Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rolltop Review

I picked up a large Seal Line roll top backpack with my REI dividend. Made in the USA, it's roomy and well-made. Since it's made of nylon, many of the joints are welded rather than sewn, a bit unsettling but no doubt stronger than a stitch.

While I loved the massive capacity and no-brainer roll top closure, I must admit that I wasn't thrilled with the bag.

The back panel looks like it would keep you cool, but my back got just as sweaty under this pack than any other, including our own.

Also, the outside pocket was difficult to access due to a cramped size and stiff zipper. I ended up leaving it open most of the time, and even so, it was tough to reach inside. Furthermore, I wonder why they put the daisy chain on a side of the bag rather than the center - when the bag is full, your bike light ends up blinking more to the side than the rear.

Finally, the extremely stiff material and sharp corners of the rolled top meant that my over-the-shoulder view (to check for cars) was blocked, which was downright scary.

I appreciate that the bag is made in the USA, but it's not the one for me!

7 comments:

corkgrips said...

i wonder if ortlieb's pack is any better? i've seen quite a few messengers wearing them on the job.

Lesli Larson said...

I (Lesli) am a fan of Ortlieb products...especially their waterproof duffles. I like the main body of the Ortlieb rolltop bag but hate the overly technical harness system in the back. I prefer my shoulder straps to look as simple/minamlist as the main body of the bag. I don't need a complicated harness system for everyday urban use.

Winter Bicycles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I bought and returned the Ortlieb messenger bag/duffle because of the harness system which is way over the top for everyday use and frankly uncomfortable. Didn't care for the look either.

I own the exact Seal line bag pictured and agree on all criticisms made. I do think it is better than the Ortlieb.

If I were to do it again, I would have gone for the Mission Works bags for commuting(I still might).

Tom Bonamici said...

bob/anon/lesli - i had an ortlieb Velocity:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/archivalclothing/3206316441/in/photostream/

...but i agree, the harnessing was too technical, and i found the lack of any pockets a bit limiting. Ultimately returned because the inside hanging pocket thing disintegrated, cheesy construction - in contrast to the bombproof vinyl bag itself.

Should we do a rolltop?

Anonymous said...

Despite their obvious technical benefits, I find that the Ortlieb product fails to draw out any emotional connection that makes you want to stay with it. It's stiff, it's cold, it crackles and there are way too many dangly bits. And while it makes all kinds of sense here in the NW, I still want a bag I can tuck under my head when I lay down on the grass for a break and not feel like I am laying on a giant ziplock.

-spokesniffer

Tom Bonamici said...

@spokesniffer: Hear, hear! Couldn't agree more.