Wednesday, 25 July 2018 10:48

Red Original Watertight Cool Bag tested and reviewed

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 Designed to be 100% dry, with easy access, the Red Original Watertight Cool Bag is marketed with adventures on the water in mind, but it's far more than a dry bag replacement for water sports enthusiasts.

The seriously durable fabrics and the rigid construction make the Cool Box a natural choice for transporting a range of products across multiple activites. As it's totally waterproof once zipped close it's ideal for transporting vulnerable products from phones to DSLRs when not needed as a coolbox - very useful in the present heatwave.

What the manufacturers say:

Adventures can be lost or made with a cold beer so why leave it to chance? We found that when heading out for a mini adventure, every cool bag on the market didn't meet our standards to create the ultimate experience, so we made our own. 

With thermal lock insulation delivering remarkable insulating capabilities we found that we can keep our drinks colder for much, much longer. We wanted to not only be able to keep water out incase we had food in there but keep water in to stop ice leaking over car boots. With YKK's AquaSeal zipper and Armour Tech waterproof fabric the bag more than delivers in being completely water-tight. 

We also found it difficult to secure other bags to our boards so developed our luggage tensioning system which securely attaches the bag to the deck of boards and stops them from moving around. Now due to it's lightweight but super tough construction, we can take up to 54 ice cold cans with us, where ever the adventure maybe!


  1. YKK Aquaseal Zip: Totally waterproof zip which wont corrode or fail
  2. Luggage Tensioning System: Attach the bag directly to the deck of your board without fear of it moving around or falling off
  3. Thermal-Lock Insulation: Closed cell non-absorbent insulation keeps contents properly hot or cold for longer than you thought possible
  4. Premium high density waterproof fabric: Provides ultimate durability and traction on your deck through reinforced base. 
  5. Adjustable Shoulder strap: Takes the hassle out of carrying and connects to the side d-rings
  6. Expandable exterior pockets: Store a paddle cap, sun cream or other paddling essentials
  7. Wave webbing daisy chain: Perfect for attaching almost any additional kit using carabiner or bungee including the the Red Original Dry Pouch
  8. Reinforced carry handles: Designed so you can carry heavy loads with ease or with a friend/partner. 

Red Original Watertight Cool Bag reviewed:

We absolutely adore products that have multiple purposes and the Red Original Watertight Cool Bag definitely falls into this category.

The suitability for watersports is absolutely clear from its 100% waterproof construction and zip to the multiple options for attaching to a SUP or kayak, but out of the water it's equally impressive. Available in 18 and 30 litre capacities the rigid nature of the Cool Bag really maximises this capacity when compared to a traditional softbag. Add in the external pockets and multiple attachment points and you're probably looking at an additional 5 litres plus..

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Being a totally sealed box once the zip's closed the Watertight Cool Bag is ideal on and off the water and in testing we've used it for everything from carrying camera gear for lakeside and river shots to using it as a cool box in the micro-campervan and festivals. While the ability to attach the bag to a board or kayak is an integral part of the design it's also designed for easy carrying on land with a set of grab handles and an optional shoulder strap. The attachment points for the shoulder strap are one of the first visual indications of the build quality of the Cool Bag, and the serious action it's likely to get.

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The construction and materials chosen are indicative that this is a seriously durable alternative to a "soft" bag, but also allows the bag to truly multitask. Where some similar products may have a couple of thin handles the Red Original offering has substantial handles with a classic, vecro-backed,  centre-piece to provide a comfortable carrying grip.

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If there's a drawback to this robust construction it's the zip but it's a compromise that's well worth it. Because the zip's so heavyweight and chunky it can be hard to zip and unzip around the curved corners which can be a bit irritating in a sudden downpour but after a few practice goes you can easily find a system of holding the top edge with one hand while moving the gripper with the other hand. The return for having such a heavyweight zip is the fact it makes a fully waterproof seal and the zippers are very easy to locate and grab. A double zipper would be easier for opening and closing but would compromise the waterproof seal.

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What's been particularly rewarding, however, has been using the Red Original Cool Bag as a cool-box in a small campervan. The thick walls of the bag and their rigity provide decent levels of insulation and with a couple of ice packs it's proved its worth as a campervan coolbox repeatedly. Throw in a couple of ice-packs and you get a good 8-12 hours before the internal temperatre starts to rise and at least a day at acceptable temperatures. Use "industrial" strength ice packs used for transatlantic organ-donation flights and you'll get an extended weekend's use.

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With an RRP of £160 it's expensive for a soft cool bag, but in reality performs more like a solid cool box than a bag. In fact it's more of a box than a bag. The carrying handles and shoulder strap make transporting it simple and the rigity and padding make it far more protective than a fabric bag but without the weight of a solid box. Throw in the watersports options and the ease of secure attachment to water craft and it's a serious upgrade. Add the ability to use it as a watertight transporter bag and it becomes a true multitasking, multi-activity, product that we'll be using for years. There are cheaper products out there but as a cool bag alone it's worth the extra; as a watertight cool bag that's as efficient as many powered, solid, boxes it's a nobrainer addition to your travel kit.