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Gear Hauler

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Item # EC020440
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Carry-on sized Gear Hauler is a great one-size-fits-all adventure bag. Duffel meets backpack with zip-away backpack straps. Add to that the durability of water-repellant, travel abuse-resistant Bi-Tech™ fabric and bottom bathtub construction that resists water when in a puddle. It's the ultimate super-light, go anywhere, do anything piece of gear.

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Details & Features

  • Built-in durability: Bi-Tech™ for extreme abrasion and weather-resistance External end quick stash 3-1-1 compartment for organization of gear
  • #10 lockable, self-repairing zippers with finger friendly zipper pulls
  • Bottom “bathtub” construction resists water if the bag ends-up in a puddle
  • Lockable front pocket includes organization and key fob with Porter Key™ bottle opener
  • Front pocket contains padded sleeve sized to fit most 15” laptops and additional padded sleeve fits most tablets
  • Safety reflective accents for dusk and nighttime visibility
  • Integrates with Pack-It™ System & Gear Organizers, suggestions included
  • No Matter What™ Warranty

Product Specification

Capacity: 2925 cu in | 48 L Dimensions: 14 x 22 x 9 in | 36 x 56 x 24 cm Weight: 2 lbs 10 oz | 1.2 kg Material: B-Tech™


REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
Eagle Creek Gear Hauler
 
4.7

(based on 23 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (16)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good capacity (18)
  • High quality (17)
  • Easy to access items (16)
  • Easy to carry (16)
  • Lightweight (16)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Weekend trips (14)
  • Long vacations (11)
  • Family trips (6)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Comfort-oriented (14), Practical (14), Modern (9), Stylish (8), Career (4)
    • Travel Frequency:
    • 6-10 annual trips (13), 0-5 annual trips (5), 11-19 annual trips (3)
    • Primary use:
    • Personal (20)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (21)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Great for one-bagging

After being a chronic overpacker for many years I have focused on becoming a one-bagger. My initial attempt to one-bag it through Europe in 2014 with a Swissgear Ibex computer backpack proved to be...Read complete review

After being a chronic overpacker for many years I have focused on becoming a one-bagger. My initial attempt to one-bag it through Europe in 2014 with a Swissgear Ibex computer backpack proved to be a bit too extreme: while the Ibex held my 17" laptop and accessories very well it had severely limited capacity for clothing and toiletries. But I tremendously enjoyed the freedom of mobility and not having to wait at baggage carousels at numerous airports and bypassing the bellboy in hotels. I decided to go with a more luggage oriented backpack in preparation for a trip to Peru in 2015/2016, which would again require numerous flights and severe carry-on restrictions on the train to Machu Picchu. After the arduous, challenging yet liberating task of reducing my luggage to nominal one-bag capacity I sought out a carry-on backpack which would fit the following criteria: the ability to carry my 15" laptop, provide adequate security of contents and meet airline/train carry-on specs. After a bit of online research my final two choices were the PacSafe Venturesafe 45L and the Eagle Creek Gear Hauler. Both were of similar price range, carry-on compliant size, lightweight, had stowable backpack straps for various carrying options and eschewed numerous pockets for a more simple design to maximize carrying capacity.

