Watershed Colorado Duffel Review
Cons: Expensive, large
Manufacturer: Watershed Drybags
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Colorado Duffel is 14 inches tall, 32.5 inches wide, and 13.5 inches deep with a 28-inch opening. It's wider than tall dimensions and huge mouth make packing this bag an easy task. It is made out of polyurethane-coated nylon and closes with a ZipDry seal, which strongly resembles a giant Ziploc bag. Both durable and watertight, this model is ideal for the avid water person.
This model is exceptionally waterproof and takes home an elusive perfect score for keeping water completely out throughout our several months of rigorous testing. A garden hose and thundering rainstorm have absolutely no effect on this protective bag. It's even capable of spending a prolonged time being held entirely underwater without letting any moisture in or any air out.
The ZipDry seal top, along with the classic roll-top design, provide an impenetrable barrier when closed properly. Rolling the lip and fastening it down with the provided buckles guarantees that nothing can tug at the seal while the product is in use. The thick, polyurethane-coated exterior and fully impenetrable seams ensure that whatever you put inside will stay dry.
The Colorado Duffel is less bulky and more flexible than other models with this level of waterproofness. Generally, you see a reduction in waterproofness with an increase in malleability, but that is certainly not a trade-off made by this bag. The Colorado is easy to stuff into or onto your craft and it provides unmatched protection against the water.
Ease of Use
This metric is all about packing, unpacking, and transporting your gear. Once again, the Colorado Duffel outshines the competition and the highest-scoring model in this category. The huge opening at the top of the bag combined with the duffel shape make it super easy to pack. It's also wider than it is tall, which is preferable to a deep narrow bag for both packing and retrieving the contents without a lot of fishing.
Carrying this product is akin to any other regular duffel bag. The carrying straps secure with a comfortable neoprene grip that spares waterlogged fingers from the abrasiveness of the nylon webbing. It's incredibly simple to move this duffel from point A to point B and huck it up into your boat. That said, if you are looking for something to carry over longer distances, some other models feature removable backpack straps that make them much more comfortable to lug around.
One of our favorite things about this product is the ziplock style closure. It's simple to seal, and — unless you have the right technique — difficult to open. Press the seal together with your fingers, roll the top down a few times and buckle it into place. Between the thick, beefy seal and the buckles, you can rest assured it's not about to pop open at random while careening through a rapid. To break the seal, simply grab the pull tabs on each side and curve the lip into an S shape. Pull the tabs in opposite directions, and viola, it comes right open. This does take some practicing to get used to, but once you've figured it out, it's quick and painless.
Assuming your knot-tying skills are up to snuff, attaching this model to your craft of choice is just as simple. Six total Duraflex D-rings provide sturdy lash points; one small one on each end, and two large ones on each side. That's some of the most attachment points of any dry bag we tested. Many competitors provide just two attachment points, so we appreciate the extra security of this one. Its long and low shape also add to its ease of being securely attached to the inside of your watercraft, helping you to charge rapids without worrying about losing your gear.
One of the few downsides to this product is the lack of a built-in organization system for small items. One big cavern with no internal pockets or compartments makes it easy to lose things like sunscreen and car keys inside the bag. It's helpful to have your own organizational system using smaller sacks inside this behemoth bag.
If you plan to carry fragile equipment, a Watershed offers a selection of liners that can be purchased separately. These insert fits snugly inside the Duffel and provide added protection for your gear.
This model takes home yet another notable score in this metric. The polyurethane-coated nylon, thick single-ply webbing, and hefty plastic D-rings are a well-built combination that results in a rugged dry bag well suited for even the most formidable adventures. Throughout all of our testing, this model never showed the slightest sign of wear and sustained no scratches, let alone tears.
Watershed makes five other models with almost identical construction to the Colorado Duffel but in various sizes ranging from 19.5 liters to 111 liters. Whether you are tight on space or need to forgo packing light, you can find the perfect size to fit your needs.
This model is one of the more expensive bags we tested, but for the seasoned water-person, it's well worth the investment. Its exceptional durability promises to keep your gear dry for many adventures to come, and its outstanding waterproofness protects your most valuable electronics from even the largest deluges of water.
The Colorado Watershed Duffel is the avid water person's bag of choice and our reigning Editors' Choice for yet another season. Convenience, comfort, versatility, and durability rarely come in such a neat little package. This product not only boasts all of these qualities but also delivers on its promise to provide an impenetrable barrier between your precious gear and the water.
— Maggie Brandenburg & Leslie Yedor