Patagonia Disperser 40L Roll top waterproof backpack

Gear Review: The Patagonia Disperser Waterproof Backpack

I’d been shopping around for a waterproof backpack ever since I took a spill a few months ago, soaking everything in my bag. When the black version of the Patagonia Disperser went on sale, I snagged one before they all sold out. I’ll be honest from the outset, while this is an amazing bag, it makes sense that they stopped making the black version; it’s basically a giant black hole, and seeing small items inside without a flashlight is nearly impossible.
Patagonia never disappoints when it comes to outdoor gear, and the Disperser bag is no exception. It’s built tough with materials that can stand up to whatever Mother Nature throws our way. While the bag is marketed as “water resistant” I think that’s more of a liability claim than anything, because for most intents and purposes, this bag is waterproof. Sure, it’s not submersible, but you can totally wear it a full day’s fishing in the rain, and everything inside will stay dry (as long as you use the roll top correctly).

Besides the functionality of the bag, what really got me hooked is the comfort and fit. You know how it is, long hikes to our secret fishing spots can be a bit demanding, but with this pack on my back, it’s like gliding on water. The padded shoulder straps and back panel are like a warm embrace, giving that extra support we need when we’ve got all our gear on board. And don’t even get me started on the adjustable sternum strap and hip belt – they just make it feel like the pack was custom-made for me.

When it comes to storage, the Disperser bag reels in all the points. With a spacious 40-liter capacity, it swallows up my waders, boots, vest, and even leaves room for a trusty rain jacket. The internal organizer pockets real godsend, with one of them being removable and able to attach to the outside of the bag for easy access. The back panel and shoulder straps are hydrophobic, so when they do get wet, they don’t stay wet for long, a nice touch!
The Disperser bag is tailored for fly fishing aficionados. The rod tube holder on the side is a welcome feature, securely cradling our prized fly rods while we hike to our favorite fishing haunts. There’s also a slot on both the left and right side to keep your net easy to grab at a moment’s notice. Showcasing Patagonia’s ingenuity, they’ve made sure that their Convertible Vest attaches to the straps so you can get the benefits of a backpack and a fishing vest. While I’ll use this primarily for fly fishing trips, I could also see this becoming my go-to bag for family beach and boat trips, as well as biking or walking in the rain.

As I’m sure you know, Patagonia knows a thing or two about being eco-conscious, and this bag is no exception. Made from “sturdy 100% recycled nylon fabric and webbing and 100% recycled polyester back panel and lining” the Disperser gives you peace of mind knowing you’re doing your job to help the environment while keeping your gear dry. On top of that, the bag is also “Fair Trade Certified™ sewn, which means the people who made it earned a premium for their labor.”

If you’re looking for similar waterproof bags, there are lots of great alternatives, like the Orvis Pro Waterproof Rolltop and 30L Backpack, the Patagonia Guidewater, and the Simms Dry Creek Z.

So, there you have it – the Patagonia 40L Disperser bag, a worthy companion for us fly fishermen and women. With its sturdy build, thoughtful design, and all the angler-specific features, it’s like having a trusty fishing buddy by your side. If you’re looking to elevate your fishing experience and take on the waters like a seasoned pro, this pack is your best bet. Tight lines, and dry gear!

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