I already have a Pacsafe Metrosafe 250 GII for my day trip bag and have grown appreciate their anti-theft features like Exo-mesh, locking straps and RFID blocking. The Venturesafe 45L backpack shares all these features. I was hoping they would have one in black to match my Metrosafe but all that were only available was green/yellow and blue/green, so I bought the green one off eBay. There was plenty of room in the Venturesafe for my clothes, toiletries and other items like flip flops and umbrella. I was able to fit my laptop into the exterior pocket but it was kind of a tight fit and I felt that with the compression straps clipped together it would bend my laptop. A built-in locking zipper anchor system at the top to keep items from being pilfed and the side handle was cushioned and very comfortably soft, but somehow it didn't instill a feeling of strength that a side handle should. This feeling probably stems from using the Swissgear Ibex and Synergy computer backpacks, both of which have their top handles made of steel cable and riveted on whereas the Pacsafe handle was sewn on. But the handle issue probably not a big deal if one adheres to the one-bag philosophy of traveling light (≈20lbs). The Venturesafe has backpack straps that are stored in a large semi-open plastic 'pocket' and includes a handy stainless steel locking cable to lock the bag to a table, chair or pipe in the hotel room to prevent opportunistic theft. I'm not sure how well the outer material would fair if the bag ever had to be checked in, but one of the main points of these backpacks is to be able to carry it on in the first place to avoid rough treatment in the hold. I used the Venturesafe for a weekend road trip to the river in Arizona where it performed well, but did not use it for any travel involving flight or with my laptop.

The Eagle Creek Gear Hauler also held the reduced clothing, toiletries and extras with no problem. There is no built-in zipper locking anchor like the Pacsafe, so regular small luggage padlocks must be used. The external pocket held my laptop much better and in hand-carry or shoulder carry mode the entire laptop pocket is easily accessible even with the compression straps in place, making it convenient to get through airport security. However, when used in backpack mode there are two additional buckles on the top of the bag that must be unbuckled in order to gain access to the laptop pocket, hence a minor inconvenience. There is a handy boot pocket at the bottom to separately store dirty items or items that may require quick and easy access when the backpack is in lockdown during transit, i.e. umbrella, sandals and shoulder strap. Items stored in the boot pocket are at the expense of equal space in the main compartment. There are top and side handles and two more handles on the laptop/strap pocket for carrying and/or moving the bag. Like the Venturesafe 45L, the Gear Hauler handles are sewn in but for some reason I had more confidence in these handles than with the Pacsafe. Perhaps its because there are more of them and so I'd be more likely to use two handles and distribute the weight as opposed to all the weight on just one handle. But, as mentioned, the weight of the bag when packed should be light to begin with so handle strength probably won't be an issue. The most unique feature of the Gear Hauler (as pointed out in other reviews) are the backpack straps which are stored in another pocket attached atop the laptop pocket on the back, not in the front. So when you use the Gear Hauler as a backpack the entire bag is backwards with the laptop right against your back and thus giving better weight distribution (as opposed to having the laptop far away in an outer pocket like most other convertible backpacks) and it will also be protected more. This also means that the entire 'front' side of the backpack becomes the backside when its being carried and all the zippers and pockets will be against your back and not exposed for potential pickpockets. It truly is a simple but ingenious theft prevention design. The Gear Hauler does not come with a steel locking cable to protect from opportunistic theft like the Pacsafe but, ironically, I already had a Pacsafe 85L mesh safety bag that fits the Gear Hauler perfectly when deployed and easily stows away in the boot pocket on the bottom. There are several loose MOLLE style loops around the Gear Hauler backpack to hang/attach items from and triangular rings to attach the backpack straps or shoulder strap for various carrying configurations. The outer material seems a bit tougher than the Venturesafe, but I still think it would be susceptible to significant scuffing and other damage if it had to be checked in for whatever reason.

I decided to keep the Eagle Creek Gear Hauler due to the better laptop pocket, ingenious reverse backpack design and handy external boot pocket. Having returned from Peru the Gear Hauler came through with flying colors for all my criteria: I was able to carry it on during all flights of the trip (including domestic flights and the restrictive train to Machu Picchu), it protected my laptop during transit, and provided a secure haven for my laptop and luggage when used in conjunction with the Pacsafe 85L safety mesh bag (even if I had chosen the Venturesafe with all its anti-theft features I still would have used the safety mesh bag with it). It was once again a true pleasure to land at an airport and skip the baggage carousel and be first through immigration/customs and quickly be out and about town. The Gear Hauler held enough clothes for the 12 day trip, with some items needing to be washed (which is cheap in Peru). I had collected a few souvenirs and the bag eventually exceeded carry-on weight specifications, but the Gear Hauler is so compact looking that even when overpacked I was never asked to have it weighed or measured at the airline check-in desks. YMMV depending on country. With the laptop and Pacsafe 85L safety mesh (the two heaviest items) and clothes the entire backpack never went above 22lbs. I felt safe and secure knowing that most of the pockets and zippers were concealed when in backpack mode. The black Eagle Creek logo on black material was much more low key than the highly visible Pacsafe logo on the Venturesafe which screams out 'valuables inside!'

