What happens when surf meets dry land? The Finisterre 40L duffel bag is the lovechild of high-end surf brand Finisterre and Ortileb, purveyors of roll-top, copper-bottomed (figuratively) drybag-type devices. But is this a collaboration built on sand? Read on for our full Finisterre duffel bag review.
The result is at first glance a standard ballistic nylon 40 litre duffle bag, and that’s exactly what this is, but with a few neat touches that really elevate it. They also elevate the price too, to about the £130 mark, which is fairly salty – appropriately for a premium surf brand.
So what are the exciting bits? Well, on the outside you’ll notice robust hook and stud fastenings at each end, which compress the volume of the bag, ideal for sneaking it onto planes as carry-on luggage. These hooks are easily operated with one hand, and feel like they’ll take serious abuse too.
Then the main zip draws the eye. None of your budget zip here, this is seriously beefy, and bonded to the ballistic nylon with a robust strip of rubber. In many ways this is the most important bit of the bag, as it’s the difficult bit to waterproof. However, with Ortilebs name on it and a construction of industrial proportions, this is highly likely to stand the test of time – it’s more akin to a drysuit zip than a suitcase one. There’s even a small steel cable at the closed end so you can lock the bag shut, ideal for those causal theft paranoia moments. There’s a set of daisychains so you can lash the bag down too, a nice touch.
We took it on a carry-on only city break, where the utilitarian design raised no eyebrows at all, and on a climbing trip to Chamonix, neither of which bothered the bag in the slightest. Being able to lock valuables in the bag for slightly enhanced security in a valley campsite on the latter was a real plus, and in spite of the 40L maximum size not even the hawks of EasyJet complained about it as carryon.
Other neat touches abound, the base is covered in more thick rubber lamination to shrug off airport floors and gravel alike, the double straps can be used like a rucksack or slung over one shoulder, and there are two neat internal sealed pockets for stuff you want to stay very dry. All seams have been high-frequency welded in East Germany rather than cheaply bonded in China.
Overall it’s a fantastic duffel bag for general use, whether climbing or globe-trotting, and that’s a pretty awesome thing.
The new-for-2016 Finisterre duffel bag blue version is available now from Finisterre.com. The older black version is £134.96 from Blackleaf, while the red version is in the Finisterre sale at the absolute bargain price of £90 – grab a bargain in any colour!