A few weeks ago we took a look at the Maxpedition MPB (Multi Purpose Bag) – a tactical bag that’s an alternative to conventional daily bags/briefcases.  I continue to mod the MPB to suit my needs, and at some point we’ll do an update.

In the meantime, let’s take a quick look at the Maxpedition Baron Load-Out, a tough duffel that’s actually the smallest of three such bags offered by Maxpedition.  Available in Black or the Khaki-Foliage combination shown here, the Baron Load-Out features the same sort of no-nonsense, rugged approach we saw with the MPB.

Maxpedition Baron load-out duffel


  • Overall size approx. 22” long x 10” wide x 9” high
  • Volume approx. 1500 cu. in.
  • Covered heavy duty main zipper with dual lockable slides
  • Two 1” top compression straps with quick release buckles
  • Frontal zippered 7” wide x 5” deep slip pocket with key ring inside
  • Frontal exterior 3” x 4.5” loop field for patches
  • Modular attachment webbing on back face (PALS 3 rows, 6 channels)
  • Sewn-in adjustable shoulder strap for superior strength with shoulder pad
  • Bartacked and reinforced main handles with oversized handle wrap
  • Bartacked and reinforced drag handles on both ends
  • Meets FAA carry-on requirements (less than 45 linear inches)

Key Features & Materials

  • 1000-Denier water and abrasion resistant light-weight ballistic nylon fabric
  • DuPont Teflon® fabric protector for grime resistance and easy maintenance
  • YKK high strength zippers and zipper tracks
  • Duraflex UTX-Duraflex nylon buckles for low sound closures
  • Triple polyurethane coated for water resistance
  • High tensile strength nylon webbing
  • #AS-100 high grade closed-cell foam padding material for superior shock protection
  • Internal seams taped and finished

As with the MPB, the bag is well made and the stitching – using high tensile strength composite nylon thread – is uniformly excellent…

Maxpedition Baron stitch & zipper detail

The Baron Load-Out has a front pocket that measures 7″ W by 5″ D for documents and small items; it features a key tab as well:

Maxpedition Baron duffel:  key tab in front pocket

As with the MPB, the zippers are from YKK; the main zipper features paracord pulls and lockable polymer sliders:

Maxpedition Baron duffel:  YKK main zipper detail

Compression straps help secure your gear, particularly when the bag isn’t full:

Maxpedition Baron duffel:  compression straps

The shoulder strap is permanent, and features the same simple pad we saw on the MPB.  You can also see the PALS webbing that enables you to secure attachments to the bag:

Maxpedition Baron duffel:  shoulder strap detail

I’ve been using the Baron Load-Out to store my emergency kit in the trunk of my car; although I’ve got a ton of stuff in the kit, it doesn’t come close to filling the Baron:

Maxpedition Baron:  auto emergency kit

The Baron Load-Out duffel is $85; you can see it at the Maxpedition site: Maxpedition Baron Load-Out Duffel If you were traveling with casual clothing and sports gear, the Baron would certainly fit the bill, and it meets carry-on requirements for domestic and most international airlines.

If you’re looking for a bare bones duffel w/o pockets, shoulder strap, compression straps, and a couple of the other features on the Baron, check out Red Oxx’s Aviator Duffels – the Small Aviator Bag is similar in size to the Baron, and is only $35.  Red Oxx positions the Small Aviator as a “trinkets bag” for your trip home.

Used a similar bag?  Please share by commenting!

The Fine Print:  I have no affiliate or other relationship with Maxpedition or Red Oxx.  Maxpedition did provide me a PR sample to assist in the writing of this review.

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8 Comments on Rugged, versatile duffel – Maxpedition Baron Load-Out

  1. Michael W. says:

    I don’t want to resist your good judgment too much…


    I think you have to let me/us know why you like this bag and presumably the Maxpedition line so much….

    For example, in terms of duffels, Eagle Creek has been making THE “slightly better than generic” duffel line for years. For so long that it would be easy to overlook them, and aiming at such a middle market it’s easy not to get excited about them…but they do execute on their design very well. And they ARE available at REI with a lifetime satisfaction guarantee and cost a little less.

