We see a lot of people pedaling around with back packs that are essentially dry bags. While they’re functional, they’re about as user friendly as a waterproof shopping bag with backpack straps.
However, if you were to repurpose those materials, adding usability in the form of compartments, zippers and useful dividers you’d have something special — which is not far off from what Showers Pass has done with their take on the duffle bag.
As a Portland based company that produces products designed for cyclists, you’d expect a bag from Showers Pass to be built for our wet northwest weather. One of three new releases from the new CloudCover Waterproof bags collection, the new duffle is water proof and then some.
The Refuge duffle bag is separated into three waterproof storage compartments. Welded seams are used to keep soiled gear from contaminating clean gear, and the primary storage area features an adjustable divider that adds structure to the bag and aids in packing. There are also a number of additional mesh pockets and a key fob to assist in keeping items organized.
- Waterproof construction
- 360º 3m reflective trim
- 3 waterproof separate compartments keep dirty gear separated from clean
- Fold out changing mat
- Capacity: 51.3 liters
- Weight: 3.4lbs
- TSA approved size for carry on
The center/ main compartment contains my favorite aspect of the bag: the ridged adjustable middle divider. Similar to a camera bag, the divider is attached with hook and loop/ velcro that allows for adjustment and customization. The divider and removable rigid bottom board maintain the bag’s shape, eases packing and accessing the contents.
As each compartment is waterproofed, you can store your dirty gear in any of the three without the fear of contamination.
The changing mat tucked away in the zippered size pocket is a fantastic addition as well.
The main compartment has 2 zippered mesh pockets, a key fob and 2 inner compartments with elastic openings that can fit water bottles and other essentials. One of the outer pockets also contains a fleece lined media pocket.
Life with the Waterproof Duffle Bag
The waterproof duffle is sized to be TSA friendly with a length of 23″ x 10.5″ x 11.5″. While capacity lies on the small side of the spectrum, it’s organized well, and enthusiasts skilled at packing light should have no issues toting everything needed for a day at the races. However, a drawback to the condensed form factor is the inability to stow a mountain bike helmet in the side compartment, which isn’t tall enough to fit a mountain bike helmet with a visor mounted. (an MTB helmet does fit in the main compartment.)
The side compartment fit my Kali road helmet perfectly, leading to sneaking suspicions that this bag is optimized for cyclocross enthusiasts.
Or put another way, it was designed to be the quintessential Portland bag. My suspicions were confirmed when I came across the Showers Pass marketing video.
It seems like a bag a car-less cyclocrosser would toss over his shoulder and ride to his buddy’s house in the rain before carpooling to a cross race. Or alternatively, if he (or she) was a carless mountain biker, he’d strap the duffle over his shoulder and ride his hardtail over to his buddy’s house to carpool to the trail.
In this scenario, the duffle is the perfect size. It’s big enough to hold what you need, but not too much more. A road rider might be able to stuff enough clothing in it for a weekend trip, but unless you’re exceptional at packing light, you’d likely require a second bag to hold additional clothing. The duffle is a TSA approved size though, which will appeal to those that fly to events, as it would pair well with a small roller suit case or backpack.
On the bike
With all the reflective elements and waterproofing, it stands to reason the duffle is designed to be worn while riding, at least for short distances.
It doesn’t pair well if you’re already wearing a pack and trying to also carry a duffle, though on its own, the padded shoulder strap allowed it to be worn for short distances in relative comfort. That said, I wouldn’t want to go long distances with it unless I didn’t have other options.
So who’s the Refuge Waterproof duffle bag for? Roadies and cyclecrossers for sure, and roadies that mountain bike. (there’s a lot of those in Portland) Enthusiasts that need a weather resistant gear bag that pack light too.
Personally, I run on the overpacking side of the spectrum and tend to use oversized bags that let me pack too much. The feature packed Refuge has me hoping Showers Pass is planning to release a second, more spacious version with additional storage capacity, as they’re really onto something here.
The Showers Pass Refuge Waterproof Duffle Bag lists for $189.00. Check it out at ShowersPass.com
The Refuge Duffle Bag is part of the Shower Pass Cloudcover collection. Inga was featured as talent for the new Utility Waterproof Backpack video and the Transit Waterproof Backpack video – and took one home to test. Her review on the Transit Backpack will be posted tomorrow.