Whenever I walked a lot with the Gear Hauler my loosely packed clothes would start to shift and collect at the bottom and the bag would sort of lose its shape even with the compression straps tight. After I returned home I bought some Eagle Creek packing cubes that I hope will increase the organization and also help the bag to maintain its shape during transit. The only other item I would change is to have lockable double zippers for the bottom boot pocket since that is the only pocket that is accessible in any way when in backpack mode.

For those interested in the one-bag philosophy the Eagle Creek Gear Hauler is a great convertible backpack to start with and I see my self one-bagging with it for a long time. The Gear Hauler excels at carrying luggage through airports and train stations to your hotel but not meant for extended outdoor hiking which is more suited to large internal frame backpacks. It may not be considered a 'high end' or famous bag like the Red Oxx Air Boss or Sky Train, Tom Bihn Tristar or Goruck GR2 and at this point I cannot say if the Gear Hauler is as indestructible as those expensive brands are renowned for. But for the price point I am more than pleased with the performance and feature set of the Gear Hauler and I can't wait to use it to test my ever evolving one-bag packing techniques for my next trip (whenever that is).

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Excellent in concept

I'm a bit of a gear-a-holic with a specific fetish for travel bags. I was on the search for a new bag to try out for a 20 day swing through Florida and Cuba...Read complete review

I'm a bit of a gear-a-holic with a specific fetish for travel bags. I was on the search for a new bag to try out for a 20 day swing through Florida and Cuba that would include travel by air, taxi, bus and boat. I narrowed by bag choices for this trip down to the Patagonia MLC, the Eagle Creek Gear Hauler, and the Go Ruck GR2. I own all three of these bags, and selected to the Gear Hauler for this trip. First, I'm a huge Eagle Creek fan. I own several of their bags, and am a huge proponent of their packing systems and cubes. I selected the gear hauler mostly because I was limited to 20LBS of weight for my bag for the charter flight from Miami to Cuba, and the gear hauler was the lightest of the bags. I'm a long time one bagger and can go indefinitely with a carry-on size bag.

The Gear Hauler exceeded my expectations in durability. I wouldn't think the material, a rubberized product, would hold up to the abrasions of someone who's known for chucking their bag off a bus roof or across the deck of a boat. This bag is bomb proof. The perfectly square design allows for boat loads of storage. I always pack with Eagle Creek cubes.

I love the idea of having the back pack straps come from the opposite side of the pack. Nice to know the side going on your back is clean after picking the bag up off the beach, a bus or restroom floor. I'm usually a fan of YKK zippers, but the zippers on this bag are heavy duty and I love the lockable design.

Where this bag really failed for me was the handle on the top and the side. The Gear hauler is simply a well designed duffle bag with great material and some cool carry features. I found myself more often than not carrying this bag on or off a bus or airplane but the handles on the side and top and was concerned by the durability. I never had the bag filled with more than 20 lbs, and when lifting the bag by the handles is appeared to concentrate the weight of the bag on a very small section of the bag. Looking at the stitching and the pressure points on the bag, I wouldn't be confident of this design over the long term if you used these handles as a primary method of carrying the bag. The handles could be wider, and better reinforced where they attach to the bag.

Also, the secondary pocket offers some excellent organization, but it hard to utilize when the bag is fully packed.

