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Sea to Summit Hydraulic Review

An adaptable bag that is robust, great to use on the water, and can easily be carried on land
Sea to Summit Hydraulic
Credit: Sea to Summit
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $200 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Easy to carry, robust, adaptable
Cons:  Expensive, not fully submersible, not lightweight
Manufacturer:   Sea to Summit
By Sara James and Maggie Nichols  ⋅  Jul 11, 2022
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 15
  • Waterproofness - 50% 7.0
  • Ease of Use - 25% 8.0
  • Quality of Construction - 15% 8.0
  • Features - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Sea to Summit Hydraulic is a handy combination of the classic roll-top dry bag and a backpack making it adaptable for a whole spectrum of activities. The body of the bag is made of thick, abrasion-resistant material, and the backpacking harness is simple and easy to remove. When on the water, pop off the straps and use one of the four burly nylon lash points to fix it to your raft or SUP. On land, slip the harness back into place and throw your gear onto your back for some onshore exploration. We loved this model for its dependable construction and smartly executed features. The only major drawback is it's not entirely watertight. Your gear is protected from splashes and brief submersions, but if the bag's seal is dragged through water extensively or held underwater for anything but the briefest of moments, water droplets are likely to find their way in.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$219 List$34.95 at REI$25 List
$20.54 at Amazon
$15.00 List
$10.99 at Amazon
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Pros Easy to carry, robust, adaptable100% watertight, high-quality construction, easy to packEasy to pack, translucent material, welded seamsLightweight, rectangular shape, simplicity is a featureThree bag set, weather-resistant, small handy sizes, simple design, inexpensive
Cons Expensive, not fully submersible, not lightweightExpensive, largeNot 100% watertight under pressure, can tear on sharp objectsNot abrasion resistant, must be part of a systemDurability concerns, 10L bag is very narrow
Bottom Line An adaptable bag that is robust, great to use on the water, and can easily be carried on landBe prepared for even the wettest adventures with this versatile and impenetrable productEasy to compress and simple to close, this is a great choice for your day trip essentials and moreFor backpackers and day hikers, this model is a packing cube dry bag hybridThese bags offer reasonable weather resistance at a great price but are not the most durable option
Rating Categories Sea to Summit Hydra... Watershed Colorado... SealLine Discovery... Osprey Ultralight D... Outdoor Products 3-...
Waterproofness (50%)
7.0
10.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
Ease of Use (25%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Quality of Construction (15%)
8.0
10.0
7.0
5.0
4.0
Features (10%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
Specs Sea to Summit Hydra... Watershed Colorado... SealLine Discovery... Osprey Ultralight D... Outdoor Products 3-...
Weight 35.3 oz 54.0 oz 6.8 oz 2.0 oz 0.7 oz (2L), 1.0 oz (4L), 1.3oz (10L)
Tested Size (liters) 35L 75L 10L 20L 2L, 4L, 10L
Closure Type Interlocking roll-top ZipDry Dual strip roll-top Roll-top Roll-top
Attachment Points 4 Hypalon fabric lash points and double-stitched grab handle 6 plastic D-rings, 2 handles, 1 removable shoulder strap 1 plastic D-ring 1 fabric loop 0
Style Interlocking roll-top w/ removable backpack Duffel Dual-strip fold down w/ purge valve Roll-top Roll-top, 3-pack
Material 600D TPU laminated nylon Polyurethane-coated nylon PVC free 12 oz polyurethane film body; 300D 18oz polyurethane-coated polyester bottom 40D ripstop nylon Polyurethane coated ripstop 60% cotton, 40% rayon

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Sea to Summit Hydraulic measures 13 inches wide by 8 inches deep and 28 inches tall. This 35-liter pack is made out of 600D TPU laminated nylon and sports a removable backpack harness with padded shoulder straps and a nylon waist belt. It also features four welded nylon lash patches for easy attachment to your craft of choice.

