Earth Pak Original Review
Cons: Leaky, many smartphones don't fit in case
Manufacturer: Earth Pak
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Earth Pak Original
$23.99 at Amazon
$49.95 at Amazon
|$19.95 at Backcountry|
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|$13.00 at REI|
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|Pros||Inexpensive, bonus phone case, thick material, has a shoulder strap||Very waterproof, clear window, easy to locate things, sturdy build||Good water protection, easy to use, replaceable clip||Lightweight, rectangular shape, simplicity is a feature||Lightweight, good protection, simple to use|
|Cons||Leaky, many smartphones don't fit in case||Flat shape is odd, extra access step||Single stitching, not tall enough to roll properly||Not abrasion resistant, must be part of a system||Limited size options, less impressive construction|
|Bottom Line||An inexpensive model that offers modest protection against splashes and includes an independent phone case||A seriously waterproof bag we trust with our most sensitive items at a very nice price||An inexpensive windowed dry bag with solid water resistance and some easy to use features||For backpackers and day hikers, this model is a packing cube dry bag hybrid||A simple, lightweight dry bag that lets light in and is easy to use|
|Rating Categories||Earth Pak Original||NRS Ether HydroLock||Sea to Summit View...||Osprey Ultralight D...||Outdoor Research Be...|
|Ease of Use (30%)|
|Specs||Earth Pak Original||NRS Ether HydroLock||Sea to Summit View...||Osprey Ultralight D...||Outdoor Research Be...|
|Weight||16.0 oz||2.3 oz||1.7 oz||1.6 oz||1.0 oz|
|Tested Size (liters)||20 L||5 L||4 L||20 L||3 L|
|Closure Type||Roll-top||HydroLock and roll-top||Roll-top||Roll-top||Roll-top|
|Style||Roll-top w/ shoulder strap||Roll-top||Roll-top||Roll-top||Roll-top|
|Material||500D PVC||30D silicone-impregnated ripstop nylon, urethane window||70D nylon, TPU window||40D ripstop nylon||40D siliconized ripstop nylon, PU coating|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Earth Pak Original is made out of 500D PVC and has a 20-liter capacity. Its cylindrical shape and flat bottom make it simple to pack with the essentials. It's hardy enough for your kids to drag across the beach or to squeeze through a slot canyon and offers moderate protection from water.
This model performs unimpressively when exposed to any serious amount of water. While it served to keep our stuff sufficiently dry when subjected to splashes on the front of a paddleboard, our towel was moderately wet after it was submerged, and lots of air bubbles escaped. Dragging it behind the board resulted in an internal compartment full of water and a very wet towel.
That said, one of our testers was rappelling through waterfalls while canyoneering, and a member of the crew used this bag and phone case with zero problems. As long as full submersion isn't on the docket, the Earth Pak can handle quite a lot.
Ease of Use
The general shape of the Earth Pak is that of a standard cylindrical bag. However, the flat bottom allows it to stand upright on its own, which greatly facilitates packing and finding contents inside it during activity. The adjustable, removable over-the-shoulder carrying strap is useful for transporting it from the car to the water. We've tested multiple versions of this bag over the years — one of the versions proved faulty, as the shoulder strap broke during the first use. Subsequent versions did not experience this particular issue.
We love being able to carry this bag hands-free via the shoulder strap and find it a great addition to lake days and on paddling adventures. On another note, this dry bag comes with an included separate waterproof phone case with a lanyard. Depending on what type of smartphone you have, this accessory may be a fantastic addition, or it may be totally useless. An iPhone 12 Pro Max and an LG V60 ThinQ both proved too tall to allow the top of the case to clamp shut around them. An iPhone 8+ fits inside, but the case is too thick to read your finger's electronic signature through the clear plastic. But if you still have an older phone (that also likely isn't waterproof), this may be a perk you'll love.
The Earth Pak features a standard roll-top closure system. It has three plastic D-rings held on by webbing — two at the roll-top and one on each of the bottom sides of the back.
The main compartment of this model is made of a very durable, sturdy 500D PVC fabric. It's thick and resistant to scratches and abrasions. The plastic D-rings and clips, on the other hand, are made of fairly thin plastic. The plastic attachment of the crossbody strap broke clean off during the first day of testing one iteration of this bag with no exceptional force. It's not a bag we'd entrust with a lot of weight.
The low price of the Earth Pak is hard to beat on that criterion alone, especially with the bonus smartphone case. That said, while this may be the perfect level of investment to keep your towel and clothes dry, don't gamble more expensive hydrophobic equipment with this bag.
This inexpensive model includes a (possibly) handy phone case but doesn't have the most durable components. It will protect against casual-to-moderate splashes, and the fabric of the bag itself is quite burly. We think the Earth Pak Original is best suited for recreational users, kids, and casual days with minimal water exposure.
— Maggie Brandenburg
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