Carrying the right bag with you on an adventure trip is nearly as important as what you put inside of it. Typically, we look for something that is durable and versatile, while still allowing me to travel light and fast. Generally, that means a backpack, although we often travel with a duffel bag instead depending on the style of the trip. Recently, we had the opportunity to carry the Westwater Rolling Carry On from Fishpond with us on a trip and found that it not only met our fairly stringent criteria, but managed to exceed our expectations in many ways.
Features of the Fishpond Westwater Rolling Carry On
The first thing that struck us about the Westwater was just how rugged and durable it was. Built from Fishpond's proprietary recycled 420d TPU fabrics called CLYCLEPOND, this bag feels like it could be taken into just about any environment, and come out looking practically brand new. Those same fabrics give this duffle a measure of water resistance that isn't found in most other bags, allowing the Westwater to seamlessly transition from the airport to a fishing boat or surf camp without missing a blink.
Fishpond, which is primarily known as a company that makes gear for anglers, also installed a hefty dose of ruggedness into the wheels that are found on this bag as well. The wheels on any piece of luggage are often something you don't really think about unless they aren't adequate to the job or start to fall apart halfway through your trip. But the Westwater has a small set of wheels that are incredibly durable, and when paired with the telescoping handle, manage to keep the bag rolling along at a brisk pace on both smooth surfaces and rough ground.
Of course, if you prefer not to roll with this bag, it can also be carried like a standard duffle, or better yet, slung over your shoulders like a backpack. Fishpond has cleverly included a set of tuck-away shoulder straps, which come in very handy when carrying a heavy load over a longer distance. This level of versatility in how the Westwater can be used for transporting gear is much appreciated, particularly when transitioning to different types of environments.
Inside, this duffle offers a voluminous main chamber that offers more than 53 liters of carrying capacity. That's enough to store just about everything you could need for a week-long excursion to just about anywhere on the planet. And since the bag is so resistant to the elements, you can bet that your important items will be well protected along the way. In fact, other than becoming completely submerged in water, we can't imagine a scenario where the interior of this bag would get wet. That makes it a great choice for any type of trip where water or heavy rain could be involved.
Other than the main chamber, there is really only one other storage pocket on this bag. It comes in the form of an interior pocket made from water-resistant, transparent plastic. This is the perfect place to store a smartphone, passport, or other important documents that you want to keep organized and close at hand. Being able to see what exactly is in that pocket is a nice addition as well, saving you time when you're searching for something specific.
While we would have liked to have seen a smaller organizational pocket on the outside of the bag as well, such an addition may have compromised the water resistance of the pack. Given the choice of one or the other, we think Fishpond made the right decision by opting to make this bag as water proof as possible, even if it came at the expense of additional storage options.
Our only other gripe with this bag is that it is a bit on the heavy side. This is understandable considering it is made of thick, water-resistant fabrics and includes a durable mechanism for rolling it through the airport. But the weight of those items adds up quickly, and as a result, the Westwater duffle tips the scale at 5.75 pounds before you even place anything inside of it. When compared to something like Osprey's Atmos 50 backpack, which offers a similar carrying capacity, the Westwater weighs more than a pound and a half more. Of course, the backpack needs to have a rain cover added to it to even begin to come close to the level of water resistance that the duffle offers, but that is a relatively lightweight addition.
The Westwater does have yet another nice feature up its sleeve that frequent travelers will certainly appreciate as well. It is small enough to be considered a carry-on bag by most major airlines and can fit in the overhead compartment of all but the smallest of aircraft. For those of us who don't like to check our bags, that's a big bonus, as other wheeled duffels that we have traveled with certainly can't achieve this same feat.
With a price tag of $240, the Westwater is no small investment. But if you're a traveler who appreciates the versatility that it brings to the table, and needs a bag that provides a high degree of water resistance, this is a fantastic option. And since it is incredibly tough and durable, it'll likely accompany you on many adventures to come. That's exactly what you're looking for when investing your hard-earned money.