Patagonia Disperser Roll Top 40 – Mostly Waterproof Adventure pack

Drew Thayer

The Patagonia Disperser Roll Top 40 water-resistant pack was released in 2021 aimed at fly fishing enthusiasts. Most of my fly fishing is done with just a fanny pack, but a burly, mostly-waterproof 40-liter pack has come in handy for a variety of activities, especially skiing.

Patagonia Disperser Roll Top 40 - Mostly Waterproof Adventure pack 6Patagonia Disperser Roll-Top Pack 40L


Patagonia Disperser Roll Top 40 review

Almost waterproof – just not a drybag


Calling this pack “water resistant” is a little modest; the polyurethane-coated nylon (100% recycled!) is a really burly fabric that is absolutely waterproof AND factory seam taped. You can set it down in a deep puddle and the contents will stay dry. You can wear it in heavy rain, and as long as you roll the top sufficiently you’re good to go. I note this because the fabric is so stiff it’s hard to really get it to roll tight and flat like a dry-bag, especially if it’s pretty full. That said, as long as you get two rolls in before clipping the top closed, it will keep rain out, even hard driving thunderstorm rain. So I consider this pack to be waterproof – just not a drybag, i.e. you don’t want your clothes in it on a rafting trip. 

Patagonia Disperser Roll Top 40 - Mostly Waterproof Adventure pack 7
I’ve been toting my nordic ski gear around in this bag all winter. The stiff, open-top bag makes it simple to keep my boots, gloves, jackets, food, sunscreen etc in one place, and I can rummage around easily to grab items that make their way to the bottom. Being able to set it down anywhere is nice when wrangling the kid in icy parking lots.


Simple, comfortable design


This pack is very simple. It’s a big open-top rubberized nylon sack with shoulder straps, a padded back, a handle, and a basic interior organizer that holds small items like a wallet, energy bar, etc. The material is pretty stiff so the pack tends to hold its shape; this means it doesn’t collapse very well, but it’s pretty easy to rummage through it and find things, which I like. Patagonia claims that the shoulder straps and back pad are non-absorbent. Sure, they hold a little water if they sit out in the rain, but they do drain and dry much faster than most backpack straps. Overall, this pack is really comfortable to carry with weight for a near-waterproof rubber sack – a good bit more comfortable than most dry bags I’ve schlepped. Patagonia Disperser Roll Top 40


Exterior strap options, especially for fly fishing


Patagonia clearly designed this to take on additional equipment strapped to the outside. Notably, it comes with two rubber straps that are ready to accept a standard fishing rod case, and it’s also compatible with their Convertible Vest and Wader Work Station, so for gear-intensive anglers this pack is ready to plug-and-play with a full-featured integrated system. There’s also a slot behind the padded back panel they call a “net scabbard” which carries a standard landing net comfortably. 


For other external carry uses, it’s nice to see that all the external webbing hard-points are really well reinforced, so I wouldn’t hesitate to strap a good amount of weight to them – the bag can handle it. There is a single strap with a strong slide buckle that closes over the top; I’ve strapped a climbing rope under this a few times and it carried well. 

Patagonia Disperser Roll Top 40 - Mostly Waterproof Adventure pack 8
With all the day’s toys, bottles, books, and snacks in a waterproof roll-top bag, I have less to worry about when afternoon thundershowers take us by surprise.


How I use it

OK, so I’m just not a good enough fisherman to get out in rivers with waders and a vest yet (besides, I do a good amount of my fishing wearing an Osprey kid carry backpack – call it daddy day care). How do I use this Disperser backpack? Turns out having a burly, mostly-waterproof utility sack is pretty useful. 


It’s been my go-to bag for carrying downhill and nordic ski gear to resorts – set it down in muddy parking lot puddles, no problem! I took my son to visit the river a lot early last fall when we had thunderstorms rolling through most afternoons, and it was great to have the toys, bottles, snacks etc in a waterproof bag so I didn’t have to care about anything when the rain came other than where he was. I carried my climbing gear a few times when we knew we’d be likely hiking out in the rain. I’m also going to use it as a gear bag on mellow river floats this summer. As long as we don’t anticipate flipping (definitely not with a 2-year old), this should handle any amount of splashing or dragging through muddy shallows. 


Bottom Line

Durable, burly bag made of waterproof coated nylon and closed with a stiff roll-top closure, this is essentially a waterproof bag that’s comfortable to carry – just can’t be submerged like a drybag. Integrates with Patagonia’s high-end fishing vest and work station. At this high price point, it’s a good choice for avid fisherman who want the integrated system, or folks who have a lot of use for a waterproof utility bag for rain, mud, and boats. 


Patagonia Disperser Roll Top 40 - Mostly Waterproof Adventure pack 9Patagonia Disperser Roll-Top Pack 40L



Drew Thayer

Patagonia Disperser Roll Top 40 - Mostly Waterproof Adventure pack 10

Drew’s love of gear is born from his life-long obsession with human-powered adventure in the mountains. On foot, on ski, on bike, and on the steep rocks, he loves exploring Colorado’s mountains through each season.
Drew brings a technical eye to gear — he’s a data scientist with a Masters’ degree in Geophysics and loves to understand the design and engineering make great gear what it is. He’s also worked in the field for many years — as a wilderness therapy field guide and a Geophysicist — and knows a thing or two about function and durability of technical equipment.
Drew tests gear in real mountain conditions, on overnight ventures whenever possible. His specialties are rock/alpine climbing and light-and-fast human-powered pursuits on ski or mountain bike. He’s ventured on exploratory climbing expeditions in Argentina, Peru, and Alaska, and completed remote technical river descents in Alaska and Colombia.
When not building statistical models and writing code, he can be found tending his garden or trying to keep up with his awesome wife.
Patagonia Disperser Roll Top 40 - Mostly Waterproof Adventure pack 11


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