This is ultimately a duffle bag with good compression and a square design that lets you maximize the space if you use the Eagle Creek cubes. Long as you carry it with the shoulder strap or backpack straps you will be ok, but be weary of lugging it around longterm by any of the handles.

I'll keep this bag in my arsenal and it will find a place in my one bag carry rotation for the appropriate trips.

Reviewed by 23 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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5.0

Great for carry on with rolling suitcase

By Ron

from Oceanside, Ca

About Me Practical

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easy To Access Items
  • Easy To Carry
  • High Quality
  • Lightweight

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Family Trips
    • Long Vacations
    • Weekend Trips

    Comments about Eagle Creek Gear Hauler:

    Purchased as Christmas present for family member

    • Travel Frequency:
    • 6-10 Annual Trips
    • Primary use:
    • Personal
    • Was this a gift?:
    • Yes
     
    5.0

    Love this one!!!

    By Carmen* "Eagle Creek Kunkie"

    from Cartersville,Ga.

    About Me Comfort-Oriented, Modern, Practical, Stylish

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Easy To Access Items
    • Good Capacity
    • High Quality
    • Lightweight
    • Well constructed as usual

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Camping
      • Family Trips
      • Long Vacations
      • short hiking jaunts
      • Weekend Trips

      Comments about Eagle Creek Gear Hauler:

      Another EC bag, I love this one! Lots of packing space. With the pac it system packs a ton!! The look is nice and the bag is well made. This has a computer access area in the front and backpack straps if you want to tote it. As I have a crummy low back from an accident backpacking is OUTA THE QUESTION! The straps are well padded and when packed in the space for them,it gets a bit tight and if I took a computer (NEVER on a fun vacation get away) it would be a tight squeeze. SOOOOOO (Sorry boys in development) I took it upon myself to remove the backpack straps I can now use the strap area and the computer area for more vacation packing. It is lighter and I'm sure I have a "pac it" that will fit in these two new spaces. The future model would be awesome if you could just remove the straps and use them when you wanted to...I love my bag now and look forward to my 5 dat trip in Nov. Have a great mini luggage cart that helps tote it around so I don't give up space for the frame and wheels. I trial packed the hauler and it is easy to pack and you can pack a lot maybe even the kitchen sink!

      • Travel Frequency:
      • 6-10 Annual Trips
      • Primary use:
      • Personal
      • Was this a gift?:
      • No
       
      5.0

      Am trying to purchase this bag

      By Carmen* Eagle Creek Junkie

      from Cartersville, Ga.

      About Me Comfort-Oriented, Modern, Practical, Stylish

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • both gender friendly

      Cons

      • Web page is not working properly

      Best Uses

        Comments about Eagle Creek Gear Hauler:

        I will use for international travel as well as National Park travel and more nature based less hotel based trips...But How can I buy it very frustrated liked old web page easier to deal with! I am an avid EC shopper

        • Travel Frequency:
        • 6-10 Annual Trips
        • Primary use:
        • Personal
        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Got me through a year trip

        By Zesta

        from Houston, TX

        About Me Comfort-Oriented, Modern, Practical

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Durable
        • Easy To Access Items
        • Easy To Carry
        • Easy To Identify
        • Good Capacity
        • Lightweight
        • Water Resistant

        Cons

        • Zippers Break

        Best Uses

        • Long Vacations

        Comments about Eagle Creek Gear Hauler:

