- Buyer's Guide
Outlier Paper Nylon Tote: Drive By
Update: March 2018
Outlier has updated Experiment 033 – The Paper Nylon Tote with Experiment 073 – The Paper Nylon Single Adjust Tote. The new tote (073) is identical to the previous tote (033) but with an updated strap worth mentioning.
While the body of the tote remains the same paper nylon material, the straps on 073 are entirely different.Whereas 033 had two separate straps, 073 has only one strap that weaves through both handles. It’s much more adjustable than the original and provides a convenient way to partially close the bag. The hardware is still all metal with one AustriAlpin buckle in the mix. The straps have been changed to another Outlier textile worth geeking out about. There’s technical details to gush over but Outlier is calling this stuff polyamour ‘because it’s the first polyester we’ve ever truly loved and committed to.’ Sounds cute. It’s a solid fabric with a comfortable weave but doesn’t feel as tough as the straps on 033.
Finally, it’s worth noting that this tote now comes in a medium and large size.
If you have an Experiment 033 is it worth purchasing 073? No, but it’s nonetheless exciting to see Outlier continuously innovating on a bag, eschewing the traditional product life cycle. And we love the lexicon.
Let’s just get this out of the way. Unless you’re an Outlier fan or have a thing for bags with fancy space age material and AustriAlpin buckles, this bag probably isn’t for you.
I spent three months with Outlier’s newest bag, Experiment 033 The Paper Nylon Tote. Despite being decked out in the sharpest and coolest material around, it’s still just a normal tote that carries like any other bag. That said, Outlier’s latest experiment isn’t leaving my side.
Who It Suits
Outlier fans and menswear aficionados. I mean, look at this bag. It’s the coolest tote I’ve ever seen.
Who It Doesn’t
Anyone looking for a tote. At the end of the day, the Paper Nylon Tote will carry the exact same as a plastic bag. Will you look as cool? Hell no. But your wallet will be a whole lot fatter.
The best part about this bag is the fabric. As Outlier puts it, Paper Nylon is “a tough nylon canvas with a hardcore crunch. Produced in Japan by Komatsu Seiren using a proprietary process that compresses and stiffens the nylon fabric into a paperlike structure. The result is crackly and semirigid fabric with a rich depth of color and almost zero stretch. It is mildly water resistant and softens in the rain, only to return to its papery crispness when it dries out.” Sounds gnarly.
Tactically this material is interesting for all senses. It’s hefty like a high denier piece of Cordura but much softer and pliable. I haven’t done any noteworthy abrasion tests on this bag, but it handles everyday scuffs and rubbing just fine. That said, at 423 grams, I doubt it’s as abrasion resistant as similar weight Cordura. Outlier mentions that the bag can be hand washed as needed.
Visually I’ve noticed a slight micro-wrinkle patina on its surface. And when rustled around, it does actually sound like a paper bag being crumpled, though the fabric isn’t very noisy on its own. If anything, the AustriAlpin buckles are the only noisy part of this bag.
I mean, look at this bag. It’s the coolest tote I’ve ever seen.
Two AustriAlpin slide buckles adorn this bag. They’re very sharp, hefty-looking chunks of metal that go well with the bag. I imagine there are some bag aficionados jumping around somewhere knowing that Outlier and AustriAlpin have crossed paths. The buckles are very quick and easy to adjust, though probably weigh as much as the rest of the bag. Regardless, they look killer on the Paper Nylon tote.
To be clear, I actually used this bag and didn’t just admire it. At 24L it’s a good sized tote. It’s no Ikea blue bag in size but will carry a week’s worth of groceries. It’s sizeable when walking with it, but Outlier has handsomely endowed the bag with lots of webbing to adjust how high or low it carries.
Given the heavy buckles on the top of the bag, the tote won’t exactly stand on its own. Though it won’t completely collapse either when set down. An interesting point that I’ve noticed with the Paper Nylon fabric is that it tends to relax in warmer weather. Not deforming shape or anything completely sci-fi, but enough to notice the extra give when walking with it. Environmentally responsive carry, I dig it.
The Not So Good
Let’s caveat this with two points. One, the Paper Nylon Tote is an exceptionally simple bag so you’ve got to really nitpick to find faults with it. And two, this bag is labeled as an experiment. We’ll give Outlier the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s not necessarily refined to perfection yet. That said…
There’s zero interior pocketing. Given the large size and color of this bag, it can feel like your EDC is actually being swallowed in the depths. Some sort of slip pocket would be appreciated.
I imagine there are some bag aficionados jumping around somewhere knowing that Outlier and AustriAlpin have crossed paths.
Technically Outlier has addressed this point as there is webbing to attach small gauge MOLLE loops on the inside. But you’ve got to buy these separately.
Finally, the stitching on the top portion of the bag is meticulous but already looks frayed after three months with this bag. I’ve never seen an Outlier bag that hasn’t been well put together so perhaps this is just a one-off issue. To be determined.
Oh yeah, this bag costs $225.
After three months using this bag daily, my initial thoughts about the Paper Nylon Tote are the same as when I first opened the box. It’s a black, very expensive, tote. Unlike other Outlier bags such as the Dufflepack or Ultrahigh system, there’s not a niche use for this bag.
But the Paper Nylon Tote is sharp. It’s a head turner, a conversation starter, and a bag that I want to have on my side at all times. Outlier is referring to this bag as an experiment and I’m happy to be a guinea pig.