Bob from Nature Travels reviews a simple solution to a common problem from Exped
I love drybags. I love packs. And I own large numbers of both in various shapes and sizes. Some might even say too many, but I consider the phrase “too many packs” to be a contradiction in terms. Mind you, I would say the same about “too much garlic”, so perhaps there are issues to be addressed here.
Anyway, when I discovered that Exped made a drybag which is ALSO a daypack – which is such a blindingly good idea that I’m amazed everyone isn’t doing it – it was a (argh…can’t stand this expression…) real no-brainer (ouch, sorry…) that I was going to buy one.
I’ve had a Drybag Pro 25 for about 4 years now. It’s been trampled on by huskies while dog sledding in the Arctic, bounced about in the bottom of canoes and kayaks, scraped along rocks, dunked in Highland streams and – by far the most hazardous of all – survived countless shavings by overtaking cars on the A351 on my morning cycle ride to the Nature Travels office. And it still keeps out the rain. Maybe I could blow it up – dynamite, anyone?
Two great things about this little pack, apart from the obvious that it’s completely waterproof (provided you seal it properly), are that it’s very light and very squashable, making it perfect for taking as a day bag stuffed down in your main pack on long hikes or as an “I think I’ll come home with more than I left with” bag for going on holiday. And being completely waterproof means that you can drop in your camera, phone, interstellar-navigation-device, etc, and then splash about with impunity.
Photo: Danitza Hill
The other two great things about the Drypacks are that they are very sensibly priced (my 25 litre version should be £33, but can currently be found online for under £20) and very durable. Admittedly, I have a hillwalking/bothy-trip buddy in Scotland who managed to put a hole in his after a couple of years, but that’s not a fair comparison. Outdoor kit audibly begins to whimper on the racks when he walks into the store (yes, Euan, I mean you). This is a man who regular manages to snap Light My Fire sporks in half and separate trekking poles irreparably into their component parts, while mine endure years of regular use with barely a scratch.
It’s hard to find anything bad to say about my little Exped bag, given its price and what it’s intended for. I love it so much I really should give it a name. I have no information about the company’s eco-credentials or the nature of the materials used in the pack or manufacturing process, and I’m not aware that the company has an explicit eco-focus, but I can say that buying kit that lasts is a good environmental choice.
True, it’s not the most comfortable or supportive daypack there is, but I’ve managed to carry quite a bit in it without problems (though be careful to load it so there are no hard edges next to your back). True, as effectively just a plastic bag with straps, it doesn’t provide any ventilation down the back and can get you quite sweaty. And, true, it’s now beginning to look a bit grubby and has several stains that refuse to come out despite vigorous scrubbing. But then so do I. And, come on, it’s a dry bag AND it’s a daypack! What’s not to love?