Aquapac by the sea

Review: Aquapac 28L Toccoa Drybag

A fully waterproof dry or wet bag that is just big enough for overnight paddling adventures, and comfortable enough for rainy days hiking and biking.

The Aquapac 28L Toccoa is more than just a drybag for adventures on and in the water. It is also one super useful daypack that holds way more than you might think, and is comfortable enough to hike, bike or even run with. Use as a wet bag to chuck in sodden wetsuits and soggy towels, a dry bag to keep your essentials dry on paddling adventures, or a waterproof daypack when rainy day hiking and biking is on the cards.

Aquapac 28L Toccoa Drybag: The stats

Capacity:28 litres
Size:47 x 24 x 20cm (18.5 x 9.4 x 7.9in)
Material:500D PVC
Weight:890g (31oz)
Waterproof rating:IPX6
Number of pockets:2 external mesh pockets

Design features of the Aquapac 28L Toccoa Drybag

Roll top: side buckles

Aquapac by the seaThe roll down top ensures that the bag is fully waterproof – even when submerged in water. Closing the bag by connecting the top buckles to the side buckles keeps the contents of the bag compressed down and streamlined. This is great when it’s not at full capacity.

Roll top: top buckles

Closed AquapacThe top buckles are also compatible with each other and can be fastened at the top. This option is good when you’ve maxed out the capacity of the bag, or for when you are short on time – it’s a little bit quicker. Fastening the buckles at the top also frees up the side buckles which can be connected to each other around the front of the bag – ideal for stashing a jacket or rash vest.

Side pockets

Side pocket on bagThese are made of mesh with an elasticated top that is really tight and hold things in securely. They fit a large litre bottle in easily which is great for easy access – especially when the bag is lashed down to your canoe. These pockets are also good for storing your wet swimwear.

Daisy-chain lash points

Daisy chain loops on bagAnother super useful feature that increase the carrying power of the Toccoa even more are the 14 lash points. I leave a couple of carabiners on my bag permanently which gives me loads of options for securing the bag to my boat, as well as clipping on my snorkel, cap, shoes or extra water. I’ve even hooked on my BBQ utensils for dinner at the beach! There is a reflective strip behind the daisy-chain loops making it a great option for cycling in bad weather.

Padded straps and back cushions

Back panel pf bagThe padded cushions sit on the lower and upper back, with nothing in between. And although this is the bare minimum needed, it is just enough padding to make carrying this bag, fully loaded, surprisingly comfortable. The shoulder straps are also lightly padded and the mesh of both the straps and back pads dries fairly quickly and is slightly breathable in hot weather.

Removable waist belt

Waist strap of bagWhen fully tightened, the waist belt adds a load of stability to the bag when using it for higher energy activities, and is essential in making the Toccoa comfortable for hiking with. I really like that the best is removable for times when I only really carry it on my back to and from the water. It’s a fairly comprehensive belt and buckle (for a dry bag), so it’s nice that the whole bag can be streamlined somewhat when it’s just not needed.

Sternum strap

Sternum strap of backpackThis is adjustable up and down the shoulder straps, and then tightened to suit the wearer. But as with most unisex bags, it sits too low on the chest for it to be comfortable as a female wearer. Just another inch or two higher would be wonderful. If I really want to tighten the bag to me, I have to wear the strap across my mid ribs, which ends up only being about three inches away from the waist belt. A common problem though, and as this bag isn’t designed for running, or even hiking, it’s certainly not a deal-breaker.

 


Aquapac 28L Toccoa Drybag review

When I first got the Toccoa I imagined I would only ever use in out on the water as a dry bag to store all my stuff for a day of paddling. It is ideal for exactly that, but I also use it for so much more than that. Living by the sea means that it gets a load of use, and it is fast becoming my go-to bag. Here’s what I use it for the most:

Beach days

Bag at the beachOn the days when I hit the beach with my board and hang around for more than just the surf, the Toccoa acts as a wet bag. It holds two adult wetsuits, two towels, two hoodies, two bottles of water and a frisbee, with just enough space for a packed lunch.

If I head to the beach without wetsuits, then there’s a ton more space in the bag for more beach games and BBQ food, and the Toccoa acts as a kind of anti-sand bag! It keeps the sand out way more effectively than a regular daypack.

Hiking

Walking in the rain with AquapacAlthough on the big side for a hiking daypack, the side buckles mean that it can be cinched down nicely to feel less cumbersome. And on the days when rain is forecast, it is ideal. There’s plenty of space for waterproofs and extra layers, as well as a big lunch. It’s my prefered hiking daypack on the days when I’m out with my camera. I love that I don’t need to worry about it getting wet, and there’s loads of space to store it too.

Overnight paddling trips

Walking on beach with AquapacThis is one big little bag! It fits in just about everything I need for an overnighter out on the water: sleeping bag and mat, bivvy bag, stove, gas and pots, three meals and a change of clothes. Bottles of water go in the external pockets and a few extras are clipped onto the daisy-chain loops (mug, cap, shoes etc).

I’m also looking forward to using it for wet weather cycling. The reflective strip underneath the daisy-chain loops will really come into their own in low light, and rear lights can be easily attached to the loops too.

What I love the most about the Aquapac 28L Toccoa Drybag

As mentioned above, it’s mega versatile and more than just a drybag. But what I have found most unexpected about the Toccoa is how comfortable it is. I took a hike recently with a fully loaded Toccoa, and I fancied running a section of the trail. I just had a burst of energy! So I cinched down the waist belt and tightened the sternum strap (across my ribs!) and went for a trot. Ordinarily I hate running with bags, and although I was only jogging at a very casual pace for 10 or 15 minutes, the bag felt great! It didn’t rub me anywhere and it felt so secure on my back that I barely noticed it, and certainly didn’t have to adopt that wide armed running style that often comes with running with a loose bag!

I’m not trying to compare it to bags that are specifically designed for running. And I wouldn’t choose to go running with this bag, but if you need to run with it, even when fully loaded, it handles it surprising well and is extremely comfortable at the same time.

What I don’t love so much about the Aquapac 28L Toccoa Drybag

This is very simple and something that I noticed from the first time I used the bag: there is no internal pocket. I would love there to be a little waterproof pouch where I could safely stash my phone, keys and money. Even just a small pocket would do. But to have your valuables floating around somewhere amidst all the other stuff in there is really inconvenient with big potential for losing them in the sand, or overboard when you haul out all the other gear to find them. To combat this, I put my valuables in a little Aquapac phone case which is easier to locate inside your bag. Perhaps that was Aquapac’s idea all along?!


Verdict

For water babies and beach lovers, this is a must-have bag. And for those who love all kinds of hiking, biking and camping adventures, whatever the weather, having a totally waterproof backpack in your life is a big game-changer. Durable, versatile and surprisingly comfortable, the Aquapac 28L Toccoa Drybag is fast becoming my go-to bag, in or out of the water.

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