Ho-hum, yet another drybag review. Or so we thought, but then we unrolled the Ocoee duffel-style drybag from Watershed. Three things were immediately apparent: it was a really good-looking drybag, it was clearly high-quality construction, coated in polyurethane instead of cheaper and weaker PVC, and it had a nonstandard ziploc-style closure. OK, so maybe not just another drybag.
We first tried to pull it apart without reading the instructions. Wrong. The closure system, which they call ZipDry, is pretty damn tight. Looking at the very obvious instruction tag that we initially chose to ignore showed us the light: just clasp your hands together through the two loops and push/pull in opposite directions to make a little S-bend and it pops right open. Pretty clever, and bombproof to boot.
The ZipDry closure is a very cool feature, Navy-tested to be watertight to 100m, and it's a bit faster and significantly less bulky than traditional roll-top closures. That's not the only thing that sets Watershed drybags apart, and the more we learned the more impressed we became. Watershed has been around since 1995 and knows how to make a failsafe drybag because it makes them for the most demanding customers out there: military special operations units that need their gear to work under the most adverse conditions possible. And just to make their story even better, Watershed produces their products in the USA.
Watershed includes a sample of 303 Aerospace Protectant to lubricate and clean the ZipDry system. They also make a variety of useful accessories including shoulder straps. One very cool option not included on our model is an inflate/purge valve, which would allow you to blow into a tube to make the bag buoyant, useful for a flotation aid in a pinch.
The 9x16x8 inch Ocoee is their smallest duffel, and it's perfect for protecting just-in-case gear plus lunch and a few extras. Thanks to its small size and heavy-duty D-rings it will store pretty much anywhere and is easy to attach to a pack, bike or load-bearing animal. The padded handle is easy to grab and easy to hold, and the MILSPEC stitching means it will all stay in once piece no matter how much abuse you heap on it. The Ocoee is a fantastic small drybag that you'll find a thousand uses for, and the quality means it will be with you for a good long while. Note that Watershed also makes the Goforth, basically an Ocoee with a waist belt. We're psyched to try some of Watershed's larger models too; it's just a pleasure to find gear this well-made, and the fact that it's made in America clinches the deal.