With a fully waterproof 30L main compartment that will reliably keep your gear safe and dry during even the most torrential downpours, plus a good harness and a comfortable back panel, this very versatile day bag is extremely functional for a wide range of adventure pursuits and outdoor activities in all sorts of conditions. Robustly made (entirely from recycled materials) and boasting numerous useful features, this pack has really impressed me with its performance and practicality.
100% waterproof (main compartment)
Back pads to aid comfort and ventilation
Robustly made from recycled bottles
Two water bottle holders
Internal and external pockets
Removable laptop pouch
Reflective safety details
No waist belt
No pouch for hydration bladder
Only one harness size
Front pocket only showerproof
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Red Original Waterproof Backpack 30L: first impressions
The Red Original Waterproof Backpack 30L hails from a Devon-based watersport specialist best known for producing some of the very best standup paddleboards around. But can they also produce a daypack that’s up there with the best?
• List price: $199 (US) / £99.95 (UK)
• Materials: CYCLEPET (100% recycled PET plastic bottles)
• Weight (empty): 975g / 34oz
• Volume: 30L
• Variations available: None
• Harness sizes: One size
• Colors: Gray & black with red trim
• Compatibility: Day walking, coastal and river adventures, paddle sports, commuting
The key feature of this pack is versatility. Well, that and sustainability. Both things we fully support here at Adventure. Made entirely from recycled plastic bottles, this generously proportioned and fully waterproof daypack from the certified B Corp British brand is brilliant for use during a range of adventure pursuits and outdoor activities, from hiking and biking in the hills when the weather is wet and the trails are muddy, through to kayaking, canoeing and SUP escapades.
Complete with a padded internal laptop holder (totally removable when not required) it’s also ace for all-weather commuting to work, whether you cycle, walk, run or even paddle to the office.
The pack can be closed like a dry bag (by rolling the top over at least three times and clipping the ends together), or you can roll the top down, and use the side clips. These options make it possible to compress the bag, or use it to its full 30L extent, depending on how much kit you’re hauling. It also provides a couple of alternative ways to attach the bag to a boat or board, if you’re taking it out on the water.
Red Original Waterproof Backpack 30L: on the trails
I’ve been testing and enjoying using this bag for almost a year now. It is a genuinely super versatile backpack, and I’ve taken it out on numerous aquatic adventures in my kayak and on my stand-up paddleboard; used it for all-weather walks in woodlands, along the coastline and up in the hills; and stashed my laptop in it when cycling to meetings.
While not quite as comfortable and airy as some daypacks specifically designed for hiking and biking, such as the Osprey Talon, this Red Original bag has a back panel that features four large contoured foam pads, which keep the bag proud of your back and facilitate some airflow – preventing the buildup of too much sweat when you’re walking or cycling on hot days. The harness is made from mesh and foam, so it’s comfortable but allows airflow and doesn’t get waterlogged if you do get a drenching. There’s an easily adjustable sternum strap to hold the pack tight on your chest and minimize wobble, but sadly no waist belt or hip wings, which I would have liked, to improve comfort and weight carry capacity.
There is no compartment for a hydration bladder, but the pack has mesh pouches on both sides, ideal for carting water bottles. There’s also a useful zipped pocket on the front of the bag, although it’s worth remembering that this compartment is only splashproof, not fully waterproof, so keep your electric gadgets and other items you want to stay dry inside the main bag, where there’s a second small zipped pocket.
Also inside you’ll find a large, dedicated, padded pouch for stashing a laptop in, which – as mentioned – makes this an ideal bag for commuting (especially with the comprehensive weather protection it offers). This can be removed when you’re using the pack recreationally, out on the trails.
I’ve found this to be a really robustly built pack, with sealed seams and an excellent, strong carry handle, and I expect it to last for many years of pretty heavy use.
There are also several useful additional loops and elastic cords on the outside, for externally carrying everything from bike locks, lights and helmets to walking poles. The harness straps have reflectors, which show up nice and bright when vehicle lights shine on them, but I would have liked to see some additional reflectors on the back of the pack too, to improve safety when sharing lanes with vehicles.
Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and instagram here.