Roam Medium Duffel review – Custom luggage that’s a pleasure to use

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REVIEW – For the last 10 years, my goto carry-on bag was a free overnighter that I got from work.  It’s about as cheap as luggage can be and still function.  When the opportunity to review the Roam medium duffel came up, the timing was perfect – a busy summer travel season and a current bag that’s just falling apart.  

What is it?

The Roam medium duffel is a custom made duffel bag that’s carry-on legal, with a great attention to detail. 

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What’s in the box?

  • Just the bag!roam duffel 1

Hardware specs

Measurements: 9”h x 22”w x 13.5”d

Weight: 2.8 lbs

Capacity: 35 Liters 

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Design and features

Since the Roam medium duffel is a custom bag, much of the design is up to you!  Each bag is built to order in the US, and you get to choose the colors.  I chose “Rio Fire” (red) for the main color, and Cornwall Slate (blue-gray) for the ends and straps, and black for the bottom.  

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Once designed, the craftspeople at Roam go to work and build your bag. 

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 And the bag is really nice.  Thickly-padded backpack straps which fold into the end pocket give you some choices about how to carry the bag.  The fabrics and zippers are water repellent, and the bag has a thin foam between the outer material and the inner nylon, which provides structure and holds the bag up and open while empty. 

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There are pockets all over; small pockets on each end, a small pocket on the front with a generously long key lanyard, a padded laptop pocket in the interior lid, and another small pocket in the inner lining.  There is a sleeve on the back that lets the bag slide over the handle of most roller board luggage. 

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The seams are all bound and sewn perfectly so you won’t have to worry about this bag coming apart any time soon.  The straps are heavy nylon webbing and generously sewn, so the bag is incredibly sturdy.  Handles on either end let you grab the bag from any direction, which is handy when it’s stuffed into an overhead compartment. 

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Performance

I’ve taken the Roam medium duffel on a few trips now, and it’s been great.  Gone is the stress and apprehension of my previous bag falling apart, blowing a zipper, or losing a strap. 

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The Roam medium duffel holds a generous 35 liters, which is usually more than enough for an overnight or even a long weekend. The zippers are sturdy and slide easily, and the many pockets help you stay organized, although most of the pockets are quite small and are better for documents than “stuff.”  The backpack straps are wide and comfortable and make the walk from the train to the rental house much more pleasant.  

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The lining of the Roam medium duffel is a light gray, which makes finding things inside the bag easy, and since the bag has structure and stands up on its own, no more losing stuff in the folds as the bag collapses.

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I did find myself wanting a shoulder strap, as that’s normally how I carry overnight bags.  You could use one of the backpack straps attached diagonally, but it didn’t work as well as a dedicated shoulder strap.  Add one, and it’s the perfect bag.  

What I like

  • Custom built to your color specs
  • Robustly built, with an eye toward details
  • Bag has structure and support
  • Lots of pockets

What I’d change

  • Add a shoulder strap
  • Maybe a larger pocket inside (my wife said it needed a shoe pocket)

Final thoughts

I’ve never had nice luggage – it’s usually what I get for free from work or can borrow from someone. But the Roam medium duffel gave me some insight into the joy that a very well built piece, that you had a hand in designing, can bring.  I look forward to using this bag on many adventures for years to come. 

Price: $295
Where to buy: Roam
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Roam.

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