December 19, 2011
By John Larison
Have you ever arrived at your destination to watch (in horror) as your checked baggage came across the luggage belt wet from monsoon or blizzard? Or hiked into that remote stream only to find rain seeped into your sleeping bag and tent? Or have you ever pushed off for float trip, then had to portage your awkward dry bags around some obstruction? Even if the answer is no, fish long enough and the answer will probably be yes.
All of us, though, have hiked up a river for a day trip with a backpack's worth of food and warm clothes only to see a surprise thunderstorm slide in over the western ridge. Do you turn and hike out? Heck no; the fishing is gangbusters before a storm. So you deal with wet clothes and soggy sandwiches and tell yourself there must be a better way.
That better way is Hyalite's (formerly Pacific Outdoor Equipment) newly redesigned Gobi pack.
Think dry bag with a sturdy waist, shoulder, and chest harness like you see on high-end frameless packs. But this dry bag isn't heavy and stinky like those dry bags in your boat. This one is ultralight--yet durable--and odor-free.
I've used my Gobi for backpacking, float trips, and airline travel, and its become the staple that I never realized I needed. I've had forty pounds worth of gear in the pack and found it completely comfortable on my back. For float trips, it holds my sleeping bag, pillow, clothing for five days, and still has room to spare. And for airline travel--this is my favorite part--I can load everything I'll be taking for a week of fishing into the pack and usually still have my carrier agree the thing is carry-on. Even if the carrier gives me grief, I don't have any worries about checking the bag, because I know my gear will remain dry.
The Gobi comes in two sizes, the 84 liter and the 60 liter. Think of the 60 as the perfect carry-on, overnight pack, and clothes bag for a float trip. The 84 is big enough to work for longer trips. But since these are roll-down bags, why not get the 84 and, if you don't need that much space, simply roll it down?
I've subjected my Gobi to wet conditions. No rain storm penetrates. I've submersed mine as well, and never discovered leakage. There's no zipper to fail either. I've also busted through blackberry bushes and traversed windfall and haven't yet caused a rip in the bag.
I do wish, though, that the bag came with straps to hold a rod tube on each of its sides. That would make hiking and flying easier. Also, I wish the bag had a mesh sleeve that would hold a water bottle, as that would simplify day travel. But all in all, this is the gift I'll be giving this holiday season. I don't know an angler who doesn't need one.
For more information, contact Hyalite at email@example.com. Or http://hyaliteoutdoorgroup.com/