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#200961 - 05/12/18 04:26 AM Rolltop Closure vs Drawstring
Bill Kennedy Offline
member

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 81
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I'm finally getting around to making my new pack, and still considering design options.

Is there any real advantage to the rolltop drybag-style closure that's popular these days? Previously I've used a drawstring with a lid pocket. The lid pocket, made with light materials, weighs only 2 ounces, and the rolltop closure uses more material than the drawstring (plus the side release buckles) so I don't see any weight advantage. The rolltop is maybe a bit more water resistant,
but not waterproof on a backpack.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.

So far I've only made the hipbelt (see pic)


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#200962 - 05/12/18 08:57 AM Re: Rolltop Closure vs Drawstring [Re: Bill Kennedy]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1753
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
Bill, the only advantage of a roll top, aside from water resistance, is that one can roll it down tight on the pack contents. With a drawstring you don’t have the adjustable feature of an extension collar. OTOH, I find the drawstring more convenient when going after something in my pack. Six of one, half dozen of the other, I guess.
_________________________
May I walk in beauty.

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#200963 - 05/12/18 10:13 AM Re: Rolltop Closure vs Drawstring [Re: Pika]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1468
Loc: Southwest Ohio
This may be over-stating the obvious:

Depending on how long you make the roll top, it can give you the option of an extension sleeve for the times when your load is bulkier than normal. Of course, you can accomplish pretty much the same thing with a couple of lash points and a stuff sack.

Drawstring with lid pocket has the advantage of giving you someplace to store your maps, or first aid kit, or other small items where they’ll be handy as you hike.

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#200964 - 05/12/18 01:47 PM Re: Rolltop Closure vs Drawstring [Re: Bill Kennedy]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2925
Loc: Portland, OR
I've always favored the drawstring & lid configuration. The lid pocket just comes in handy for a few necessary items I want quick access to and the drawstring for the main compartment is both fast and easy. The presence of the extra collar material on a roll top just gets in the way for me and is more awkward to roll and unroll every blessed time I want into the main compartment. I use a dry-bag type of pack liner in wet weather.

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#200965 - 05/12/18 02:53 PM Re: Rolltop Closure vs Drawstring [Re: aimless]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6470
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
My backpack has a roll top, which I really like, but the closure is velcro, which I detest. I appreciate being able to adjust the pack to the volume of what's inside, especially since that changes over the course of a trip as I eat up the food. But the velcro closure keeps snagging Items going in and out of the pack. I've spent some thought on how to replace the velcro dry-bag style closure with a similar closure not having velcro, but never actually got to the point of doing something about it. My latest thought is to get a safety razor and shave off the sticky side.

Pack lids are the first thing I want to remove to make the pack lighter. And no closure is completely waterproof.

My pack has outside mesh pockets, big enough that I very rarely need to access the pack interior during the day.

I believe this thread demonstrates how each us has different ideas of how we want our packs to look. So the answer to the OP's question is YMMV and HYOH!


Edited by OregonMouse (05/12/18 02:59 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#200966 - 05/13/18 03:04 PM Re: Rolltop Closure vs Drawstring [Re: OregonMouse]
Bill Kennedy Offline
member

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 81
Loc: Portland, Oregon
You're right, of course. I tend to obsess a bit over every little detail. I'm afflicted with what I think of as Gear Refinement Syndrome, or maybe Gear Refinement Disorder at times. That's a subject for another post, I suppose. I keep being drawn back to the pack design I've used before rather than trying something new.

The velcro seems unnecessary and I can see that it would snag on things. I would think just something to stiffen it a little would work as well.

Your comment about "how we want our packs to look" reminded me that although looks shouldn't matter, they creep into our decisions. I suspect that's the reason why external pockets have disappeared from packs.

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#200967 - 05/13/18 03:09 PM Re: Rolltop Closure vs Drawstring [Re: Bill Kennedy]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6470
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Quote:
I tend to obsess a bit over every little detail. I'm afflicted with what I think of as Gear Refinement Syndrome, or maybe Gear Refinement Disorder at times.


Been there, done that! lol
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#200982 - 05/15/18 05:43 AM Re: Rolltop Closure vs Drawstring [Re: Bill Kennedy]
Alf Offline
member

Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 43
Loc: London, UK.
Originally Posted By Bill Kennedy
I'm finally getting around to making my new pack, and still considering design options.

Is there any real advantage to the rolltop drybag-style closure that's popular these days? Previously I've used a drawstring with a lid pocket. The lid pocket, made with light materials, weighs only 2 ounces, and the rolltop closure uses more material than the drawstring (plus the side release buckles) so I don't see any weight advantage. The rolltop is maybe a bit more water resistant,
but not waterproof on a backpack.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.

So far I've only made the hipbelt (see pic)



Rolltop closure packs can be guaranteed to be 100% waterproof, not just water resistant...Like my Mountain Hardware Scrambler RT35 Outdry...You only have to roll it down a couple of turns, lock the buckles and you could go swimming with it, yet everything inside would stay perfectly dry. You simply can't get that level of waterproofness with a draw cord closure with a lid.

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#200983 - 05/15/18 05:57 AM Re: Rolltop Closure vs Drawstring [Re: OregonMouse]
Alf Offline
member

Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 43
Loc: London, UK.
Originally Posted By OregonMouse
My backpack has a roll top, which I really like, but the closure is velcro, which I detest. I appreciate being able to adjust the pack to the volume of what's inside, especially since that changes over the course of a trip as I eat up the food. But the velcro closure keeps snagging Items going in and out of the pack. I've spent some thought on how to replace the velcro dry-bag style closure with a similar closure not having velcro, but never actually got to the point of doing something about it. My latest thought is to get a safety razor and shave off the sticky side.

