The designers at Eagle Creek are forever tweaking their lightest-weight duffel bags to make them sturdier, more versatile, and more secure, without adding heft. The newest incarnation of the company's roomy 2,500-cubic-inch Packable Duffel has some innovative features that lift this bag's bonuses above others of its ilk.

First off, and especially welcome, is the U-shaped, double-zippered top opening, which makes contents easier to organize and see, without having to forage blindly through the typical straight-zippered opening. The double zipper pulls have T-shaped toggles that slide through a central lock point on the bag, which keeps them from accidentally opening in transit. Snap a padlock through the zipper pulls and lock point, and you have extra security.

Although the nylon material obviously is no match for a knife, the extra locking oomph adds at least a bit of extra deterrence.

The duffel has double carry straps as well as an adjustable shoulder strap, which has double stitching at tension points. The bag is about 22 inches by 10 inches by 11 inches deep - making it spacious but carry-on size when fully stuffed.

The entire duffel stuffs into its own zippered side pocket, becoming a slim 10-by-6-inch easily stashable bag. The pocket has a sewn-in key fob, which can double as a clip to attach the bag to other gear.

The duffel comes in basic black, tan, or a lovely shade called blue sea - my recommendation for making the bag a standout among other duffels, as well as easy to spot when stashed away in its diminutive unexpanded mode.

Eagle Creek Packable Duffel with central locking point in blue sea, black, or tan, (EC0A3CWT137). $35.95 at www.eaglecreek.com.