Ah, Bagzilla. That's what the Ortlieb Duffle RS 110L has been christened round here, and shall henceforth be called in this review as the actual name is a bit of a mouthful. It's great, by the way.
We reviewed the Ortlieb Duffle 60 not so long ago and Bagzilla shares some of the same DNA. It's a lot bigger, though. Huge, in fact. Here are some of the things that you can fit in it (not all at once):
- A week's worth of shopping.
- An entire location video setup: cameras, tripods, lights etc.
- A family's worth of clothing and gear for a week away.
- Liam the intern, probably. We didn't make him do it. A child, certainly.
This isn't even the biggest one, either: there's a monster 140-litre version too. Anyway: it's enormous. It's not heavy, though, in spite of the fact that it scores an alloy kickplate, a set of very smooth, decent-sized wheels and a pull handle. Even then, it's only just over 3kg.
The reason it's not heavier is because it doesn't have a rigid spine, instead using a lightweight foam backplate inside that curves around the contents and helps to give the bag some structure. So long as you've got plenty of gear in the bag it works really well, allowing you to pull it around without it feeling wobbly. If it's empty, it doesn't hold its shape so well. If you're in the unlikely position where you can't fit everything inside there are loops for attaching even more stuff to the exterior.
The wheels are excellent: big, with good tread and super-smooth bearings. They're capable enough for pretty varied terrain and the alloy kickplate at the bottom stops the bag from getting damaged. The pull handle isn't telescopic and I found the bag bashed my heels when I held it in the middle. You can get round that by holding the side of the handle: then the bag trundles obediently alongside you. It'd be nice if the sides of the handle were padded too, for that reason.
If you're loading the bag up to the maximum then there's a plastic hook and stud at each end: you can undo these to use the full length of the zip for packing, then reattach them so the bag keeps its shape. Once you've pulled the zip tight to its rubberised garage, the bag is waterproof: that's chuck it in the river waterproof, not just ride in the rain waterproof. You can tell it's waterproof because if it's empty and you fill it with air and zip it up, you can sit on the top and no air will escape. It's quite a comfy seat if you do that, too. The zip features a wire loop so you can lock your stuff inside.
Inside Bagzilla there's masses of space, obviously, but not a great deal else. There's a zippered document wallet thing, and that's your lot. If you like to keep your shoes in one bit of your bag and your dirty shorts in another compartment, you'll need to bring your own organisation here, probably in the form of a couple of dry bags or just plastic carrier bags. It's not like a compartmentalised kit bag, though, it's just a big hole to throw stuff in. That makes it less suitable for a specific task like being a training camp bag, but it also means it's more versatile if you want a do-anything bag.
You can roll this bag around on its wheels but it also features rucksack straps, meaning you can sling it on your back too. Surprisingly, it's really not a bad rucksack. Obviously it's huge and that makes it a little unwieldy, but I've ridden 20 miles with it on my back with no real issues. The straps aren't hugely padded, so if you have lots of heavy gear in Bagzilla they'll start to dig into your shoulders after a while. Even so, it's useful to be able to ride with it.
You can also pull it along beside you, and you could probably even fashion some sort of device from a quick-release clamp to turn it into a trailer: the wheels are plenty good enough to cope.
Overall Bagzilla has been a big hit. There hasn't been a moving-stuff-about task that I've found it unable to cope with. It's a bit unwieldy as a rucksack and you don't get much by way of organisation, but if you're looking for a big, well-made bag that'll last then this is a great bag to have to hand. You're covered for everything from a week's shopping to a world tour.
Versatile, well-made, waterproof and capacious travel bag that you can also sling on your back
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ortlieb Duffle RS 110L
Size tested: 110 Litres
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Ortlieb says:"Winner of the OutDoor INDUSTRY AWARD 2014, the Duffle RS is made to withstand the rigors of the most adventurous of expeditions while at the same time offering a high degree of travel comfort. The bag's heavy-duty wheel system is connected to the body of the bag in a waterproof manner. The 100 mm wheels and the rigid floor plate made of contoured aluminum offer increased floor clearance – ideal for both airport terminals and rugged outdoor terrain. And given the importance of lightweight luggage, especially when travelling by plane, the bag's designers opted for an adjustable grip that guarantees plenty of leg clearance and comfortable towing instead of a heavy telescopic towing frame. The foam padding at the base of the bag offers enhanced stability when the bag is fully loaded and the watertight zipper that runs across the whole length of the bag gives you quick access to your gear. The zipper can also be locked using the integrated wire loop and a small cable lock (not included)."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
+ Padded, removable shoulder straps you can use to carry the bag like a backpack
+ Compression strap
+ Zippered internal pocket
+ Mesh outside pocket (not watertight)
+ 2 daisy chains for attaching more gear
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It was great: really well made and really useful.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Size, quality, waterproofing, wheels.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of organisation, pull handle could be better, not very easy to handle when half-empty.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's expensive, but if you do a lot of travelling or you're after a day-to-day workhorse bag for lugging lots of stuff about then it's a solid investment.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.