With five different fly fishing lodges across four different countries, one thing we’re confident we know a little bit about is traveling with fishing gear. We’re constantly on the search for better ways to organize our gear when bouncing around from destination to destination, and if there’s anything we’ve learned over the years, its that the right luggage can make all the difference.
When it comes to fishing inspired luggage, the good folks at Fishpond have been pushing the envelope for years. We’ve been leaning on Fishpond luggage for our travel needs for quite a while now and last year they released one of our favorite pieces to date, the Grand Teton Rolling Luggage. It’s become our go-to ‘big bag’ when traveling from Alaska to the Bahamas, and today we’re sharing why.
What It Is
The Grand Teton Roller is a big bag designed to hold everything but the kitchen sink for multi-day to multi-week trips in one tidy, easy to live out of package. Its compartmentalized to separate grimy gear from cocktail hour clothes which we think is ideal for trips upwards to a week or more. Its large/long enough to accommodate most bulky gear items that often pose an issue when packing; four piece rod tubes, waders, wading boots, hip/sling/back packs.. no problem. Aptly named, it also rolls, which is pretty nice when dragging a week’s worth (or more) of gear around the airport.
Like every piece of Fishpond luggage we’ve ever owned, when it comes to the materials used one word repeatedly comes to mind; quality. The Grand Teton Roller is no exception. Admittedly, we’ve said this many times before on past reviews, but we can’t discount that the durability of materials used in their luggage lineup never ceases to impress us.
Built with an outer made primarily of their highly abrasion resistant Cyclepond Fabric (ahem, made from recycled fishing nets) and reinforced with an even more abrasion resistant ballistic fabric at high stress areas, the Grand Teton is built for abuse that transcends the baggage carousel.
Hefty handles made from climbing grade rope on the top and front also make the bag easy to toss around without fear of damage. That might not seem like a huge deal to most, but we find sturdy handles are key to extending the life of a bag prone to being tossed in and out of small planes, boats, etc.
Like most Fishpond bags, the zippers used throughout the Grand Teton feature super wide/heavy gauge teeth that we’ve found to outlast ‘smaller-toothed’ zippers used on most luggage. Plus, on compartments prone to heavy packing/stuffing, neoprene edges allow the bag to expand without putting pressure on the zipper, thus greatly extending the life of the zipper.. One of our favorite features about bag.
Easily our favorite and overall most notable feature about the Grand Teton Roller is its superior level of organization. There’s little worse than arriving to your destination only to spend hours organizing your gear and clothes when you could be fishing, enjoying that first beer of the trip, etc. Organizing your gear ahead of time allows you to spend more of your vacation time, you know, vacationing, and the Grand Teton makes that easier than ever.
On the top of the bag, a small easy access pocket (see photo above) works great for items worth getting at quickly; passports, travel documents, reading material, and so on. Beneath that opens a large mesh-backed pocket we’ve found to work best for clothes, towels, and/or toiletries. In fact, to give an idea of just how large the pocket is, your humble editor managed to fit an entire hard-sided compact shotgun case in it with room left over. Not an item you’re likely to pack unless you’re operating a fishing lodge in Bush, Alaska, but you see our point.
At the mid section of the bag is another zipper which reveals its clever ‘clamshell’ design. Once opened, access into the top compartment can also be made through a zipper in the mesh liner which we’ve found to be super convenient when packed full. This also gives access to the bottom compartment of the bag; a water-resistant coated base with nylon cover that works great to store wet/dirty gear.
As the largest compartment of the bag, the bottom compartment is capable of storing a bunch of gear, including up to six standard length four-piece rod tubes (two rod tube cradles with compression straps are located on each side of the bag to keep tubes from jostling around).
Take the photo below as an example. In the bottom compartment we were able to easily fit waders, wading boots, a wading jacket, a sling pack, a 15 degree down sleeping bag, an entire week of warm socks, and more. That’s a lot of gear.
What Its Not
The Grand Teton Roller is our current favorite ‘big-bag’ for bouncing around to our lodges. However, we’ll be the first to agree that there’s no one bag that does it all, which begs the question; what is it not?
First and foremost, its not a waterproof bag, nor is it meant to be. Does it shed a light rain or unexpected boat spray? It sure does. But if you’re looking for a bag that can sit outside in the rain for hours on end or survive getting bucked off a raft, you’re better looking for something more submersible.
With an empty weight of 11.35 pounds, its also slightly heavier than your typical extra-large ‘non-roller’ duffel bag. Thus, if you’re looking to cram 49.5 pounds of gear into a lightweight duffel slung over your shoulder to avoid extra baggage fees, it might not be the bag for you. That being said, we gladly welcome the extra weight in exchange for the added organizational capabilities and ease of carrying.
If you made it to the end of this post, it should be no surprise to you that we love Fishpond’s Grand Teton Rolling Luggage. We think the design is spot on for those traveling to destination fishing lodges in far removed places, and we’re not the least surprised that it earned Best in Show in the luggage category at last year’s IFTD.
The Grand Teton Rolling Luggage (large model) retails for $399.99 and can be found online or at your nearest Fishpond dealer. For more information, give it a look on Fishpond’s website by clicking right here.
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