- Buyer's Guide
Bedouin Foundry Delireis SE Review
I am not a minimalist. Arguably, I’m pretty far towards the other end of the spectrum. I’m the chap who would rather bring it and not need it, than need it and not have it. Part of that is because I’m always traveling with camera gear, the other part of it–who knows, I guess I just like nice things!? When it comes to bags, I’ll almost always choose the product with more “options” than less. Although, there is one brand that has made me truly reconsider this habit of mine, and that brand is Bedouin Foundry.
If you’re a member of our Carryology Classified Community, it’s no surprise for you to read that I’m a fiend when it comes to heritage styling, and that is what initially drew me to Bedouin Foundry. I am deeply in love with the Barbarossa, which is my favourite camera messenger, then there’s the Khan, our updated collaboration which is the most comfortable messenger in existence. I even have my wife firmly onboard the BF train with the Bosun’s Tote I gifted her. Silas and his team create beautiful works of art, and I don’t say that lightly. They just happen to be bags too! Chances are I would be equally smitten if they were jackets, or actual paintings in a gallery. However, while I wax lyrical about their virtuosity, there is a bag I was always a tiny bit skeptical of–The Delireis.
Now that’s nothing against Silas and the crew, I’m just not someone who would consider myself a roll top fan, or as I alluded to, a minimalist. However, when I saw the Delireis SE, something piqued my interest, the ultralight Dyneema, the robustness of the cobra buckles, and that glorious muted sheen. Could this become part of my travel system as a perfect packable bag?
After 6 months of use, I can now answer that question.
Who’s it for?
If you’re looking for an ultralight pack, this barely registers on the scales. Ultralight fans, this is featherweight. The mix of Dyneema, leather, and high quality Cobra hardware is a match made in heaven and the modern aesthetics merged with Bedouin Foundry’s heritage touches put the Delireis SE in a unique category of it’s own. If you want an upgraded do-it-all bag, they don’t come much better than this.
Who it isn’t.
Are you an organisation fiend, do you need a pocket for every item you bring with you? If that’s the case, the Delireis is lacking in the pocket department. Maximalists might struggle with this minimalist design. While dyneema is tough, this isn’t a 1000D rucking bag, so it might not be the choice if you’re a heavy-loader, throw on the ground and drag type.
The original Delireis is the epitome of Bedouin Foundry style. Waxed cotton exterior, thick cotton webbing, with a sturdy cobra buckle adorning the closure. It is a hauler, and one that will take a beating in any environment. Infact, it was recently seen in homes around the world as it was featured in the Netflix movie Boiling Point. It was the bag of choice for the protagonist, a hard working, worn out chef in the brutal hospitality industry. That speaks to the Delireis pedigree–it’s a work horse. With the traditional Bedouin Foundry clean lines, and asymmetric pockets it’s a good looking bag, and a practical one too.
How could you take the Delireis a step further? I suppose you could make it out of 102GSM DCF fiber, and replace the saddle rings with Cobra tension sliders on the shoulder straps? But what would this achieve? Well, it could make it my travel companion of choice. Usually, packable or lightweight bags are good in a pinch, they can help you haul extra groceries, or laundry, or whatever else on your travels. However, while useful, they are traditionally secondary to your main carry, and as such, a little cumbersome and not the most attractive bags to look at. If you’re a Carryologist, that just won’t fly. The Delireis SE is now part of my travel set up precisely because it fills any role I need it to. It isn’t your nylon stuff sack packable bag, it is a beautiful piece of carry in its own right. I just so happen to have found it as an excellent travel tool. This can easily be your EDC, and as with the original design, it would perform admirably.
Or, as I have done for the last six months, it can travel with you and experience adventures galore. Barely tipping the scales at a featherweight 450g (that’s right, 450g!) You can pack it flat in any other suitcase, roll it up into the side of a larger backpack, and have a brilliant carry option on the road.
With a 20L capacity when rolled (25L fully expanded), this is an excellent day pack. Over the last six months, both my wife and I have used it comfortably in a variety of situations. I am 6ft, 220lbs, she is 5 ft 9” and a lot less lbs–and it’s been equally comfortable for us both. The shoulder straps, which may look slender at first, quickly conform to your shoulders within a few wears. This surprised me, and the sealed cell foam used on both the straps and the back panel provides a great balance between minimalism and comfort. This has been to tropic climates, on the mountain skiing, into town with a laptop, to the corner shop, and even the off license for carting wine. The fact that it is sparse when it comes to pockets (there are three on the whole bag) is what makes it so damn useful. If you take some time to peruse Bedouin’s social media, you’ll also see it being used unbuckled when foraging in the forest!
Thanks to the structure of Dyneema, this also stands on its own, depending on contents. While this isn’t something that I consider a must have on a bag, it is incredibly useful in certain situations, like at the grocery store when loading the good stuff, or at the office when unpacking, even on the beach or trail you can keep this upright and not worry about sand or dirt getting into your possessions. Thanks to the minimalist design, I love how you can quite literally change the size and appearance of the bag. It doesn’t rely on latches or insert removal to change the volume, just the roll top adjustment by the cobra buckle, which may I add, is buttery smooth. It’s quick, easy to engage, and the bag looks great open, with the wings, or packed to the gills. The slender silhouette is really quite charming.
Over the last six months, I’ve been happy to see that the Dyneema has taken on a really unique patina, it almost looks like leather where I’ve been rolling it. I love that, and if you’re being romantic you can get into the whole “each crease tells a story” mode, and reminisce. Back in reality, it looks great and gets softer with each trip. The leather detail throughout the bag is subtle, a strip across the shoulder straps, tabs on the shoulder straps, and a leather bar at the opening of the roll top are all the leather you’ll find on the SE, and of course they are cut from the high quality Italian leather you’ll find across Bedouin’s range. The internal leather bar is particularly useful for holding the bag open as you get to your contents.
The Deliries SE does have a laptop sleeve, which holds my 14” laptop or my 12.9” iPad easily, but I’m not sure you could fit a much bigger computer in there. It is padded and I wasn’t too concerned about my laptop being in there even though the padding may appear light. You can always enhance your protection with your own sleeve. As I used this for travel predominantly, I didn’t actually use the laptop sleeve for laptops very often. Instead it was a welcome home for my e-reader, a magazine or newspaper, and even cold cuts on one occasion (got to keep them flat!). The front pockets are a healthy size, and go all the way down to the bottom of the bag from the opening. They can comfortably fit your EDC, a phone, even a smaller book. Although it is worth noting that they don’t have their own volume, so they are better suited to smaller items.
In use, it’s a pleasure to wear. Thanks to its incredibly lightweight construction, you rarely feel “bogged down”, even when full. I’ve used the Delireis for long 14 hour days on my feet and not had any complaints. It’s been on shorter day hikes with us, and while not its primary or intended use, for a day on the trail or a short ascent it performed admirably! Obviously in warmer climates the Dyneema doesn’t top the tables in breathability, but it wasn’t dramatically bad either. Infact, the trade off between weight and sweating is one I would probably give to the Delireis. Aesthetically, it is just bloody gorgeous. I’m yet to find a situation or location where this doesn’t fit in. The silhouette is understated, charming, and universal. It can work for whoever, wherever it needs to. The crinkle of the Dyneema is subtle on the Delireis, and continues to soften the more my bag is worn in.
Room to grow?
This bag is a luxury item, a beautiful one at that. However, it isn’t without fault. I do rather wish that at least one of the front slip pockets housed one of the beautiful Swiss zippers that we see on their other bags. It would be great to throw a wallet and keys (or any other EDC) in there without worrying about it slipping out if the bag ends up sideways at any point.
In the same breath, with the minimalist style comes minimal organization and top only access. If you’re a pouch user, this won’t bother you in the slightest, as you’ll be able to get to your pouches in pretty much the same fashion you would for any bag. However if you’re more fast and loose with your belongings, it may take a few moments to find what you’re looking for. EDC items have a way of getting lost between larger items, and it can be a bit of a scavenger hunt at times.
We all know the perfect bag doesn’t exist, there are just favorites that we all have. Well, the Delireis isn’t trying to be perfect, but it is now firmly one of my favourites. Since traveling with this over the last six months, it’s hard to imagine not bringing it with me. Particularly on the longer trips, it packs down to less than a quarter inch when flat, it weighs 450g, and it performs in multiple disguises time and again. It’s nice to have a travel bag that, well, doesn’t look like a travel bag. Sure, it doesn’t have every bell and whistle from the carry world, but it doesn’t need them. I wouldn’t say I’m a minimalist yet, but I can bring the Delireis to perform the job of three other bags! Sometimes, you just want to rely on a bag to do a job, and to do it well. I’m enamoured with the Delireis SE’s can-do attitude, it has done everything I’ve asked so far, and I’ve no doubt it’ll keep doing the job at hand for many years to come, rain or shine.