The D3 Traveller is not for everyone.
This is first and foremost a duffel.
The construction, strength and weight supports a very pure form of travel. At its core it is made of utilitarian materials that have a particular finish and feel.
SDRT Grade Dyneema® starts out a little stiff and takes about three trips to reach equilibrium: a lived-in, matte, crumpled state. During this time it will lose its initial sheen. Dyneema® can be rolled, folded or crunched up without losing strength or its waterproof properties. The coating can wear from highly abrasive surfaces such as a granite rock face and will reveal flecks of the underlying Dyneema® fiber. It can be punctured but does not rip. The outer shell takes the abuse and protects the inner shell. We appreciate what it takes to wear this material and consider scars to be hard-earned.
Above: Dyneema wears in over time: new (left swatch); after three trips (middle); and after two years heavy travel (right).
Despite the cost and materials this is not a typical premium and/or outdoor product. It will protect what you carry but doesn’t use distinctive cues of that protection: there are no heavy materials, oversized handles or lots of external straps. Dyneema® will shift your perspective on what makes something “strong”. It is designed to blend in not stand out.
The D3 uses two layers of SDRT Grade Dyneema® (enough for two duffels), with one layer suspended inside the other. This approach is only feasible in an ultra light product with a material as light as Dyneema, but it does push up the cost. The benefits of having a dual layer include: additional protection; the air pocket provides structural support when it is only partially full; and it allows the outside to retain a relaxed feel even when fully packed. Visibly overstuffed luggage draws unwanted eyes.
On more than one occasion we’ve heard the phrase “the stealth bomber of bags” used to describe the D3. We’ll take the compliment but not without reservations — in the places we travel, being associated with the military puts ourselves, our crew and the locals at risk. Our philosophy is that strength comes from character, that character is born of experience. We prefer a nuanced understanding of context and a trusted local crew with street-smarts over traditional forms of authority.
There is zero padding on the bag or the strap so you need to know how to pack and most likely already use a pack-system to keep items like clothing together. Some of our beta team decided to adopt their own strap padding. We are currently testing a prototype interior pack kit to fit its exact dimensions. An empty D3 Traveller is unnervingly light to carry and a filled Utility Pouch placed in the bottom stow pocket or a heavy sweater makes for good ballast.
The threads in the Dyneema are aligned vertically and horizontally. On tension points we bond two layers of Dyneema diagonally for optimum strength.
If you are looking for lots of straps or outer pockets, that feels technical or draws attention to itself, then this bag is not for you. If you are looking for strength and simplicity in a duffel that is whittled down to its barest of components then this might be for you.
If you’re the kind of person that needs to be told to “hand wash with warm water and mild detergent” then go elsewhere.
Get it dirty. Let the rains come.
The D3 supports multiple carry styles through repositioning of the carabiner.
There is a hidden carbon fiber rod under the top grab-handle which can be used to convert the D3 into a backpack. Detach the strap, wrap it twice around the rod and reclip the carabiners to the bottom of the bag, being sure to center the strap. The weight of the bag and the hypalon coating will hold the strap in place. We’ve tested it on and are comfortable with it as a traverse-the-city day pack and on the mountain with a load of 26lb. Because there is no lumbar support we don’t recommend it as a primary pack for multi-day treks.
There are no external pockets which makes it less suitable as a day-pack where frequent access is required.