First Ascent’s Ultralight Dry Pack 23L looked a little flimsy at first, but after hosing it down with a towel inside it, I was impressed – the towel remained bone dry and the beads of water easily rolled off the thin but durable fabric.
I then submerged it in a swimming pool with a roll of toilet paper inside. Same result. The bag’s material is the hero here – it’s flexible, stain resistant and 100% waterproof (except the front and side pockets), great for unexpected rain showers, splashes when on the water and trips to the beach. It’s not a hiking-specific backpack and it’s not suitable to drag behind you in the water while paddling a canoe like you can with a PVC dry bag.
However, it’s versatile enough for its size to use as a day pack. The lightly padded straps are comfortable and don’t cut into your shoulders when it’s packed full – they’re adjustable too. Although I wouldn’t carry around too much weight in this, it’s the perfect size for a towel and water bottle, your phone and sunglasses, and keys can be stashed in the side pockets. It’s also ideal to pack in your suitcase – it folds up smaller than a ball of socks, taking up minimal space.
If you want a bulkier, heavier, tougher roll-top PVC version, which is also 100% waterproof, try the new First Ascent 20L Dry Bag. R399, firstascent.co.za
Read the story in the August 2017 issue of Getaway magazine.
Our August issue features 14 Northern Cape treasures, a trip along Mozambique’s pristine beaches on a fat-bike, holidays to take if you want to learn a new skill and so much more.