Invented by necessity (as all the best outdoor gear is), the Hoboroll is an entirely new way to store, organize, and transport gear while on the go. Made by adventure gear newcomer Gobi Gear and designed by an in-the-field botanist, the Hoboroll uses a combination of compression and design to make carrying items (and finding them again) easier.
I took my Hoboroll on a field run on our four-day backpack trip from Tuolemne Meadows to Yosemite Valley last July. We were short on pack space (three adults and three kids in your backpacking party will do that to you), so it was the perfect opportunity to put Hoboroll’s claim of reducing pack volume by 50% to the test. I packed my Hoboroll with all my clothing for my four day trek, including my camp shoes and base layer. In total, I packed three pairs of lightweight shorts, three t-shirts, a swim suit, three pairs of heavy-duty hiking socks, base layer bottoms and top, an extra long-sleeve outer-wear shirt, and the underwear and sports bras I’d need.
The Hoboroll is designed in the shape of a tube, with five compartments. Both ends are cinched with a drawstring. I cinched one end, then loaded my clothing, designating a different compartment for the various clothing categories. I put my next day’s clothing in last, and cinched the other end. Finally, I tightened the Hoboroll’s compression straps. My clothing load was significantly smaller in space than my hiking companions’. I placed my Hoboroll inside my backpack (though it can travel alone as well…more on that later), where it fit just as easily as any other filled compression sack. Here’s my Hoboroll in use:
My verdict: I loved that when I needed clothes, I didn’t have to dump everything out into the dirt of our night’s camp. The Hoboroll keeps everything clean, and to keep things that way, I simply loaded my dirty clothes into the opposite end. Clean clothing from one side, dirty into the other…simple as that.
The downside: My only complaint about the Hoboroll has been addressed by Gobi Gear: when I pulled the compression straps very hard, one of the plastic buckles broke. Gobi Gear immediately sent me a replacement Hoboroll, and I’ve been told that the company’s second run of product includes stronger buckles.
Not just for backpackers: In the time since my backpacking trip, I’ve used the Hoboroll when flying carry-on only (which is almost every flight). I’ve used it to pack shoes, and it’s especially useful if you need to pack a variety of outerwear that needs to compress small. Because the Hoboroll includes an outer carrying strap, it can travel with you solo, though I’ve never packed that light. My kids have used it for overnight trips to friends’ houses, however, and it’s traveled with us to the beach and the lake to store smaller towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, and the like. In this capacity, the Hoboroll is like bringing an extremely well-organized tote bag.
The details: The Hoboroll is made of an 840D nylon exterior and is 15″ long by 10″ diameter. It weighs 3.5 ounces and can hold 1160 cubic inches. It comes in blue, green, and yellow (I have blue, and it’s a nice powder blue shade.) It can certainly stand some abrasion and hard travel, but is soft enough that it gives easily to pack into something larger.
Pick up a Hoboroll at Gobi Gear for $28.00 or for the same price at Amazon.