fully packed Mini Monster before you leave for the airport so you can reorganize at home instead of on the airport floor.
Durability: A rugged, water-resistant bag
The Mercury Tactical Gear bag is built with ultimate durability standards. The splash-resistant, nylon body keeps gear protected, while the internal foam padding both secures and organizes items. Plus, corner guards and “feet” offer additional protection.
Does the average traveler need this rugged of a bag? No. But, if you’re traveling long distances and want a bag that’ll last, the Mini Monster Bag is one of the best checked duffels we’ve tried.
It’s worth noting that although the bag is water-resistant, it’s not waterproof, so it may not completely protect your belongings during wet weather.
Price: An attractive deal for the right traveler
At around $85, the Mercury Tactical Gear Mini Monster Bag offers great value at an affordable price point. That said, it’s not for everyone. If you’re uncomfortable carrying around a heavy, bulky bag, or you’d prefer a sleeker aesthetic, you’re better off saving your money for something that aligns with your suitcase needs.
If you’re traveling long distances and want a bag that’ll last, the Mini Monster Bag is one of the best checked duffels we’ve tried.
Competition: Despite similar features, one duffel consistently stands out
While the extra-large duffel from the Sandpiper of California Rolling Load Out Luggage line may seem similar in aesthetic to the Mercury Tactical Gear Mini Monster Bag, the latter comes out on top with its lighter-weight build (10.55 pounds versus the Rolling Load Out’s 13 pounds) and sturdy pocket structure. Given the fact that the Mini Monster Bag also costs a little less than the Sandpiper of California bag, it’s a no-brainer.
The AmazonBasics Ripstop Wheeled Duffel bag offers comparable features to the Mercury Tactical Gear Mini Monster Bag; they’re similar in size, price, and durability. But again, when it comes to oversized rugged duffels, the Mercury Tactical Gear Mini Monster Bag reigns supreme. The AmazonBasics bag is significantly heavier, and it lacks a third wheel to support its extra weight.
Read more reviews of the best duffel bags for travel.
A wise choice for long trips or home storage.
The Mercury Tactical Gear Mini Monster Bag may not be for everyone, but those who need a massive bag for long overseas trips or moves—or to store out-of-season clothes in the attic—it’s a smart and affordable investment. The bag is bulky and heavy, yet those who can carry a 50-pound bag (not to mention those who favor function over aesthetic) will find value in the rugged build and organizational pockets.
- Product Name Mini Monster Deployment Bag
- Product Brand Mercury Tactical Gear
- SKU MRC9133-BK
- Price $149.95
- Weight 10.55 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 33 x 17 x 12 in.
- Color Black, blue, combat camo, coyote, digital desert camo, red
- Material 100% polyester