Buying gear online is frustrating when you can’t see enough details to make an informed purchase. Youtube videos and reviews are helpful but sometimes there just aren’t enough clear shots of the important details. Our “Closer Look’ reviews are filled with photos that attempt to bring out the details that are most important to me or missing in other reviews. Some items that are reviewed here have been provided at a discounted price in exchange for the written reviews. I will always give an honest opinion in the reviews on this site regardless of how the product was acquired.
Here’s the review
We’re in the middle of upgrading our preps and testing specific new gear here. Two things about the Earth Pak bags caught my attention..1) they are available in olive drab and 2) they are furnished with padded shoulder straps so the bag could be carried as a backpack.
Frustrated with the lack of online details about the shoulder straps I contacted Earth Pak and asked if they had any additional photos..unfortunately they didn’t. I explained our situation to Scott at Earth Pak and, after a couple prompt and pleasant emails, both the 55 liter and 40 liter dry bags were on the way here.
Both the 40 liter and 55 liter bags are equipped with generously padded shoulder straps. Plenty of adjustment is provided for both the shoulder straps and sternum strap. I was able to easily set these bags up for my torso. (6’2″ 215 lbs)
The 55 liter bag had some additional cross-stitching where the top of the strap is attached. This stitching is absent on our 40 liter bag.
The lower attachment point is reinforced as well. NOTE: There is no waist belt..I was told that Earth Pak is working on a second generation of bags that will have a waist belt.
You can see that the bag is constructed with care. The seams are clean and neat. Stitching is solid. Materials and hardware used are good quality.
Earth Pak even prints instructions at the top of every bag.
My wife and I ordered several of the 10 liter bags after taking a look at these first two. We wanted to hand them out during the holidays as gifts and found an excellent Christmas deal on Amazon. We kept one for ourselves to use while kayaking or fishing. The smaller bags are equipped with a single shoulder strap.
I packed the 40 liter bag with some EDC items and my Carhartt coveralls and carried it daily for 3 weeks. We had some early arctic air come through and our temps hit below zero for about a week and they bottomed out at -14. I purposely left the bag outside during this time to see how it would handle the cold temps. I checked it daily for stiffness or cracking and found that it stayed very flexible. There are no signs of failure after being used daily and left out in the weather.
I like the shoulder straps…they are moderately padded but not so padded that they weigh a ton. They are plenty comfortable for day hiking. Carrying the loaded 55 liter bag felt much like carrying a Bergen-style pack. The 40 Liter pack carried the same as any larger day pack.
I’m picky (obsessive) about stitch quality at the shoulder strap attachment points..this is a critical area in my opinion. The stitch quality shown in these bags is very good and the stress points seem to be adequately reinforced.
I don’t really have a negative thing to say. It would be nice to have a waist belt and they’ve told me that they are already working on that.
If weight is important to you..the 55 liter bag weighs about 1 lb 9 oz and the 40 liter bag weighs about 1 lb 6 oz. These weights are approximate..it was difficult getting an exact reading on our scale.
I like the subdued color, or I should say, the subdued color is necessary for most of my activities. Earth Pak is one of the only companies offering bags in olive drab. ( Maybe they’ll come out with an Advantage or Mossy Oak camo version someday? )
You’ll be seeing more of these bags in some future articles.
By the way, Earth Pak has outstanding Customer Service and it’s easy to see that they are passionate about their products. Check out their products at Amazon.com