As everyday carry backpacks and duffels have become more popular over the last few years, we’ve seen a growing number of increasingly robust and over-engineered bags. And while these can make for stellar everyday carry vessels, they’re often a bit overkill for EDC use. Well aware of this reality, Bellroy has taken a back-to-basics approach, delivering an ultra-minimalistic and lightweight utility bag known as the Lite Duffel that’s been engineered from the ground up for daily use. Unsure of how this featherweight duffel would perform under real-world circumstances, we’ve gotten our paws on a unit in order to deliver this hands-on review of the Bellroy Lite Duffel.
Video Review: Bellroy Lite Duffel
For a more in-depth look at our hands-on experience, consider checking out our Bellroy Lite Duffel bag 4K video review.
Getting Aquinanted With A Streamlined Duffel
Upon unboxing the bag, the first thing we noticed about the Lite Duffel is its weight — or lack thereof — with this 30-liter vessel tipping the scales at only 600 grams (1.32lbs). Because of the bag’s lightweight nature, we were also surprised to see that it takes a somewhat rigid form, even when empty — a fact that’s owed to strategically-placed padding and structural elements that afford rigidity without adding additional, unnecessary bulk or weight. With that said, the Lite Duffel can still easily be rolled, folded, or packed for easy travel.
Materials & Construction
Bellroy’s Lite Duffel is made from a durable ripstop fabric that’s derived entirely from recycled post-consumer PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles — a construction that’s reportedly three times lighter than Bellroy’s standard fabrics. While this may sound like a somewhat flimsy or low-quality material, its ribbed structure — and overlaid ripstop fabric — provides ample integrity and durability. Plus, the fact that Bellroy stands behind the product with a multi-year warranty undoubtedly points to a duffel that was built to last.
Shell, Zips, & Hardware
Even with its somewhat spartan outward appearance, the Lite Duffel does sport a number of noteworthy external elements. This includes water-resistant zippers with custom contrasting pulls, and smooth and folded-edge webbing grab handles. The most striking feature of the bag’s exterior, however, is its shoulder strap — an adjustable, detachable, breathable item that’s lined with thick, comfortable padding.
Internal Storage & Organization
Unpacking Bellroy’s Lightweight Duffel
Despite the bag’s overall minimalism, it nonetheless conceals a host of genuinely practical and useful amenities that bolster utility and organization, including a main cavity that’s accessed via a full-length zipper and is supplemented with an external zipper-secured compartment with a key clip, multiple slip pockets, and a pair of internal cap pockets. The main compartment also boasts a reinforced rim that adds durability while also providing additional stability when opening or closing the bag — which, thanks to two-way zippers, can be done from either end.
No Frills, No Nonsense
In the short time that we spent testing the Lite Duffel, it quickly became abundantly clear just how thoroughly calculated of a design Bellroy has delivered. While it may resemble your average lightweight gym bag, the Lite Duffel manages to afford a markedly more streamlined user experience that addresses many of the problems indicative of cheaper bags. Factors like its reinforced, full-length main opening make accessing internal contents a breeze, and the grab handles and removable shoulder strap afford multiple ways of carrying the bag — making it all the more versatile. At the end of the day, Bellroy has managed to deliver its signature blend of form and function, with a sleek attractive duffel bag that performs as well as it looks.
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Interested in checking out a few more duffel bag options on the market? Well our guide to the best gym bags for workouts includes more than a dozen incredibly versatile and well-built bags from some of today’s most esteemed brands.