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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, thick material, has a shoulder strap
Cons:  Leaky, many smartphones don't fit in case
Manufacturer:   Earth Pak
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 2, 2021
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50
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 14
  • Waterproofness - 50% 5
  • Ease of Use - 30% 5
  • Features - 10% 6
  • Durability - 10% 4

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 good for all your beach day needs and is inexpensive and durable enough for the job. However, 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. Its included phone case also isn't as useful for today's larger smartphones, but we love this bag's adjustable shoulder strap for easy transport.

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Pros Inexpensive, bonus phone case, thick material, has a shoulder strapVery waterproof, clear window, easy to locate things, sturdy buildGood water protection, easy to use, replaceable clipLightweight, rectangular shape, simplicity is a featureLightweight, good protection, simple to use
Cons Leaky, many smartphones don't fit in caseFlat shape is odd, extra access stepSingle stitching, not tall enough to roll properlyNot abrasion resistant, must be part of a systemLimited size options, less impressive construction
Bottom Line An inexpensive model that offers modest protection against splashes and includes an independent phone caseA seriously waterproof bag we trust with our most sensitive items at a very nice priceAn inexpensive windowed dry bag with solid water resistance and some easy to use featuresFor backpackers and day hikers, this model is a packing cube dry bag hybridA simple, lightweight dry bag that lets light in and is easy to use
Rating Categories Earth Pak Original NRS Ether HydroLock Sea to Summit View... Osprey Ultralight D... Outdoor Research Be...
Waterproofness (50%)
5.0
10.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Ease Of Use (30%)
5.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
6.0
Features (10%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
Durability (10%)
4.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
Specs Earth Pak Original NRS Ether HydroLock Sea to Summit View... Osprey Ultralight D... Outdoor Research Be...
Weight 16.0 oz 2.3 oz 1.7 oz 1.6 oz 1.0 oz
Tested Size (liters) 20 L 5 L 4 L 20 L 3 L
Closure Type Roll-top HydroLock and roll-top Roll-top Roll-top Roll-top
Included D-Rings? Yes Yes Yes No No
Style Roll-top w/ shoulder strap Roll-top Roll-top Roll-top Roll-top
Material 500D PVC 30D silicone-impregnated ripstop nylon, urethane window 70D nylon, TPU window 40D ripstop nylon 40D siliconized ripstop nylon, PU coating

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Earth Pak Original is made out of 500D PVC and has a 20-liter capacity. 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


A simple model for handsfree beach days.
A simple model for handsfree beach days.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

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.

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.

Thick sides help keep water out of this roll-top bag.
Thick sides help keep water out of this roll-top bag.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

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 adjustable, removable over-the-shoulder carrying strap is useful for transporting it from the car to the water. We've tested multiple versions of this bag over the years — one of the versions proved faulty, as the shoulder strap broke during the first use. Subsequent versions did not experience this particular issue.

This simple bag is straightforward to use.
This simple bag is straightforward to use.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Features


We love being able to carry this bag hands-free via the shoulder strap and find it a great addition to lake days and on paddling adventures. On another note, this dry bag comes with an included separate waterproof phone case with a lanyard. Depending on what type of smartphone you have, this accessory may be a fantastic addition, or it may be totally useless. An iPhone 12 Pro Max and an LG V60 ThinQ both proved too tall to allow the top of the case to clamp shut around them. An iPhone 8+ fits inside, but the case is too thick to read your finger's electronic signature through the clear plastic. 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 and one on each of the bottom sides of the back.

The adjustable shoulder strap is a nice touch, even if the plastic...
The adjustable shoulder strap is a nice touch, even if the plastic components are a little underwhelming.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Durability


The main compartment of this model is made of a very durable, sturdy 500D PVC fabric. It's thick and resistant to scratches and abrasions. The plastic D-rings and clips, on the other hand, are made of fairly thin plastic. The plastic attachment of the crossbody strap broke clean off during the first day of testing one iteration of this bag with no exceptional force. It's not a bag we'd entrust with a lot of weight.

The Earth Pak isn't subtle, built with exceptionally thick material.
The Earth Pak isn't subtle, built with exceptionally thick material.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


The low price of the Earth Pak is hard to beat on that criterion alone, especially with the bonus smartphone case. That said, 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 bag.

Conclusion


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

Though it's not blowing our hair back, there's still a lot to like...
Though it's not blowing our hair back, there's still a lot to like about this uncomplicated, inexpensive dry bag.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Maggie Brandenburg