Cotopaxi Allpa 70 Overland Duffel Review: Structured Storage

Finally, a large and organized duffel. The Cotopaxi Allpa 70 gives us ample storage and structure in one.

Adventurers always need a large duffel at some point. The sheer storage volume is necessary when gear-heavy pursuits or multiple participants fill the agenda. These staples of expeditions, family vacations, and all types of travel in between are simple in design and burly in construction — and history has proven their efficacy and mettle.

Cotopaxi Allpa 70 Overland Bag review

We’ve all been there: Are these socks clean or dirty? Where is my belay device? The lack of organization forces multiple rounds of partially unpacking and repacking. Ugh.

The Allpa Travel Pack series from Cotopaxi represents an answer. The compartmentalized, colorful, and popular line has been a winner for both the brand and the intrepid globetrotter. And finally, Cotopaxi applies its Allpa formula to duffels with its release of the Allpa 70 Overland bag this week. We’ve been testing an early-production sample since late October for this first look review.

In short: Don’t mess with success. Cotopaxi didn’t reinvent the wheel with the Allpa 70 Overland Bag ($170). The brand adhered to similar architecture and materials as its travel packs for the largest Allpa.

Cotopaxi Allpa 70 Specs

  • TPU-coated 1,000-denier polyester shell with 1,680-denier ballistic nylon paneling
  • Foam padded bottom panel
  • Front panel compression straps
  • Suitcase-style, full-wrap zipper opening on the main compartment
  • Large zippered mesh compartment on the right side
  • Subdivided zippered mesh compartments on the left side
  • YKK security zippers on all closures
  • Carabiner lash points for attaching extra gear
  • 4 reinforced grab handles
  • Hideaway padded backpack straps
  • Removable padded shoulder strap
  • Included rain cover
  • 2 available colors
  • Verified weight: 3 pounds 9 ounces
  • Dimensions: 25″ x 16″ x 11.5″
  • MSRP: $170

Cotopaxi designed the smaller Allpa bags for travelers to primarily use as backpacks. For the Overland duffel, the brand altered some features. The shoulder straps are much simpler and less substantial than those found on the smaller packs, and there is no hip belt. Cotopaxi also dropped the top exterior storage pocket, the shortcut zipper to the interior, and the notebook sleeve found in other Allpa packs.

Cotopaxi Allpa 70 Review: Packed and Abused

Cotopaxi Allpa 70 Overland Bag

The Allpa 70’s organization system is similar to the Allpa 35 that has been my go-to for years. The right side is one large compartment while the left side houses two areas. I used the right side for clothing and divided everything else into the left-side compartments. This strategy prevented losing anything small and helped keep clothing clean and more wrinkle-free than would be possible in a single-compartment bag.

All three zippered compartments are highly expandable; the elasticity and cut of both interior and exterior fabrics swallowed items eagerly. For times when I partially filled the Allpa 70, the four compression straps kept contents more secure and the bag easier to handle.

The suitcase-style opening made viewing and accessing items easy. But unlike other Allpa bags, there isn’t a shortcut opening or exterior top pocket to facilitate quick access to often-used items.

Cotopaxi Allpa 70 Overland Bag review

I purposely abused the Allpa 70 during my short stint with the hipster-looking pack, as large duffels tend to receive the worst handling; tossing, dragging, stacked at the bottom, lashed on vehicle rooftops, or left in truck beds.

The heavy, TPU-coated exterior fabric displayed nothing but dirt, a scratched logo, and a little loss of luster after admittedly unfair mishandling. My similarly clad Allpa 35 shows nothing but a loss of shine, and it’s still in fighting shape after countless trips, constant overstuffing, and my usual uncaring attitude toward luggage.

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All hardware and materials on the Allpa 70 feel appropriately sized and of proper stature for anything short of expedition use. The main zip and exterior buckles, webbing, and clips are full-size, and although the grab handles lack a cover, they are substantial enough to handle the 25-35 pounds of contents I schlepped during this test without hand discomfort.

The shoulder strap and backpack straps were too narrow and lightly padded for hauling heavy loads any farther than the short hauls that are normal for a large duffel.

Conclusions

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The Cotopaxi Allpa 70 answers the call of those who want organizational ability in a large duffel. Following the proven and popular design cornerstones of the Allpa Travel Packs, the stylish Allpa 70 Overland Bag keeps gear separated from clothes, prevents electronics from being buried, and helps avoid frustrations typical of the single, cavernous void of larger duffels.

The Allpa 70 isn’t the right duffel to fill with 100 pounds of hardware, strap to a yak, and send on its way to a Himalayan base camp. But for almost everyone else, the Cotopaxi Allpa 70 Overland Bag is a great travel companion.

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Seiji Ishii
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Seiji Ishii has enjoyed a lifetime of outdoor adventure and sports, from participant and competitor to coach and trainer, and finally as an editorial contributor. His interests have spanned cycling, climbing, motorcycling, backpacking, trail running, and training for all of it. He has also designed outdoor and off-road motorcycling gear. He lives in the woods in Wimberley, TX with his wife, daughter and a small herd of pets. Read more of his musings at seijisays.com.

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