Eberlestock Hercules Duffel

By Joe Ferronato

Remember the last trip you went on? I’m guessing, like most travel, it required several bags that didn’t quite suit the needs of your gear. There was probably a cheap duffel or roller bag that carried clothing and soft goods, a backpack for valuables, and a gun or bow case to top it off. Or maybe that’s just me, and I pack too much. Regardless, it’s tough to get all your gear to your destination with standard luggage.

That’s how I used to pack. Now I’ve trimmed that list down to a backpack and a duffel. Eberlestock’s Hercules Duffel makes it easy to pack all the necessities for a trip into one bag—with the confidence that your expensive gear will arrive unharmed, even when abused by baggage handlers.

The Hercules is a do-all duffel with a classic soft bag on the top and a rugged hard-sided container on the bottom. This section can store firearms, bows, optics, or any other gear that requires extra safeguarding. The company also offers foam inserts to organize your firearms and add even more protection. The overall length of the bag is 41 inches, so it will hold a wide variety of rifles, and its width—18 inches—offers enough space to fit two if you so desire, with room for a sidearm as well. Oh, and your suppressors.

I recently packed all my gear in this bag for a bow hunt in Africa. Clothing and boots were packed on top, while all my archery equipment was below. Once we arrived on the other side of the world, my bow was completely intact and operational. It’s the only way I’ll be packing that equipment from now on. The only change I’d like to see the company make would be to stiffen up the divider between the top and bottom sections, though, as it sits, it works without issue.  

On the top, you can separate gear with removable Velcro dividers. The Hercules is big, you might as well keep your gear organized. The upper section also has six external pockets to further sort miscellaneous gear. You’ll have no issues fitting your necessities inside—on the contrary, it will make you think you need to pack more. The bag is topped off by two large compression straps to condense everything and keep your gear secure once packed.

There are some downsides to this bag, especially for those going on extended trips via air travel—as with everything there are tradeoffs. The bag has a dry weight of 14 pounds, so it’s not light, and if you fill it to the brim, I’ll guarantee you’ll be overweight when you slap it on the scale. You may have to pay the overweight fee, but you’ll skip it for a second bag. And since it has a soft portion on the top, it does not meet TSA’s requirements for transporting firearms in checked luggage, even though it’s hard-sided and lockable on the bottom.

Cost: $469

Pros: Robust construction, protects all delicate gear in the hard lower section, large enough to pack for an extended expedition, holds up to rough baggage handlers, rollable

Cons: Heavy, may cost you some overweight fees, can’t check guns in it for air travel

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