        So I spent the last year traveling around the world with this backpack and it was great. Held everything I needed for the year which included cold and warm climates. Kept everything dry when getting poured on between locations and was fine if it could only sit in mud. Which was great since it had my laptop and camera in it. It was so easy to just pick up, sling over my shoulders and go. With cubes this bag can fit a lot of clothes and packing only took about 10minutes which is great when rushing to get to the train station. Many other travelers like my bag because it wasn't as bulky as several others. It was nice that this would fit in most hostel lockers without taking things out.
        Some things I would change is mostly due to when I had to walk with it for over an hour. It would've have been great with some more padding in the straps and maybe a waist strap. Though I think most of the time waist straps would've annoyed me. The main thing is some padding when it meets your back. Unlike pretty much all bags the top part actually touches your back when carrying. With it being pretty filled and some awkward shaped object it created some jabbing in my back. It would also be great if the padding kept a majority of the pack from touching your back to create some airflow. Many times when I got to a hostel my back was covered in sweat as it wasn't breathable. The last thing is after my trip the plastic over the zippers all started snapping but overall it was amazing during my trip.

        • Travel Frequency:
        • 6-10 Annual Trips
        • Primary use:
        • Personal
        • Was this a gift?:
        • No
         
        5.0

        Solid!

        By AzaWest

        from New York, NY

        About Me Comfort-Oriented, Modern, Stylish

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Easy To Carry
        • Lightweight
        • Stylish

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about Eagle Creek Gear Hauler:

            This bag is solid! Took this bad boy through the airport and it was a breeze. I hate rolling suitcases (just not for me) and messenger bags hurt my shoulder thats why love the fact this converts into a backpack. The straps are super comfortable and I don't feel like i'm carrying a heavy load at all. I was able to fit all my clothes (8-Pants, 7-Shirts, and 2-Pairs of shoes) in here and still had room. Took this on a business trip so i had about 2 outfits per day (Business/Comfortable).

            At the beginning I didn't know how I felt about the "outside" of the backpack being on the "inside" but to be honest it looks great! A buddy of mine who flew to Brazil and had his stuff stolen that were in the external pockets. With this no one is taking anything.

            BOTTOM LINE: If you like the full support a Backpack offers, going on a trip for a week or two, and and don't want to pay any baggage fees... This is the bag you need.

            • Travel Frequency:
            • 0-5 Annual Trips
            • Primary use:
            • Business
            • Was this a gift?:
            • No
             
            4.0

            Best organizational pack!

            By The Nomadic Lotus

            from Portland, OR

            About Me Practical, Solo Travel

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy To Access Items
            • Easy To Identify
            • Good Capacity
            • High Quality

            Cons

            • Uncomfortable To Carry

            Best Uses

            • Long Vacations
            • Weekend Trips

            Comments about Eagle Creek Gear Hauler:

            Bought this pack for my year around the world trip. Currently halfway through my travels and loving my pack! I love how easy it is to get to everything inside the bag. That coupled with my packing cubes has made for flawless packing even in a rush. The fold-away straps are great for flying and it fits easily into overhead bins. It is slightly uncomfortable to carry long distances, so the few treks across town (2+ miles) with my bag full haven't been very fun. But normal hotel to transport type of carrying is fine no problem. I love that I can't really over pack it to blow the airport carry on standards. All in all I would totally recommend this bag and it's a great value for the money!

            • Travel Frequency:
            • 11-19 Annual Trips
            • Primary use:
            • Personal
            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

             
            3.0

            Excellent in concept

            By jbmarcott

            from North Dakota

            About Me Adventure Traveler, Comfort-Oriented, Modern, Practical

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Good Capacity
            • High Quality
            • Lightweight

            Cons

            • Weak Seams

            Best Uses

            • Long Vacations
            • Weekend Trips

            Comments about Eagle Creek Gear Hauler:

            I'm a bit of a gear-a-holic with a specific fetish for travel bags. I was on the search for a new bag to try out for a 20 day swing through Florida and Cuba that would include travel by air, taxi, bus and boat. I narrowed by bag choices for this trip down to the Patagonia MLC, the Eagle Creek Gear Hauler, and the Go Ruck GR2. I own all three of these bags, and selected to the Gear Hauler for this trip. First, I'm a huge Eagle Creek fan. I own several of their bags, and am a huge proponent of their packing systems and cubes. I selected the gear hauler mostly because I was limited to 20LBS of weight for my bag for the charter flight from Miami to Cuba, and the gear hauler was the lightest of the bags. I'm a long time one bagger and can go indefinitely with a carry-on size bag.

