Since last fall, I’ve been testing an Outdoor Products Canyon Weather Defense™ Backpack that was sent to us to try out. It is not a backpack per se, but a roomy day pack. It traveled with us to Iceland to be the one pack we’d use for our outdoor adventures, as we knew it rains a lot in Iceland. As I was hiking across a volcanic valley, my belongings stayed dry during a slight rain. The pack’s hefty exterior fabric does a good job of repelling water.
There are two compartments inside the pack. The rear compartment will tightly hold two liters of water, or a hydration bladder (sold separately). The front has mesh pockets to stash smaller items. What’s missing is one pocket that could have been secured. I don’t like leaving my wallet in an open pocket, even if it is inside a larger zippered pocket. When the pack got tossed around while traveling, my wallet came out of the pocket, and fell to the bottom of the pack. Thankfully there was no way for it to completely fall out. But there was a momentary fear when you see an empty spot where you placed your wallet before the hike.
The mesh side pockets are not deep enough for water bottles. After losing one of our Nalgene water bottles in the upper compartment of a bus because it fell out of the mesh pocket, I started using the small bungee cords designed to pull the mesh pocket tight to hold a bottle. The bottles would still come loose. Pulling the bungee very tight, I discovered I could use the extra slack in the ‘loop’ to twist around the cap of a water bottle. After that, I never lost another bottle, even with some jostling around in buses and planes.
This pack does share the basic characteristics of a backpack: adjustable chest strap and hip belt, compression straps, a foam-padded back, and padded shoulder straps. It just doesn’t have enough volume for overnight gear, so to us, it’s a well-constructed daypack. However, it does provide plenty of space to carry our rain jackets, food, and two one-liter water containers inside the pack for our hikes. It also serves as an excellent protective pack for our camera gear when the weather looks so-so.
Although it weighs a little more than the daypacks we usually use, we continue to this one at home for day hikes on iffy days. In fact, Sandy was using it this spring when hiking the Florida Trail in Eglin in a pouring rain, and her camera equipment (also inside a Ziploc inside this pack) stayed dry, a critical feature for those of us who spend a lot of time photographing while hiking.
It’s a good pack for travel. We’ve taken it on several plane trips since we received it for testing, and it’s big enough and sturdy enough to hold our electronics – our laptop can fit inside it along with plenty of other gear, snacks, and such – yet it is small enough to be considered a personal item for carry-on. Once at our destination, we convert it to use as a daypack for our outdoor adventures.
Sold by Outdoor Products, the Canyon Weather Defense™ Backpack can be found at major retailers like Wal-Mart and Target as well as on their online store.
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