Aspen Frontiers duffel rack turns Patagonia bags into hanging cabinets for van life

Outfitting a van with all the amenities you need to stay organized in a tiny space is a daunting undertaking.

Cabinets and hard-shell cases take up a lot of space, and can be extremely pricey, and sifting through piles of gear and bags on the floorboard doesn’t help anyone.

Aspen Frontiers offers a simple solution that will help van-lifers achieve the functionality of mounted cabinets,  but drastically cut the price and level off the expertise needed for installation. The company has designed a rack made to hang 40-liter Patagonia duffel bags from the ceiling of a van.

detail view of the Aspen Frontiers Rack.

Aspen Frontier’s duffel rack is designed to turn duffel bags into mounted cabinets in vans and campers.

With two bolts, the rack attaches to the vehicle, allowing users to slide the straps of their duffle bags into an elevated position that frees up floor and lower wall space for other gear. A third screw on one of the arms of the rack keeps the bag in place while in motion.

Unlike fixed cabinets or heavy rigid bags, the duffels are easy to strip off when needed. Aspen Frontiers also sells a rigid insert to create a more stable platform for gear.

The racks are specifically designed to fit Patagonia’s 40-liter duffels, so other bags won’t work. But the company had hinted at plans to expand to other bags in the future.

Patagonia Black Hole 40-liter duffel bag.

Aspen Frontiers’ rack is specifically designed to fit the Patagonia Black Hole 40-liter duffel bag.

Until then, the required Patagonia duffel runs for MSRP $129. The rack goes for MSRP $95. The company also sells them in four packs for MSRP $340. Altogether, mounting one bag runs $224, with a bit of savings if you grab the four pack. Patagonia, however, doesn’t offer four-bag bundles. That being said, the duffel rack still will likely come in for less than most fixed cabinet options (and you can always use the duffel outside of the van as well).

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7 months ago

I like the thinking, but Alpine Vanworks sell what they call “soft upper cabinets” for $500, and they’re 50″ long (about 2.5 of the P-gonia duffels). The also look better…but I could envision where these might make sense.