DryCASE Waterproof Backpack Review: Moisture Ain't a ThingS

You want to run around like some wilderness badass. Climbing in the Rockies. Surfing in the Rockaways. Whatever. You can do it all if you've got some warm, dry gear to slip into when the adventure is over. Can this waterproof backpack make it happen?

What Is It?

It's a medium-sized waterproof backpack.

Who's it For?

Kayakers, surfers, triathletes. Outdoor adventurer types.

Design

A padded, pocket-filled dry-bag you can strap to your back to carry 30 liters of stuff.

Using It

You throw in the stuff you want to keep dry, roll the lid and lock it, then open the valve and squeeze out the excess air.

The Best Part

It's pretty damn waterproof! Rain, splashes, and even a quick dunk do not inundate this bag.

Tragic Flaw

It's not 100% waterproof. A 15-minute swim in the ocean, diving down often and keeping the bag mostly submerged, left the clothes inside unmistakably damp. Not soaked, but wet enough. Too wet.

This Is Weird...

Ever worn a backpack while swimming in the ocean? Yep, it's pretty weird.

Test Notes

  • The main pocket can also keep water in. When carrying several sopping wetsuits, it has yet to experience any leakage.
  • The bag has a front mesh pocket for stowing a bit of wet gear, but it's not big enough to store much.
  • When the main compartment is full to capacity, it's really hard to get stuff into the other pockets, since they all kind of occupy the same space.
  • There's a medium-sized pocket with a water-resistant zipper that'll definitely be fine for rain. It's deep, though, and if you get any sand in there it's a real pain to get it out.
  • The 30-liter size is a nice place to start, some larger models could be used as a primary pack for trekking.
  • The main pocket is wide enough to easily fit a 15-inch MacBook Pro. 28 x 15 x 9 inches, to be precise.
  • The padding is minimal, but it's enough to make it quite comfortable.
  • At 2.4 pounds, it's not ultra-light, but it's certainly not heavy.
  • A valve for inflation/compression helps minimize bulk when carrying smaller loads.
  • After several uses and little care taken to dry it out, there isn't any noticeable mildew smell inside.

Should You Buy It?

For most people, yes, it's pretty great. If you're trekking through Cambodia during monsoon season, or doing a day-trip on a canoe, it's probably perfect for you. However, if you want something you can wear while you're up to your neck in a river, this won't do it perfectly—but it could float at the surface, partially inflated, without letting too much water seep in. Worth the $80 expense. [DryCASE]

DryCASE Waterproof Backpack

• Capacity: 30L
• Weight: 2.4 pounds
• Dimensions: 28 x 15 x 9 inches
• OS: Ubuntu
• Pockets: 4
• Waterproof: Yes
• Price: $80
Giz Rank: 3.5 stars

Splash image credit: Elizabeth Weinberg
Gallery Images: Nick Stango