GEAR REVIEW // Pelagic 30L Water-Resistant Aquapak Backpack

Capacity: 30 liters

Dimensions: 13″x6″x24″ 

MSRP: $149 (but we found one on sale)

Website: https://pelagicgear.com/ 

PELAGIC (PE-ˈLA-JIK) DEFINITION: Adjective:1. Of, related to, or living in the open oceans and seas, rather than areas near land. 2. A highly migratory predator such as marlin, tuna, mahi mahi, wahoo, and sharks which reside in open water – amongst the most highly prized and sought-after gamefish in the world.  Noun: 1. A premium, high-performance fishing brand dedicated to those that live, eat, sleep, and breathe the ocean lifestyle.

Pelagic has been around for about 20 years and provides quality technical apparel, high-performance polarized optics, unique lifestyle wear, and ocean-inspired gear & accessories. They were founded in 2002 near Newport Beach in California and are deeply rooted in fishing and ocean culture. Another reason we love this brand so much? They offer a 30% discount for Veterans and First Responder. Yep, you heard that right, 30%! They also offer discounts for students and medical professionals. 

Their Stuart, FL location just so happens to be one of only 7 flagship stores in the entire world. Stuart is our home for the moment so we have been checking out all of the stores in the area that offer boat life products. The town has your standard “West Marine” and tons of bait & tackle shops but the one that really caught our eye was Pelagic. Granted, you can also get select Pelagic items at a West Marine and other outdoor stores, see map here for a complete list

When we went into the store, I was blown away by the colors. Bright and bold greens, blues, reds, and orange dominated the store displays. Little did we know, they were having a sale on summer items and many articles of clothing were buy one, get one free! I was in heaven since the majority of our tiny budget goes to repairs and improvements for Konstantina, our boat. Many of the products are very useful for boat life Including the 50UPF rash guards, women’s leggings, and swimwear. I also was drawn to the simple, but well designed lightweight tank tops. We got a few outfits and headed out. But…in the parking lot discussed our need for a sail-worthy backpack…then went immediately back in to grab an Aquapak. 

We’ve been to the beach a lot in the past few weeks and we didn’t quite have a bag that keeps both sand and water out of it.  Luckily, this bag was also on sale for a 1/3rd of the original cost! That night, we took it to the beach for a test…

Being a 30L dry-bag, it does take up some space and feels quite bulky when not in use. The PVC Dri-Core material is stiff yet heavy-duty, sturdy and durable. Not to mention, a REALLY cool design! After a couple of uses, the roll top is easier to open and close and is a welcome feature at a beach, or rainy setting. The load-bearing backpack straps and reinforced handle make it easy and even comfortable to carry with a heavy load. We packed this thing to the gills in order to test it out. Three towels, two Nalgene water bottles, dog toys, our sandals, sunscreen, and a few other random beach items, as well as our Jeep keys and a wallet went into our Aquapak. 

It happened to rain on us a bit while we were there so it was a great time to test out the water resistance of the pack. Sure enough, the water beaded up and would roll off, or could easily be wiped off with a towel. That wasn’t enough for my boys though…they wanted to see how it would hold up should it fall off the boat, into the ocean. 

The good news is it floated well, and the boys were even able to use it as a floaty, and boogie board for fun! 

The bad news is…we figured out the difference between water resistant and water PROOF pretty quick when we opened up the front pouch and forgot that we left our Jeep keys and Steve’s wallet in there! They were soaked but the key fob still worked and the contents of the wallet dried out rather quickly in the Florida heat. 

Other features on this pack include padded and breathable back pad & shoulder straps, adjustable hip belt, reflective patches on shoulder straps, a water bottle pocket, zipper on the roll top, front water-resistant pouch with non-submersible zippers, plus an adjustable chest strap.

Pros about this bag: 

  • Sand and water come off the bag easily
  • The zipper on the roll top help keep items in the bag and protected from the elements.
  • Front zip pouch is nice for smaller items so that you don’t have to search the deep bag for them.
  • Carry handle has a very sturdy and strong reinforcement grip.
  • Bottom of the bag is flat so when it’s full of items, it mostly stands up when placed down on the floor.

Cons: 

  • The back pad and shoulder straps are made of fabric that has a pattern which allows sand to get caught between the webbing. This happens with the Velcro on the adjustable waist belt as well. 
  • The water bottle pocket is pretty small and does not stretch much. It can hold the equivalent of a can of soda both in height and width. 
  • Some areas of the bag seem weak. While trying to adjust the Velcro waist belt, the webbing ripped off of the velcro patch and the seams around the zip pouch are fraying a bit. 
  • The description says that the front pouch zipper is “water-proof” but that was not our experience. However, we may not have had the zipper pull pushed all the way up into the zipper pull enclosure in order to ensure it was covered. 

Overall, this is a great bag that is very sturdy, durable, and useful for a liveaboard lifestyle and could potentially be used as a good “ditch-bag”. I can see it making many trips on the dinghy with us to go into town in order to grab groceries and other necessities. It’s our go-to bag for beach days and Steve likes to use it for his classes at Chapman when they head out of a day on the ocean.  We are excited to continue shopping at Pelagic and really look forward to their next sale! 

Drift On! 

Randi

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