Podsacs Waterproof 20L Ruscksack
A dirt cheap solution, if you're worried about getting your electronics—or spare socks—wet, on your hike, in your boat or canyoneering.
- Tough materials
- Well constructed
- Good detailing and features
- Very inexpensive
- May be slippery/uncomfortable, in hot weather?
- Limited external attachment options
Pod Sacs has been a revered brand in the climbing community, in the UK. Their crag sacks, hip packs, and chalk bags were ubiquitous for many years. The company was sold to bike firm Planet X, in 2014 and they recently re-launched the name, with a clever line of waterproof bike luggage, aimed at the growing Gravel Bike market.
Tucked away in the promo for that, were a couple of backpacks—of 20 and 30 litre capacity—and I bought both! This is a review of the smaller one, which I've carried all winter, on my longer day hikes.
This is, effectively, a rather burly barrel/dry bag, with three external and two internal pockets added, plus a carry system, consisting of padded shoulder straps, a chest strap, with moulded whistle, and a similarly thin waist strap.
The outside pockets fit flush. Side pockets have water resistant zip closures and the centre pocket is of mesh construction, enabling companions to see, that I still have two cereal bars, uneaten;-)
There are loops and a shock cord, to attach an axe, or walking poles, plus reflective detailing strips, which would be handy on your bike, or if you were caught on the hill, after dark.
Internal pockets are connected. There is a roomy bellows pouch, with Velcro closure—big enough to swallow a half litre flask and a half litre water bottle. On the outside of this, is a zipped mesh pocket, for your wallet and keys.
The roll-top closure is tough and very secure, with good quality Fastex buckles. I have carried this through a number of snow and rain storms, with never a hint of water ingress. Even the side pockets have remained dry (although they are pretty small—each big enough for a compass, pocket knife and bandana).
The bag carries well. Straps are perfectly adequate, for the intended uses—with relatively small loads and low weights. The hip/waist belt is thin and unpadded but allows weight distribution to be altered and the pack to be cinched close to your body, for scrambling purposes. Shoulder strap placement would probably work, for a wide range of folks, but perhaps not for really large, broad -shouldered individuals.
Capacity-wise, this bag compares closely, to my go-to Karrimor small pack. There are no compression features, but a couple of extra turns on the roll-top would provide the same effect, without the ability to precisely apportion the load. With such a small pack, I don't think this is an issue for me—and the trade-off, of robust construction and water exclusion, is an attractive one.
This bag has been on sale all winter, in the UK, for £20. I think it's a great bargain, with many other uses, apart from hiking. Pod Sacs make good dry bags and this product should appeal to many customers for those, water sports and snow sports enthusiasts amongst them.
I wonder how this bag will feel on my back, in warmer weather? The shiny textured material is buffered by a padded mesh section, which sits against your ribs. So far this year, my ribs have been three and four layers of clothing removed from this material and I look forward to testing the summer utility of the bag, in due course;-)
I gave the bag a five-star rating, because it entirely delivers what is promised—complete waterproof construction and shoulder carry straps. I've never used a roll top bag for hiking, before, but I like the security of it. The trade-off is that there is no lid, to sling ropes under- and overstuffing the main compartment would negate the element-defeating purpose of the product.
I've used, abused, and given away many day packs. My two favourites are 30-plus years old and still work well. It's hard to compare a six-month-old bag with those stalwarts, but I'm happy I gave in to my inquisitive side and bought this bag. Functionally weatherproof and comfy to wear.
Did I say they came in different colours? :-) Mine's the black one at the top, with walking stick and visible food supplies;-)
I've been using this bag for six months, two or three times a week, in rural Scottish conditions and in temperatures down to -15 degrees centigrade. Covid restrictions have kept my walks local and relatively short, usually less than 9-10 miles.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £20