First Impressions

I own lots of North Face gear. I’m wearing a North Face soft shell pullover while I’m writing this, as a matter of fact, and have Cat’s Meow sleeping bags, several hardshells and much more. When my wife and I were planning a trip to Europe this Spring, we looked to North Face for a new rolling duffel. She chose the Long Haul 26-inch model and I chose the 22-inch version.

Out of the box, the 26-inch was the ticket. Available in red (which was my wife’s choice) this bag was extremely rugged looking and solidly constructed. It’s also surprisingly narrower than many other bags of this type, an attribute that it shares with the 22 inch bag. It was that narrowness that ultimately led to my replacing my choice of the 22-inch with a larger 26-inch Mountainsmith. The 22-inch is markedly smaller than most rollaboards and I needed more space than I initially thought.


The North Face is definitely a good looking bag. It has backpack-like styling that sets it apart from most boring, traditional rollaboards. Because it’s narrow, it looks much taller than other bags in the category. It has compression straps on the exterior and a large main compartment that has elastic bungees for holding your clothing in place. I would wish for a slightly longer length on the bungees. When I was pulling them closed, I feared snapping them from stretching too far. There’s a secondary medium sized storage pocket on the exterior for holding extra gear. The standout feature for me was the exceptionally smooth telescoping handle. It feels like its bullet proof, slides effortlessly from the interior of the bag and has a rubberized handle that is just awesome and noticeably longer than those from other manufacturers.


Despite the narrowness, this bag accommodated everything my wife needed for the trip including running gear, multiple jackets and coats, sweaters, pants, and numerous pairs of shoes. My wife arrived a day later than I and opted to not take the two mile walk to the hotel, so no direct comparison on how it compares to the Mountainsmith over a long haul. On the short hauls, it was more than maneuverable enough.

Final Verdict

Beautiful bag. Rugged styling. Large enough for a week or more of traveling. Awesome handle, which may well be the very best I’ve seen. Maybe I should have kept the 22-inch for short trips.

Available at Altrec and REI.

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

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide.