A while ago Ortlieb provided me with a free Gear-Pack for testing. The Gear-Pack is nice for single-day trips or as a carry-on bag when flying with the plane.
However, for multi-day trips, I needed a solution where I have lots of space since I usually carry lots of gear (including photo equipment) with me and after browsing a while on the Ortlieb website I found the Big-Zip 140L.
The Ortlieb Big-Zip comes with a TIZIP which is produced in Germany as well which is waterproof and pressure-resistant. There is also a handle on the end of the zipper to assist in closing the bag.
Within the bag, you can find two tightening straps which are very useful when you want to close the bag with the zipper. It probably also protects the zipper a bit from pressure.
The Ortlieb Big-Zip is made of tough welded fabric PD620 which makes the bag quite durable. The bag is also quite light with its 1595 grams for the 140 liters model.
How to carry the Big-Zip
The Ortlieb Big-Zip can be carried in different ways. You can either use the padded carrier handles to carry it, you can carry it over the shoulder, or just like a backpack.
Advantages and Disadvantages
I like the color of the Ortlieb Big-Zip. The bright yellow color makes it easy to spot the bag when you have to pick it up after the flight. But it’s also a nice color for taking pictures (at least from my point of view). Moreover, it fits the color of my packraft and my Ortlieb Gear-Pack.
The main advantage of the Big-Zip 140L from my point of view as a packrafter is that its 140 liters offer plenty of space, is light, and can be folded together easily to fit into the cargo fly of my packraft. Moreover, it is waterproof like all the other Ortlieb gear. I would also say that the design of the bag is a bit minimalistic which helps to keep things simple but also to have fewer attachment points where the bag can get stuck.
If I could think of one disadvantage to use this bag as a backpack then it would be the missing hip belt if I would compare it to a backpack. However, the Big-Zip was probably not designed to be a backpack as such and it also makes the bag more lightweight and keeps the footprint small. A small inner pocket would be nice to store small items such as keys or coins.
The perfect Ortlieb bag setup
However, if I could choose for my perfect Ortlieb set-up then I would probably go for the Big-Zip 140L and the Ortlieb Attrack backpack since it can be opened like the Big-Zip and this makes it much easier just to throw in and search for gear.
For longer trips, where I don’t want to carry the Big-Zip with me on-site I would probably prefer to take the Ortlieb Duffle RS with me which comes with wheels. Especially when you have to carry your Big-Zip over long distances you might feel the difference of having tires over carrying the bag.