Dry Bag Backpack

    A cool way to keep belongings contained and dry.

    Dry Bag Backpack

    A sailor’s duffle bag is a critical yet often overlooked piece of go-to-sea gear. Over the years, the evolution of these items has taken many turns, but perhaps the greatest advancement has been the introduction of waterproof bags.

    Truly waterproof bags—known as dry bags—have been around for a couple of decades. PS has recently been testing something novel in this realm—the Crossbreed 1500 from Seattle Sports Co. The body of this dry-bag/backpack is made of rugged, waterproof, 600-denier, urethane-coated polyester. Like most dry bags, this one keeps out moisture when you roll its opening several times to achieve a seam between the rigid sides of the bag’s mouth, and then secure the ends of that roll with snap-on clips to keep it closed. But unlike other dry bags, this one has padded shoulder straps, a waist belt, and a chest strap so that it can be worn as a backpack. Each is adjustable so that the pack can fit wearers of various sizes and configurations.

    The real distinction of this product is the air-flow promoting, form-fitting back panel, which features a span of small plastic coils that stand roughly 1/3″ off the pack. These absorb the bouncing of the pack as you walk, and allow air to circulate between your back and the bag.

    PS tested the pack while offshore for several days last spring. It is comfortable to wear, and the coil concept works for both promoting airflow and cushioning the back. We noted one drawback—the lack of separate compartments for storing smaller items like flashlights, phones, or handheld VHFs, etc. Bags like this are less functional when you have to go digging every time you need those items.

    The Crossbreed 1500 (and its smaller sibling the 1000) does have a cinchable bungee cord netting on the outside for securing garments and the like, which we found handy.

    To complete our testing, we filled the bag with newspaper and submerged it in water overnight by tying weights to it. We learned that this bag isn’t meant for that kind of work, but it will keep the spray off.

    The Crossbreed 1500 measures 22″ x 14″ x 5″, sells for $69.95, and comes with a 1-year warranty against manufacturer’s defects.

    Contact – Seattle Sports Co., 800/632-6163. www.seattlesportsco.com.

    Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida. You can reach him by email at practicalsailor@belvoir.com.