When warmer weather beckons, the right outdoor gear can help you make the most of the season. Whether you're hiking or paddling, Can Geo editors Thomas Hall, Michela Rosano and Jessica Finn have got you covered with their reviews of backpacks from Rockagator and Mountain Hardwear.
Looking for a sturdy bag that will keep your essentials dry even if you flip your canoe or hurtle off your urban-commuter bike into one of those pond-sized potholes that abound in Canada this time of year? The 25-litre Rockagator may be that bag.
I used it to store a change of clothes and some towels during the Jock River canoe race, an early April, 12.5-kilometre downriver with some splashy class I rapids in the Ottawa area. Despite being on the receiving end of some heavy splashing and sitting in a shallow pool of water that gathered in the bottom of the boat for about an hour, the inside of the bag, and my gear, was perfectly dry.
It’s “quick-submersion” waterproof according to the Rockagator website, but feels like if you correctly sealed it, it could double as a dry bag. Though it’s heavy for a backpack, it certainly feels solid and its padded straps are a nice touch. If you’re in the market for a solidly built, weatherproof bag, give rockagator.com a try.
This lightweight waterproof backpack is great for short activities, such as cycling to and from work, a day spent exploring a new city or a hike in the woods. I took this sturdily constructed bag on a short rainy hike on a slushy spring day, and the OutDry® construction kept its waterproof promise. At 35 litres, this top-loading bag is relatively small, enough to fit a change of clothes, a light jacket, a water bottle and a few other small items. The roll-top clips shut on either side and sealed in my gear nicely. Though, if the weather is cooperating, you can fit a little more into this bag and just fold over the top. On the outside, this backpack is relatively simple, with one front pocket (not waterproof), two side pockets for water bottles and the like, two small zippered pockets on the hip belt (good for keys) and a few loops. The padded shoulder and hip straps were comfortable, though a little stiff, and fit my 5’9” frame, but on my 6’3” husband, they were a little off. Overall, it’s a sturdy, waterproof bag perfect for short treks. mountainhardwear.ca
The RainshadowTM 36 Outdry® Backpack is the ultimate daypack for the avid outdoors person. This super lightweight pack maintains its slim and stylish exterior despite its 35 L capacity, and side compression straps keep the load manageable and close to the carrier’s core. Even in a downpour, waterproof construction protects gear that needs to stay dry, and the pack is loaded with pockets to ensure all your bits and bobs are organized and accessible. Need somewhere to stash those wet socks? No problem — there’s a convenient front pocket with built in drainage to keep wet items separate. There are also handy carry loops at the base of the pack for trekking poles and clippable items (think spare water bottles, etc.). The padded hip belt and sternum strap ensure a comfy fit. Women, take note: the narrow placement of the shoulder straps ensures they won’t slip off your shoulders or cause chafing. mountainhardwear.ca