Performance Comparison


Sea to Summit Hydraulic dry bag - this model features a comfortable removable backpack harness.
This model features a comfortable removable backpack harness.
Credit: Sara James

Waterproofness


Our gear stayed dry with casual use and when exposed to splashes. Upon submerging the Hydraulic, a fair amount of bubbles escaped, and only a few drops of water entered the main compartment. When put to the rigorous task of being dragged behind a paddleboard through a lake, it was penetrated by water but not enough to leave a sizeable damp patch. We found when you open this bag, there is a tendency for water to drop from the lip back into the bag.


This product may serve well for casual river days or to store gear that can handle the potential of getting a little wet. If you're worried about your raft getting flipped and your bag getting dragged through the white water, we tested several other options that offer significantly better protection. Alternatively, if you use a two-bag system, with your gear stored within lightweight dry bags inside this Sea to Summit bag, you will likely have dry gear at camp no matter what transpires.

With direct water pressure on the closure, this bag is liable to leak
With direct water pressure on the closure, this bag is liable to leak
Some water entered the bag after our rigorous spray tests.
Some water entered the bag after our rigorous spray tests.

Ease of Use


The Hydraulic can be attached to a range of crafts with secure lash points. Think SUPs, kayaks, rafts, or even bike handlebars. As the straps are removable, you can streamline this bag, making it even more suitable for particular activities. It is also comfortable to carry, and a robust handle at the top of the backpack makes a great handhold when the pack is off your shoulders. The backpack straps are well-padded and adjustable. Unfortunately, the 35-liter model has a thin webbing waist belt that is a bit painful on the hips with heavy loads.


This bag has a long and narrow design with a single opening at the top. This means you have to pack your gear from the bottom up and stack your contents, which makes reaching things at the bottom of the pack difficult.

Sea to Summit Hydraulic dry bag - this dry bag is highly versatile and customizable.
This dry bag is highly versatile and customizable.
Credit: Sara James

Padded Waist Belt
This model also comes in 65, 90, and 120-liter sizes. Each of these larger models features a padded adjustable waist belt more like a typical backpacking pack.

Quality of Construction


The Hydraulic is one of the top scorers in this metric. It is made of a thick and super durable material that can withstand a serious beating. We would have no concerns about accidentally ripping this bag on a branch or rock.


The lash points are also made from a TPU material and welded. Even the backpack attachment points are made of sturdy aluminum. Overall this bag shone in this metric, and we would expect the Hydraulic to last for years of adventures.

Sea to Summit Hydraulic dry bag - the backpack straps are held on by metal clips that are quick to pop...
The backpack straps are held on by metal clips that are quick to pop off when you want to remove them.
Credit: Sara James

Features


The Hydraulic scores well in this metric due to its comfortable backpack frame that is quick and easy to remove and reattach. Fully-adjustable shoulder straps make for a more custom fit, and anodized aluminum buckles provide durability. While these buckles are convenient to slip on and off, they are also prone to popping off mid-use. This doesn't greatly compromise the functionality of the product, but it is a bit annoying.


The roll-top closure system of the Hydraulic is unique with an interlaced lip. Grooves in the reinforced lip line up and are intended to create a better seal. While it does allow the bag to withstand brief submersion, it lacks the complete protection of a truly interlocking lip. It also does not have a double-banded roll down like some of the other more waterproof models we tested.

Sea to Summit Hydraulic dry bag - the ridged lip helps provide a tighter seal than many of the other...
The ridged lip helps provide a tighter seal than many of the other competitors.
Credit: Leslie Yedor

Value


This model is one of the pricier products in this review. With this price, however, comes equally high durability and versatility. We would expect this bag to serve users for a range of adventures and for many, many years.

Sea to Summit Hydraulic dry bag - this versatile bag is expensive but a great adventure companion.
This versatile bag is expensive but a great adventure companion.
Credit: Sara James

Conclusion


The Sea to Summit Hydraulic is a versatile hybrid of a dry bag and a backpack, a great choice for multi-sport adventures. For river trips that also require the occasional use of a backpack or travel to drippy locales, it's a good product. The handy straps can easily be removed to streamline the bag for other adventures. For trips where full water submersion is likely, consider something with more robust waterproofness or double bag your gear, but for excursions with mixed conditions where some water may be on the docket, this is a solid bag.

Sara James and Maggie Nichols
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