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Osprey Ultralight Drysack Review

For backpackers and day hikers, this model is a packing cube dry bag hybrid.
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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  ⋅  Sep 18, 2019
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51
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 11
  • Waterproofness - 70% 5
  • Ease of Use - 10% 8
  • Features - 10% 6
  • Durability - 10% 2

Our Verdict

Planning a hiking trip somewhere notoriously wet and rainy like Olympic National Park? The Osprey UltraLight 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 aroundLightweight, easy to useNearly watertight, durable, lightweight, white interior helps you find thingsWaterproof for short submersions, lightweight, easy to close appropriately
Cons DelicateExpensive, largeNot for use as a stand-alone bagWill leak under duress, no easy carry straps, seams taped not weldedVery tall and skinny shape, compression is awkward, fabric eventually soaks
Bottom Line For backpackers and day hikers, this model is a packing cube dry bag hybrid.This product keeps out water, no matter how rough and wet things might get.This model is your classic lightweight stuff sack with the added bonus of waterproof material.An inexpensive model that provides great water resistance at a reasonably low price.Mostly waterproof, though a bit awkward to use.
Rating Categories Osprey Ultralight Drysack Watershed Colorado Duffel eVent Compression Sea to Summit Big River Outdoor Research Airpurge
Waterproofness (70%)
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5
10
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10
10
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9
10
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8
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8
Ease Of Use (10%)
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8
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7
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8
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4
Features (10%)
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6
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7
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6
Durability (10%)
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5
Specs Osprey Ultralight... Watershed Colorado... eVent Compression Sea to Summit Big... Outdoor Research...
Weight (pounds) 0.1 lb 0.3 lb 3.2 lb 0.5 lb 0.3 lb
Size We Tested (liters) 20 L 75 L 20 L 35 L 20 L
Closure Type Roll-top ZipDry Roll-top Roll-top Roll-top
Included D-Rings? No Yes No Yes No
Style Roll-top Duffel Roll-top w/ lid and compression straps Roll-top Roll-top w/ compression straps
Material 40D nylon ripstop Polyurethane-coated nylon 70D nylon 420 Denier heavy duty nylon 70D with TPU-coated nylon

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Osprey UltraLight is made of 40D nylon ripstop. The 20L 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 and has a total volume of 20-liters.

Performance Comparison


This super lightweight model provides bonus protection for your clothes inside your backpacking pack.
This super lightweight model provides bonus protection for your clothes inside your backpacking pack.

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

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 layers.
The flat bottom and rectangular shape make it easy to pack full of layers.

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 classic design of the UltraLight also makes it a poor choice for a sleeping bag. Stuffing a bag inside and compressing the air out is no easy feat.

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 slide out.

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

It 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 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 UltraLight's undoing. Reducing weight also means thin material. Our product sustained a small puncture-like tear in the bottom early on in our testing. How and when it sustained this casualty is unbeknownst to us, but no significant force was rendered.

A small puncture tear formed early on in testing.
A small puncture tear formed early on in testing.

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.

Conclusion


The Osprey UltraLight 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