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Outdoor Research Beaker Review

A simple, lightweight dry bag that lets light in and is easy to use
Outdoor Research Beaker
Photo: Outdoor Research
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Price:  $21 List | $20.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, good protection, simple to use
Cons:  Limited size options, less impressive construction
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 2, 2021
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 14
  • Waterproofness - 50% 8
  • Ease of Use - 30% 6
  • Features - 10% 5
  • Durability - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Outdoor Research Beaker is an ultralight dry sack with a simple design to help you stay organized on your outings. Translucent sides let light through without making all your belongings completely visible to the outside world, and simple instructions printed right on the bag ensure you always close it the right way. Though it's thin, the Beaker offers above-average water protection for all but total submersions. Only available in small sizes, this single-stitched, taped dry bag might not last for the rest of your life, but it's a solid option that's simple to use and easy to enjoy.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $20.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$34.95 at Amazon$21.95 at REI
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$12.95 at Backcountry
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$12.49 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, good protection, simple to useVery waterproof, clear window, easy to locate things, sturdy buildGood water protection, easy to use, replaceable clipLightweight, rectangular shape, simplicity is a featureThree bag set, weather-resistant, small handy sizes, simple design, inexpensive
Cons Limited size options, less impressive constructionFlat shape is odd, extra access stepSingle stitching, not tall enough to roll properlyNot abrasion resistant, must be part of a systemDurability concerns, clumsy construction, 10L bag is very narrow
Bottom Line A simple, lightweight dry bag that lets light in and is easy to useA seriously waterproof bag we trust with our most sensitive items at a very nice priceAn inexpensive windowed dry bag with solid water resistance and some easy to use featuresFor backpackers and day hikers, this model is a packing cube dry bag hybridThese bags offer reasonable weather resistance at a great price but are not the most durable option
Rating Categories Outdoor Research Be... NRS Ether HydroLock Sea to Summit View... Osprey Ultralight D... Outdoor Products 3-...
Waterproofness (50%)
8.0
10.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Ease Of Use (30%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
6.0
Features (10%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
Durability (10%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
4.0
Specs Outdoor Research Be... NRS Ether HydroLock Sea to Summit View... Osprey Ultralight D... Outdoor Products 3-...
Weight 1.0 oz 2.3 oz 1.7 oz 1.6 oz 0.7 oz (2L), 1.0 oz (4L), 1.5 oz (10L)
Tested Size (liters) 3 L 5 L 4 L 20 L 2 L, 4 L,10 L
Closure Type Roll-top HydroLock and roll-top Roll-top Roll-top Roll-top
Included D-Rings? No Yes Yes No No
Style Roll-top Roll-top Roll-top Roll-top Roll-top, 3-pack
Material 40D siliconized ripstop nylon, PU coating 30D silicone-impregnated ripstop nylon, urethane window 70D nylon, TPU window 40D ripstop nylon Polyurethane coated ripstop 60% cotton, 40% rayon

Our Analysis and Test Results

We tested the Beaker as a 3-liter bag. It has a roll-top design, made of 40D siliconized ripstop nylon with PU coating and a plastic buckle. It features semi-translucent fabric and liter markings up the side.

Performance Comparison


The lightweight Beaker has semi-translucent sides to make it easier...
The lightweight Beaker has semi-translucent sides to make it easier to see inside.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Waterproofness


The Beaker isn't rated to withstand submersions and is not recommended for protecting your electronics. We tried submerging it anyway for the sake of thorough testing, and were solidly impressed. It very slowly lets water trickle into the bag from the ends of the roll-top (faster when not packed full as a backstop for the seal), but nothing too crazy. Instead, it's very water-resistant. When sprayed with our high-pressure garden hose, the Beaker had no issues keeping contents completely dry. Water easily beads off of the siliconized nylon exterior for the first few minutes, and only after several minutes of continuous spraying did the fabric start to feel just a hint wet.

The Beaker has fully taped seams.
The Beaker has fully taped seams.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Ease of Use


The Beaker is a pretty standard dry bag with a simple roll-top, single clip, and cylindrical shape. The fabric is semi-translucent, allowing light inside the bag to make it easier to see your belongings. In the small, 3-liter size we tested, this simplicity is brainless to use (that's a good thing!). However, it lacks a few details that would make it even more user-friendly. First, it's rather tall and narrow, making it more difficult to see around your arm as you attempt to locate your lip balm buried at the bottom. Second, the clip used to secure it is an odd design with a thinner, more delicate shape, that is a little too easy to misalign. It also can get gummed up if wet sand becomes stuck in any of its numerous small crevices. And lastly, the Beaker has no additional attachment points for securing it to your bag or boat — no strap, lash loop, or D-ring. Still, if it's simplicity you crave, the Beaker has that.

The Beaker is a simple, tried and true design that's straightforward...
The Beaker is a simple, tried and true design that's straightforward to use.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Features


As a simple model, the Beaker is rather "no-frills." Its few features are subtly worked in, including the light-permeable sides. It clearly states "Roll Me Three Times" across the top, helping you remember how to secure your items every time. It also has liter markings up the side, in the event you need to measure volumes of water. No additional straps, loops, rings, or other features adorn this straightforward dry sack. The Beaker succeeds at simplicity.

Liter markings go up one side of the Beaker.
Liter markings go up one side of the Beaker.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Durability


The body of the Beaker is 40D nylon, which is on the thin side of the models we tested. Yet, it's also both ripstop and siliconized, adding a little extra touch of toughness to this lightweight bag. The stitches are fully taped to keep them watertight. However, all stitches are single-stitched, without any reinforcements our doubling up that many of the beefier bags boast. We're not overly stoked on the clip either. Not only would a crack in the plastic force you to replace the entire bag, but this clip is thinner and flimsier than just about every other dry bag clip we tested. It doesn't take much effort to clip and unclip it, giving us little confidence in its ability to stay attached in the event it gets yanked on. It's also easily derailed by small grains of sand, as we previously mentioned, and easy to clip misaligned. To be clear, we had no issues with the Beaker during our testing; we're just not wowed by its construction through the lens of lasting for years of rugged outdoor adventures.

We don't love this clip because it can easily jam with small debris.
We don't love this clip because it can easily jam with small debris.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


For a simple, lightweight dry bag, the Beaker is relatively inexpensive. If you value this level of simplicity and don't need the burliest, most waterproof bag around, this one may be just what you and your budget require.

Conclusion


The Outdoor Research Beaker is a very light dry bag with an overly simple design. Its semi-translucent sides let light through, and it comes in a few small sizes for staying organized and accompanying your shorter, less complicated adventures.

This lightweight dry bag isn't outstanding in any particular area...
This lightweight dry bag isn't outstanding in any particular area but is still a solid choice.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Maggie Brandenburg