Advanced Elements CargoPak
The CargoPak is a tough drybag with good shoulder straps so it can be worn as a backpack. It is well made from tough materials and is still in great shape after a year. Not only kayakers and canoeists will use this drybag, but also hikers and campers in a rainy climate, or travelers carrying luggage.
- Excellent construction from tough materials with sealed seams
- Decent shoulder straps and handle that are sewed on properly and sealed
- Medium size instead of huge or tiny
- Little reflector to reflect light for visibility
- Since it's made of strong materials, the bag does not roll up into a tiny ball for storage when empty
A brand-new CargoPak arrived from Advanced Elements for me at Christmas time 2015. Wow! And over a year later, it's still in good shape even after becoming my go-to pack for travelling. I've revised this review to show that I am happy with how the pack is holding up after being used.
This drybag is fitted with decent shoulder straps, making it a rain-proof backpack as well as a kayaking drybag. The stitching is good and solid, with sealed seams. I've never had a drybag so well constructed. It is made as tough as my Lagoon and Expedition kayaks from the same company (reviewed here on Trailspace!). There are two pockets on the outside for quick access, but not so many pockets that it looks or feels fiddly.
After more than a year of use in my kayak and travelling on transit buses, the seams are all good and there are no holes worn through the fabric anywhere, even at the roll-top. The roll-top buckle is still in good shape. The straps adjust easily on the go. Water rolls off the outside. Any scuffs or mud have wiped off with a damp rag. The bag even smells clean inside, not like most of my drybags after less use.
If I fill it only 3/4 full, the CargoPak qualifies as carry-on luggage on an airplane; it was very handy when I took it on a flight. During several Greyhound bus trips, this bag was my luggage of choice -- it sat on the seat beside me as a cushion while I snoozed, or it sat on the floor to prop up my feet. Under the bus it was tough even when handled roughly or dropped in a puddle. The bag still has a sporty and almost-new look, so when I am travelling I don't look like a scruffy ragamuffin.
I like the handle on top! I've learned from carrying other drybags by the buckle that this causes wear-and-tear at the buckle edges. The CargoPak has a proper handle.
My grown son is a DIY maker of many things, who goes camping more than I do. He inspected it all over and pronounced it "Made To Last." Too many knapsacks and bookbags will fray at the seam after a couple of months. Too many drybags get a hole rubbed in the bottom just from sitting on a rough dock. The CargoPak has held up during over a year of use.
Here is a photo of my son Ben with the CargoPak and two Advanced Elements kayaks. A minute later, we caught a bus to a quiet bay where we went kayaking.
I like that the CargoPak is a medium size. It fits nicely behind the seat of my Expedition kayak from Advanced Elements. It fits my shoulders and back, and doesn't stick out in all directions when I'm riding a bus. Buses are how I get to the water with my kayak. As a commando kayaker, I like gear bags and dry bags that are not too big for me to carry when loaded with food.
This is a pack that will suit not only canoeists and kayakers like me, but hikers and campers in a rainy climate. I'm using it again this winter as luggage on my next Greyhound bus trip.
Disclosure: The reviewer is an ambassador for Advanced Elements and received a sample of this product from the brand or its representatives in exchange for a review.
Source: tested or reviewed it for the manufacturer (Keeping it! Using it!)
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Current Retail: $79.99
Historic Range: $69.95-$79.99