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Northstorm 30L Waterproof Backpack

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Hiking is what we love to do, well at least Jess does. We had already been travelling for 1 year and needed to get a proper hiking bag that was waterproof, so because we loved the North Storm 20L waterproof dry bag, Allan decided to upgrade and buy the North Storm 30L waterproof backpack for a birthday present for Jess.

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Our First Impressions

The bag looked sturdy and well-made using thick PVC. It looked a lot bigger than the 20L bag. It has a couple of zips on the outside with hidden pockets that would only be splash proof, not entirely waterproof. There are 2x mesh pockets for carting water bottles on either side of the bag. The backpack straps are adjustable, thick and made of breathable mesh so if they were to get wet they would dry quickly. There is padding along the back to make the bag comfortable against your spine. There is a chest strap (for optional use) and removable waist straps that can be adjusted to allow the bag to sit comfortably on the waist/hips and not put too much pressure on the shoulders. Inside the bag is a removable laptop/tablet pocket that opens/closes with a Velcro flap. Underneath the pocket is a zip-up pocket that would be useful for valuable items such as keys, money or phones.

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Tested

We have had this waterproof backpack for a bit over two years now, and it's been put through its paces all around Australia in all types of situations. We have taken it on all the hikes we have been on throughout this beautiful country (literally every single state) in all weather conditions to carry our cameras, phones, drone, keys, coffee pack, dry clothes and snacks. Jess has literally jumped off a boat and had it submerged just to test it. It has endured rain and hail on hikes as well as multiple water crossings through gorges in Karijini, The Gibb River Road and West McDonnell Ranges. It has never let any water in and has always handled everything we have thrown at it, albeit we might have had to change the way we carry our water bottles-partly due to user error and proprioception when climbing around rocks (see the cons).

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Pros and Cons

The good stuff first, it does its job and it does it well. We have never had any water get in, but we do have one tiny hole right at the bottom (created by bum sliding down rocks), which we only just noticed at the end of 2023, so we have been a bit more careful about placement of electronics and how far we are willing to submerge the bag under water. The bag is the perfect size for us to carry everything we need to keep waterproof for a hike. We have never had any mud, dust or anything else in the bag and when it gets wet on the outside (yes ours has been wet on many occasions) it doesn’t take very long at all to dry. The D-rings are a fantastic addition to hang items on, such as a torch, coffee cup or anything else that doesn't matter if it gets wet. The reflective safety strip is handy when heading out on early morning hikes to make sure you can keep an eye on the bag and whoever is carrying it. The splashproof zip pocket on the front of the bag is useful for small things such as keys because they are easy to access, but we only put things in there if we know we aren’t going to get wet, as the pocket isn’t entirely waterproof. Adjustable straps all round are a bonus as well, even the chest strap moves up and down the strap it is on. We often swap who's carrying the bag and having adjustable straps are a quick and easy way to make sure the bag is comfortable to carry for each of us. If you don’t like to use the waist strap, then you can easily remove the strap altogether. We don’t normally carry anything in the laptop pocket, so we love the fact it is removable, as we can fit more in the bag that is relevant to us. We also love the fact that there is a zip pocket underneath the removable laptop pocket so we can put our valuables e.g. keys, phones, wallets in it and we know exactly where they are when we need them. The main thing we dislike is the storage factor when the bag isn’t in use, it is quite large and doesn’t roll easily, so it has been difficult to find a spot for it in the van or car. In saying that, it just means it is a sturdy bag and has structural integrity. Another thing we don’t like is the mesh side pockets, as we have torn holes in both (mostly user error due to lack of proprioception when carrying the pack and hitting rocks/cliff when hiking), therefore we cannot carry anything in them because it just falls out. We now carry a hydro pack for our water which isn’t the end of the world, but it is nice to only carry one bag. We have also found that the removable waist straps occasionally unclip during hikes (we don’t know how) and detach from the bag. This can happen during a hike and it can get annoying to have to stop mid-hike and reattach it. There have been multiple times where we have lost one waist strap but have thankfully found them again floating around in the back of the car.

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The Final Score

It's a durable hiking backpack that is also a dry bag that keeps everything you put in it dry and if it gets wet (on the outside) it dries quickly! We have found that 30L fits literally everything we need for a day hike including bathers and towels, snacks, our coffee pack, electronics and our tripod. Overall quality and construction is great and being an Australian company, it really is a no brainer from us. We love our 30L waterproof backpack and very rarely go on a hike without it!

Use the code ExploreOz10 for 10% off any of their amazing bags.

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