We all know reviews are better when people have had a lot of use from products, but as this is a new product I personally couldn’t find much information on it, even from Osprey’s own wesbite. In their new range of washbags they have an option of 3, and I was deciding between two of them: the cheaper (£15) padded bag and the costlier (£24) zipped bag. Without many pictures or details of the inside, I went with the padded bag as it’s more like my previous washbag where everything is in one big compartment so you can take items out without opening and closing zippers constantly.
The zippered and rolled bags look useful for backcountry camping or where you need to hang the bag, but as I’ll mostly be staying in one place I went with the padded one that can stand on a surface. It also looks like it can fit normal size toiletries in, which will be useful when I need to restock on products. Pictures of the zippered and rolled ones don’t give a great indication of how big each compartment is, although they do look like a very useful bag.
So far I have used this washbag at home, camping wild on a microadventure, and on a weekend camping with use of a toilet block. Overall I like this product, but there are a few small annoyances, some of which I don’t think would’ve happened if I’d opted for the other washbags. I’d very much like to try out the others to see if they are better.
So let’s have a look at the features of the padded washbag:
Size & Shape
Online the maximum dimensions (mm) are given as 140 x 210 x 130, with an ultra light weight of 70g. The padding is on 3 and a half sides of the bag, or 4 sides if it’s not very full and it’s compressed completely. Sizing it up in mm doesn’t always give you a great idea of what would fit in it, so here’s a few pictures to show you what fits inside:
I like the cuboid shape of this bag as it would fit well in a bag with other cuboid organisers (like packing cubes), and is a lot less awkward than my old travel washbag. It was a fat triangular cylinder shape, so you had a big compartment where the flap would zip open and have a hook on the end. Very useful for using, but always awkward for packing.
There is one main compartment with a few smaller organisers inside. One side has a zippered mesh pocket that runs the length of the bag, which fits long slim items well, like a toothbrush or nail file. On the other side are two stretchy pockets, useful for smaller items you don’t want getting lost in the big compartment. In these I keep items like nail clippers, bobby pins, cotton buds, single contact lenses etc. If I’m going on a longer trip, I’ll take my box of contact lenses which fits inside the main bag nicely.
The main compartment is very spacious and can fit big items if you’re looking to maximise the available space. It would be more difficult to rummage through to find things at the bottom when full, and it’s this sort of instance where it looks like Osprey’s other washbags would be more useful, as everything would be in its own mini-compartment. When I had quite a few things in the main bag I found it more difficult to access the internal compartment to get to those things. When using it by a wash basin I simply emptied some of the bigger items, but this wouldn’t be as possible on open ground when camping.
The colour at the bottom of the bag is a light green which means it’s lighter inside so finding things is easier. There are an option of 3 colours for this bag: black/grey (like the one I have), a limey yellow and an orangy red.
One nice easy, ergonomic pull zipper closes this bag, with small fabric straps on either end to hold to aid zipping. These small straps would also be useful with a clip to attach the washbag to other things. Also there is a bigger strap on one side to use to carry the bag or yank it out from deep within your rucksack. The only slight annoyance I have is that I end up catching the big strap to open the bag, which doesn’t really work if the bag is quite empty, so I have to fiddle to make sure I’m holding the small strap.
One feature of the padded wahsbag over the other two is the StriahgtJacket (TM) compression system, to allow you to compress the bag to a smaller size if it’s not full. Something their website doesn’t show well is that there are clip attachments in two different places to secure the bag and compress it.
When the bag if full, or you don’t need to compress it much you use the clips at the top.
When the bag is emptier there are clips on the side of the bag, slightly hidden (presumably to keep it clean and tidy) to clip in to. A bit awkward to make sure the clips go in sometimes, but this is made up for by being able to compress the bag down. It works well generally, but not if there are odd-shaped bulky things inside. It does compress, but the bag then has an odd shape which may not be useful if trying pack in a small backpack to fit in with other square/rectanglular organisers (e.g. packing cubes)
The combination of zipper and clips means that if you’re in a hurry you don’t need to clip the bag shut, just zip it up and everything will stay in securely.
Using the bag
Overall this is an easy bag to use. It’s great for when you’re inside with normal bathroom facilities, but I’d consider other options if doing more hiking/camping trips. When I first got the bag the straps and extra top padding seemed to get in the way a bit, but this may be because it arrived in the post folded over. After a few weeks it doesn’t bother me, but it’s something I noticed at first.
I mostly use it at home, left unzipped in my bathroom, with room to rummage. I’ve used it outside once (on my recent microadventure), it did the job ok but I’d like to have had Osprey’s zippered one in this instance as there’s only the uneven ground to put the bag on, and I’d want my toiletries more organised.
As it’s a very simple design I think this bag would make a good general storage bag for travelling, as it’s a good size for smaller knick knacks that would be a faff to use with a packing cube. As the bag is compressible, you don’t need to fill it to make use of the cuboid shape. I find half-full packing cubes don’t organise well in a bag.
So there you have it; a basic look at Osprey’s new washbag, which I hope will help you if you’re considering buying it. If you have any questions about the product or would like to see other pictures, get in touch with me by e-mail or comment below.