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Outdoor Research Airpurge Review

Mostly waterproof, though a bit awkward to use
Outdoor Research Airpurge
Photo: Outdoor Research
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Price:  $52 List | $37.46 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Waterproof for short submersions, lightweight, easy to close appropriately
Cons:  Very tall and skinny shape, compression is awkward, fabric eventually soaks
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 6, 2020
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 12
  • Waterproofness - 50% 8
  • Ease of Use - 30% 4
  • Features - 10% 7
  • Durability - 10% 5
RELATED: Best Dry Bag

Our Verdict

The Outdoor Research AirPurge is an impressively (mostly) waterproof, lightweight compression sack that's a bit annoying to use. It performed well in our waterproof testing, though it will eventually get wet after prolonged submersion. A handy strip lets air out without letting water in, aiding in compression. However, it's a rather tall, skinny shape that makes it more difficult to pack and awkward to compress. Skinny straps and narrow buckles contribute to this challenge and make it not our favorite compression option.

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Pros Waterproof for short submersions, lightweight, easy to close appropriatelyDurable, easy to use, comfortable to haul aroundNearly watertight, durable, lightweight, white interior helps you find thingsLightweight, easy to use, good compression designVery durable, easy to remove backpack straps, oversized capacity, simple metal clips
Cons Very tall and skinny shape, compression is awkward, fabric eventually soaksExpensive, largeWill leak under duress, no easy carry straps, seams taped not weldedNot for use as a stand-alone bagLeaks if packed improperly, metal hooks take longer to use, tough to keep organized
Bottom Line Pretty much waterproof, but a bit challenging to useThis product keeps out water, no matter how rough and wet things might getQuality protection from splashes and brief submersions for a low priceThis waterproof stuff sack has all the features you need to keep your sleeping bag warm and securely stowedAn easy to use design that's well designed and durable, but overkill for many trips
Rating Categories Outdoor Research Airpurge Watershed Colorado Duffel Sea to Summit Big River eVent Compression NRS Bill's Bag
Waterproofness (50%)
8
10
8
9
8
Ease Of Use (30%)
4
9
8
6
6
Features (10%)
7
8
8
7
8
Durability (10%)
5
8
7
6
8
Specs Outdoor Research... Watershed Colorado... Sea to Summit Big... eVent Compression NRS Bill's Bag
Weight (ounces) 4.8oz 4.8oz 8.0 oz 51.2oz 65.6oz
Size We Tested (liters) 15L 75L 35 L 20L 110L
Closure Type Roll-top ZipDry Roll-top Roll-top Roll-top
Included D-Rings? No Yes Yes No No
Style Roll-top w/ compression straps Duffel Roll-top Roll-top w/ lid and compression straps Roll-top w/ shoulder straps
Material 70D with TPU-coated nylon Ppolyurethane-coated nylon 420D heavy duty nylon 70D nylon 21oz TobaTex

Our Analysis and Test Results

We tested the 15-liter AirPurge (20 and 35-liter options are also available), a roll-top compression dry bag. It's made of 70D nylon with thermoplastic urethane lamination, a hydro seal coating, and fully taped seams. It features a daisy chain down one side, a bottom carry strap, and four compression straps.

Performance Comparison


Kind of a niche usage for this interesting compression sack/dry bag...
Kind of a niche usage for this interesting compression sack/dry bag, but a great choice for overnight trips.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Waterproofness


The AirPurge does an impressive job keeping contents dry, considering its thin, lightweight material. It sailed through our dunking and spraying tests with flying colors. After being dragged behind a kayak for 30 minutes, the material did have spots of wetness, though the contents were still dry. A colored band around the bottom lets air escape without letting water in, helping to truly compress your contents. The top section of the bag that gets rolled to close is fairly long, making it easy to get a minimum of three rolls in. Though this dry bag doesn't boast the intensely thick fabric and construction of some of the burlier bags we tested, it still manages to be impressively waterproof under all but the most extenuating circumstances.

A rubberized side of one lip against the stiff edge of the other...
A rubberized side of one lip against the stiff edge of the other helps provide a good seal on this remarkably waterproof lightweight bag.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Ease of Use


Unfortunately, we are much less impressed by the usability of this compression sack. It's an exceptionally tall, skinny bag that precludes it from being a good choice for anything you may need to root around for. It's best for items that you'll only need when you get to camp — like a sleeping bag. This awkward shape, along with skinny, stiff straps and buckles make it rather odd to compress. The tighter you pull the compression straps, the more the contents are forced to bend to be able to compress, making it a weird shape and process. Unlike some other compression dry bags we tested, with a lid to cover the roll-top and bear the pressure of compression, the AirPurge puts all that pressure directly on the rolled top, contributing even more to the overall awkwardness. And the smaller you compress it, the more of the daisy chain you end up covering, losing your lashing points in the depths of your load.

Its exceptionally long and skinny shape make it rather awkward to...
Its exceptionally long and skinny shape make it rather awkward to use for much more than a sleeping bag or warm layers that you can stuff in and not access all day.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Features


A loop on the bottom of the AirPurge makes carrying this small bag a bit easier and provides a lash point if your compression has managed to cover all five loops of the daisy chain. Though it does have a single D-ring next to the top buckle, it's inconveniently located on the backside of the clip, making it a bit awkward to use. Though we find the compression mechanism a bit ungainly to use, the attachment locations of the compression straps do provide a good gauge of how full to fill your bag and how far down to roll the top.

A fully compressed sleeping bag covers all five loops of the daisy...
A fully compressed sleeping bag covers all five loops of the daisy chain And leaves some long tails to dangle.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Durability


Like most lightweight gear, this compression dry bag sacrifices a bit of durability to keep small. The 70D nylon body isn't ripstop and is therefore best used for keeping contents compressed and dry inside another, more protective bag. While it worked well for all the contents we compressed, we read a LOT of user complaints of the compression straps breaking from the pressure. Ours never broke, though there were several cringe-worthy moments during our testing where we worried they might. And rather than thick, waterproof material, this bag is coated with a hydroseal treatment, and we're unclear how long that will hold up to heavy use.

Thin fabric that's not ripstop make this a bag that needs to go...
Thin fabric that's not ripstop make this a bag that needs to go inside another bag for protection.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


While the AirPurge isn't a particularly expensive option, we tested others that perform better and are roughly the same cost or even less expensive. We frequently found ourselves getting annoyed with the compression function of this bag, and think that other options are much better and more worth the money. That said, if you find this on sale it's a solid option as part of a burlier system or fine for easy and light day use.

Conclusion


The Outdoor Research AirPurge is an oddly shaped compression dry sack that we think is a bit awkward to use. It certainly kept everything we put in it dry and is impressively lightweight; we just wish the shape and features were a bit more user-friendly. While it does what it claims it will do, it's not our favorite option.

Though you can use it as a stand-alone dry bag, it's best as part of...
Though you can use it as a stand-alone dry bag, it's best as part of a complete overnight system.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Maggie Brandenburg