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Colfax Design Works Project TOAD 65 Liter Drybag: A Fully Waterproof Duffel That Doubles as a Backpack

Colfax Design Works is a soft goods designer that creates durable products for diverse environments. All their products are made in the USA to lessen the carbon footprint. They make products for adventure travel, and their primary offering is the Project TOAD (tactical operations amphibious drybags) 65-liter drybag.

I’ve been testing the TOAD drybag for the past month. It’s a technical, fully waterproof bag made of durable materials, with removable backpack straps and an airtight zipper. I’ve taken this bag on the river, lashed it to my roof rack on a rainy afternoon, and filled it with gear before tossing it in my trunk many times.

It is made of TPU-coated 500 denier Cordura nylon with radio frequency welded seams. The thick Cordura material is durable and gives the bag some rigidity, so it doesn’t sag while you’re wearing it. The TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) coating further stiffens the material and makes it extremely waterproof. The RF welds are watertight and durable. It also has a burly YKK waterproof zipper that runs diagonally across the back of the bag.

These elements combine to create an extremely waterproof bag. The drybag is waterproof rated to IPX7, which means it’s fully submergible up to 1 meter for 30 minutes. I tested this out by dunking it in a river. By this point in the testing process, I was pretty sure my gear would stay dry since I’d been wearing it as a backpack in the rain all day, but I wanted to be positive.

This bag is so waterproof it’s difficult to submerge at all. If you pack it as you usually would, there will be air in the bag that makes it float. Using the buoyancy control valve, you can remove all the air to make the bag sink. After removing the air, I fully submerged the bag. All my gear stayed dry.

The buoyancy control valve works well, but I found that the bag is so large it takes a while to remove all the air. This is the same if you’re trying to inflate the bag to make it float more. It takes a lot of patience, as you’d expect when blowing up a 65-liter balloon.

The backpack straps are removable on this bag, too. I most often found myself using this bag to store gear I wanted to ensure stayed dry. The backpack straps get in the way when using this bag as a carry-all duffel of the zipper. Once I removed the straps, I did miss the versatility of wearing it as a backpack to carry away from the trailhead. I ultimately learned to live with pushing the straps aside when digging around in the bag.

With regular use, this drybag should float if it happens to fall into the water. I found it difficult to pack this full enough to make it sink, but if you’re carrying something like heavy camera equipment, I suspect it would sink.

The zipper can dig into your back while wearing the Project TOAD Drybag as a backpack, though. I thought it would be more irritating than it was, but the zipper pull sits high enough on the back panel and off to the side, so the most potentially annoying part of the zipper doesn’t rub on your back. I wouldn’t want to wear this as a backpack for hours at a time, especially when walking, but it’s not a dealbreaker, either.

$500 | Colfaxdesignworks.com

For further details, visit Colfaxdesignworks.com.

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Sam Schild is a writer and outdoor adventurer based in the American West. His first outdoor love was adventure travel by bike. After a 7,000-mile bicycle tour ended at the Pacific Ocean, he confirmed he needed to make the West his home and moved to Colorado over a decade ago. He’s kept the adventures going: bikepacking the Kokopelli Trail and Colorado Trail multiple times; bikepacking countless other bike routes across the Southwest; thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Grand Enchantment Trail; and more. He camps in his converted Honda Element, which serves as a basecamp for the next adventure. And if he’s not out somewhere, he’s scheming where to go next. IG: @Sia_lizard.