Outdoor Products 3-Pack All Purpose Review
Cons: Durability concerns, clumsy construction, 10L bag very narrow
Manufacturer: Outdoor Products
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Outdoor Products bags are a set of three dry sacks made of polyurethane-coated 60% cotton 40% rayon ripstop material with double-stitched, tape-sealed seams. They're basic bags with no extra features. The 2 and 4-liter pouches are sewn flat while the 10-liter sack is cylindrical.
Right out of the gate, the Outdoor Products 3-Pack are clearly labeled as "highly weather-resistant" and "not intended for full submersion or flotation." So what does that mean? We put it to the test. We rolled each bag the stated minimum of 3 rolls and put them all through our battery of rigorous tests.
When sprayed with a pressurized hose, all three bags held air and didn't let any water inside — that clearly qualifies them as weather-resistant, as you're unlikely to encounter rain that's quite as intense as the powerful spray from a garden hose. In our reverse water testing, we filled the bags with water and tipped them upside down to see if they're airtight. Spoiler alert: they're not. They each drip very slightly from the inner creases of their rolled tops, but none poured water or even streamed it from their closed tops.
We also submerged these bags briefly, and then again for an extended period of time. They all managed to keep their paper towel contents quite dry during a brief submersion (like if you accidentally dropped your bag and quickly retrieved it). However, they didn't do quite so well during prolonged submersion. All three bags took on enough water to wet their paper towels significantly. Additionally, the fabric of the bags appeared to be taking on water after sitting submerged for half an hour. This isn't particularly awe-inspiring compared to many of the super intense options we tested, but for bags that clearly state they won't protect against submersion, they did alright. And for most casual uses (aka situations in which you don't need to dunk your dry bag), these weather-resistant bags perform quite well.
Ease of Use
All three bags have the same style of roll-top closure system, which is very straightforward to use. However, as the saying goes, "the devil is in the details," and the details are lacking.
There is a particularly sizeable gap of just fabric between the stiffened section of the roll strip and the clip on the end of the bag. This gap is only just over an inch wide but easily lets you accidentally misalign the two sides, resulting in rolling up one side of the clip you then need to close the bag. It's not particularly hazardous but does require extra thought and probably several instances of having to reroll the bag (we certainly did this often).
Once they're rolled correctly, these bags have no additional hooks, loops, D-rings, or lash points with which to carry them or attach them to anything. They're quite small, though, so we don't really find the lack of carrying options to be a big issue. The 2 liter and 4-liter bags are sewn flat, much like oversized Ziploc bags — but with roll-tops. They're rather convenient sizes to hold the very few items you might need out on a quick kayak adventure or special items that need to be kept dry inside a daypack. They would be easier to pack a more diverse array of oddly shaped gear if they had rounded or oval bottoms instead of being sewn flat. But even as they are, their small sizes make them quite easy to pack and find things in.
The 10-liter sack has a rounded bottom and is quite a tall, narrow cylinder. It's difficult to dig out bottom-dwelling contents without emptying this whole bag. But the thin yellow fabric does allow a good amount of light to enter, which helps some. Overall, there are definitely some things about these pouches that we would change if we designed them, but they're still pretty easy to use and handy to have around. Especially for the price.
The Outdoor Products bags are fairly featureless. They have no D-rings, straps, loops, buckles, or fancy add-ons to note. They are impressively lightweight, though, even considering how small two of them are. The 2-liter bag weighs just 0.7 ounces, the 4-liter bag weighs 0.95 ounces, and the 10-liter bag only weighs 1.45 ounces. If you're into lightweight gear, these definitely qualify.
These sacks are also much thinner and more flexible than the ultra waterproof options we tested, which makes them easier to roll down to the exact right size for whatever you've stuffed inside of them. It makes them that much easier to be stuffed inside another bag as part of an organization system.
Probably the most notable "feature" of the Outdoor Products is that it comes in a pack of three different sized sacks. Just about every other option we tested forces you to purchase all the sizes you want individually and create your own line-up at an increased cost. We're stoked to get all three of these bags together and think they work well as a mini system to keep our things safe from inclement weather and separate wet or smelly gear from everything else.
We want to start off this section by saying that none of our three bags broke or malfunctioned at all during our several months of testing. However, we have concerns. Made of ripstop material that's 60% cotton and 40% rayon, these bags are already at a disadvantage — and not just compared to TPU-coated, laminated, and PVC options. Even the other lightweight and ultralight bags we tested are at least made of nylon, which is intrinsically much more durable than cotton or rayon. So we're not encouraged by the make-up of the Outdoor Products bags. They are ripstop, which helps, and are coated with polyurethane to make them waterproof. You can also plainly see the seams are double-stitched and taped on the inside.
With that being said, our thorough investigation of these dry bags shows them to have much more careless and sloppy construction than just about any other model we tested. The two smaller bags, with their flat-stitched bottoms, have an excess of over half an inch of the seam taping just hanging off the seam in the bottom of the bags. The stitching around the tops of the bags isn't overly inspiring, and the plastic clips used to keep them closed are some of the flimsiest we tested. We also read a plethora of other user testimonies online with complaints ranging from stitching coming undone, to buckles simply falling off, to the polyurethane coating literally peeling off the inside of the bags. Considering all this evidence, we're not sure these bags are going to last you through years of hard use without any damage to themselves.
Outdoor Products doesn't sell any other sets of dry sacks like these. They do, however, make a 40-liter transparent dry sack that we did not test.
Not only is this package one of the cheapest options we tested, but it also includes three bags instead of just one. That alone makes it a worthy contender in the realm of value. However, if you need a truly waterproof bag that will keep your sensitive items dry no matter what, not one of these three bags can guarantee that level of safety. But if you only need some light protection, this 3-pack brings a good level of weather resistance to the table for a great value. And if you do end up needing to replace these less-durable bags more frequently, at least it hurts your pocketbook a little bit less than the competition.
This 3-pack of dry sacks isn't the most protective of options, but they do a decent job holding off light weather for an exceptionally low price. They're a great package deal for organization and keeping small items contained and a little bit more protected than they would be in a plain old plastic bag. They aren't the most durable option we tested, but they sure are handy and with a price that earns them our award for Best Buy on a Tight Budget.
— Maggie Brandenburg