This Travel Duffel Is Designed For Sketchy Border Crossings

If you want to cross a border without getting searched and stopped, this is the bag for you. But take note: While it’s designed to be ignored, it costs a small fortune.

SDR traveller d3 duffel conceal

At first glance, this bag is nothing special…and that’s the point. But look deeper, and the bag’s hidden features come to surface, making it perfect for no hassle international travel.

From SDR Traveller comes a duffel three years in the making, the D3 Traveller. The bag fits in business class footwells or overhead bins, does not have any exterior branding, and is made of ultra-durable black Dyneema fabric.

SDR Traveller d3 travel duffel conceal

The duffel is constructed with two layers of Dyneema fabric, essentially one duffel inside the other. The inner duffel can be filled to capacity without stretching the outer layer. The end result is a relaxed looking pack when fully stuffed.

SDR claims “visibly overstuffed luggage draws unwanted eyes.”

The bag’s handles are positioned for holding postures that do not give away how much weight is in the duffel, another plus for people wanting to do things unnoticed.

International arms dealer jokes aside, the astonishing price tag of this bag indicates you might need some questionable income sources to finance it. At $745, this clearly isn’t for everybody.

SDR traveller d3 duffel conceal

D3 Traveller Duffel

Why so expensive? The answer, of course, is Dyneema. The wonder fiber is, by weight, stronger than steel. It’s so strong it’s used to rig sailboats in place of stainless steel cables. It’s also super light (the duffel weighs a scant 1.1 lbs), can last well over seven years of continual use (see below), and is waterproof (note though, the zips on the bag are only water resistant).

I met with SDR Traveller’s founder, Jan Chipchase, at the Struktur Design Conference last week in Portland. His keynote was every bit as discreet as his bag. As an international research, design, and strategy consultant, he certainly tested the bag across borders and in sticky situations.

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The inspiration for its design comes from his travel experience with a beautiful backpacking pack from Arc’teryx. The bag was subject to inspection on a number of border crossings and was nearly stolen twice.

SDR Traveller D3 Duffel Features

SDR traveller d3 duffel conceal
Rolls up small

After three months of travel, the Dyneema begins to “wear in” and attain a patina look. In other words, it begins to look beat up.

The pack also has a host of carrying styles. Use it similar to a backpack, sling-pack, or one-handed carry. Empty, it rolls up to the size of a small sweater. Two climbing-grade Petzl carabiners come with the pack and connect the straps together.

As mentioned earlier, it weighs 1.1 lbs, or 500 grams, and measures 21.5″ long, 10.5″ wide, and 10.5″ tall. It holds 39 liters in total, with an interior lid and two stow pockets.

A token of the founder’s travel, each pack ships with stones extracted by hand from the Pamir Mountains on zipper pulls.

SDR traveller d3 duffel conceal
Depicted: Petzl carabiner, Pamir Mountain rocks, and water resistant zippers

D3 Duffel: Who It’s For

Anyone crossing security checkpoints, whether airlines or borders on the ground, would fair well with a discreet pack. Although if you’re not concerned with hiding things, the $745 price tag should be enough to deter you.

Chipchase brought an early prototype he still uses to the conference in Portland. After seven years of hard use, it has yet to tear, but it definitely shows some signs of wear, as it should. The fabric’s patina is set in, and the bag is unlikely to catch the eye of unscrupulous border patrol agents or thieves in shady bus stations.

In the world of travel gear, well-built luggage is expensive. Roller hard tops can cost upwards of $400 and modular pieces more than $350. Given the renowned durability found with Dyneema, this might be the last piece of travel gear you buy. For that commitment, it may be worth the investment.

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Think this discreet, if extravagantly expensive pack is a fit? Check out SDR Traveller’s website, and decide.

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Midwest born, Nate Mitka started with Gearjunkie after a short stint as “intern”. An advocate of all outdoor activities he’s developed some habits, like running without headphones, eating raw vegetables, and fixing the chain on his ratty old bike.

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