- Buyer's Guide
Stio CFS Duffel :: Drive By
Sleek in a way that would turn heads on a catwalk. Decked out with bonafide Grade A materials. Designed to keep your gear dry through rain when it’s blowing sideways. Stio’s CFS Duffel is a really good-looking, adventure-ready bag. Over the course of a couple of months I rolled with the CFS Duffel on land and over water. How does Stio’s latest offering hold up to some tough Carryology love?
Who It Suits
First and foremost the CFS Duffel is for someone needing a midsized, rugged bag for the great outdoors. Following that, this bag is even more up your alley if you plan on getting wet. And finally, there’s a definite understated style to the CFS Duffel which will undoubtedly appeal to suave adventurers.
Who It Doesn’t
The CFS Duffel is best used in the back of a car, the bottom of a canoe, or next to a campfire. If you’re someone who needs a travel-ready duffel that can be worn as a backpack, look elsewhere.
There’s a lot to like about the CFS Duffel. Its design is simple and to the point in a very good way.
“There’s a definite understated style to the CFS Duffel which will undoubtedly appeal to suave adventurers.”
The first thing that catches your eye is the material. Technically speaking it’s sewn with TPU-coated 600D polyester, lined with welded seams throughout, and boasts a PU-coated zippered top opening with a ‘storm flap.’ Practically speaking, anything inside of the CFS Duffel is going to remain very dry. The colorway is a sleek matte black which looks damn good.
This matte black looks very sharp against the full metal hardware decking out the bag. The only plastic one can find on this bag is on the zipper pulls – metal hooks, lashings and carabiners. Stio is spoiling you with this hardware.
Pulling this metal hardware to get at the pocketing of the CFS Duffel reveals a very functional space. On either exterior side there’s a zippered pocket. The main compartment is accessed with a full-length zipper. Inside there are two small pockets located behind the exterior ones. There’s a generous mesh pocket and one sewn into the bag. It’s a simple and functional 40L of space (the CFS Duffel is also available in 75L). Throw a weekend’s worth of clothes into the very large opening and you’re good to go.
Though not a roll top, the bag can be cinched down on either side to make hauling easier. Carry-wise there are two handles on the top and a detachable shoulder strap.
The Not So Good
After a couple of trips with the CFS Duffel in tow, there are a few things that I think could be improved on.
My first gripe is with the handles on this bag. They’re just not big enough to comfortably carry this bag at your side. Not a huge deal as I wasn’t hauling the CFS Duffel far, but it definitely limits the overall functionality of the bag.
Second, there is very little structure to the CFS Duffel. Nobody likes a lumpy bag. Stio mentions this bag comes with a removable plastic floor but this was missing from the sample I reviewed.
“The handles are just not big enough to comfortably carry this bag at your side.”
And finally, and I’m just nitpicking here, the CFS Duffel is water resistant, not waterproof. I only mention this because the bag was mistaken more than once for a drybag, given that it’s constructed with the same material. To be fair though, Stio makes it clear that this bag shouldn’t be submerged.
After hauling the CFS Duffel through numerous National Parks, through many campsites and down a few rivers I’m really down with this bag. It’s got excellent material and construction, a sharp colorway and is beautifully designed. Sure, it could use a better set of handles and with a $200 price tag ($225 for the 75L) it’s not the cheapest duffel out there, but at the end of the day Stio has crafted a winner with the CFS Duffel. Recommended.