As I have been hiking around, one thing I kept wishing I had was a waist pack. Pockets can hold flat things well, but they can get uncomfortable. There are some things I’ll want to access more often than others (like snacks or my phone) and I don’t want to have to drop the backpack every time. I also be able to carry additional items around when the pack is off (like my wallet or passport). In both cases, a waist pack makes the most sense.
I really wanted one that was waterpoof, but there seemed to be a huge price discrepancy between various “sport” or “fisher” bags. I finally picked about four likely candidates out, and when I got the first (the Freetoo waist pack) in the mail, I decided to give it a proper test.
“Waterproof” Strikes Again
The bag had good reviews on Amazon, but its description was not 100% clear. At times it was described as waterproof, others water resistant. There is, of course, a difference! So, I unboxed it, stuffed each compartment with dry tissues and poured water on it.
At first I just let the water hit the material. It bounced off and beaded up pretty well, and after about 45 seconds there was no noticeable soakage on the exterior. The interior was likewise fine – dry to the touch and the tissues were not in the least bit wet.
Then, however, came the true test: the zippers. Waterproof material does not mean a waterproof bag. Practically anything nylon will keep water off for some time – it’s the seams and zippers that usually let moisture in.
I didn’t have much hope because the zippers were not seam-sealed and didn’t even close all the way. Physics told me it wasn’t going to work, but since I was already at the sink . . .
FAIL! Not only was the tissue wet – it was completely soaked. There was enough water sloshing around in the bottom of the compartments that I could feel a noticeable weight change.
You get what you pay for?
OK before you say anything – yes, I know you get what you pay for and this bag was only $19. However, waterproof waist packs are actually not very expensive. I found several top reviewed / rated ones that were under $40 each. One of the consistently highest rated sells for less than $10 each!
The reason I started with the Freetoo was that it was designed like a regular waist pack and not a dry bag like most others. The Blue Sky, which gets great ratings all over the internet, would seem to work but it’s basically a see-thru rubber satchel. Not what I had in mind. It seems that for a “normal” waist pack that is truly waterproof, the price tag will be in the hundreds, not the teens.
The Freetoo is a fine bag for $19, and it will keep the sweat / small splash off – but waterproof it is not. Luckily, there is a simple solution. 🙂