When you think of Jon Olsson, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Ripping up a glacier in his Lamborghini Murciélago? Kangaroo flips at the 2008 X Games? The JOI? Youtube vlogging of his life in Monaco? But how about… luggage? The Spinning Swede is not one to be put into a box, precisely the reason he started Db—formerly Douchebags—with entrepreneur and engineer Truls Brataas in 2009 with a goal of engineering a less clunky and more stylish future for adventure luggage. Now, Db is adding one more piece to its collection: The Duplex duffel, a 70-liter, tough-as-nails, do-anything, go-anywhere bag we’ve spent the last few weeks testing around Colorado’s Front Range. Our overall impression? We love it.
Get rough with it!
We know, it’s not ski season quite yet. But this is an “adventure” duffel and we have other hobbies, OK? Over the last month, we’ve ventured around the mountains near the FREESKIER HQ in Denver, Colorado, heading out to rock climb, hike, camp and even did a bit of airline traveling with The Duplex in tow. One of the first things we noticed is that this bag is eminently tossable. The handles on top of the bag are perfect for throwing the bag around the campsite, the crag, the airport—wherever your trip takes you—and there’s no need to be gentle. The face fabric is a burly, high-denier nylon that will take years of abuse.
Carry on, brother!
When it’s time to sling it over your shoulder, we were impressed that the backpack system ACTUALLY WORKS. Taking design cues from backpacking/overnight packs, the load lifter straps on The Duplex brings the center of mass closer to your hips, resulting in an all-around comfier carry; the magnetic chest strap is intuitive and simple, as are the shoulder strap adjusters. While The Duplex duffel doesn’t have a hip belt, because of the way the internal frame stays secure and molded to your back, it was surprisingly comfortable to carry heavy loads with just the shoulder straps. It also features Db’s hook-up system which allows it to attach to the ski roller and other bags for easy airport transit.
Stay , stay organized!
Wondering where this bag gets it name? It comes from the two compartments found within the main chamber. When you open the large outer zipper, the bag opens to reveal these two separate, zippered sections, which allows you to separate your gear into two distinct bundles—ski boots in one, apparel in the other; clean clothes and dirty clothes; etc. The zippered dividers also have two subdividers as well. One fits a 16-inch laptop or a pair of skins while the other is great for smaller gadgets, gloves or toiletries.
Once you zip open The Duplex’s large compartments, you’ll be able to fit a serious load of gear into its yawning maw. We gave it a try with our ski gear and successfully fit an entire kit, including a pair of ski boots (two, if you want to pack less clothing), shells, fleeces, a puffy, helmet, goggles, gloves, shovel, probe, and collapsible poles in the two spacious compartments. For climbing, you can easily fit a rope, rack, harness, shoes, and more in the main compartments. Despite the internal packing power of The Duplex, this duffel still fits in the overhead compartment of airplanes. One of our favorite features is an outer pocket that fits keys, a wallet or a passport and is easily accessible while you’re wearing the duffel as a backpack.
One of the greatest aspects of the Duplex is the ease of navigation. In a world full of duffels that are cavernous black holes, you can find your gear immediately. With flairs of Scandanavian minimalist design and functionality that will please skiers who do more than just ski, we were thoroughly impressed by the Duplex. If you’re frustrated with the bulk and awkwardness of modern duffel bags, we can recommend the Duplex as a streamlined and well-designed alternative.