    The worst than can be said about Eagle Creek’s “basic” line (they have TONS of bags) is that one seems a little small and one too big for carryon:



    BAD Bags also makes duffels and has has an interesting “back story”


    plus they design their duffels to “hang” vertically instead of sideways, which imho makes it easy to carry them into an aircraft cabin (narrow side faces out instead of fat side).

    and I seem to recall from a long ago visit to their site that they are made in America by the same guy who started the company years ago.

    RedOxx is of course both designed in America and made here and their people seem to REALLY care about what they do, and put a lot of thought into it. Their Gator is one of the best daily carry “man purses” I have ever seen. The only bag to consistently get me to use it, instead of a day pack. The use of more expensive “snaps” instead of Velcro is terrific – my Velcro’d closure bags are always snagging and fraying clothing or themselves.

    A lot of other bags are designed by the bag designers at pretty anonymous overseas bag factories – someone takes over a bag by another company (like 5.11 Tactical) and discusses features, materials, etc. with the overseas bag factory that they would like to see in their existing or new line.

    This is actually cool in one way, because almost anyone can be a bag designer by “building” from a menu of available options at the manufacturer’s office. But it also means there is often something generic about the bags from so-called different companies, since they are all being “sourced” from the same in-bred group of bag makers who are stealing materials, designs, features from each other – leading to masses of bags but little…


    Kevin Reply:

    Michael, I like the MPB quite a bit. I believe the tone of this review is rather neutral. The Load-Out is a decent enough bag but at $85 it’s a little pricey. The BAD bag actually looks interesting.


  2. AndyW says:

    I use the redoxx small aviator bag for most of my traveling. If I have a long term stay (like 3-6 months) then I use a rolling check on bag. I’ve considered duffel / gym bags but the zipper opening has always been the limiting factor. The aviator bag only weighs 1.35 lbs.

    The best feature of the aviator bag is it unzips all the way to the bottom of the bag, a 3 sided zipper. That allows you to open the bag like an suitcase, not just a slit in the top of a duffel bag.

    I like it better than my Tumi bag. I would like to see some D rings for the option of a shoulder strap.

    I would be interested in your review of one of the aviator bags.


    Till Reply:

    Andy, the Aviator is so well built, it would be no problem at all to have a local guy stitch some D-rings to it. Use a leather or cordura patch, box stitch it (a box with an x inside). This might require hand stitching but it would be worth to check it out. I’ve been to the Austin Shoe Hospital here and asked if they could sew 1050D ballistic. They said yes. So Cordura should be even easier. This particular place is also a repair center and dealer for Briggs Riley. So that might be a good way to start your search if you want to get your Aviator customized.


    AndyW Reply:

    Hmmm… interesting.

    That would mean that I could sew a custom logo or script on the bag as well.

    Thanks, I’ll have to look into that option.

    (Sorry to take the thread away from your review)


    Kevin Reply:

    Andy: Not at all; I actually thought the post would prompt a few comparisons, so this is good. I totally agree with Till – it ought to be relatively easy to mod your Aviator.

    Michael W. Reply:

    I used the Small Aviator as a checked piece for my last trip to SE Asia. It was great!

    I also wish they had some some D rings, but I guess their goal was to keep it simple, simple, and its the simplest QUALITY bag I’ve seen in ages. And I love the “won’t accidentally open” zippers that only open when you tug the pulls.

    BUT I wish they had made it “lid opening” style instead of putting the zipper in the middle.

    If the zipper were way off to one side, I could load the bag like a bin.

    As it is, with the zipper in the middle, it’s usually easier to open it half way and load it on its side (stuff things down into it, instead of laying them flat and closing the lid).

    I have the Extra Small Aviator too, it’s even better for pure carryon.


  3. Till says:

    Oh, yeah. Custom logos or embroidery are no problem at all on Cordura. You will certainly find someone that has a machine strong enough for that. Even a good household machine should be able to do it. What is hard is triple layers of the material or layers with leather. Still, if you have a machine that can sew triple layers of 12oz jeans material, it should get through triple layers of Cordura. Ballistic is stiffer, harder and slippery which makes it harder to sew, even if the material weight is nearly the same between 1050d ballistic and 1000d Cordura. This might explain what I perceive as a slight price differential between the two materials. I have no idea, though, how much the raw materials cost.

    I am more and more for a review of the Eagle Industries bags. Perhaps compare the Eagle Industries Alpha heretically with the Briggs Riley 224 convertible tote? I could do that one Kevin. I love stark contrasts. :)


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