My version of the ideal kayaker’s back pack would offer the waterproof peace-of-mind of a dry bag coupled with the load-carrying comfort of a traditional backpack. This is exactly what I discovered when I finally got my hands on The Boundary Pack!
The Boundary Pack by Seal Line is a waterproof backpack that makes an excellent addition to the sea kayaker’s gear shed. This “economy” portage pack is constructed of 19 oz. scrim-reinforced vinyl sides with a heavy duty (30 oz.), scrim-reinforced vinyl bottom. Those looking for a PVC-free version should check out the substantially equivalent Black Canyon Boundary Pack. The Dry Seal roll-top closure provides a watertight seal designed to “withstand quick submersions” and help the pack “float if dropped in the water.” The backpack part of the Boundary Pack comes in the form of a lightweight and removable suspension system which includes ventilated shoulder straps and an adjustable waist belt. The Boundary Pack comes in three sizes: a 35L day pack, a larger 70L pack, and a 115L “carries everything including the kitchen sink” mega pack. Available colors include: yellow, green, blue, and black.
Alex and I recently put a 35L Boundary Pack through The Ringer to evaluate its dry-bag qualities and we were pleased with the results! The pack remained floating for the entire 30 minute duration of the float test. Some bubbles were seen escaping from the edges of the roll- top closure during the dunk test. Further inspection of the towels revealed minimal dampness where a few drops of water had entered from the roll-top closure. In our opinion, the results of these tests confirm the claims of the Boundary Pack waterproofness rating that the Dry Seal closure will “withstand quick submersions” and help the pack “float if dropped in the water.”
The 35L Boundary Pack performs equally well in its role as a backpack. I found that the padded shoulder straps and waist belt make for a comfortable carry with a light load (~25lbs). Empty, the 35L pack weighs in at just under 2lbs which is lighter than most traditional backpacks of this size. Furthermore, the removable suspension system allows for the 35L Boundary Pack to be easily stowed (even when fully loaded) in the rear hatch of most kayaks much like a standard dry-bag. I presume that the larger sizes would have to be stowed empty in order to fit into the kayak and used later on in your adventure to ferry loads from landing to campsite.
There are only a few, nitpicky improvements that I would suggest for future version of this pack. The first would be to devise a way to make the removable suspension system more easily removed. I also found that the padded shoulder straps are not very waterproof and that the water they retain will soak through your shirt during a carry. Some may desire an auxiliary pocket like that seen on the Seal Pak but I’m neutral as to whether or not this would be an improvement. Also, it’s important to note that the 35L version does not have the side-cinch straps like the 70L and 115L versions have. This wasn’t much of an issue in my experience but may be a nice addition to future versions of the 35L Boundary Pack.
In summary, the 35L Boundary pack, with its padded suspension system and waist strap, proved to be a comfortable carry with light loads. The interior of the pack remained dry throughout our waterproofness testing and the results confirmed the claim that the Dry Seal roll-top closure will “withstand quick submersions” and help the pack “float if dropped in the water.” Boundary Pack by Seal Line makes an excellent addition to the sea kayaker’s gear shed.
1) Comments were derived from our experience with the 35L Boundary Pack
2) See “The Ringer” for KayakDave.com testing procedures and interpretation of results.
Pros: Comfortable with light loads. Can be packed into many rear hatches even when fully loaded. Passed waterproofness testing, Made in the USA.
Cons: Removable suspension not easily removed. Shoulder straps are not very waterproof.
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