            The Gear Hauler exceeded my expectations in durability. I wouldn't think the material, a rubberized product, would hold up to the abrasions of someone who's known for chucking their bag off a bus roof or across the deck of a boat. This bag is bomb proof. The perfectly square design allows for boat loads of storage. I always pack with Eagle Creek cubes.

            I love the idea of having the back pack straps come from the opposite side of the pack. Nice to know the side going on your back is clean after picking the bag up off the beach, a bus or restroom floor. I'm usually a fan of YKK zippers, but the zippers on this bag are heavy duty and I love the lockable design.

            Where this bag really failed for me was the handle on the top and the side. The Gear hauler is simply a well designed duffle bag with great material and some cool carry features. I found myself more often than not carrying this bag on or off a bus or airplane but the handles on the side and top and was concerned by the durability. I never had the bag filled with more than 20 lbs, and when lifting the bag by the handles is appeared to concentrate the weight of the bag on a very small section of the bag. Looking at the stitching and the pressure points on the bag, I wouldn't be confident of this design over the long term if you used these handles as a primary method of carrying the bag. The handles could be wider, and better reinforced where they attach to the bag.

            Also, the secondary pocket offers some excellent organization, but it hard to utilize when the bag is fully packed.

            This is ultimately a duffle bag with good compression and a square design that lets you maximize the space if you use the Eagle Creek cubes. Long as you carry it with the shoulder strap or backpack straps you will be ok, but be weary of lugging it around longterm by any of the handles.

            I'll keep this bag in my arsenal and it will find a place in my one bag carry rotation for the appropriate trips.

            • Travel Frequency:
            • 6-10 Annual Trips
            • Primary use:
            • Personal
            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Great for one-bagging

            By pingvuiini

            from Long Beach, CA

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Easy To Access Items
            • Easy To Carry
            • Good Capacity
            • Lightweight

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Long Vacations

              Comments about Eagle Creek Gear Hauler:

              After being a chronic overpacker for many years I have focused on becoming a one-bagger. My initial attempt to one-bag it through Europe in 2014 with a Swissgear Ibex computer backpack proved to be a bit too extreme: while the Ibex held my 17" laptop and accessories very well it had severely limited capacity for clothing and toiletries. But I tremendously enjoyed the freedom of mobility and not having to wait at baggage carousels at numerous airports and bypassing the bellboy in hotels. I decided to go with a more luggage oriented backpack in preparation for a trip to Peru in 2015/2016, which would again require numerous flights and severe carry-on restrictions on the train to Machu Picchu. After the arduous, challenging yet liberating task of reducing my luggage to nominal one-bag capacity I sought out a carry-on backpack which would fit the following criteria: the ability to carry my 15" laptop, provide adequate security of contents and meet airline/train carry-on specs. After a bit of online research my final two choices were the PacSafe Venturesafe 45L and the Eagle Creek Gear Hauler. Both were of similar price range, carry-on compliant size, lightweight, had stowable backpack straps for various carrying options and eschewed numerous pockets for a more simple design to maximize carrying capacity.

