In 1986, Red Oxx Manufacturing made its first products from decommissioned military-surplus webbing. It was burly stuff, the kind of material that could last for decades. The company gave the material – destined for the landfill – a new life.
Today, the Montana-based bag and luggage maker continues to cut a unique path. Its gear remains burly, almost clunky in cases, including extra-thick nylon, oversize zippers, stainless steel rings, reinforced stitching, and monkey-knot pulls that adorn zippers with a spherical head of cord.
Made in America, in a facility in Montana, and with the backbone of a military ethos that comes from a veteran-owned brand, some extra-burly gear is to be expected.
You pay for it, certainly, with prices that start north of $200 for many of the bags. But you get a lifetime warranty, solid design, and construction that I’ve seen first-hand will last.
Indeed, I got a bag from Red Oxx more than a decade ago. My dad later adopted it as a do-all hauler, and, last I checked, despite a lot of abuse, the bag looked mostly like new.
Review: Red Oxx Big Bull Roll-Up
This month, the company shipped me a newer product, the Big Bull Roll-Up, to put to a test. The bag is a strange beast, a pocket-adorned duffel built for situations as varied as TSA airport checkpoints to archeology field work. Another use pegs it for 4×4 truck “overlanders” in need of a soft-side tool organizer that drapes over a seat-back.
I filled mine up with camping gear. My test was a weekend at a cabin with odds and ends, from headlamps and bug repellent to knives. The Big Bull Roll-Up functioned as a mega organizer, its see-through pockets — six in total, each accessed by a big-tooth zipper — giving enough capacity for all the small- and mid-size gear I needed to take.
Made of a thick ballistic nylon, the bag measures about 20 x 8 x 8 when rolled up, making it usable as an airplane carry-on. The pockets are accessed by unfurling the duffel, with two big buckles unclasping to let it roll flat.
You then get a big palette of exposed pockets, everything easy to grab. Because of the mesh used for the pockets all you pack is immediately visible and in reach.
On the outside, a briefcase handle offers a grip. The bag’s main strap, which clips with metal buckles to metal V-rings, has a rubber section that sticks on your shoulder.
In the end, the Big Bull Roll-Up is a neat idea, but it costs a ton. At $285, the price tag is hard to justify despite the made-in-Montana bag’s double stitching, stainless steel pieces, thick fabrics, and lifetime warranty.
The product works as advertised, a one-of-a-kind rugged, rollable compartmentalized duffel. There are a lot of potential applications, particularly for those who manage lots of small items while working or camping out of a vehicle.
Check out Red Oxx as a brand if nothing else, its line ranges from specialized to general-use, each product built to last for years.