Roll it, carry it, wear it, the Big Agnes Stagecoach provides numerous ways to haul most if not all your gear. We took it across tarmac, over dirt, on our shoulders, and through the skies for this review.
Adventurers and baggage handlers notoriously mistreat duffels. The bags soldier through their duties, transporting and protecting precious gear destined for far-flung locales.
Big Agnes recently upped its duffel game to better cope with these conditions by revamping its Stagecoach line of rolling bags. We tested the 125L version (MSRP $300), released in April, over three months of near-continuous travel via air and land.
In short: The Big Agnes Stagecoach Rolling Duffel 125L transports a large volume of gear while protecting it from precipitation and mistreatment. TPU-coated, fusion-welded fabric enhances water resistance and eliminates the need for adhesives and stitching.
These duffels sport many features and will survive air and land travel duties with a degree of style. While the Stagecoach Rolling Duffel 125L is one of the tougher duffel bags of its capacity, it’s not the toughest.
Stagecoach Duffel: Materials and Construction
The PVC-free, TPU-coated outer fabric of the Stagecoach Rolling Duffel feels thinner and more pliable than other bags of similar construction and capacity, like Patagonia’s Black Hole Wheeled Duffel Bag 120L or The North Face’s venerable Basecamp Duffel 95L.
This outer skin includes waterproof nylon laminated with a waterproof membrane. Meanwhile, the welded seams maintain waterproofness across connected panels. Highly water-resistant YKK TPU-laminated zippers close the 125-liter bag, and a nylon taffeta drop liner finishes off the interior.
On the bottom, a compression-molded, bathtub-style EVA with 1,200-denier polyester shields against abrasion and grime. The extendable, locking handle measures 6 1/8 inches wide and helps pull the bag along two composite 3 1/8-inch (diameter) bearing-equipped wheels.
Plus, every Stagecoach comes with a 16-liter Two Timer daypack that stuffs into the interior zipper pocket when not in use.
Our sample weighed a verified 10 pounds 2 ounces with all included accessories.
Big Agnes Stagecoach 125L Duffel
- Two Timer simple rucksack
- Full-access main zipper
- Interior lid pocket with zippered exterior access
- Padded grab handles
- Two removable compression straps with metal hardware
- Removable backpack straps with metal hardware
- Exterior webbing lashing points
- TSA-compliant removable liner fabric
Big Agnes Stagecoach Duffel 125L Review
The Stagecoach’s massive volume never left me short on capacity, regardless of trip length. This duffel, a TSA-compliant carry-on and personal backpack combined, offers an enormous amount of total storage.
During the testing period, I often had room to spare. And short of an expedition, I will never need additional storage for any outdoor-oriented trip. And that includes the photo and computer hardware required for my work.
The Stagecoach’s 14-inch depth made loading gear easy, and the interior lid pockets stored items I needed to access from the outside. In all, it was quicker to get to these items than from my backpack.
The removable compression straps helped relieve stress from the zippers when fully packed. These straps are generously long, so they need to be removed if not used, as they hung loose, snagged, and generally got in the way.
While the removable shoulder straps didn’t create a comfortable carry, they provided some utility. I used them when the bag was heavily loaded to get from the shuttle to the airport’s bag drops. These backpack straps can also be converted to shoulder-sling style.
The kickstand worked reliably to park the bag upright while waiting in airport lines. And the grab handles proved invaluable for loading into high-clearance vehicles and retrieving off luggage carousels. Plus, they were easy on hands rendered raw from rock climbing.
The wheels rolled smoothly and efficiently across tarmac and airport flooring. And they tracked straight across the dirt and road base parking area at my house. They showed only slight wear at the end of the testing period.
The Two Timer pack saw use as a grocery getter and laundry container and transporter. It also made for the perfect daypack for my 5-year-old daughter.
Stagecoach Review: Wear, Tear, Wobbles, and Water
The large dimensions of the bag can overcome the leverage afforded by the extendable handle and limit the Stagecoach’s stability against rotation. When heavily loaded, the Stagecoach sometimes rolled over on stairs and taller curbs unless I took extra care was taken to keep the bag straight.
But the handle proved durable, still telescoping with ease and remaining straight today. Other roller bags in this dimension range show the same issue, so I don’t consider this exclusive to the Stagecoach.
The TPU-coated outer fabric proved water resistant in heavy rainstorms, as did the zippers, but quickly filled with water during a submersion test. The fabric fared well otherwise, showing no signs of abrasion or tearing except for one instance: The bottom of the bag caught a sharp metal tooth at the terminus of a moving walkway and suffered a small tear (pictured above).
With a small patch of Gorilla Tape, all was well again, and the bag came away with more character. Toward the end of the testing period, the water-resistant zippers started shedding “threads” from the “flaps” on each zipper track (pictured below), but water shedding performance didn’t change. And at the end of testing, the polyester-swathed EVA bathtub bottom showed only soiling by dirt.
Big Agnes Stagecoach: Final Impressions
The Big Agnes Stagecoach’s TPU-coated outer fabric and water-resistant zippers successfully defended against all rainstorms encountered during the testing period, including some heavy afternoon mountain downpours.
The bag also resisted all abrasions and punctures dished out by baggage handlers, baggage-handling equipment, and overstuffed truck camper shells bouncing down rough dirt roads. Ultimately, an errant metal tooth from a moving walkway punctured a small hole in the otherwise tough hide.
It was easy to pack and rolled well on all surfaces tested. This duffel comes fully loaded with features, including adjustable carry with removable backpack straps, interior lid, multiple handles and lash points, and a handy 16-liter daypack.
As noted, the duffel did suffer some minor damage: a tear I considered a fluke that most bags would have similarly suffered. My primary concern is fraying of the zipper flap threading; only time will tell if this leads to functional impairment. As yet, the bag continues to shield the contents from water and dirt.
I consider the Stagecoach a sturdier and more reliable large-capacity rolling duffel than most, particularly those using nylon or polyester main fabric. But I don’t believe it’s on par with the Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel Bag 120L or the Basecamp Duffel 95L from The North Face. Thus, I’d place it on the podium, just not in the top spot.