              I already have a Pacsafe Metrosafe 250 GII for my day trip bag and have grown appreciate their anti-theft features like Exo-mesh, locking straps and RFID blocking. The Venturesafe 45L backpack shares all these features. I was hoping they would have one in black to match my Metrosafe but all that were only available was green/yellow and blue/green, so I bought the green one off eBay. There was plenty of room in the Venturesafe for my clothes, toiletries and other items like flip flops and umbrella. I was able to fit my laptop into the exterior pocket but it was kind of a tight fit and I felt that with the compression straps clipped together it would bend my laptop. A built-in locking zipper anchor system at the top to keep items from being pilfed and the side handle was cushioned and very comfortably soft, but somehow it didn't instill a feeling of strength that a side handle should. This feeling probably stems from using the Swissgear Ibex and Synergy computer backpacks, both of which have their top handles made of steel cable and riveted on whereas the Pacsafe handle was sewn on. But the handle issue probably not a big deal if one adheres to the one-bag philosophy of traveling light (≈20lbs). The Venturesafe has backpack straps that are stored in a large semi-open plastic 'pocket' and includes a handy stainless steel locking cable to lock the bag to a table, chair or pipe in the hotel room to prevent opportunistic theft. I'm not sure how well the outer material would fair if the bag ever had to be checked in, but one of the main points of these backpacks is to be able to carry it on in the first place to avoid rough treatment in the hold. I used the Venturesafe for a weekend road trip to the river in Arizona where it performed well, but did not use it for any travel involving flight or with my laptop.

              The Eagle Creek Gear Hauler also held the reduced clothing, toiletries and extras with no problem. There is no built-in zipper locking anchor like the Pacsafe, so regular small luggage padlocks must be used. The external pocket held my laptop much better and in hand-carry or shoulder carry mode the entire laptop pocket is easily accessible even with the compression straps in place, making it convenient to get through airport security. However, when used in backpack mode there are two additional buckles on the top of the bag that must be unbuckled in order to gain access to the laptop pocket, hence a minor inconvenience. There is a handy boot pocket at the bottom to separately store dirty items or items that may require quick and easy access when the backpack is in lockdown during transit, i.e. umbrella, sandals and shoulder strap. Items stored in the boot pocket are at the expense of equal space in the main compartment. There are top and side handles and two more handles on the laptop/strap pocket for carrying and/or moving the bag. Like the Venturesafe 45L, the Gear Hauler handles are sewn in but for some reason I had more confidence in these handles than with the Pacsafe. Perhaps its because there are more of them and so I'd be more likely to use two handles and distribute the weight as opposed to all the weight on just one handle. But, as mentioned, the weight of the bag when packed should be light to begin with so handle strength probably won't be an issue. The most unique feature of the Gear Hauler (as pointed out in other reviews) are the backpack straps which are stored in another pocket attached atop the laptop pocket on the back, not in the front. So when you use the Gear Hauler as a backpack the entire bag is backwards with the laptop right against your back and thus giving better weight distribution (as opposed to having the laptop far away in an outer pocket like most other convertible backpacks) and it will also be protected more. This also means that the entire 'front' side of the backpack becomes the backside when its being carried and all the zippers and pockets will be against your back and not exposed for potential pickpockets. It truly is a simple but ingenious theft prevention design. The Gear Hauler does not come with a steel locking cable to protect from opportunistic theft like the Pacsafe but, ironically, I already had a Pacsafe 85L mesh safety bag that fits the Gear Hauler perfectly when deployed and easily stows away in the boot pocket on the bottom. There are several loose MOLLE style loops around the Gear Hauler backpack to hang/attach items from and triangular rings to attach the backpack straps or shoulder strap for various carrying configurations. The outer material seems a bit tougher than the Venturesafe, but I still think it would be susceptible to significant scuffing and other damage if it had to be checked in for whatever reason.

