Great Divider III - Review
It doesn’t matter what industry it is, companies are always looking to innovate and improve upon the old to create the new. They don’t always hit the mark, but sometimes they do. There have been two iterations of Patagonia’s Great Divider boat bag thus far and they have been very successful. To me however, they always seemed a little unfinished and at time awkward to use. The latest version resolves many of my past gripes and ranks high on my “must have” gear list.
Let’s start with the old.
Patagonia has always been known for their quality and their Great Divider II boat bag was no exception. It’s rugged, waterproof, and overall clean no BS design made it a winner for many. There were just a few things that put me off picking one up. When I’m on the river I don’t zip up the lid on my boat bag (I probably should), in case I need something on the go. So, I look for a bag with a lid that when dropped covers the top sufficiently to prevent the inevitable splashing form getting inside without much undue tweaking. The Divider II fails miserably in that respect. This is due to the tight fitting lid lip. If you want the lid closed there is a lot of fiddling and tucking of the lower lip under the lid’s lip. Then when the lid is closed there is a T-handle needed on the zipper because the tight lid makes it hard to zip it shut. The other thing I could never figure out was why the corners where SO rounded on the divider. To me it just seemed that this would be awkward for fly boxes and other gear inside. You can spend all the time in the world nitpicking at any product though. There are plenty of good points to the Divider II. The construction and materials, like all of Patagonia’s stuff, is top notch. The design and functionality just made it feel a bit like a diamond-in-the-rough.
Now the new.
I had heard Patagonia was working on a new boat bag, but hadn’t seen or heard anything about it until we got one here at the shop last week. Enter the Great Divider III. Within about 30 seconds of playing with it I knew I had to have one. The lip on the lid is gone, but the lid fits almost perfect so you don’t have to worry about water splashing in. The rounded corners are still there, but to a lesser extent. The foot print is same as the Divider II, but the Divider III is about an inch shorter. They both have the same 20-liters of space though. That means 144 square inches were gained by squaring up the corners by a little bit. The outer material has had an upgrade too. It’s still waterproof just feels nicer and more durable.
Truly this is a case of two steps forward and no steps back. The previous Great Divider bags have their place, and will continue to keep the gear of many dry and safe for years to come. The Great Divider III, in my opinion and for my needs, is the superior bag and will soon be a constant companion during my coming adventures on the water. Bravo Patagonia, bravo.