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Backpack?

Question:
I am looking for a backpack for one day wet canyoneering trips. I have looked at the smaller Vortex packs as well as many others. I would like a pack with about 2000 cu in. capacity and I need it to be WATERPROOF with comfortable waist and shoulder straps. What are the best options?

MKS

Answer:
Matthew,

I do a lot of canyoneering in Southern Utah. (I just got back from a trip last weekend.) The absolute best canyoneering pack I have found is the Osprey Vertigo. This is also the pack that Steve Allen, author of the 3 canyoneering books on Utah, recommends. It is not waterproof, but I haven't found a day pack yet that is truly waterproof. The Vertigo pack floats (unless you're packing bricks). The side panels are reinforced with a foam insert which increases floatation. My fully loaded Vertigo floated well when we tossed it into a deep pool in Orderville Canyon about three weeks ago. Little water got inside the pack, even though it was thrown in from about 6 feet high out 15 feet into the pool, where I retrieved it and ferried it to shore.

The Vertigo is highly abrasion resistant--many packs rip apart when you raise and lower them over sandstone. My previous daypack, the Lowe Vision 40, sustained more rips and tears in one trip through San Rafael's Quandry Canyon than in the entire year's hiking in the Wasatch. The Vertigo is built to live through such abuse.

The Vertigo's "Straight-Jacket" loading makes all of your gear easily accessible and a snap to pack. Once loaded the side panels compress the load way down, taco-style. The suspension is also quite comfortable. Rhett, one of our long-time staffers, has for years used a Dana daypack, but has finally traded his Dana for the Vertigo.

For waterproofness, GearReview.com's staff uses dry bags. I've used the Seattle Sports bags with good success. I also pack key gear (camera, GPS, dry clothes) in zip lock bags inside the dry bag, just in case.

You can check out the Vertigo online at www.ospreypacks.com. The site's navigation is kinda funky, so you'll need to go to packs, then select Straight Jacket at the bottom.

Since your email address is at BYU, I'll assume your local to Utah County, where GearReview.com is based. Out-N-Back carries Osprey packs, but doesn't carry the Vertigo--too specific I guess. Black Diamond Retail and Kirkhams in SLC also carry Osprey.

If the store you go to doesn't have the Vertigo, they can order you one, but will probably try to sell you something they have in stock. If you do go there, don't let them talk you into something else, such as the Scarab.

The Advent pack is very similar to the Vertigo in style and loading, but the Advent is a full-on backpack for multi-day trips. They could fit you with another Osprey pack, then order the Vertigo from Osprey.

I hope that helps.

Steve Mann



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