A good weatherproof duffel is one of those pieces of gear that every outdoor enthusiast and adventure traveler should always have at his or her disposal. Whether you’re heading to the beach, spending the day surfing, or exploring a river by kayak, keeping your clothes, valuable electronics, and other important items safe and dry is always a major concern. Thankfully, there are some excellent options to choose from, including the new CFS Duffel from Stio, which is rugged, spacious, and built for use in wet conditions.
Available in both 40-liter and 75-liter capacities (along with a similarly designed backpack), the CFS Duffel is made from 600-denier polyester that has been treated with a TPU coating and a DWR (durable-water repellant) finish. What does that all mean for you and me? In a nutshell, that means the bag is built from materials that are meant to take a beating in the outdoors and they are completely waterproof too. So much so in fact, that Stio claims that the CFS Duffel is completely airtight, keeping everything inside well protected from the elements.
We’ve had the chance to test out the 40-liter version of the duffel and came away quite impressed. The bag’s build quality is top notch, with fully-welded seams, water-resistant zippers, and storm flaps for added protection from the elements. All of that adds up to a duffel that will indeed keep moisture at bay, even in extremely wet environments. But to truly put it to the test, we loaded up with some gear, tossed it in the shower, and turned the water on. After 20 minutes, the outside of the bag was thoroughly doused, but the inside – and all of its contents – remained completely dry.
Stio has given the CFS Duffel an extra-wide opening to allow better access the interior. This comes in handy not only when you’re loading it up at home, but when you have to find something stored inside while on the road too. Some manufacturers haven’t quite figured out how to keep their bags dry while also providing good access, and as a result you often end up having to take things out in order to find the one thing that you’re looking for. That isn’t the case here. It’s a breeze to sift through your items and the large opening doesn’t compromise the primary duty of the CFS, which is to keep your gear dry.
The duffel comes with a removable padded shoulder strap that clips quickly and easily into the bag’s aluminum D-rings. The strap is comfortable to use, even when the CFS is loaded down with a lot of equipment. Padded grab handles on either side make it easy to lug the duffel around when the shoulder strap is inconvenient, but I would have liked to have seen a bit more space between those handles and the bag itself. My hand felt a bit claustrophobic using them, and while the handles are certainly functional, they could be a tad more comfortable when carrying a heavy load.
The 40-liter version of the bag is surprisingly large. Stio says that it is the right size for a day out on the water, but I feel there is enough room inside to use it as an overnight bag or even a weekender, provided you know how to pack light. The CFS can swallow up a lot of gear, making it a good choice for travelers too. But those who need more storage always have the option to upgrade to the 75-liter model as well.
In addition to the main compartment, the bag also features an exterior zipped pocket that is completely waterproof, and an interior zipped mesh compartment that comes in handy when trying to stay organized too. We like to place small items – such as chargers, USB cables, and a headlamp – in that space so that everything is easy to find when it’s needed. Those are the types of things that can easily get lost in the main compartment.
Rugged, durable, and completely waterproof, the Stio CFS Duffels make the perfect travel companion for anyone who finds themselves in, around, or on the water often. The 40-liter version sells for $200, while the 75-liter model is just $25 more. If you’re taking an extended trip, it is definitely worth upgrading to the larger duffel, but otherwise you’ll probably find the 40-liter edition serves you quite well.
If you’re planning a spring paddling excursion or simply need a waterproof bag to take with you on your adventures, give these duffels a look. You can find out more at stio.com.