The Uyuni Duffel isn’t a traditional pack. Designed for adventure with features that back it up, the pack has 5 grab handles, an expandable/collapsible laundry bag, a padded laptop compartment, and a huge main compartment with a wide opening zipper that allows for easy access to everything inside. Spoiler: This is one of my favorite pieces of gear ever.
Getting some quick specs out of the way, the Uyuni holds 46 liters of gear, weighs 1 pound, 7 ounces (652 grams), shapes out at 22″ x 11″ x 10in” (56 x 28 x 25cm), and retails for $80.
The Uyuni is built exceptionally well. It is built from repurposed yet extremely rugged material that would otherwise have been tossed out after manufacturing other products. Particularly, burly 420 denier nylon is used for high wear areas while 210 denier double ripstop is strategically placed in areas where it makes sense to cut weight instead, but still retain high tear resistance. The zippers are almost cartoonishly large, complete with bright colors and easy to grab tabs. I grew to appreciate this and found the size made them consistently easier to slide and while preventing fabric hang ups that generally occur with smaller zippers, even when packed under pressure. I also found myself appreciating the near perfect stitch work that held it all together. Inch for inch, this pack is built to take a beating.
The pack’s unique inclusion of 5 distinct carry handles isn’t just for show. This allows the pack to be not only carried in various ways, but also packed in various different ways too. At first, the shape and layout of the bag was a little bewildering (what shape is this thing anyway?), but as soon as I started packing things inside, I could see their reasoning. For heavier loads with lots of camping equipment, I packed it flat, allocating everything with the most heft to the bottom, making it more stable and easy to maneuver. When I carried it like a traditional adventure duffel bag and It provided convenient access to everything inside at once. Later, packing sensitive electronics like a pair of headphones, an e-reader, and my clothing and such for a more traditional city trip, I found it better to pack it vertically, protecting my electronics in the padded sleeve, stuffing clothing underneath, and keeping items I needed to access quickly like my wallet or phone in separate compartment. This way I didn’t have to worry about crushing expensive items and had better access to frequent use items, , all stowed in the side. I really appreciated this kind of flexibility and am still finding ways to make my packing more efficient. It came in handy more often than I thought it would. Being able to grab the pack from various handles makes the pack as a whole easy to slide in and out of cars and trunks too, as there is always a convenient loop to grab onto.
When used as a sling, the pack is actually fairly comfortable. The single strap is thick, wide, and provides great padding that when used for short amounts of time, felt rather great. The size of the pack makes it a little cumbersome when loaded down, as it kind of bounced off my butt when shuffling along, but I didn’t mind at all considering how much I was able to haul without being in pain or off balance. It does load all the weight across the collarbone, which can get sensitive eventually, but not terribly so. When I was done with the strap, I really enjoyed being able to stow it away inside the bottom layer of the pack, which greatly reduces the chances of hanging the bag up on something when carried duffel style. It basically disappears. The shoulder strap did seem much longer than it needed to be, in general, with a long length of extra lashing hanging free at the end. It tended to flow around in most configurations but wasn’t really bothersome. Larger wearers will probably appreciate this more than I did.
Visually, the Uyuni is stunning. It’s certainly going to stand out in a luggage check out terminal, which should make it easy to find, and the huge selection of colors should mean that everyone can find something they like (this changes constantly on the website, so keep an eye out for new combinations.
Value wise, the Uyuni is kind of a steal. When it comes to duffel bags, I’ve paid a lot more for a loss less from products that are far less sustainable. Factor in the build quality, unique but useful features, and how nice this thing looks, and suddenly it looks like a real bargain.
The Uyuni as a whole is actually rather genius. It looks a bit funky, form and color considered, but the utility it provides instantly brings the bokeh like shape into focus when in use. I love how easy it is to pack everything inside and to quickly access equipment later, no matter where I shoved it. Every pocket has a purpose and every piece of gear always found a nice spot inside, without me once running out of space. Even large hammock poles and fully packaged tents fit inside without a fuss. Smaller features like the multiple grab handles, stowable chest strap, the padded laptop strap and expandable laundry compartment really flush out the design and make it stand out from more traditional offerings. It’s rugged, cleans up nice, and has held up great in my testing, just like every Cotopaxi product I’ve tried so far. Heavy loads can be a bit cumbersome (when aren’t they) but in the end, I found myself cherishing the Uyuni for its flexibility, lovely colors, and its repurposed nature. If you’re looking for a big, do it all adventure duffel, this is probably the one.
The Highest of Recommendations
For more information on the Cotopaxi Uyuni 46L, consider checking them out via their site. They sell direct (not an affiliate link).
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I want to extend a huge thanks to Cotopaxi for their continued support and for providing this product for review. We couldn’t do it without their help.
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