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on July 17, 2015
Boy Scouts are tough on gear, and so are airlines! We took 21 Northstar duffel bags stuffed with backpacks and other gear through 4 flights and 6 trips through baggage handling equipment with zero problems. Customer service during purchase and shipping was personable and very helpful. I used the precursor to this bag for the same group trip 3 years ago with some minor handling damage to one bag and was happy enough to buy again. This new duffel is even tougher, and the new zippers held up to overstuffed, yank hard Scout abuse! The included shipping strap will make for more compact storage until the next use. This is a 5 Star product for backpack transport!
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on February 16, 2014
I bought this bag to use as a soccer referee back in 2012 (Update: Still going strong in May 2016). I'll give you the bad first. Since this is a 5-star review, it can't be that much of a deal-breaker!

Well, the shoulder strap snapped on my bag within two months of purchase. There are two plastic pieces between the shoulder strap and the bag itself: (1) the clip that connects to the shoulder strap, and (2) the "triangle" piece that connects to the bag itself. These two plastic pieces hook to each other to connect the shoulder strap to the bag. On one side, the "triangle" piece snapped. I simply connected plastic clip (1) directly to the bag, and moved on with my life. Then, not very long after that, plastic clip (1) snapped on the OTHER end of the shoulder strap, thus precluding any further use of the shoulder strap. At this point, I started using the hand straps on the top of the bag as shoulder straps, and carried my bag that way. Not too comfortable, but at least I could still carry the bag. To be fair to this bag, EVERY bag I've ever purchased for refereeing has also snapped in the same spot, so this is not a unique gripe.

By the way, I have now been able to avoid the strap breaking issue by attaching carabiners (those keychain hook things...I didn't know what they were called either!) between the fabric portions of the strap and bag, skipping the plastic completely. I added a photo to the product page to show what I mean. It's a cheap, easy way to reduce pressure on the weakest part of the bag.

Now, on to the good, and the great:

1) This bag is HUGE! It is the first bag I've ever used as a soccer referee that could actually fit my flags. My typical loadout is as follows: Assistant Referee flags, 10 referee shirts (5 colors, long and short sleeve), extra shorts and socks, waterproof blanket, set of communication radios + accessories, gallon of water, 3-inch binder, clipboard, and a bunch of small stuff, like whistles, sunscreen, towel, ball pump, etc. Everything fits with plenty of room to spare, which is something I could never say previously with any referee bag. I could even fit my folding chair in the bag, but that just made it too heavy! I use pencil cases and space saver bags to separate the different items, and to provide some extra water protection.

2) Besides the shoulder strap, the bag is very durable. The stitching on the hand straps, the two ends of the bag, and the zipper looks very strong, and has held up just fine despite my attempts to load my entire life into the bag (see #1).

3) Customer service is fantastic! I was skeptical at first, since they don't have an email address on their webpage (I only found a phone number by doing a site search using Google). But if you look at the various 3-star reviews on Amazon, you will often find that a Northstar rep replies to the review with a customer service email address. I contacted that email address (customerservice 'at' northstarbags 'dot' com), and a rep named Doug responded very quickly. Despite the fact that I bought this bag nearly 18 months ago, Doug went out of his way to understand the problem, and provide a fix free of charge that I considered to be above and beyond what he needed to do.

Considering the three points above, it's easy to forget that this bag costs about the same as an entree at Applebees (and provides FAR more value!). I'd consider this bag a good value even at double the price. If you don't believe me, then check the "Best Seller" list for Duffel Bags. This one is currently #4, but look at all the other items in the top 10. They all cost double what this bag costs! That speaks volumes, in my opinion.

I can't recommend this bag enough. Buy two!
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on January 30, 2017
I bought 5 of these bags for my family's snowmobile gear. Each one of my family members now have one. I am very happy with these. They are large and built well enough to last for several seasons. We can put all our clothing (two coats, bibs, gloves, hats, hoodies, socks boots ect.) including a helmet in the bag. I would recommend this bag.

