Waterproof Backpack ?

Registered: Jan 22, 2004
Total Posts: 962
Country: United States

Hi E,veryone

Going to Antartica. Any body have recomendations for a good waterproof backpack?


Registered: Aug 13, 2004
Total Posts: 2037
Country: United States

Even though I've tried to sell it a couple times I really like the way my lowepro dryzone rover works. The zipper is hard to move unless you keep it lubed up but besides that it works great for a smaller kit (one body w/ 2-3 lenses). The bag supports a full sized tripod well and has a large compartment for clothing / other supplies.

Registered: Jul 20, 2011
Total Posts: 5457
Country: United States

Thick ply garbage bag liner. Bring several spares.

Registered: Oct 06, 2006
Total Posts: 405
Country: United States

Dryzone user... Pita zippers but properly maintained theybwork

Registered: Jan 22, 2004
Total Posts: 962
Country: United States

Been looking at the Dryzone online. everyine says it is HEAVY, without gear in it. Also users say it is hard to get gear out. Any comments?

Registered: Oct 06, 2006
Total Posts: 405
Country: United States

Yes on both....

Registered: Feb 25, 2005
Total Posts: 167
Country: United States

When I was more involved in nautical photography a few years back, every professional nautical photog I knew trusted their high end gear to a LowePro DryZone 200 backpack (and I'm talking two Canon 1Ds Mk whatevers + 300 mm f/2.8 L IS USM prime and/or 70-200 f/2.8 L IS USM and 24-70 f/2.8 L USM). It was comforting to know that if I somehow fell into corrosive salt water while transfering between small skiffs on rough seas that my pro Canon gear would be protected and it would float and was bright yellow all contributing to easy retrieval. I agree with godfather - the trick is to keep the zipper lubed. They now make a DZ 100 and even a DZ Rover now if your kit is smaller.

Registered: Jun 25, 2003
Total Posts: 10987
Country: United States

My lowepro dryzone did great in tropical downpours and salt spray but was awkward to pull off shoulders to get at gear. And the problem was I tended to keep by camera out in the open air more since it was such a pain to drag in and out of the backpack. When I use a shoulder bag I get better protection from splashes and mist since it's easy to pull out for a photo and immediately tuck back in the bag.

Registered: Apr 06, 2010
Total Posts: 22
Country: United States

My son just returned from five weeks of guiding tours in Antarctica. He took a Dryzone bag and loved it. And for once came home from a trip without having destroyed any camera gear. It is more work to store gear, but when it's in there it will survive being dunked in salt water, a real possibility on these trips.

Paul Mo
Registered: Dec 12, 2012
Total Posts: 5989
Country: Thailand

I have used a drybag to hold a ThinkTank Streetwalker. It is awkward though. Meaning you have to fish out the backpack; it's not quick access. However, in a quality drybag your gear is very safe.


Registered: Feb 10, 2005
Total Posts: 28245
Country: Canada

I used a DryZone 200 for a while, but found it was too awkward for me to easily get gear in and out of when things are happening. Now I use a combination of the following packs and bags, depending on what I expect to encounter.

1. When I want to take a small to moderate amount of gear in really wet conditions, I use a waterproof SealLine Urban Backpack (small, 16L). It's a ruggedized, roll-top dry bag with integral backpack straps. The shoulder straps are decent daypack style, with a simple webbing waist belt. It'll take two pro bodies and three f/2.8 zooms, but it's awkward to have lenses mounted on the bodies while in the bag. (This would not be a problem with the large size version.) I protect lenses with neoprene Op/Tech Snoot Boots and cameras with neoprene LensCoat BodyGuard covers, and just dump them all in the bag (same approach for all of my other bags & packs).

2. For getting a lot of gear to and from a location when there is a real chance of getting it soaked during transit, I use a waterproof Watershed Chattooga Dry Duffel (29L). It's big enough for a TT Airport Commuter, with extra space for a few rain coats and etc. The Chattooga drybags have a clever dry-seal enclosure that's waterproof to about 100m immersion, and it's much easier to open and close than the WP zipper tech used on DryZone packs.

3. For general transportation, I use North Face Base Camp Duffels. I have two; size L(90L), and XS (25L). They're waterproof everywhere except the zippers, which are partially protected by flaps. They're great for unloading gear from a car and putting it in a shelter. I often use MEC pack liners to hold the gear inside the Base Camp duffels, and so the contents are absolutely WP.

One of my most common combinations is the Urban Backpack with XS Base Camp Duffel.


SealLine Urban Backpack http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Packs/WaterproofPacks/PRD~5015-632/sealline-urban-backpack.jsp

Watershed Chatooga http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Packs/WaterproofPacks/PRD~5010-533/watershed-chatooga-dry-duffel.jsp

Base Camp Duffel http://www.thenorthface.com/catalog/ca_ecom/en/sc-gear/equipment-luggage_duffels/base-camp-duffel-large.html

MEC pack liner http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/HikingCamping/StuffSacksPillows/PRD~5016-043/mec-pack-liner.jsp

Registered: Jan 22, 2004
Total Posts: 962
Country: United States

I am totally on the fence about the Dryzone and drypacks, But, I do not want to get the gear damaged. I have been to the Galapagos Islands and the Baha with Lindblad Expeditions and National geographic. we traveled by Zodiac from the large boat to the islands and whale watching. Did not use a waterproof pack. However, I am lead to beleive that Antartica is more hostile environment.

I want to be able to shoot without hassel but do not want to risk equipment loss.

Roland W
Registered: Apr 23, 2004
Total Posts: 2268
Country: United States

A roll top bag is easier to use if you are opening and closing it often. When you are in a Zodiac you can have it between your legs, and secured to the boat, and can pretty quickly open and close it as needed as conditions change. I have never used roll top bags that are also made for on the back carry, so I defer to jcolwell for his experiences.

You will not likely have much exposure to dirt or sand on your trip, but for uses that do, like river rafting or sandy ocean shoreline, any waterproof zipper bag like the Dryzone bags can easily jam, and you could end up stuck with an open bag. The roll top bags do not have that problem at all, which is why they are used on rivers so much.

Ben Horne
Registered: Jan 10, 2002
Total Posts: 12129
Country: United States

I have a Dryzone Rover from 2007, and it has worked fine for me. I saw a more recent version in a store the other day, and noticed that it's an entirely different sort of zipper. The zipper seems easier to open than the version I have.

Registered: Jul 05, 2008
Total Posts: 175
Country: Sweden

Boblbee Megapolis with the Internal Cargo Camera option. You'll be the coolest looking photographer on the trip. ;-)