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Earth Pak Original Review

An inexpensive model that offers modest protection against splashes and includes an independent phone case
Earth Pak Original
Photo: Earth Pak
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Price:  $24 List | $23.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Inexpensive, bonus phone case, durable
Cons:  Leaky
Manufacturer:   Earth Pak
By Maggie Brandenburg & Leslie Yedor  ⋅  Jun 6, 2020
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50
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 12
  • Waterproofness - 50% 5
  • Ease of Use - 30% 5
  • Features - 10% 6
  • Durability - 10% 4
RELATED: Best Dry Bag

Our Verdict

The Earth Pak Original protects from splashes and partial submersions for casual days at the beach, out on the water, or in a drippy canyon. This 20-liter model is just the right size for your towel and change of clothes and is inexpensive and durable enough to be used as a stand-alone bag. While it may be the right bag for your kids or to keep wet swimsuits contained in the back of the car, it's not entirely watertight and doesn't offer enough protection to keep electronics safe from full submersions. It does come with a waterproof phone case independent of the main bag. However, if your smartphone is a newer model that relies on your finger's electronic signature rather than pressure, this case is too thick to be functional.

Updated Graphics

Earth Pak has acquired a snazzier logo since our testing period, shown on the bag in the image above, but nothing technical has changed about the product.

June 2020

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Pros Inexpensive, bonus phone case, durableDurable, easy to use, comfortable to haul aroundNearly watertight, durable, lightweight, white interior helps you find thingsLightweight, easy to use, good compression designVery durable, easy to remove backpack straps, oversized capacity, simple metal clips
Cons LeakyExpensive, largeWill leak under duress, no easy carry straps, seams taped not weldedNot for use as a stand-alone bagLeaks if packed improperly, metal hooks take longer to use, tough to keep organized
Bottom Line This model is inexpensive and keeps your gear mostly dry with splashes and brief submissionsThis product keeps out water, no matter how rough and wet things might getQuality protection from splashes and brief submersions for a low priceThis waterproof stuff sack has all the features you need to keep your sleeping bag warm and securely stowedAn easy to use design that's well designed and durable, but overkill for many trips
Rating Categories Earth Pak Original Watershed Colorado Duffel Sea to Summit Big River eVent Compression NRS Bill's Bag
Waterproofness (50%)
5
10
8
9
8
Ease Of Use (30%)
5
9
8
6
6
Features (10%)
6
8
8
7
8
Durability (10%)
4
8
7
6
8
Specs Earth Pak Original Watershed Colorado... Sea to Summit Big... eVent Compression NRS Bill's Bag
Weight (ounces) 16.0oz 4.8oz 8.0 oz 51.2oz 65.6oz
Size We Tested (liters) 20L 75L 35 L 20L 110L
Closure Type Roll-top ZipDry Roll-top Roll-top Roll-top
Included D-Rings? Yes Yes Yes No No
Style Roll-top w/ shoulder strap Duffel Roll-top Roll-top w/ lid and compression straps Roll-top w/ shoulder straps
Material 500D PVC Ppolyurethane-coated nylon 420D heavy duty nylon 70D nylon 21oz TobaTex

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Earth Pak Original is made out of 500D PVC and has a 20-liter volume. Its cylindrical shape and flat bottom make it simple to pack with the essentials. It's hardy enough for your kids to drag across the beach or to squeeze through a slot canyon and offers moderate protection from water.

Performance Comparison


The Earth Pak is an inexpensive model best suited for times when...
The Earth Pak is an inexpensive model best suited for times when full submersion is not expected.
Photo: Leslie Yedor

Waterproofness


This model performs unimpressively when exposed to any serious amount of water. While it served to keep our stuff sufficiently dry when subjected to splashes on the front of a paddleboard, our towel was moderately wet after it was submerged, and lots of air bubbles escaped. Dragging it behind the board resulted in an internal compartment full of water and a very wet towel.

While the majority of our towel remained dry after testing, large...
While the majority of our towel remained dry after testing, large spots were soaked through.
Photo: Leslie Yedor

That said, one of our testers was rappelling through waterfalls while canyoneering, and a member of the crew used this bag and phone case with zero problems. As long as full submersion isn't on the docket, the Earth Pak can handle quite a lot.

Ease of Use


The general shape of the Earth Pak is that of a standard cylindrical bag. However, the flat bottom allows it to stand upright on its own, which greatly facilitates packing and finding contents inside it during activity. The removable over the shoulder carrying strap is useful for transporting it from the car to the water, but unfortunately, ours broke on the first day of testing.

The flat bottom allows this model to stand unsuported.
The flat bottom allows this model to stand unsuported.
Photo: Leslie Yedor

Features


While we love the idea of a simple, removable crossbody carry strap to help move the Earth Pak from point A to point B, we are disappointed that the plastic attachment broke during the first day of use. On another note, the dry bag comes with an included separate waterproof phone case with a lanyard. The phone case is big enough for an iPhone 8, but the case is too thick to read most people's finger through the cover. As most phones anymore rely on the tiny amount of electricity produced by your finger, instead of the pressure caused by pushing down on the screen, this case is no longer as useful as it was with older phones. But if you still have an older phone (that also likely isn't waterproof), this may be a perk you'll love.

The Earth Pak features a standard roll-top closure system. It has three plastic D-rings held on by webbing — two at the roll-top, one on the bottom side of the back.

This model features a crossbody strap that unfortunately broke on...
This model features a crossbody strap that unfortunately broke on the first day of testing.
Photo: Leslie Yedor

Durability


The main compartment of this model is made of very sturdy material. It's thick and resistant to scratches and abrasions. The plastic D-rings and clips, on the other hand, are made of thin plastic. The plastic attachment of the crossbody strap broke clean off during the first day of testing with no exceptional force.

The main compartment is durable enough to withstand being dragged...
The main compartment is durable enough to withstand being dragged over rocks.
Photo: Leslie Yedor

Other Sizes and Colors
Earth Pak makes the same model in both 10 liter and 20-liter sizes. Both sizes are available in a wide variety of bright and neutral colors.

Value


The low price of the Earth Pak is hard to beat on that criterion alone, especially with the bonus smartphone case. While this may be the perfect level of investment to keep your towel and clothes dry, don't gamble more expensive hydrophobic equipment with this model.

This inexpensive product is great for the casual paddle board...
This inexpensive product is great for the casual paddle board session where you don't plan to get in the water.
Photo: Leslie Yedor

Conclusion


This inexpensive model includes a (possibly) handy phone case but has components that aren't the most durable. It will protect against casual-to-moderate splashes, and the fabric of the bag itself is quite burly. We think it's best suited for recreational users, kids, and casual days with minimal water exposure.

Maggie Brandenburg & Leslie Yedor