I’m not really a proper water sports person, in that going on paddle boarding or kayaking adventures isn’t really part of my weekend repertoire, but I do have a tendency to enjoy outdoors activities that involve me and my stuff getting wet. Even though water based adventures are few and far between, and if nothing else, I need a way to get my stuff to work and home without risking that borrowed work laptop getting even the slightest bit damp. So, when Overboard offered me one of their super durable incredibly waterproof bags to try out I jumped at the chance.
I chose the larger of the two Pro-Sports Waterproof backpacks. It’s bulky, quite rigid, and while I was a little worried when it first arrived as to how a bag this particular size and shape would be, it has become a true go-to and I genuinely love it. I’d even say that the more I’ve used it the more I love it. It’s become my commuter, my overnighter, my camping companion, my “need something a bit bigger than is probably really necessary”. And sat here at the table in my Center Parcs lodge, I can honestly say I packed into it for this weekend.
Made from tough PVC fabric, the Pro-Sports Waterproof Backpack by Overboard is designed to protect your gear from water, sand, dirt and dust. It has a seamless construction and a two-way roll top, and assuming you do the thing up properly, it is 100% waterproof and suitable for a quick submersion – making it ideal for carrying on boats. Apparently it’ll even float if you drop it in… I have to admit I’ve not tested that with my gear in it, but I have used this on the most terrible wet weather days, and I wouldn’t be too concerned if I did end up with this thing in a lake.
The large rectangular design is rather on trend at the moment, I see lots of my favourite travelling vloggers using this style of pack for their on-the-road lifestyle. I am by far a fashionable person, and will pretty much never choose gear based on the way it looks over other things, but I reckon my Overboard bag looks pretty good and I do enjoy using it – which helps.
Even if you don’t particularly enjoy the aesthetics, or wouldn’t choose a pack like this because it looks the part, you won’t be able to deny that this thing is the biggest 30 litre backpack you’ll have ever seen. I have another couple of 30l packs in my gear cupboard, one School-style rucksack and one skater style, and there is just no way I could pack as much in those as I can in this. The squared off shape and the large zip-less opening at the top make this such a useful bag; I can get my old but still well used Flight001 packing cube, a full wash kit, a pair of shoes, and cosy jumper in it before I even begin to worry about whether it’ll close. Not bad at all.
You’ll be pleased to know it isn’t just one massive oblong pocket, although that most definitely the main place to stuff your gear, there are other handy features too. There’s a large internal zip pocket good for the little bits and bobs or your documents, an elasticated front mesh pocket in which to stuff your waterproof jacket, pockets on either side good for water bottles or other supplies, adjustable chest, shoulder and sternum straps to help creative a comfortable and secure fit. It also has a handful of reflective strips on it, which makes you and it easy to spot in the dark.
To make the large pocket a bit more manageable when I use the bag for work I add in the Overboard Backpack Tidy. This slips in the back of the bag and means I can have my laptop or iPad nicely protected. It also includes an A4 sized pocket, a couple of elasticated accessory pockets, keyring attachment, and pen holder. When I arrived in the office I can grab this and know I don’t have to rummage around that massive pocket looking for anything.
I am not recommending the Pro-Sports Waterproof Backpack for hiking, I won’t be taking this on any long hill walks or the like, and Overboard don’t suggest this was designed to be on your back for miles and miles. Definitely get something lighter and more ergonomically shaped for that. It is, though, perfect for camping (and I’ve left it outside my tent overnight without worry), carting stuff to work either on the bus or when I choose to walk the three-and-a-bit miles, strapping my gear to the back of my motorbike (with the addition of a few bungee cords, of course), and on any day when I need to guarantee waterproofness. It is easy to carry even when full, and you have the added bonus that there is absolutely no chance that the stuff on the inside will get damp even in the harshest of weather conditions.
Coming in at £84.99, it’s not a cheap backpack, but it’s certainly not expensive for what you’re getting – a completely waterproof and dirt proof bag that is big enough for everything you need for a weekend away and will float if you accidentally drop it in the water.
It’s a great pack; I love the rugged look, the practicality, the incredibly waterproofing, and how big it is.
With thanks to Overboard for sending me their Pro-Sports 30 litre Waterproof Backpack and the Backpack Tidy to test out on my adventures this summer. I always write posts like this based on my own experience and resulting opinions, and this is not a paid-for advertorial.