I’ve been on the road for two weeks with the family on an epic driving adventure through the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Wyoming, South Dakota, Idaho, North Dakota, and Montana. When our path took us through Billings, I decided to stop by the Red Oxx Factory Retail Store. The store is in a warehouse/industrial district and, if I’m being honest, it didn’t look like much from the outside. If it wasn’t for the huge yellow sign and my GPS insisting I had found the right place, I might have kept driving thinking I had lost my way.
The graphics on the door that included the distinctive Red Oxx Manufacturing bull logo and “World Class Gear Bags” affirmed that I had indeed come to the right place.
Once inside, Christian Hafer (Red Oxx’s customer service consultant) greeted me warmly and offered to answer any questions while I looked around. And there was quite a bit to look at in what amounts to a bag junkies heaven on earth.
Red Oxx Rigger Wallets and Market Totes were laid out on the front table. I reviewed the Rigger Wallet back in 2013 and it’s still a favorite.
Beyond that there were rows of bags in what seemed like every color in the rainbow. From brief cases and shave kits…
To iconic carry-on travel bags like the Air Boss, Mini Boss, and Sky Train.
Because I’m me, I also took the opportunity to try on a couple of Red Oxx’s burly 1000D Cordura rucks. The Roadster was too small for my 6’4 frame but the larger 2,300 cubic inch C-Ruck proved to be a better fit. Both feature unique retro styling since they were inspired by a rucksack used by WWII paratroopers.
After browsing the store, I let Christian know that I was mostly interested in a travel duffel. He proceeded to guide me through the options. It became immediately obvious that Red Oxx has placed on premium on staffing its store with knowledgeable people. Christian has been with the company for four years and started on the manufacturing side, so he really knew his stuff. I asked about the bag that the Expedition Overland team used this past season in Central America.
I really liked the padded bottom, external pockets, and airline carry-on friendly dimensions of the Flying Boxcar. I could easily see myself using one but this time around I was really looking for something a bit larger that could hold a couple of weeks worth of gear. Packing light still isn’t one of my strong suits.
Christian quickly shifted my attention to the Safari Beanos Bags.
An end cap featured the various size options.
In the end, I chose the Safari Beanos PR5.5 since it’s designed for a 7-10 day trip (I vowed to pack a bit lighter) but still compact enough to save some space compared to the eBags TLS Motherlode wheeled duffel I was using on this trip. I would have added a Tri-Fold Shave Kit, which would have fit perfectly in the 5.5’s end pocket, but I decided the Loadedpocketz gear budget had already sustained enough damage for one day. A review on the Beanos PR5.5 is coming soon – stay tuned.
If you ever find yourself in Billings Montana, do yourself a favor and stop by the Red Oxx Factory Outlet Retail Store. Red Oxx makes some of the toughest gear on the planet and the store gives you a unique opportunity to experience everything first hand. The Factory Outlet is at 310 North 13th Street, Billings MT 59101 and is open from 10am to 5pm (MST) Monday through Friday.