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Watershed Colorado Duffel Review

This product keeps out water, no matter how rough and wet things might get.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $185 List | $156.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Durable, easy to use, comfortable to haul around
Cons:  Expensive, large
Manufacturer:   Watershed Drybags
By Maggie Brandenburg & Leslie Yedor  ⋅  Sep 18, 2019
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95
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 11
  • Waterproofness - 70% 10
  • Ease of Use - 10% 9
  • Features - 10% 8
  • Durability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Watershed Colorado Duffel is the ultimate water adventurer's companion. Completely watertight and burly enough to withstand the inevitable rocks and sticks of a raucous river ride, this product will keep your gear securely stowed and moisture-free. The duffel shape lends to easy packing and provides plenty of space for extended trips. With top-notch scores across the board and a versatile design, it was an easy pick for our Editors' Choice award. While it's worth the investment for the avid water goer, the only drawback to this model is its relatively high price tag.


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Pros Durable, easy to use, comfortable to haul aroundSuper durable, completely waterproofLightweight, easy to useNearly watertight, durable, lightweight, white interior helps you find thingsWaterproof for short submersions, lightweight, easy to close appropriately
Cons Expensive, largeExpensive, rigidNot for use as a stand-alone bagWill leak under duress, no easy carry straps, seams taped not weldedVery tall and skinny shape, compression is awkward, fabric eventually soaks
Bottom Line 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.Mostly waterproof, though a bit awkward to use.
Rating Categories Watershed Colorado Duffel YETI Panga 50 eVent Compression Sea to Summit Big River Outdoor Research Airpurge
Waterproofness (70%)
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
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8
Ease Of Use (10%)
10
0
9
10
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4
10
0
7
10
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8
10
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4
Features (10%)
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8
10
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9
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7
10
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8
10
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6
Durability (10%)
10
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8
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9
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7
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5
Specs Watershed Colorado... YETI Panga 50 eVent Compression Sea to Summit Big... Outdoor Research...
Weight (pounds) 0.3 lb 4.3 lb 3.2 lb 0.5 lb 0.3 lb
Size We Tested (liters) 75 L 50 L 20 L 35 L 20 L
Closure Type ZipDry HydroLok zipper Roll-top Roll-top Roll-top
Included D-Rings? Yes No No Yes No
Style Duffel Duffel Roll-top w/ lid and compression straps Roll-top Roll-top w/ compression straps
Material Polyurethane-coated nylon Laminated high-density nylon 70D nylon 420 Denier heavy duty nylon 70D with TPU-coated nylon

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Watershed Colorado Duffel is 14" inches tall, 32.5" wide, and 13.5" deep with a 28" opening. Its 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 ziplock bag. Both durable and watertight, this model is ideal for the avid water person.

Performance Comparison


The ultimate water-person's model  the Colorado Duffel is up for whatever watery adventures you throw at it.
The ultimate water-person's model, the Colorado Duffel is up for whatever watery adventures you throw at it.

Waterproofness


This model is exceptionally waterproof and takes home an elusive perfect score for its ability to keep water completely out throughout all of our testing. It's capable of spending a prolonged time held underwater without letting any moisture in or any air out.


The ZipDry seal plus the 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.

This model was impermeable to water with prolonged submersion.
This model was impermeable to water with prolonged submersion.

The Colorado Duffel is less bulky and more flexible than other models with this level of waterproofness. Against some sacks that are lighter weight and even more flexible, you see a reduction in waterproofness with an increase in malleability, but that is certainly not a trade-off made by this bag. This model is easy to stuff into or onto your craft and provides unmatched protection against the water.

The inside of the bag  and out testing towel  stayed 100% water-free.
The inside of the bag, and out testing towel, stayed 100% water-free.

Ease of Use


This metric is all about packing, unpacking, and transporting your gear. Once again, the Colorado Duffel outshines the competition and is one of the highest-scoring models in this category. The huge opening at the top of the bag combined with the duffel shape makes it 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 simple enough to move this duffel from point A to point B and huck it up into your boat. 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.

This model is built like your classic duffel but with a neoprene grip for comfortable carrying with wet hands.
This model is built like your classic duffel but with a neoprene grip for comfortable carrying with wet hands.

Features


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 burly seal and the buckles, you can rest assured it's not going to pop open at random. 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.


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.

The ziplock style closure is easy to securely seal and opens with a twist and pull.
The ziplock style closure is easy to securely seal and opens with a twist and pull.

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.

Add-On Liner
If you plan to carry fragile equipment, a Watershed Colorado Liner can be purchased separately. This nylon, foam, and fleece insert fits snugly inside the Duffel and provides added protection for your gear.

Durability


This model takes home yet another top 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.


The Colorado Duffel may provide excellent durability, but it is not alone in impressive durability. Several other models we tested feature thick, waterproof fabric and beefy features built to last through whatever adventure.

A reinforced seal and thick material allow this model to hold up to the bumps and grinds of a river run.
A reinforced seal and thick material allow this model to hold up to the bumps and grinds of a river run.

Other Sizes
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.

Value


This model is one of the more expensive bags we tested, but for the seasoned water-person, it's 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 smallest droplets of water.

The quality of this model matches its price so you can have confidence in that its a worthy investment.
The quality of this model matches its price so you can have confidence in that its a worthy investment.

Conclusion


The Colorado Watershed Duffel is the avid water person's bag of choice. 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 whether you need to keep water in or out.

From the back of your truck to the front of your paddle board  this model is up for just about anything.
From the back of your truck to the front of your paddle board, this model is up for just about anything.


Maggie Brandenburg & Leslie Yedor