Pack lids are the first thing I want to remove to make the pack lighter. And no closure is completely waterproof.

My pack has outside mesh pockets, big enough that I very rarely need to access the pack interior during the day.

I believe this thread demonstrates how each us has different ideas of how we want our packs to look. So the answer to the OP's question is YMMV and HYOH!


Thats odd...My Mountain Hardware Scrambler RT35 Outdry backpack does not have Velcro on the rolltop. By the way, how many different ways can you close your rolltop? I can buckle it closed in at least three different configurations. 1) Roll down and buckle together towards the front (I never do this as the buckles would probably dig into my neck when I'm walking). 2) Roll down and buckle together towards the back (I rarely do this as it just looks silly to me). 3) Roll down and buckle down to the two matching side straps which come up from the bottom of the pack on each side...This is not only the neatest looking option, but it also allows you to cinch down the top of the pack to make it even neater looking and remove any dead space inside.

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#200988 - 05/15/18 02:18 PM Re: Rolltop Closure vs Drawstring [Re: Alf]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2925
Loc: Portland, OR
You simply can't get that level of waterproofness with a draw cord closure with a lid.

Ordinary dry bags are cheaper and much simpler to make than putting shoulder straps, waist belts and assorted other attachment points on a dry bag. All those attachments to the bag just create extra opportunities for failures.

You can get the same amount of waterproofness just by using a regular dry-bag as a pack liner inside a drawstring-closure pack. You can also get perfectly adequate waterproofness just by using a contractor's trash bag as a pack liner to keep everything inside your main compartment dry, provided you don't submerse your pack. They are very cheap and work well.

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#200989 - 05/15/18 03:37 PM Re: Rolltop Closure vs Drawstring [Re: aimless]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1468
Loc: Southwest Ohio
What follows is not a rule; it only reflects my own experience, and is not intended to prove anything or “solve” the discussion.

In my own 35 years of experience in the woodlands of the eastern USA, I’ve never relied on anything beyond the pack’s own integrity and a pack cover for waterproofing. I’ve used cheap packs (Texsport, an 80s version of whatever WalMart sells these days), Dana, Gregory, Lowe, Osprey, Granite Gear, and Deuter, with a variety of roll-tops and drawstring tops (with and without lids.) I’ve hiked in some day-long, boot-squelching, no-raingear-works hard rains, and I’ve never once had any problem whatsoever with anything in my pack getting wet. Not even a little. The pack itself got wet, sure - on the shoulder straps, hipbelt, and other areas not covered by the pack cover. But inside the pack, never a problem.

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#200991 - 05/16/18 05:23 AM Re: Rolltop Closure vs Drawstring [Re: aimless]
Alf Offline
member

Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 43
Loc: London, UK.
Originally Posted By aimless
You simply can't get that level of waterproofness with a draw cord closure with a lid.

Ordinary dry bags are cheaper and much simpler to make than putting shoulder straps, waist belts and assorted other attachment points on a dry bag. All those attachments to the bag just create extra opportunities for failures.

You can get the same amount of waterproofness just by using a regular dry-bag as a pack liner inside a drawstring-closure pack. You can also get perfectly adequate waterproofness just by using a contractor's trash bag as a pack liner to keep everything inside your main compartment dry, provided you don't submerse your pack. They are very cheap and work well.


True, but dry-bags add weight, and weight is the enemy of the hiker. The trash bag idea isn't bad though as they can be pretty lightweight, but as you say, if your pack gets immersed it's pretty much useless. Before I bought my backpack I read a review for the Scrambler RT35 written by a kayaker, who had thrown his dry clothing and gear in one, rolled it down and buckled it shut, tied it to his kayak via a rope and simply let it drag behind him in the water, for several hours whilst he got on having fun in his kayak. He said that when he ended the trip, and opened up his RT35, everything inside was still bone dry...Now whilst I am not planning on following his lead, the fact I know a particular backpack can keep all of it's contents dry, even when fully immersed for hours, was enough for me to be convinced I should shortlist it as a possible candidate. But what finally convinced me to buy one was a video I found on youtube, where some dutch guy put a switched on laptop into his RT35, put it on and then deliberately fell backwards into a canal. He swam around for a bit before climbing back out, then he opened the RT35, pulled out the laptop and showed to the camera that it was still totally dry, still on and still fully working! So yes, I agree you can go the drybag route if you wish, but most drybags add weight, as do waterproof backpack covers, so simply buying the waterproof backpack can mean a lighter base weight and give you greater peace of mind too.

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#201010 - 05/18/18 09:35 PM Re: Rolltop Closure vs Drawstring [Re: Bill Kennedy]
wgiles Offline
member

Registered: 05/19/14
Posts: 150
Loc: Central Illinois near Springfi...
I've made both roll top and drawstring packs. They are both relatively easy to make. For the roll top, you need something stiff, but flexible to hold the shape. I use plastic banding, but have also cut strips out of thin flexible plastic. I don't use velcro, but just add grosgrain webbing to the tops and use side release buckles to hold the top closed. I find that I use roll tops on large packs and drawstrings on daypacks. I don't generally worry about compression on my daypacks, so the drawstring is more convenient. I prefer simple construction for my large packs and roll tops make volume adjustment easier. My simplest large pack is a dry bag sandwiched between an external frame and a compression panel.

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