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Osprey Ultralight Drysack Review

Packing cube meets dry bag for added protection against the elements from inside a backpack
Osprey Ultralight Drysack
Photo: Osprey
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Price:  $23 List | $12.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, rectangular shape
Cons:  Delicate
Manufacturer:   Osprey
By Maggie Brandenburg & Leslie Yedor  ⋅  Jun 6, 2020
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 12
  • Waterproofness - 50% 6
  • Ease of Use - 30% 8
  • Features - 10% 6
  • Durability - 10% 3
RELATED: Best Dry Bag

Our Verdict

Planning a hiking trip somewhere notoriously wet and rainy like Olympic National Park? The Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack is a great way to stash your clothes inside your backpack. Water-repelling fabric and a tight roll-top closure system will give your gear the added "just-in-case" protection that might be the difference between happy feet and soggy socks. Weighing in at only 1.6 ounces, it's perfect for backpacking trips. The only downside to this product is the thin, delicate fabric. Shaving ounces also costs durability, and this product absolutely requires the protection of an outer pack.

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Pros Lightweight, rectangular shapeDurable, 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 DelicateExpensive, 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 For backpackers and day hikers, this model is a packing cube dry bag hybridThis 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 Osprey Ultralight Drysack Watershed Colorado Duffel Sea to Summit Big River eVent Compression NRS Bill's Bag
Waterproofness (50%)
6
10
8
9
8
Ease Of Use (30%)
8
9
8
6
6
Features (10%)
6
8
8
7
8
Durability (10%)
3
8
7
6
8
Specs Osprey Ultralight... Watershed Colorado... Sea to Summit Big... eVent Compression NRS Bill's Bag
Weight (ounces) 1.6oz 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? No Yes Yes No No
Style Roll-top Duffel Roll-top Roll-top w/ lid and compression straps Roll-top w/ shoulder straps
Material 40D nylon ripstop Ppolyurethane-coated nylon 420D heavy duty nylon 70D nylon 21oz TobaTex

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Osprey Ultralight is made of 40D nylon ripstop. The 20-liter size we tested is 17 inches tall x 10 inches wide x 6 inches deep. This flat-bottomed rectangular bag features a classic roll-top reinforced with a stiff plastic lip.

Performance Comparison


This super lightweight model provides bonus protection for your...
This super lightweight model provides bonus protection for your clothes inside your backpacking pack.
Photo: Leslie Yedor

Waterproofness


This metric makes or breaks a dry bag's performance scores, and the Ultralight does astonishingly well in this category, especially considering the small hole it sustained before our more rigorous testing! Full-on sustained submersion does allow water to creep into the interior, but only a few small patches of our testing towel got wet. Our gear was quite a bit wetter after it was dragged through the lake, but the contents were far from soaked.

Even with a puncture in the bottom, only a few small spots on our...
Even with a puncture in the bottom, only a few small spots on our testing towel were wet after full submersion.
Photo: Leslie Yedor

Ease of Use


The Ultralight looks a lot like your typical packing cube. Its rectangular shape and square bottom make it easy to neatly pack folded layers. Unlike more traditional packing cubes, however, it doesn't zip down the sides, and the top-only entry makes it slightly less convenient for retrieving the internal contents.

The flat bottom and rectangular shape make it easy to pack full of...
The flat bottom and rectangular shape make it easy to pack full of layers.
Photo: Leslie Yedor

There are no special features to assist in carrying this model, but its also necessary to carry it inside a larger backpack for protection. The shape of the Ultralight makes it a poor choice for a sleeping bag — stuffing a bag inside and compressing the air out is no easy feat. This bag is more ideal for clothes or sundries. Our main tester has one that she's been using to hold her backpacking first aid kit for years and loves it for that purpose.

Features


The most remarkable feature of the Ultralight is the small webbing loop at the bottom of the bag. It provides a small, yet sturdy handle to extricate this model from a well-stuffed backpack. Other, similar models we tested offer no such helpful features and often require two hands to retrieve from another bag. It's also astonishingly light, (hence the name!), making it a better choice for adventures where weight matters more than super intense waterproofness — like backpacking or traveling.

The small loop of webbing at the bottom creates a pull tab for...
The small loop of webbing at the bottom creates a pull tab for fishing it out of your backpack.
Photo: Leslie Yedor

The Ultralight has a standard roll-top design with a lip that is reinforced with plastic to help give it shape when rolling. It also features a single small D-ring at the roll top. Since this model is meant to be stored inside another pack, we didn't miss more robust lash points.

Durability


Unfortunately, this metric is the undoing of the Ultralight. Reducing weight also means thin material. Our product sustained a small puncture-like tear at the bottom early on in our testing. How and when it sustained this casualty is unbeknownst to us, but no significant force was rendered. If you're only using this as a weather-resistant layer, this hole can be reasonably patched for continued use. But it was pretty much "game over" for full submersion protection during our testing.

A small puncture tear formed early on in testing.
A small puncture tear formed early on in testing.
Photo: Leslie Yedor

Value


This model is priced in the mid-range amongst standard packing cubes that offer zero protection from the elements, and on the low end of actually waterproof dry bags. With that kind of value, we're pretty sure you'll think its a great deal when you pull on a warm and cozy pair of dry socks before you crawl into your sleeping bag.

The Osprey Ultralight was by far our favorite ultralight competitor.
The Osprey Ultralight was by far our favorite ultralight competitor.
Photo: Leslie Yedor

Conclusion


The Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack offers modest protection from water and helps assure you will have a dry change of clothes at the end of a long day hiking. It's lightweight and designed just right to serve as a great backpacker's packing cube.

Maggie Brandenburg & Leslie Yedor