Dry bags are rarely known for looking good. The most important feature, of course, is keeping your things dry. The rest is extra. It often seems that manufacturers just leave it at that, without throwing in useful additions, but the Filson Dry Day Backpack is more than just waterproof.
The backpack style of the dry bag makes it far easier to bring along with you than your standard dry bag. Padded shoulder straps are comfortable for a few hours of hiking, boating, or cycling. They’re ergonomically shaped for human comfort, rather than just simple padded straps, and nylon loops allow you to clip things on, should you need quick access. An additional sternum strap helps keep the load stabilized.
If you’ve dealt with dry bags before, the roll top is exactly what you’re used to: compress to get the air out, then roll down and secure with tabs to keep your gear dry and dust-free. Side buckle straps help compress the load, so items aren’t shifting around while you’re trying to stay active.
When you’re packing, the oval base is useful to keep the bag stable and not rolling over or collapsing. There’s one main compartment, so if you need to keep some contents separate, you’ll have to insert different smaller bags into the dry bag. A front pocket secured with a waterproof zipper allows you to stash small items that need to be immediately available, such as cell phone, money and lip balm.
I recently used this bag on separate Canada and Iceland trips, where it got quite a bit of attention from folks who wanted to know where I got it. It hauled my camera while I hiked through Iceland’s geothermal regions, and also came along on a drizzly ATV ride, which had combined challenged of rain and mud. Everything inside stayed dry and clean, despite the bag getting a little wet and dirty on the outside.
One thing to remember when hiking with the pack over long distances or many hours: This is not one of those fancy ergonomic backpacks with a breathable back panel. The Dry Day Backpack’s main purpose is to keep contents dry and dust-free, as well as being conveniently easy to haul around. But if you’re doing a major packing trip, this might not be the piece you bring along.