Review: Ortilieb COR 13 Backpack

In a world of constantly revised and updated ride packs where every week there seems to be some must-have innovation that renders your current pack sooooo last year, darling, it’s refreshing when a manufacturer offers a product that has stood the test of time and required only minor revisions. The COR 13 from Ortlieb is one such pack. Despite being several years old, you’d be hard pushed to distinguish the current generation from the original version. So is this a case of good design from the start or a lack of development? I decided to find out by testing one over the course of the last two months.

Ortilieb COR 13 Backpack

Given their rich heritage in producing waterproof bags, it should come as no surprise that the COR 13 is indeed waterproof. Unlike other bags, it eschews a roll top design in favour of a zip. And what a zip. Forget whatever experience you may have had of so called waterproof zips on Gore Tex jackets which ceased to be waterproof almost as soon as you used them. Ortlieb have drawn upon tried and trusted dry suit technology and employed a super burly, T handle zip design. The bag itself consists of a single 13 litre compartment with built in key fob, bladder pocket and zipped valuables pocket (which is ideal for tools and a tube). All the seams are externally taped.

The back panel comprises a series of padded vertical channels that allow for some air flow but which crucially do not absorb moisture. Turn the pack around and there is a robust helmet / gear cover (available in four colours) which is secured by five burly metal clips. The webbing can be tensioned individually to get a secure grip on the contents.  The outside panel features a reflective logo and piping which lights up like a Christmas tree when light is shone directly upon it. Rounding things off are a surprisingly useful bungee cord and a non-waterproof inner pocket.