The Watershed Ocoee Submersible Duffel
The best of both waterproof storage worlds: easy to use, reliable protection
By Jose Chavez
There is no shortage of products designed to protect your sensitive gear from the environment. There are countless options available in variety of shapes, materials, and sizes. As someone who has been kayak fishing for years, I have tried a fair share of these products; some worked well, and some, well… they didn't work at all.
You might ask, "Why keep looking after finding dry storage that actually works?" While some products were excellent at keeping my equipment dry, I always found myself wishing for something better, particularly for my cameras.
Hard cases are clunky and extra special care is required to retrieve them from the rear tankwell without making noise, not to mention operating the hinges. Unless you are in Louisiana, making noise on a shallow flat is like throwing fish kryptonite overboard.
Dry bags on the other hand are great when it comes to space because they are malleable enough to be placed just about anywhere and they are relatively silent when contacting a plastic hull. Their Achilles heel is seam leakage over time. They take work to access, especially when the opening is folded down 3-4 times, which is required to ensure a good seal. Also, they do not provide much in terms of padding to protect your valuables from unexpected impacts.
At one point I had just come to the conclusion that like everything else, it was all about trade-offs. It wasn't until I came across an Ocoee Watershed submersible duffel that I found a solution that is the closest to the best of both worlds.
I really liked how easy it was to open and access my valuables as well as the padding and compartmentalization thanks to the padded divider set. I was skeptical of the ziplock-like mechanism. Would it hold up? Would the material at the seam would wear out and cause a leak? I put it to the test to find out before trusting it with my camera.
Without any valuables inside, I closed the bag and submerged it under water for a couple of minutes. When the bag resurfaced, the material had darkened as if it had absorbed moisture. I was certain it had leaked. To my surprise, it had not leaked at all as the heavy duty plastic inner lining prevented moisture from seeping through.
Two years have gone by and the Ocoee is still holding up well. It requires almost zero maintenance. Periodically adding silicone grease to the ziplock-like seal is the only thing required. The bag opens very quickly, is easy to handle/operate without making noise, and the padded dividers keep its contents protected from unexpected impacts. I can fit a camera body with a lens, an additional lens, and a flash inside. It won't work with long lenses like a 70-200mm f/2.8, but it can accommodate most of the smaller lenses.
The Ocoee is also ideal for traveling. It is light weight, compact, and can be easily packed into a checked in bag or carried on as a personal item on a commercial flight.
With its long list of positives, it’e clear that Watershed hit a home run with the Ocoee.
The Watershed Ocoee