From humble beginnings and an idea inspired by truck tarps (of all things), ORTLIEB was founded in 1982. Today the company’s products are sold in 19 countries world wide with a total of 186 employees. Their headquarters remains in Germany but they are no longer using the original tarp material but instead, they are using cutting edge fabrics and high-frequency welding to ensure their products are 100% waterproof.
ORTLIEB is a leading manufacturer of waterproof outdoor equipment and global market leader for waterproof bicycle panniers. Given their success, they still ensure that economic profit is not at the expense of environmental and social issues. Their sustainability strategy called “ORTLIEB Cares” is concerned with ORTLEIB’s CO2 footprint, water consumption, material efficiency and waste management.
These Ortlieb Waterproof bags are an excellent choice for boat owners, as it keeps gear and clothes away from saltwater. Yellowfin Boats For Sale is a big advocate of using these bags on their boats.
In this review, we’re going to look at the ORTLIEB Big-Zip and Duffle waterproof bags. Both have full-length zippers, backpack harness systems and are of course waterproof, but, these bags are very different in their design.
The name says it all. With a full-length waterproof zipper, the ORTLIEB Big-Zip is the bag you need for your next paddling adventure. With easy access to 140L of interior space and waterproof reliability, the Big-Zip has you covered. The built in haul handles (one at each end) make it easy to man handle this bag even when full, you’ll come to appreciate these handles as the Big-Zip can weigh a lot when filled to the brim. There’s also a back pack harness system which doubles as the main handle when not wearing the ORTLIEB Big-Zip as a pseudo back pack. Smaller handles located at each end of the full-length zipper makes opening and closing the ORTLIEB Bid-Zip super easy as it provides a place to hold onto as you zip and unzip. With 140L of interior space, there’s plenty of room for all your gear but sadly no internal nor external pockets to help organize smaller items. Once you fill the Big-Zip there are two interior compression straps which keep things snug and make it easier to close the bag when you might have crammed just a little too much gear into it.
The ORTLIEB Duffle comes in four sizes, 40, 60, 85 and 110L so there’s an ideal size for a small 1/2 day, full day or multi-day adventure. You can also take multiple duffles depending on the amount of gear you have and the adventure at hand. Completely waterproof to protect what ever you place inside, the ORTLIEB Duffle has a full-length zipper (again waterproof) so that access is easy and finding gear within is fast. Two interior pockets and an exterior mesh pocket let you organize smaller items for even more efficient gear retrieval. Unlike the ORTLIEB Big-Zip, the Duffle has only one interior compression strap, given that it’s smaller in size, this makes sense. On the outside, there’s a built in pack harness that doubles as the main carry handle but it’s not as fancy as the one found on the ORTLIEB Big-Zip. The Duffle, however, does have a tougher PS620C base fabric to help protect it from scrapes and dings along the way.
The big deal with ORTLEIB products is their quality and construction. They are tough. And waterproof (of course). We’ve reviewed a few other water proof bags in the past (over here on our paddling review page) and just find ORTLEIB’s products to be better made and tougher overall. Other than the quality of the bags my favourite feature of both the ORTLIEB Big-Zip and ORTLIEB Duffle has to be the huge waterproof zippers, similar to those found on the Hummingbird Carry-on Zip and SealLine Wide Mouth Duffel. These zippers provide easy access to the bags interior contents unlike the Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pac, while being 120L in size it has a roll top design which makes getting at your gear just that much more difficult.
The built in backpack harness systems on both bags is comfortable enough and works well in this capacity as well as a haul handle, it would, however, be nice to have the ability to remove them so that they don’t get in the way when you don’t need them. Another minor point concerning the harnesses is the lack of a sternum strap on the ORTLIEB Duffle and the fact that it’s strap adjustments require you to pull up instead of the more natural down orientation. The backpack harness on the ORTLIEB Big-Zip is of higher quality and well thought out and it would be nice to see it appear on the ORTLIEB Duffle line in future, but perhaps it comes down to the duffles overall price.
I’ve used both the ORTLIEB Duffle 110L and Big-Zip on several over night SUP paddling trips and must say that I prefer the extra volume of the Big-Zip over the Duffle but do appreciate the interior and (especially the) exterior pocket on the ORTLIEB Duffle 110L. If you are like me then you’ll need more than one size waterproof bag so a combo of both bags is ideal. ORTLEIB has an entire range of other water proof bags and packs, even some for your bike, camera and just general lifestyle, so check them out on line.
Price: $320CAN / $210US
Size: 92x50x30cm / 36.2x19.7x11.8”
Weight: 1595g / 56.2oz
Colours: Black, Orange, Sun Yellow
Warranty: 5 years
ORTLIEB Duffle (110L)
Price: $280CAN / $200US
Capacity: 40, 60, 85, 110L
Size: 70x34x46cm / 27.6x13.4x18.1”
Weight: 1490g / 48oz
Colours: White, Black, Ocean Blue, Sun Yellow
Warranty: 5 years
|ORTLIEB Big-Zip 9/10
Quality / Price 2/2
ORTLIEB Duffle 8.5/10
Quality / Price 2/2
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