              I decided to keep the Eagle Creek Gear Hauler due to the better laptop pocket, ingenious reverse backpack design and handy external boot pocket. Having returned from Peru the Gear Hauler came through with flying colors for all my criteria: I was able to carry it on during all flights of the trip (including domestic flights and the restrictive train to Machu Picchu), it protected my laptop during transit, and provided a secure haven for my laptop and luggage when used in conjunction with the Pacsafe 85L safety mesh bag (even if I had chosen the Venturesafe with all its anti-theft features I still would have used the safety mesh bag with it). It was once again a true pleasure to land at an airport and skip the baggage carousel and be first through immigration/customs and quickly be out and about town. The Gear Hauler held enough clothes for the 12 day trip, with some items needing to be washed (which is cheap in Peru). I had collected a few souvenirs and the bag eventually exceeded carry-on weight specifications, but the Gear Hauler is so compact looking that even when overpacked I was never asked to have it weighed or measured at the airline check-in desks. YMMV depending on country. With the laptop and Pacsafe 85L safety mesh (the two heaviest items) and clothes the entire backpack never went above 22lbs. I felt safe and secure knowing that most of the pockets and zippers were concealed when in backpack mode. The black Eagle Creek logo on black material was much more low key than the highly visible Pacsafe logo on the Venturesafe which screams out 'valuables inside!'

              Whenever I walked a lot with the Gear Hauler my loosely packed clothes would start to shift and collect at the bottom and the bag would sort of lose its shape even with the compression straps tight. After I returned home I bought some Eagle Creek packing cubes that I hope will increase the organization and also help the bag to maintain its shape during transit. The only other item I would change is to have lockable double zippers for the bottom boot pocket since that is the only pocket that is accessible in any way when in backpack mode.

              For those interested in the one-bag philosophy the Eagle Creek Gear Hauler is a great convertible backpack to start with and I see my self one-bagging with it for a long time. The Gear Hauler excels at carrying luggage through airports and train stations to your hotel but not meant for extended outdoor hiking which is more suited to large internal frame backpacks. It may not be considered a 'high end' or famous bag like the Red Oxx Air Boss or Sky Train, Tom Bihn Tristar or Goruck GR2 and at this point I cannot say if the Gear Hauler is as indestructible as those expensive brands are renowned for. But for the price point I am more than pleased with the performance and feature set of the Gear Hauler and I can't wait to use it to test my ever evolving one-bag packing techniques for my next trip (whenever that is).

              • Travel Frequency:
              • 0-5 Annual Trips
              • Primary use:
              • Personal
              • Was this a gift?:
              • No
               
              5.0

              Love it!

              By HAL

              from San Jose, CA

              About Me Comfort-Oriented, Practical

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Easy To Access Items
              • Easy To Carry
              • Easy To Identify
              • Good Capacity
              • High Quality
              • Lightweight
              • Rain Proof
              • Stylish

              Cons

              • None

              Best Uses

              • Adventures In The Rain

              Comments about Eagle Creek Gear Hauler:

              We bought two for a week trip from San Francisco to Seattle then Vancouver and back. Both bags survived the winter rain of Washington and British Columbia fabulously! The black and grey bags were easy to identify and wipe off when stuff got spilled on them. We also love how the zippers and openings are against our back when worn like a backpack. It's piece of mind from pick pockets. Also, the bag is spacious and could hold two weeks worth of clothes, but you probably won't want to over do fill if you want them fit them under the airline seats. Otherwise,when packed reasonably, the cinch straps made the bag compact enough to fit smaller overhead compartments of regional jets and/or under the seats of ferries. I trust all my travels with Eagle Creek.

              • Travel Frequency:
              • 6-10 Annual Trips
              • Primary use:
              • Personal
              • Was this a gift?:
              • No
               
              5.0

              LOVE this bag

              By Maureen

              from Chicago, IL

              About Me Comfort-Oriented, Modern, Stylish

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Easy To Access Items
              • Easy To Carry
              • Easy To Identify
              • Good Capacity
              • High Quality
              • Lightweight
              • Stylish

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Long Vacations
                • Weekend Trips

                Comments about Eagle Creek Gear Hauler:

                Wow! This bag was perfect for my three week trip in Tanzania. I was able to easily fit everything I needed. One of my favorite things about this bag is how easy it was to access everything I packed. I did not have to dig around to find what I was looking for. It is well-made, comfortable, and looks great.

                • Travel Frequency:
                • 6-10 Annual Trips
                • Primary use:
                • Personal
                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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