Meet Mustang Survival’s 30L Bluewater Gear Hauler ($159 USD) – the best dry bag backpack we’ve tested
We’ve long been on the lookout for the best dry bag backpack. After five years of living on our boat and bluewater cruising, we’ve “tested” (see: destroyed) half a dozen of them. Each dry bag backpack we bought was lacking in some way: “waterproof” seams leaked, flimsy straps broke and made it uncomfortable to carry heavy loads, zero padding meant we often added a sheet of foam to protect our devices. Oh, and why is there no way to make a giant rubberized backpack look cool?
I’m so excited to share that after searching online and at one of the biggest boat shows in North America, we’ve finally found the ultimate dry bag backpack, one that stands up to boat life and looks sleek too.
A quick note on Mustang Survival. They’re a Canadian manufacturer of marine gear (life jackets, foulies, dry suits, etc.) and in addition to their line for recreational boaters, they also supply the military and water-rescue professionals (so you know their gear is rugged!). Mustang Survival provided us with two dry bag backpacks to test and review. The opinions in this review are entirely our own.
“The 30L Bluewater Gear Hauler is by far the best dry bag backpack we’ve come across.”
6 awesome features set this dry bag backpack apart:
- A waterproof roll-top compartment at the back, where I could easily fit both my iPad and my 14” laptop, and the front compartments have urethane-coated zippers. There’s also a great pouch on the front for all of your wet gear.
- The construction is extremely rugged with a ripstop nylon shell and TPU-coated handles and clip points.
- The padded back provides protection for electronics.
- Robust chest and hip straps make it unlike any other waterproof backpack we’ve come across. There’s also a foam back stiffener. Which makes it comfortable to carry heavy loads long distances. It would be a great hiking, skiing, or waterproof fishing bag also.
- Pockets and compartments for your gear. You don’t have to worry about groping around for your phone or keys that have fallen to the bottom of your bag. There are tons of compartments, pockets, and panels for organizing your stuff.
- Lastly, we love how it looks! It’s sleek, streamlined and comes in blue or black. There’s also a 55L and 15L version, though they do not have the roll-top compartment.
We also tested Mustang’s Highwater 22L Waterproof Day Pack ($99 USD)
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly 100% waterproof backpack, this is an awesome option. Its waterproof rip-stop nylon shell makes it so lightweight and compact, you can easily roll it up and stow it. Exterior lash points mean you can attach your fishing rod and three exterior mesh pockets are great for stashing smaller pieces of gear.
For more reviews on must-have marine goodies, check out our gear section.
Fiona McGlynn is an award-winning boating writer who created Waterborne as a place to learn about living aboard and traveling the world by sailboat. She has written for boating magazines including BoatUS, SAIL, Cruising World, and Good Old Boat. She’s also a contributing editor at Good Old Boat and BoatUS Magazine. In 2017, Fiona and her husband completed a 3-year, 13,000-mile voyage from Vancouver to Mexico to Australia on their 35-foot sailboat.