Adding to this review after two months of use. Last night I took a trip on the snowmobiles back into a cabin. It was a very rough trail. I strapped the bag on to a sled and pulled it behind the machine. When we got to the cabin all my gear was dry even though the bag was covered in snow. at one time the sled tipped over and I had to drag it for a few yard to a place I could stop. No damage to the bag or contents. Great Bag.
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on June 14, 2016
This thing is perfect for our camping stuff! It fits:
- a tent
- two sleeping bags
- two sleeping pads
- two blankets
- two hammocks
- a little miscellaneous
(None of the stuff we have is backpacking mini stuff, it's all regular size)
Makes it much easier to just have it all packed and just go impulse camping. Also makes it easier to only take one trip to the car instead of 3.
So far it's still holding up strong!
****UPDATE****
I found another brilliant use for this bag. When you travel and have to check your backpack, throw it in this bag! That makes sure that the backpack doesn't lose any straps, gets dirty, or rips when the airline people are moving it around! They still have handles to hold on to but your nice backpack is safe.
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on January 26, 2017
This is a heavy duty, well made duffle bag. Was surprised it was as sturdy as it is. I was expecting a flimsy, lightweight product and what I got was very well made, sturdy with heavy cloth and double stitched seams. Looks like it good take a "lickin and keep on tickin".
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on March 2, 2018
Initially, this bag seemed like it would do it's job well when I received it, but I was wrong. On my way back from Brazil, the long strap was ripped off the bag while being handled by the airline. The bag wasn't heavy since I only had clothes in it. I did like that it had handles on both of the circular ends of the bag, so I could carry the bag comfortably between two people, even after the long strap got ripped off. If you only plan to carry light items in the bag, it is a nice option at a good price, but if you plan to ever fill it, just know that it might not hold up.
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on June 11, 2014
I ordered a couple of the Northstar bags to try and store my camping gear and I have to say, it was one of the best decisions I've made. I like these so much, I own probably seven of the various sizes and colors now, all sized to fit the gear they'll stow. This particular size is ginormous...and probably one of my favorites of all the sizes. I used it to store my tent & accessories, tent blanket, lantern, sleeping pads, sleeping bags and several other items with a fair bit of room to spare. (To me, the 16x40 is more about the length, but the diameter is helpful too.) It's actually kind of tough to fill up without making it too heavy! The awesome thing is they're cheap enough you can have several so you can have a highly organized outfit.

Overall, the quality is great. I like that they have both nylon carry straps and an over-the-shoulder option, all of which are heavily reinforced. The duffel material is pretty strong, definitely something that can handle camp gear, wear and tear and rugged use. The hardware that comes with is relatively cheap and will probably break if you load it up, so I've retrofitted mine with replacement shoulder strap webbing and all-metal hardware and this decidedly brings it to a premium, practically indestructible configuration. I'll also probably apply a proper water-proofing down the road, but as is they can sustain a bit of light rain with no consequence. I've hauled these in, fully loaded, to walk-in camps several times...and compared to my old Rubbermaid tote system, I can easily load up 2-4 on me each trip and make short work of the trip in and out.

The one probable drawback is that there's no built-in internal or external compartments, so it does require a little bit of accessorizing to make it work in many situations. I've made dozens of stuff sacks from 70 denier nylon to keep the gear they hold compartmentalized and organized, which makes the bags much easier and pleasant to use. Other than that, I can't really think of any other complaints. Even if I consider the stuff sacks and the metal hardware upgrades, I've probably got $25-30 into them total...easily money well spent, considering I cut my entire camping kit storage size in half and save time/effort every camp trip.

Highly recommended.
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on August 31, 2015
My wife and I used these to move to Spain for a year. Very large and very lightweight. One of the handles tore a little where it is sewn onto the bag. PRO TIP: Connect the two carrying straps together (string, rope, bungee) the the airport luggage abusers have no choice but to grab BOTH straps. If you have a lot of weight in these as my wife and I did, picking this bag up and tossing it in a hurry could (and did) rip one of the bags a little. Other than that, they basically survived a year of living in Europe. Totally worth the price, just be careful and make sure you keep both straps connected together somehow.
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on February 16, 2018
I bought this for carrying/storing a 4 inch twin mattress topper. I looked quite a while to find something that fit. This is a snug fit, but works well, appears durable and has held up well so far in my travels. I haven't tried it on a plane.

If you use this for a mattress topper, fold the topper in half length wise, then roll it. I also put straps around the topper before attempting to put it in the bag, which make stuffing it in much easier.
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on August 29, 2017
These bags seemed pretty sturdy/well constructed. Loaded a few up with clothes to get through a move and they worked very well.....Until the zipper started acting up on one (out of three). Split open behind the pull and I can't for the life of me get the teeth back on track. So, basically that one is useless now. I wouldn't trust one of these to make it through any type of travel situation where the bag leaves my sight for any length of time. Unless I didn't care about the contents staying inside, that is.
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