The Gregory Alpaca Duffel is one of the best duffel bags on the market right now, with top performances in almost every testing category. It has a look that screams “for use in the outdoors”, and is built for exactly that.
We gave this bag our Editor’s Choice Award because of its outstanding performance, and the only reason we didn’t give it Best Overall is because of how similar it is to the North Face Base Camp Duffel. That wouldn’t normally be an issue, but because the Base Camp is so good and comes in at a lower price point, the Gregory Alpaca had to come in in a close second place.
So if you’re looking for a duffel bag that rivals the best duffels on the market, and have a little more to spend, then you’ve found what you’re looking for in the Gregory Alpaca Duffel.
The Gregory Alpaca Duffel really is a top-performing all-rounder. It excels in comfort, durability, functionality and it even has a nice, classic design.
We really liked the lines of daisy chains that run along the sides of the bag, allowing for a crazy amount of lashing options, and making it easily one of the easiest bags to tie on to transport.
The material used in the construction in this bag is about as good as it gets. It was easily the most weather resistant duffel bag that we tested, and it held up to all of the durability testing that we could throw at it.
While the thick material did make it quite stiff to carry, the padded shoulder straps made it fairly comfortable to carry still.
The only issues we had with this bag were fairly small. To start, much like with the The North Face Base Camp Duffel, the thicker material made the Alpaca slightly heavy when compared to its competitors.
The comfortable shoulder straps were a bit difficult to move, and since they are on the larger size they did get in the way every once in a while when trying to access the main compartment of the bag.
Finally, as we mentioned before, the Alpaca is just a bit more expensive than competitors. While it does all it can to justify that higher price, it’s just a bit of a downside that it does cost more.
Like we mentioned before, the Gregory Alpaca was one of the best bags we tested for transporting and comfortability. The crazy number of daisy chains that line the sides of the bag make it ideal to lash to transport, such as the top of cars, buses or pack mules.
On top of that, you could use them to lash your equipment to your bag when trekking to your base camp (or wherever you may be basing your activities from). The familiar tubular design is highly packable and easy to manoeuvre, so you’ll have no problem getting it where it needs to go.
As for carrying it yourself, it’s about as easy it gets without getting a wheeled duffel bag. The shoulder straps are sufficiently padded, although we still wouldn’t recommend carrying it for extended periods of time when it’s fully packed. It also has carry handles, so you don’t have to worry about adjusting and readjusting your shoulder straps every time you want to carry it like a briefcase.
The Alpaca Duffel series comes in a good volume range with decent spacing, at 45, 60, 90, and 120L. It’s all up to what you’re going to need, so we can’t really help you choose the right volume for you.
We generally recommend somewhere down the middle (like 60-90L), because it gives you the most versatility; but of course if you’re going on a long trip that requires a lot of equipment, you’ll need all the space you can get.
Just be careful, there’s nothing worse than having too much or too little space in your bag when you’re going on a trip.
The D-shaped main compartment opens nice and wide and can be sufficiently stuffed without becoming misshapen. The thick material and compression straps that line the sides of the bag are to thank for that.
The only problem we found with packing the Gregory Alpaca Duffel was that the shoulder straps kept getting in the way, and they were quite annoying to remove so we had to pack around them every time.
The Alpaca also has an external zippered pocket, albeit a small one. Still, it was nice for holding items we needed quick access to, or for holding wet outer layers. The lid to the main compartment houses two zippered, mesh pockets, which were nice for storing small valuables or anything else you might want easy access too.
All-in-all, you’ll definitely have plenty of space to organise all your goodies.
The Alpaca was easily one of the most durable duffels that we’ve tested. It held up to everything we could throw at it during our testing period with barely a scratch. The thick, tough material kept water out pretty much until it was fully submerged in water, so this bag is probably the best you could choose for trips to the harshest and wettest environments. An extremely well-built bag.