Photos and testing for this review were all carried out following the Government guidance for local exercise within a household group. Please abide by the restrictions in your area.
The Drypack RS 30L is a relatively simple, lightweight and well designed roll-top rucksack. Aside from its reasonable price tag, the chief selling point is that it is waterproof, saving you using drybags or a liner, and making it particularly suitable for wet pursuits such as ghyll scrambling.
Here we've looked at the largest model in the range; Trekmates also offer the Drypack RS in a 22L size, as well as two simpler Drypacks at 20L and 15L. For me, the advantage of the 30L version is that it's just big enough to consider using on a lightweight overnight trip.
The Drypack RS 30L feels impressively light, at just 505g on my scales (the Trekmates website says 460g but it also says 22L next to it, so I think they've just taken the weight from the smaller model by mistake).
Describing it is easy as the pack is essentially just the single main compartment with the roll-top lid. Outside are two stretch mesh pockets on each side to accommodate water bottles or similar. There are two compression straps that stretch right over the front of the pack. These are removable if you wish to minimise weight further, but when fully extended with the pack stuffed quite full, the straps are just long enough to fit my Z-Rest sleeping pad under so could be useful if you use the pack on overnight trips. There are also two narrow webbing straps sewn on in a ladder style on the front of the pack. These hold two pairs of elastic cord loops with cordlocks that can be used to attach walking poles when not in use. If necessary these can be easily adapted to hold a lightweight walking axe.
Inside, the back the material is white, which makes finding things in the depths a breeze. Turning the pack inside out also reveals every line of stitching is seam-taped, and not the seam-tape of old that was prone to peeling off relatively easily. Although this must be a type of tape from the straight edges it resembles more when you paint Seamgrip or similar onto a tent fly. A bit of drizzle whilst taking it on walks unsurprisingly made no impression on the dry contents of the Drypack. Using the bath I have poured water into the pack to test the waterproofing further and it seems to be - as it name suggests - completely waterproof. If you live in a particular soggy part of the British Isles (or indeed elsewhere in the world!) then this might be the daypack for you. One possible downside to this is, if you are used to drinking from a Camelbak or similar, there is nowhere to put the bladder outside of the main body of the pack; if you stash the bladder inside then won't be able to seal the roll-top with the drink tube coming out of it.
The back has some limited non-removable padding sewn in, but no additional stiffener or frame. There is a narrow waist strap but it does have padded "fins" that offer some padding over your hip bones. The shoulder straps seem perfectly comfortable so far with day-pack loads. They have a removable chest strap on them; although my three and a half year old, who currently likes fastex buckles, put the empty pack on when it had just been delivered - (it's about as big as him!) and when doing up the chest strap immediately said in a disappointed tone: "no whistle". And he's right, an emergency whistle on the chest-strap buckle seems to have become almost the norm in recent years, but the Drypack doesn't have one.
What's it best for?
With an RRP of £50 the Drypack RS 30L isn't particularly expensive for a 30 litre daypack let alone one that is completely waterproof. I could see it being a great pack for ghyll scrambling or coasteering type days. I've had a rather similar in design Alpkit Gourdon for over a decade now, it's gone on kayak tours with me (being waterproof, it can be lashed to the deck elastics if space is limited under your hatches), and works well for slinging stuff in for going to the beach or lake swimming with the kids - you don't even need to worry about wet towels or swimming gear leaking out into your car once stowed in a waterproof pack. The Trekmates Drypack will do all that easily.
I'm looking forward once the lockdown rules have eased to packing it with lightweight overnight gear camping gear and seeing how it will do for some "fast-packing" (or maybe that should be "fast-ish-packing" with me). It is perfectly comfortable on day walks with a picnic for the family and lots of waterproofs shoved into it so I don't see any reason it won't work fine carrying a tarp, meths stove, summer down bag, mat and some supper and breakfast. With this being a "Drypack" I won't even need to worry about packing my sleeping bag in a plastic bag.
A lightweight and durable waterproof day pack with padded back system for all day comfort.
- 210D Ripstop polyamide with 600D reinforcing panel
- 100% waterproof taped construction
- White lining for internal visibility
- Robust, classic roll-top closure
- Stretch mesh side pockets for water bottle or jacket
- Thermo-formed back padding for all day comfort
- Padded shoulder straps
- Adjustable and removable sternum strap
- Adjustable waist belt with padded hip fins
- Removable compression strap for carrying awkward loads
- Trekking pole attachment loops
For info see trekmates.co.uk