Outdoor Research Beaker Review
Cons: Limited size options, less impressive construction
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Our Analysis and Test Results
We tested the Beaker as a 3-liter bag. It has a roll-top design, made of 40D siliconized ripstop nylon with PU coating and a plastic buckle. It features semi-translucent fabric and liter markings up the side.
The Beaker isn't rated to withstand submersions and is not recommended for protecting your electronics. We tried submerging it anyway for the sake of thorough testing, and were solidly impressed. It very slowly lets water trickle into the bag from the ends of the roll-top (faster when not packed full as a backstop for the seal), but nothing too crazy. Instead, it's very water-resistant. When sprayed with our high-pressure garden hose, the Beaker had no issues keeping contents completely dry. Water easily beads off of the siliconized nylon exterior for the first few minutes, and only after several minutes of continuous spraying did the fabric start to feel just a hint wet.
Ease of Use
The Beaker is a pretty standard dry bag with a simple roll-top, single clip, and cylindrical shape. The fabric is semi-translucent, allowing light inside the bag to make it easier to see your belongings. In the small, 3-liter size we tested, this simplicity is brainless to use (that's a good thing!). However, it lacks a few details that would make it even more user-friendly. First, it's rather tall and narrow, making it more difficult to see around your arm as you attempt to locate your lip balm buried at the bottom. Second, the clip used to secure it is an odd design with a thinner, more delicate shape, that is a little too easy to misalign. It also can get gummed up if wet sand becomes stuck in any of its numerous small crevices. And lastly, the Beaker has no additional attachment points for securing it to your bag or boat — no strap, lash loop, or D-ring. Still, if it's simplicity you crave, the Beaker has that.
As a simple model, the Beaker is rather "no-frills." Its few features are subtly worked in, including the light-permeable sides. It clearly states "Roll Me Three Times" across the top, helping you remember how to secure your items every time. It also has liter markings up the side, in the event you need to measure volumes of water. No additional straps, loops, rings, or other features adorn this straightforward dry sack. The Beaker succeeds at simplicity.
The body of the Beaker is 40D nylon, which is on the thin side of the models we tested. Yet, it's also both ripstop and siliconized, adding a little extra touch of toughness to this lightweight bag. The stitches are fully taped to keep them watertight. However, all stitches are single-stitched, without any reinforcements our doubling up that many of the beefier bags boast. We're not overly stoked on the clip either. Not only would a crack in the plastic force you to replace the entire bag, but this clip is thinner and flimsier than just about every other dry bag clip we tested. It doesn't take much effort to clip and unclip it, giving us little confidence in its ability to stay attached in the event it gets yanked on. It's also easily derailed by small grains of sand, as we previously mentioned, and easy to clip misaligned. To be clear, we had no issues with the Beaker during our testing; we're just not wowed by its construction through the lens of lasting for years of rugged outdoor adventures.
For a simple, lightweight dry bag, the Beaker is relatively inexpensive. If you value this level of simplicity and don't need the burliest, most waterproof bag around, this one may be just what you and your budget require.
The Outdoor Research Beaker is a very light dry bag with an overly simple design. Its semi-translucent sides let light through, and it comes in a few small sizes for staying organized and accompanying your shorter, less complicated adventures.
— Maggie Nichols
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