In our new column, WONDERLUST editors test the latest travel products and give you the thumbs up or down…
From a distance, the SealLine Urban Dry Daypack looks like a bag a bike messenger would use. Even up close, it still does.
These packs are originally intended for water adventures like kayaking, so it may seem it’s not practical for everyday use, but when it comes to keeping your important stuff (laptop, clothes, Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons) dry, ask yourself: Do I go to the beach? Does it rain every afternoon in Florida? Do I go kayaking? So, do you really need a fully waterproof backpack when you travel? Um, yeah.
At 26 liters (just under seven gallons) you can fill this up with a week’s worth of clothes if you pack like me. Just don’t expect it to fit under the seat in front of you. There’s a sleeve for your laptop up to 15 inches, and an interior and exterior pocket for more stuff. The waist belt doesn’t add much more support, but the padded shoulder straps and breathable back panel fits as snug as a bug in a rug. And at three pounds, the bag feels very light when wearing.
Opening and closing the bag with the QuickClip flap was challenging at first — this is more of a hook, I prefer clips — but the new suspension mechanism made sense after playing around with it. However, the cord to open and close it is not waterproof. Why go all this way with a waterproof bag and let a two-inch piece of material slide by? Any why aren’t the straps waterproof too?
The seams are fully welded, meaning nothing’s penetrating it. So, we tested how waterproof it was here at the WONDERLUST Travel Testing Lab — that is to say, blasting it with water in my shower for three minutes. The entire interior remained dry. Take that, duct tape!
Now, despite it passing the shower test, the SealLine bag is not meant to be submerged, if you were planning on wearing it on your next swim with sharks. But the key to keeping everything dry is how you roll the bag. The burrito-style rolltop must be rolled towards the back of the bag. And if you forget this, well, the instructions are printed inside.