Are Minaal bags water-resistant?
- Minaal bags are super water-resistant, with a combination of Picton™ core fabric (which maxed out the testing machine!), seam-sealed rain covers, and zippers that are 'dipped' in a water-repellent treatment.
- 'Waterproof' is generally not a standard that a travel or everyday bag should be aiming for, due to the sacrifices required in other areas (for example, carry weight). Every choice and design approach has trade-offs.
- Our philosophy is to hit the sweet spot for people doing interesting things, who need reliable protection for their valuables without sacrificing flexibility and speed.
The Long Version
In this article
Let's deal with the whole "waterproof" thing first. 'Waterproof' means that the entire bag can be submerged under water and not leak. Some bags *can* do this – for example, the specialist ones made for watersports. These bags are generally made of vinyl-like material – super heavy, thick, and inflexible – that is, not at all ideal for a mobile lifestyle.
When you see any bag maker claiming to make a 'waterproof' bag, ask them if it can be fully submerged. If not – they're using a, uh, different definition of 'waterproof'.
So, within that context: we make very, very, very water-resistant bags, specialised for the harshest of (above-surface!) conditions.
Picton Isn't Just A Small Town In New Zealand
In everyday language, that means water will have a real rough time trying to get in and soak your stuff.
DESIGN INSIGHT ✏️
To be totally transparent, 1800mm was the upper limit of the testing machine – and Picton hit that without breaking a sweat. Who knows how high it would've gone!
Carry-on & Daily
The ultra-light fabric we use for the rain cover is double-coated and rated to 1500mm, which is equivalent to many outdoor and hiking-specific products.
You may notice that we now have the strange situation of our core fabric being rated even higher than our dedicated rain cover for water resistance. That's a compliment to Picton, *not* a bad reflection on the cover – the rain cover is still more weather-resistant overall, due to the seam-sealed sewing lines and lack of zippers.
DESIGN INSIGHT ✏️
Zippers are generally the least water-resistant part of a bag. You can read our exhaustive/exhausting take on this in the article "Does Minaal use waterproof zippers?" – the short version is: we use best-in-class YKK zippers, and on top of that, apply a water-repellant 'dip' treatment to increase their water resistance. The dip-style treatment lasts longer than the spray-style treatment, is lighter to carry than rubber-lined zippers, and is non-toxic to boot.
On the previous bag models – Carry-on 2.0 and Daily – we use a custom nylon blend rated to 1300mm, with the same rain cover as the 3.0s. These models have seen plenty of summer storms, monsoons, and typhoons, and stood up to them just fine.
Wee Bit Ambitious, Guys
You'll see some bags with 'all-in-one' fabrics, with the idea being that you can have your cake and eat it too. Imagine if you asked someone their job, and they said "well, I have a zoology degree, I sell watercolours on the street in Paris, and I engineer multi-lane motorway bridges when I have time"... you wouldn't exactly be filled with confidence about the structural integrity of that bridge, right?
Similarly, the more roles your fabric is trying to play, the less specialised it is in any one role. Picton is our core fabric and its job is to be long-lasting and look good – it just so happens to be super water-resistant too. The rain cover fabric is there to reject water and be super lightweight.
Specialised fabrics, specialised performance.
Speaking of weight – while the rain cover has its own dedicated secret pocket, it also packs into itself and can be fully detached from the bag, meaning it never adds weight or takes space unless you want it to.
A separate rain cover acts as protection for the core bag when it gets gate checked / shoved inside a dusty chicken bus / dragged across gravel / take your pick of damaging moments.
And if it takes too much of a beating, it can be easily swapped out for a new one – instead of having to buy a whole new bag.
The final reason for the rain cover approach is the extra security it brings. As hard as it is for a thief to get past our lockable zippers, it's even tougher if you've got the rain cover covering every single zipper on the bag.
Rolltop & Crossbody
These bags fill a different role than the Carry-on and Daily, and have a different approach to match. Regardless, we still protected both bags with the same 1800mm-rated Picton fabric, and the same non-toxic, water-repellent zipper dip treatment. That equals a very water-resistant everyday bag.
The biggest threat with rain is zippers that sit on top of the bag, 'facing the sky'. The Rolltop simply doesn't have any of those... so that's that. That said, given the length of the zippers and rain's ability to fall sideways in some parts of the world(!), you'll want to be careful staying out in consistent rain too long.
The Crossbody *does* have a zipper facing the sky, but is also small enough to hide under a jacket if necessary (and given its size, wouldn't make sense with a full-on rain cover).
'Waterproof' means something specific, and unless you're heading out scuba diving every day, you probably don't need a fully submersible bag.
Minaal bags are extremely water-resistant, through a combination of testing-machine-breaking, unique-to-Minaal Picton fabric, seam-sealed rain covers, and non-toxic zip treatments.
That means peace of mind when the rain starts to fall – which, in turn, means staying fully present and focused on what's truly important.
It means the bags take care of you, rather than the other way around.
Anything we didn't cover? Contact us anytime.