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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, durableNearly watertight, durable, lightweight, white interior helps you find thingsLightweight, rectangular shape3 bag set, weather-resistant, small handy sizes, simple design, inexpensiveInexpensive, thick durable material, simple design, optional backpack straps
Cons LeakyWill leak under duress, no easy carry straps, seams taped not weldedDelicateDurability concerns, clumsy construction, 10L bag very narrowProne to leaking, less durable plastic parts
Bottom Line An inexpensive model that offers modest protection against splashes and includes an independent phone caseAn inexpensive model that provides great water resistancePacking cube meets dry bag for added protection against the elements from inside a backpackOffering reasonable weather resistance and a great price, but not the most durable optionOffering mild protection from water, this model is a great way to store your wet swim suit or towel
Rating Categories Earth Pak Original Sea to Summit Big R... Osprey Ultralight D... 3-Pack All Purpose MARCHWAY Floating 20L
Waterproofness (50%)
5.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
4.0
Ease Of Use (30%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Features (10%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
5.0
Durability (10%)
4.0
7.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
Specs Earth Pak Original Sea to Summit Big R... Osprey Ultralight D... 3-Pack All Purpose MARCHWAY Floating 20L
Weight (ounces) 16.0oz 8.0 oz 1.6oz 0.7oz (2L), 1.0 oz (4L), 1.5 oz (10L) 14.4oz
Size We Tested (liters) 20L 35 L 20L 2L, 4L,10L 20L
Closure Type Roll-top Roll-top Roll-top Roll-top Roll-top
Included D-Rings? Yes Yes No No Yes
Style Roll-top w/ shoulder strap Roll-top Roll-top Roll-top, 3-pack Roll-top w/ shoulder straps
Material 500D PVC 420D heavy duty nylon 40D nylon ripstop Polyurethane coated ripstop 60% cotton, 40% rayon Ripstop tarpaulin

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