Friday, November 22, 2013

Gear Review - Umpqua Deadline 3500

For the past several years I've been in the market for a do all wader bag.  I have a large luggage style wader bag that I've used for years but it's really to big to have in the back of the Element day in and out.  I have wanted a smaller pack that would hold waders, boots, and a few other small essentials but not take up a lot of space.

While at IFTD a couple years ago I got the first look at Umpqua's new line up of packs and bags and was most impressed with the Deadline 3500 as it appeared to be exactly what I was looking for.  I've been kicking around a Deadline 3500 for the past six months or so and it's more than lived up to my first impressions and expectations. 

The Deadline 3500 measures 24" X 14" X 8" and has a volume of 3,500 cubic inches.  The duffel is made with a tarpaulin front face and heavy duty nylon which looks and feels extremely durable.  Start to finish this product feels like a quality in all regards and it's obvious that it will be hard to wear this one out.

There are two large zippered wet/dry compartments are accessible from the backside of the Deadline 3500.  These compartments are designed so that the user can customize the spaces to fill their needs as fair as more wet space and less dry space or vice versa or 50/50.  You decide.

Wet wading boots have more than enough room and the polypropylene fabric is indeed waterproof keeping the other side and the rest of the duffel innards bone dry.

The real surprise with this duffel is how much interior room there really is as I can easily carry wading boots, two pairs of waders, and a raincoat inside the Deadline 3500 with room left over in the side and top pockets.

Typically I carry both wader pants and chest waders with me at all times since there is enough small water in the mountains of the southeast that if I can get away with pant waders than I'll wear them over chest waders any day of the week.  The heavy duty raincoat is just added insurance that I'll stay dry on a rainy day.

Something that is always an indicator to me on how fully a gear bag was designed and tested is the types of zippers and zipper pulls used.  The Deadline 3500 gets high marks here as the wet/dry compartments have large teeth zippers that are sturdy, corrison resistant, open and close with ease and have zippers pulls that are securely attached that making opening and closing this compartments a one finger operation.

The side and top/bottom accessory pockets have smaller teeth zippers with appropriate zipper pulls that are also easy to use.

Zippers may not be a big deal to you but they are a make or break a pack or bag for me most times.  If I can't get in and out of it with ease than I'd rather use another product that actually works.

Another high mark for the Deadline 3500 is in the wide nylon carry handles and lash points.  There are a total of four wide nylon carry handles on this pack along with backpack straps as well for carrying this duffel comfortably by hand or on your shoulders.  The integrated lash points come in handy for clipping or tying down the pack in the back of a truck, trunck, or rack for the trip to and from.

Included in one of the accessory pockets is a waterproof muck mat to make roadside wader changes a snap.  The muck mat is attached to the Deadline 3500 and folds flat into one of the side pockets still leaving room for other gear items as well.

The side zippered pockets of the Deadline 3500 are big enough to hold all the extras and there is room for several fly boxes, folding wading staff, various accessories, or a fly reel or two if needed.

Check out this video from Umpqua which highlights some of the features of the Deadline 3500.

The Deadline 3500 retails for $160 and is definitely worth the asking price for the functionality of this well designed wader wet/dry duffel bag.   

Check out the Umpqua website for more information on their growing selection of packs and bags.

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