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Road Tests

Road Tests :: Defy Bags R&R Weekender

by , November 29, 2013

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Recently Carryology had a chance to put the Defy R&R Weekender through its paces. We were excited to sample a product made from this shop, an unbelievably prolific company that seems to be growing like a weed.

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Made with Horween leather and high quality, heavyweight waxed canvas the R&R is on first look simultaneously basic and well plotted. Pockets, not too many, just right.  If the bag was anywhere near as durable as it looked, we would be in for a treat.

Nearly six months later we are happy to be reporting back. In that time, we’ve really put it through the ringer. It has been places most wouldn’t ever consider bringing a high-end sewn product. Why not? The waxed canvas as well as the leather were originally intended for abuse, so if no one else was going to, we would.

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The construction of the pack is simple. There is only one external leather patch pocket to hold a wallet, phone, passport itinerary and tickets. I appreciated the simplicity of the design, as I am near always the person who misplaced his boarding pass, keys, or anything else I might actually use while carrying it. I’d suggest moving the pocket up to help make it feel more secure,and possibly adding a snap. The entrance is a chunky Riri Aquazip, which felt while using it that you were opening a dry suit. It feels substantial and watertight.

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Inside the bag, there is one larger zipped pocket, and three smaller gusseted pockets to help organize. In many ways the layout is unremarkable, which makes me think of Goldilocks. Not too few to complain, not too many. Just right.

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I used the weekender as my mountain biking and camping duffel. It has “slept out” in a rainstorm or two on the dirt and looked no worse for the wear the following day. It’s seen plenty of air miles too, zipping to New York City a couple of times, Phoenix, Denver and Salt Lake. It has been a good partner for cold weather, longer weekends, or more gear-intensive ones. I wear it like I stole it, kicking it down the line in front of the security checkpoint.

In the end, I pack too light for this weekender. I find it perfect for a whole week away. The only time I filled it was on a long distance road trip where there would be camping, mountain biking and a wedding. Traveling home from the Outdoor Retailer show, I found myself carrying three sample backpacks home, then I appreciated the extra volume. If you want versatility, the size is great. If you plan on a shorts/t-shirt beach visit with no substantial souvenirs for friends, it might be a little big.

Lets recap. The Defy R&R weekender sports top-of-the-line components. That is undisputed. The design is right up my alley, simple and sleek. No weird 3D pockets or over-engineered garbage. This is a back to basics approach to carry. Make it simple, make it strong. We are too poor to buy something cheap twice.

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One qualm. When carrying it fully stuffed with things for travel, the shoulder strap was utterly maxed out, and was  uncomfortable on my bony shoulder. I found myself switching shoulders and shifting the webbing a good deal. A padded shoulder would have been heaven-sent, but ultimately, when a load gets truly heavy and I need all-day comfort, I prefer a bag with a two-strap option.

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To wrap it up, Defy makes a defiant offering to the weekend/travel market by bonding the highest end materials with my Old Man’s work ethic. This bag draws attention to itself by merging elegant simple design in a stylish and understated colorway, without heckling you about how late you wake up every day.

For additional colors and to purchase, visit defybags.com

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