Outdoors Research Waterproof Backpacks

Outdoors Research's line of waterproof "back sacks" let you carry a dry bag on your back.

If you kayak or canoe regularly you’re probably familiar with dry bags, waterproof vinyl sacks used to store electronics, food, clothes and other items that you don’t want to get wet while paddling.

Recently, though, I’ve been looking for a general use backpack that I could use in both dry and wet places.

I bought an expensive digital camera a few months back and get nervous when I’m outdoors and it threatens to rain. I’ve got a cover for my day pack, but I’m not confident it would keep the water out in a downpour, and I’d never trust it with protecting the camera if I dropped it in a river.

I’ve got several dry bags, but they don’t have any straps, which makes them impractical for carrying long distances.

Turns out the Outdoor Research offers a line of waterproof “back sacks” that are based on the dry bags paddlers use. The downside is that they don’t breath and don’t have frames to support your cargo and fit it nicely to your back. But I’m thinking it might be worth it for days when its clear I’ll get soaked or when I’m carrying expensive electronics into the backcountry.

Here’s more information about the packs – sorry, “sacks” – in the order they are pictured above from left to right. The descriptions are the manufacturer’s.

Drycomp Ridge Sack

“This ultralight and waterproof day sack has all the features needed for a fast and light summit push. Radio frequency welded seams and reinforced fabric on the bottom and pocket area provide maximum strength and waterproofness. A mesh pocket accommodates a hydration bladder and stretch cording and gear loops secure crampons and ice tools. Compression straps cinch your load down and breathable mesh shoulder straps combine to offer a comfortable fit for alpine climbing and peak bagging.”

Avg. Weight (oz./g): 16.4 / 465
Price: $125

Drycomp Summit Sack

“Load a sleeping bag and down jacket in this compression sack on the approach. When it’s time to leave camp the compression straps convert to shoulder straps and a waist belt, and it becomes your summit sack. Daisy chains and ice axe loops take care of your equipment.”

Avg. Weight (oz./g): 12.2 / 346
Price: $65

Dry Peak Bagger

“This ultralight, weatherproof bag protects gear as you maneuver quickly to the summit. With acute attention to detail, this bag has been built for comfort with supportive Spacermesh shoulder straps, keeps your gear dry with a roll-top closure and comes with smart accessory attachments for all your gear.”

Avg. Weight (oz./g): 9.2 / 261
Price: $55

Arc’teryx also makes waterproof packs designed for the backcountry, including the mid-sized Arrakis and the expedition-sized Naos, and a day pack designed for urban commuters, the Arro.

If you know of any other waterproof backpacks, please share them using the comment form below.

About The Author

Chris Emery is a mutt. Half woodsman, half geek. He spends as much time outdoors as possible. On rainy days, he writes and publishes STRAY.

One Response

  1. Alex Quinn

    I love finding out neat travel gear from blogs and I think these bags may be a great idea for anyone planningadventure vacations  this summer. I am going down to visit my aunt and uncle who live in West Virginia and we are considering white water rafting, zip lining, and possibly bungee jumping if we can find a spot. Something like these may be a great idea considering we will be outdoors and getting soaked at some points of the trip. I see that you have a facebook page, but do you have a twitter page that I can follow you at?


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