A very clever compromise between a dry bag and a comfortable daypack, the Gourdon is a versatile carry-all for all sorts of watery adventures.
Mesh side pockets
Great price point
No back frame
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Why choose between a waterproof dry bag and a backpack when you can have both? Stand-up paddleboarders, kayakers and wild swimmers will love Alpkit’s Gourdon, a fully waterproof stuff sack that also sports comfortable shoulder straps, so you can hike hands-free.
This isn’t a technical trekking backpack (for these, check out Best hiking backpack) – 30 litres is a limited amount of space and there’s no built-in back frame (see: Parts of a backpack) – but it still works very well as a casual day pack (find more of these in our list of the best daypacks), and well-placed waist and chest straps make it easy to distribute heavier loads.
The top rolls up tightly like a dry bag (see: Best dry bags) to create a waterproof seal – unroll it and there’s one large compartment that’ll hold a towel and a change of clothes, plus a pouch compatible with a 1-1.5 litre hydration bladder. Two external mesh pockets are big enough to hold water bottles and other essentials. There’s also a removable sit pad, a nice extra for longer adventures on foot or by paddle.
A 20-litre version (opens in new tab) is also available.
RRP: £40 (UK)
Weight: 460g / 1lb
Compatibility: Day walks, coasteering, watery hikes, paddling and boat-based adventures
Colors: Red / Black / Blue
On the trails
We took the Alpkit Gourdon backpack on stand-up paddle boarding trips as well as slinging it on our backs when walking to favourite wild swimming spots, and very much enjoyed the comfort of knowing that our kit was totally safe from the elements.
The only downsides we found on test are the fact that your back can get a bit sweaty against the plastic on hot summer days, and that you need to pack the Gourdon carefully so there’s nothing digging into your back as you walk - compared to a regular backpack, there's very little in the way of padding in the back panel.
That said, if rain never puts you off adventuring it’s great to be able to grab a backpack that can take on the elements with you. This might not be a quiver-of-one pack you can take everywhere, but for the extremely reasonable price we reckon it’s well worth adding the Gourdon to your outdoor kit arsenal – we find ourselves reaching for it regularly.
An award-winning travel and outdoors journalist, presenter and blogger, Sian regularly writes for The Independent, Evening Standard, BBC Countryfile, Coast, Outdoor Enthusiast and Sunday Times Travel. Life as a hiking, camping, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken her around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia, climbing mountains in Africa and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. Her blog, thegirloutdoors.co.uk, champions accessible adventures.
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