Osprey Ultralight Drysack Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lightweight, rectangular shape
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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