The Ortlieb X-plorer is a combination of a rucksack and a dry bag providing you with a 100% waterproof and lightweight pack. It is the ideal choice for climbers or for those travelling to the wetter parts of the World where dry kit is essential. Like all drybags the X-plorer relies upon the classic dry bag roll top closure which is secured with a robust buckle. The roll top should be rolled down 4 times to ensure a waterproof seal.
Ortlieb have produced a dry bag using a mid-weight PVC coated Polyester fabric with a heavier PVC coated Polyester in the back panel. The straps are pretty much what you would expect to find in a robust pack. They are fully adjustable and padded with a sternum strap holding them securely in place. For comfort the straps have been contoured to fit the shoulders and a waist belt holds the pack in place.
Height rolled; add approximately 20 cm for length of open dry bag
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There are a lot of dry bag options available now, but I chose Ortlieb based on my experience of their quality materials, true waterproofing & so on. An ancient pair of bike panniers from them are still going strong, so it's not like I didn't know the brand. I chose this "sausage" bag (in blue) over a number of other styles/makes for several reasons, not least of which was the waterproofing aspect. Sure - you have to ensure that you've not over-filled the bag so that the requisite minimum 3 roll-downs are possible to ensure full waterproofing, but it's very stuff-able generally. I found I was able to put noticeably more into this 35 litre sack than the 33 litre rucksack it was replacing. However, I've given it a 4 out of 5 because I think there is room for improvements. For a start, the bag interior could be brighter so you can see more easily how it's packing or where something is (I wore a head torch but other gear I use does have a light/brightly-coloured lining which is a big help). Also, whether the intended use is for bike touring like me (on the rear rack) or walking/whatever, some reflective trim (other than the very limited logos) would have been a good idea. As it is, I may attach something to the (small) bottom hand-loop or use an elasticated Hi-Vis home-made-sewing-job to help make me more visible on the flanks. Okay - so I could have chosen the yellow/black option, except in this colour, the yellow cloth is only facing the back of the user, rather than "outer" face (which is black - you work out the sense of this!) Finally - I specifically chose a bag with rucksack straps so that when off the bike & carrying the gear onto a train or whatever, this sausage can go on my back & the other bag & bike in each hand. From this point of view, the rucksack straps are good & seem securely stitched in place, but only time & usage will reveal their true longevity. Definitely recommended but maybe the next version will be even better?
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