My favorite travel bag setup is based on the Eagle Creek Migrate Wheeled Duffel. It’s 110 liters and I stuff it with their excellent Pack-It system of packing cubes and shoe organizers. The duffel is weather resistant, the shoe organizers can keep filthy shoes away from clean clothes, the packing cubes are tough and can protect electronics, and some of the clothes dividers have mesh letting sweaty clothes breathe after a little adventure trip.
I absolutely love the setup, as I have every Eagle Creek product I’ve owned. But, alas, the brand is on the chopping block. Has been chopped, in fact. Their parent company, VF Corporation, owner of brands like The North Face, Smartwool, Jansport, and Altra, among many others, recently announced they’re killing off Eagle Creek by the end of 2021.
Why? Continuing the brand “no longer makes strategic or financial sense,” VF Corp’s Craig Hodges, vice president of corporate affairs and communications told Outside Biz Journal. That’s vague, but it’s easy to imagine Covid’s decimation of the travel industry last year, continuing into this year, playing a part. Surely, travel will come roaring back at some point, but with that point being more of a murky haze in the distance rather than a known date, operating a travel company probably does make little financial sense if you own a bunch of other brands too.
As owners of Eastpak and Jansport, maybe they also simply figured Eagle Creek was one bag brand too many, but, for my money, it was easily the best of the travel pack companies out there.
They’ve been around for nearly 50 years, quietly making some of the most useful, if unheralded, gear out there. And definitely some of the most durable. My aunt has a big, Cordura (I think) wheeled duffel that she uses for every trip, and has for over a decade. Every year in Montana for our annual trip to the Gallatin, I meet her at the airport in Bozeman, and wheel her enormous Eagle Creek pack, a patina of years of dusty travels coating it, and the thing just takes it.
The brand was one of the last to offer a no questions asked lifetime warranty too. Their stuff didn’t have the eye candy appeal of some of Patagonia’s luggage products, and was probably overlooked by many in the outdoor world because it wasn’t “cool,” but hardened, dedicated travelers knew. Eagle Creek was the real deal.
Some of the staff will be absorbed into other VF brands, others will be let go. I will now see if I can make my Migrate duffel last another 20 years or so, and I have little reason to doubt it will. It’s built, like everything else Eagle Creek made, like a tank. A comfortable tank, but a tank.
So now’s probably your chance to get your next travel duffel on the cheap, before their inventory is wiped out.
Photo: Eagle Creek