When I get an idea in my head, it doesn’t take long before it becomes reality. This was the case again with the backpack I bought yesterday and planned to use for my upcoming Algonquin trip. I purchased a MEC Brio 70L internal-frame hiking pack, along with an assortment of dry sacks for keeping all my gear inside dry. It actually seemed like a great hiking backpack for the price, but after trying it on and doing a bit more research I realized it might not be the best (or even most cost efficient) method of packing gear for a canoeing+portaging trip.
Long story short, I returned the backpack along with most of the dry sacks and purchased a SealLine Pro Pack (pictured below).
You can get a sense of the size of this pack by the full-size guitar sitting next to it. This beast has 115L capacity, which is about 64% more than the previous backpack! On top of that, it’s 100% waterproof, which means it can sit at the bottom of the canoe getting wet, all my gear inside stays dry without the need for additional dry sacks and I don’t end up carrying a soggy backpack around. Finally, the profile of this bag is actually better for portages since it sits lower than a typical large hiking backpack and won’t interfere with a canoe resting on your shoulders.
It worked out that the cost of the SealLine was about the same as the cost of the cheaper Brio backpack with all the required dry sacks. Now all I have to do is find enough stuff to fill it!