Mountainsmith Discovery Duffel

First Impressions

I have a soft spot – or maybe just call it a personal preference – for the charcoal and yellow color combination. Somehow I’ve acquired several backpacks that use this color scheme, along with a gym bag, a nylon lunch bag and God knows what else. This seems to be Mountainsmith’s signature combination as well which explains why I found their 26-inch Discovery Rolling Duffel irresistible.

This spring, I was looking to add a bag to my arsenal for a seven day trip to Europe. A 22 inch rollaboard was way too small, although I tried with a North Face model. And my 30 inch rolling duffels were just too large. Roughly in the middle at 26 inches sits the Mountainsmith. For this same trip, my wife chose a new bag as well – the North Face 26 inch Long Haul.

Out of the box, the duffel is handsome. It’s nice and wide with a solid telescoping handle, rugged wheels and many more features that make it a fine travel companion.


Did I mention it’s in one of my favorite color combinations? The duffel is made out of rugged, charcoal colored heavy weight ballistic nylon and has a “rubberized” skid material on the bottom. Definitely heavy duty. There’s one large main compartment that opens up completely. A second compartment zips open for additional storage (this compartment can be opened to the main compartment below via another interior zipper). And there’s a final zippered exterior pocket. The exterior also has compression straps to cinch down the bag’s contents.

The interior is lined with a bright yellow lightweight nylon fabric which in addition to being handsome helps reflect the light in a dark hotel room so you can see the contents of the bag better. There are also two rods that come with the bag. These are inserted into sleeves in the interior to brace the bag and help it stand upright.


This bag swallowed a week’s worth of clothing and then some (with the help of a compression sack to two). I fit a full length trench coat, suit jacket, pea coat, sweaters, pants, running togs and all the other requirements for a week on the road. I also bounced the bag for two miles from Paddington Station thru Kensington Park to my hotel in London. It was a beautiful walk that would have been made better if the telescoping handle on the duffel were just a tad longer. I found myself banging my heels into the bag periodically as I dodged London taxis.

Final Verdict

Great bag. Slightly larger than the North Face equivalent. with a shorter, less posh telescoping handle. It’s also less expensive than the North Face and comes in that great color combo. Sold.

First Impressions:
[Rating:4/5] Features:
[Rating:3.5/5] Fit:
[Rating:3.5/5] Final Verdict:

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide.