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Db Element Rolltop


Db Element Rolltop Review

by , March 3, 2021
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Born in 2012, Db is a Norwegian brand that was founded by two passionate individuals, Jon Olsson and Truls Brataas. From the very beginning, the young brand made quite a splash thanks to its original name – Douchebags. The name was suggested by the community and was embraced as different and funny.

Currently, the company is going through some rebranding. Because let’s be honest. Is Douchebags a catchy and memorable name? Maybe. But did it also spark controversy? You bet. 

Once again, the community is taking an active role in defining what “Db” could stand for. Suggestions like “DoBetter”, “DreamBigger” or “DeliveringBags” feature prominently in the new IG account. Basically, anyone can suggest what “Db” stands for and perhaps eventually the company will settle for a permanent alternative. For now, it’s clear that the time of “Douchebags” is over.

Naming aside, the company had an ambitious goal of creating the perfect gear for skiers, snowboarders, surfers, cyclists, and creatives. Why? Because both Jon and Truls were quite into these activities and felt that everything offered on the market is subpar and simply not good enough to use with confidence and comfort.

So the principles were envisioned on which Db would create all their products (Lightness, Protection, Versatility, Compression, and Ease). And now, nearly a decade later the company has millions of dollars in revenue and has introduced a diverse and unique lineup of products.

I had a chance to review one of Db’s latest creations – the Element Rolltop in limited edition Camo 3.0 color.

Here’s what I have to say about it.

Db Element Rolltop


  • Name: The Element Rolltop
  • Brand: Db
  • Format: Rolltop backpack
  • Measurement: Height: 55 cm, Width:28 cm, Depth: 22cm
  • Capacity: 32L
  • Weight: 1 kg
  • Zippers:
  • Material: PU coated ripstop Nylon
  • Price~US$399


Who It Suits

Anyone looking for an extremely weather-resistant bag and who doesn’t want to worry about the elements or harsh weather conditions.

If you want a spacious yet lightweight bag that does not compromise on comfort – the Element Rolltop offers an excellent weight-to-volume ratio.

Those who seek a unique-looking bag and wish to stand out from the crowd.

Who It Doesn’t

Those who are looking for sophisticated built-in organization might be disappointed with the spartan selection of pockets (internal and external).

If you have a larger laptop (MacBook Pro 16 inch is the maximum that fits) be prepared that the dedicated laptop compartment won’t fit it. So you might need to carry your laptop in the main compartment in a protective sleeve.



The Camo 3.0 version of the bag is nothing short of awesome. Aesthetically it looks very different from the traditional multicam, tropic, alpine, and M90 patterns I tried previously. It is unmistakably contemporary and stylish. Bonus points for each cut of this material resulting in a unique pattern, making each Camo 3.0 bag one of a kind.

Db Element Rolltop

The custom metal hardware used on the bag with subtle, not-in-your-face branding makes the overall presentation just brilliant.

As with all rolltop bags, however, you can expect it to look quite different depending on the load and the way you roll it (on the front or on the back).

Db Element Rolltop

Materials and Hardware

Made out of PU coated ripstop nylon the bag is very light, yet durable. All seams are taped inside, making it extremely water-resistant. Also, the material is very easy to take care of since it does not attract lint or dirt. A simple swipe of a wet cloth makes the bag look brand new.

The lining is a 210D Nylon and I personally appreciate that it is white on the inside, making it very easy to see what’s inside. In general, adding a high-visibility liner to bags (especially rolltops) should not be underestimated.

Custom aluminum hardware with Db branding complements the cool look of the bag but did not really add much functionality. The front metal G-hooks (Db calls them Cobra hooks) are tightly secured and not expandable. They can hold a thin jacket or some flat objects but nothing bulky or big can be secured externally.

Db Element Rolltop

The same Cobra hooks are on top of the shoulder straps where load lifters normally reside. But in the case of the Element Rolltop, there is no tightening of the top portion on the strap to make the bag sit higher (and distribute the weight better) so these buckles are purely cosmetic. Considering the added weight and zero function I would prefer not to have these at all.

Db Element Rolltop

Db Element Rolltop

Hypalon features in multiple elements of the bag – the sternum strap attachment, the daisy chain on the front of the bag, and the top grab handle.


The Db Element is a rolltop bag so the main feature is, naturally, the expandability of the main compartment. The rolltop secures with Cobra hooks.

Thanks to PU coated 900D Nylon and the rolltop closure the bag is extremely water-resistant and can withstand the harshest conditions. Db claims that even the seams are waterproof but the bag itself is not submergible since the zippers could leak the water inside.

The side access to a dedicated, padded, and suspended laptop compartment is a godsend, especially with rolltop bags. There is no need to deal with the top opening when you just want to grab your laptop.

Db Element Rolltop

Another welcome feature is side access to the main compartment which, similar to side laptop access, mitigates the main disadvantage of having a rolltop bag – the pain in the butt of constantly rolling and unrolling the top to get to your stuff.

Not a feature per se, but I was surprised that Db offers just a 2-year warranty on all their bags. It is somewhat tolerable for a $100-$200 bag, but considering the $400 price tag on the Element Rolltop, I expected a longer commitment from the brand.


Space and Access

At 32L the Db Element Rolltop offers very good versatility, confidently occupying the niche of an EDC bag and also competently handling the one-bag travel scenario.

The side access to the laptop compartment is a very welcome feature and arguably should be considered a default way to access the laptop in a backpack.

The top and side access to the main compartment makes the day-to-day interaction with the bag a smooth and pleasant experience (which, sadly, cannot be said for many rolltop bags on the market).

One gripe I have with the top access is that the top of the roll is not secured with anything. No magnets, zippers, snaps, or even Velcro to keep it securely closed. It is not an issue 95% of the time. But when the bag is jam-packed with stuff and you need to fully unroll the top your stuff can fall out or get wet. To secure the top, at least 2-3 full rolls have to be made before closing the bag with Cobra buckles. It would be prudent to add a YKK AquaGuard zipper on top of the roll for those rare cases when the bag is overpacked and cannot be closed with stock buckles.

The lack of an external water bottle pocket might be an issue for some people. Personally, I was fine carrying it inside the main compartment. The side zipper to the main compartment made it convenient to access the bottle.

Db Element Rolltop

Pockets and Organizing

Don’t expect the Element Rolltop to dazzle and overwhelm you with pockets and built-in organization. The bag offers the essentials and if you are someone who uses pouches and organizers, you’ll love it.

On the outside, there is only a quick-access pocket on the front of the bag (great for small flat objects such as keys, a wallet, phone, power bank, etc.) and the aforementioned laptop compartment accessed from the side of the bag.

Inside the bag is one giant compartment with a small zippered pocket and one open stretchy pocket. And that is all. No pen slots, key clips, document and tablet sleeve – just a big expandable main compartment. As someone who is constantly using packing cubes, tech organizers, pouches, etc., the simplicity of the Db Element Rolltop is liberating and appreciated. It is also handy in case you rotate multiple bags on a regular basis. Trust me, it is easier and faster to take out the “default” pouches with your EDC essentials instead of painfully emptying every pocket of the bag and relocating your stuff into a different layout/pockets of another bag.

Db Element Rolltop


I found the comfort of the Db Element Rolltop to be generally great. The straps are wide, contoured and despite not offering much padding, they are quite comfortable even under a heavy load.

Db Element Rolltop

The back panel has no air channels nor mesh, but I had no issues with a sweaty back. Granted, I mostly used the bag in the dead of winter.

The sternum strap is…puzzling a bit. First of all, the stock orientation was off – too high and with attachment on the right-hand side (the majority of bags either lock the sternum strap in the middle or on the left side). But this was quickly rectified by repositioning the strap lower and inverting it. What did surprise me was the male/female buckles. Traditionally the male buckle is located on the longer strap while the female part is placed on the shorter strap. The Element Rolltop has the opposite which is different from all the bags I’ve tried before and am using currently in rotation. It’s a tiny detail but when you open/close the sternum strap dozens of times per day you notice this. I would much prefer the standard placement of the male/female buckles.

The Hypalon top grab handle works well with the general aesthetics of the bag but falls short in being comfortable to use when the bag is heavy. With no padding and a thin profile, it simply digs into the skin which is far from ideal. The handle is fine to lift the bag but I don’t recommend carrying/holding the bag by the top grab handle for extended periods of time.

Db Element Rolltop


PU coated ripstop nylon, YKK AquaGuard zippers, rolltop construction – all of these elements come together brilliantly to create one of the most weather-resistant bags I have ever tried.

To further reinforce the water resistance, all zippers on the bag have a zipper garage on top to seal the bag even better.

As mentioned already, the bag is secure from the elements only if closed properly (at least 2-3 rolls made and closed with the Cobra buckle). If not done correctly the water resistance is out of the window, so be mindful of that.

Db Element Rolltop

Alternatives to Consider

Attitude Supply ATD1 – if you are looking for the best expandability in a backpack, the ATD1 is in a league of its own. Built in Italy, the bag expands from 22L to a whopping 60L and is great for one-bag travel.  

Black Ember WPRT (WaterProofRollTop) is another alternative with a stealthy look, the same side access to the main compartment and laptop compartment, and minimal organization. Unlike the Db Element Rolltop, it has a zipper on top of the roll for when it’s overpacked and costs almost half as much.  

Db Element Rolltop

The Good

Excellent weight-to-volume ratio

Cool unique look and custom hardware make the Element Rolltop a head-turner

Side access to laptop compartment and main compartment is a godsend

Comfortable to carry under a heavy load

High-visibility white liner inside the bag

Not So Good

2-year warranty for a $400 bag is not confidence-inspiring

Metal hardware added for aesthetic only with little to zero usefulness

The top of the roll lacks a closure, potentially exposing it to the elements (when not rolled carefully or when the bag is simply too overpacked to roll the top)

Hypalon top grab handle is not very comfortable


After using the Db Element Rolltop for four weeks I have to admit it has left some mixed feelings. On one side, it is a versatile, lightweight, and comfortable bag that mostly nails what a rolltop should be. An added zipper on top would make this bag a perfect rolltop in my book. The Camo 3.0 pattern alone makes this bag stand out from anything else on the market. On the other hand, a steep price combined with a limited warranty of just 2 years makes it hard to wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who plans to use and abuse their bags for many years. If Db revisits the warranty for this bag (something similar was done by Bellroy for the Apex backpack) I would confidently recommend the Db Element Rolltop for anyone who is in the market for a light, versatile, weatherproof, and awesome-looking backpack.

Db Element Rolltop

This article was written by new contributor, and self-proclaimed bag whisperer, Alexander Dotsenko. You can check out his work here and here.

The Breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Geek (Performance)

Space & Access

Style (Design)

Look & Feel
Build, Materials & Hardware

Stoke (Experience)

Warranty & Support
Brand experience
X Factor

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