REVIEWED: Vango DRY 20 rucksack

Ideal for adventure sports and Monsoon travel, this daysack keeps out water and crushes-out air

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Remember that bit in The Beach where Richard, Françoise and Étienne swim between some islands in the Gulf of Thailand each with their belongings in a black plastic bag?  They should have been using a Vango DRY 20 (not least because in the previous scene Françoise was using an SLR camera that will surely ruined during the crossing!).

Specialist kit?

They’re often thought of as specialist kit for true adventurers in remote regions, but dry bags are useful even if you’re just travelling by bus or plane around cities; anyone who’s picked up their rucksack from the carousel to find it completely soaked will agree. The DRY 20 is mainly for day trips, being sized to comfortably take 20-30 litres in its hold, but there’s a handy valve to crush-out any air from inside; if only all bags had one.

Totally waterproof

Designed for watersports, cycling, commuting and adventure sports – and we’d add hiking in Wales to that list – the Vango DRY 20 is made from ripstop nylon that’s really strong and very obviously completely waterproof. Nothing is going to get through it, especially because the top enclosure uses a roll-top entry that folds over itself three times to ensure it’s completely watertight. It then snaps together just like any dry bag does.

Small pockets

Our only complaint about the DRY 20 is that its side pockets are too small, though they are waterproof (thanks to some excellent zips). Given that the roll-top is best left closed, the two side-pockets could be bigger, while the open mesh pocket on the front is only good for gadgets that are themselves already waterproof.

Air Force won

Though there’s not much to the DRY 20, its 740g do include a few useful features for added comfort. Best of all, there’s an AirForce Back System, with a channel between foam pads that sit on your shoulder blades, so there’s at least a chance of some air circulation. In practice, we did get a sweaty back, but that wasn’t unexpected, and the air channel definitely reduced the problem.

Great for gadgets

Though there isn’t much to the DRY 20 – it’s essentially just a big roll-top sack – it’s highly functional. It’s also great for when you feel the need to cart a laptop or tablet up and down mountains or along riverbeds. However, that air-valve makes it most useful for when you need to crush-down clothes and sleeping bags for wet ‘n’ wild adventures.

Price as reviewed: £55

Buy the Vango DRY 20 rucksack