ProView – Db Sømløs 32L Rolltop Backpack
NOTE: The name of this backpack has changed from The Element to The Sømløs 32L Rolltop Backpack. This review was written before the name change, and the pack will be referred to as The Element throughout.
Adventuring year round, no matter the month, probably means you are going to be around water. At least for me, in Moab, Utah, that is exactly what it means. Late Spring thunderstorms, mid-summer creek walks or early Fall dew is all to be expected if you are wanting to be outside as much as possible. I spent the last month motorbiking, hiking and canyoneering in sweltering Moab temps (well over 100 degrees) with the Db Element Rolltop backpack and it did its best to keep up and keep out all the water and dust I put it through.
DB The Element
Product Name: DB The Element
Product Description: The Element is a 32L rolltop pack built to withstand any moisture the sky or sea throws your way. A functional and chic rolltop backpack, The Element is designed for rough days at sea and soggy Scandinavian commutes. Your belongings will feel safe here. Made with nylon ripstop fabric and featuring quick-access pockets for your phone, wallet and laptop, this weatherproof pack is the perfect companion for the workday, water and backwoods.
Offer price: MSRP: $279.00
Douchebag changed the adventure traveling experience with this product. Your ski equipment isn’t cumbersome anymore, it’s streamlined, sleek, and easily moved. Your back, the luggage handlers, and your future travel plans will thank you — five stars for this quality product.
- Lightweight for a 32L backpack, weighs 2.2 pounds
- Exterior-accessed laptop pouch is padded and accommodates up to 16-inch computers
- White interior does make it easier to see your gear
- Welded seam durability is questionable
- Limited back support when loaded with weight
Fit and Comfort
The Element Rolltop backpack has a basic design: it is a bucket style bag with a roll top. It is 32 liters in size but has limited adjustability for sizing. I found (at 6’2”) that this backpack fit well enough that I never seemed to know I was wearing it, even after long periods of time. It is not a backpack that you would want to load down too much as it has a limited back support and rigidity, nor does it have a hip belt. Despite lacking in some of these more engineered comforts, this backpack has a home in my arsenal. The comfort and simplicity won out many times when I just needed a bag to hold my items and keep water and dust out.
The more I used this backpack the happier I became with it, but it did not start off that way. I was headed out on a 2-day, 1 night 450-mile off-road loop around and into Canyonlands National Park and I needed a bag that was not on the side of the motorcycle to hold my camera equipment. My normal go-to motorcycle bags would typically do the job, but those options are terrible backpacks. I was looking for a bag that was light, dust proof for the 450 miles of dirt roads, but could serve as a day back when I arrived in the Maze District of Canyonlands. This bag was the golden ticket!
The bag strapped to the back seat of the motorcycle nicely with the daisy chains that run down the front of the bag and there it lived for the first 225 miles. All those miles it spent soaking in the 100+ degree sun as I balanced my way through deep sand and rocky dips towards the Land of the Standing Rocks. I arrived at my (unintended) destination, due to multiple flats, already unhappy to then notice that the bag’s welded seams had started to melt! I flipped the bag over and got back to the task at hand: roadside maintenance and self-extraction.
The bike and I limped home and once there I found out the waterproof seam of the front pocket got hot enough that the overlapping layers started to slide apart and separated enough to make that pocket no longer waterproof. The bag itself is still watertight as this is a (large) separate pocket from the main compartment. Besides this snafu in the desert sun, this bag has proven quite water resistant throughout my water-based adventures while trying to keep the dogs fit during the June heatwave.
The backpack does not have a ton of back support, but it does have a padded laptop compartment that once you slide your laptop in it provides adequate support. It is a nice feature for a backpack to have but I felt it was misplaced in this pack. I know that the Element Rolltop was designed with commuters in the rainiest city in Norway in mind, but I never found myself reaching for a 32-liter backpack in order to pack my photo editing items and laptop for a morning of coffee shop office hours. My things just swam at the bottom of the bucket style bag. There are a few mesh organizing pockets that came in clutch for this exact reason. There was no mention of them on the product’s description, so I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to organize smaller items on the inside.
Friendliness to the Earth
There is not much written on Db’s website about friendliness to the earth. This does not mean that some efforts are not being made but I encourage those of you who shop by this metric to do more digging before your decision is made.
Speaking of decisions, let’s talk about the name: Db. Sounds periodic, simple, elegant maybe? But, it comes from the original company name of Douchebags. This word, no matter which way you look at it, has deep roots that either go towards a 100+ year old, proven to be unbeneficial and even harmful, form of feminine cleaning or a pejorative term used to insult men because they were acting like woman (who were “dirty” and therefore needed to clean themselves using the above linked method of harmful cleaning). Either way you look at it, it is a terrible name. Why would you name your company this? Crowdsourcing. Thanks to one of the founders YouTube presence, the masses chose the name. The history of the company’s name on the website mentions “It also helped that the word douchebag didn’t have the same connotation with Norwegians and Swedes as it did with native English speakers.” I get it; some words mean different things in other languages and others simply do not exist or do not translate. However, if I were intending on becoming a wildly successful company, I would do a bit more research on a crowdsourced name that does not exist or mean the same in my native Scandinavian tongues.
Eventually, the brand Douchebags grew in global popularity and the company decided it was time for the company’s name to become more palatable no matter what table you were sitting at. I hope this recognition of the company’s name being a poor choice was educationally based and not fiscally.
I had heard of the brand Douchebags before as it came down the gear testing pipeline. My opinions of the name were the same then as they are now. I am happy they have chosen a new face for the brand; I just hope that education came along with it. Had I known that they were the same company, I would have passed on this product. As always, it is worth doing more research into the companies you choose to support.
The Element Rolltop backpack is a lightweight waterproof bag that will help you transition from the trail to the workplace or simply when the commute to the workplace requires waterproof materials.
About the Gear Tester
Patrick Betts spends half his year as Head Guide for Front Range Climbing Company in Colorado Springs, Colorado guiding rock climbing across the front range of Colorado and the desert of Utah. The other half of the year he is traveling and climbing all over the world. Patrick is an experienced adventure photographer who enjoys taking photos of people pushing their own limits and capturing the landscapes of the areas that rock climbing takes you. Follow along @adventurethrulens.