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Outdoor Research Airpurge Review

Mostly waterproof, though a bit awkward to use.
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Price:  $52 List | $38.16 at Amazon
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  ⋅  Sep 18, 2019
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 11
  • Waterproofness - 70% 8
  • Ease of Use - 10% 4
  • Features - 10% 6
  • Durability - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The OR AirPurge is an impressively (mostly) waterproof, lightweight compression sack that's a bit annoying to use. It performed well in our waterproof testing, though 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 aroundSuper durable, completely waterproofLightweight, easy to useNearly watertight, durable, lightweight, white interior helps you find things
Cons Very tall and skinny shape, compression is awkward, fabric eventually soaksExpensive, largeExpensive, rigidNot for use as a stand-alone bagWill leak under duress, no easy carry straps, seams taped not welded
Bottom Line Mostly waterproof, though a bit awkward to use.This product keeps out water, no matter how rough and wet things might get.Rugged and perfectly watertight, this pack is ideal for traveling.This model is your classic lightweight stuff sack with the added bonus of waterproof material.An inexpensive model that provides great water resistance at a reasonably low price.
Rating Categories Outdoor Research Airpurge Watershed Colorado Duffel YETI Panga 50 eVent Compression Sea to Summit Big River
Waterproofness (70%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
Ease Of Use (10%)
10
0
4
10
0
9
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
8
Features (10%)
10
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6
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
Durability (10%)
10
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5
10
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8
10
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9
10
0
7
10
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8
Specs Outdoor Research... Watershed Colorado... YETI Panga 50 eVent Compression Sea to Summit Big...
Weight (pounds) 0.3 lb 0.3 lb 4.3 lb 3.2 lb 0.5 lb
Size We Tested (liters) 20 L 75 L 50 L 20 L 35 L
Closure Type Roll-top ZipDry HydroLok zipper Roll-top Roll-top
Included D-Rings? No Yes No No Yes
Style Roll-top w/ compression straps Duffel Duffel Roll-top w/ lid and compression straps Roll-top
Material 70D with TPU-coated nylon Polyurethane-coated nylon Laminated high-density nylon 70D nylon 420 Denier heavy duty nylon

Our Analysis and Test Results

We tested the 15L AirPurge (20 and 35L 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 (obviously) four compression straps.

Performance Comparison


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

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

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. This awkward shape, along with skinny, stiff straps and buckles actually make it rather odd to compress. The tighter you pull it, 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 use for much more than a sleeping bag or warm layers that you can stuff in and not access all day.
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.

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

Durability


Like most lightweight gear, this OR compression dry bag sacrifices a bit of durability to keep it small. The 70D nylon body isn't even ripstop and is best served 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 it 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 inside another bag for protection.
Thin fabric that's not ripstop make this a bag that needs to go inside another bag for protection.

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.

Conclusion


The OR AirPurge is an awkwardly 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. 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 a complete overnight system.
Though you can use it as a stand-alone dry bag, it's best as part of a complete overnight system.


Maggie Brandenburg