Sometimes, you just know you’re going to get wet. Thankfully, the Big Creek is a completely waterproof pack from Watershed that’s designed to protect gear from anything from a light rain, to a full submersion. This is my review.
The overall design of the backpack is relatively simple. There is a large, tapered opening up top for all the gear to be dropped inside. The opening seals shut via the ZipDry enclosure, which reminds me of a fancy snack bag, and rolls and folds down to create additional seals. The roll secures down via clips, one on each side, while a vertical webbing strap can be used to cinch the top down for compression and stability. The pack includes two removable, adjustable shoulder straps with chest clip, and larger versions of the pack which includes hip straps are also available. The pack is built entirely from robust, waterproof fabric that’s entirely coated in waterproof polyurethane. The Big Creek retails for $129, weighs 1 lb 11 oz, and holds 24 liters of gear.
The Big Creek works really well as a dry storage option in general. It’s capacity is large enough for a full days outing on the lake, fishing, or running rapids in a kayak. It’s sized in a way that it can be stored inside a kayak or boat, and is light enough that it’s easy to carry around on the back when moving across land. I was easily able to stuff a bunch of food, water, extra clothing, water treatment, walkie talkies, and still had extra room for some luxury items inside without running out of room. This makes it an excellent option for long days out, but it also rolls down small for a quick evening escape when needed. The wide opening makes it pretty easy to access everything inside, with enough room for both arms for a deep dive. The unique ZipDry enclosure pops open effortlessly by pulling the two tabs in opposite, opposing directions, making it quite easy to get into and out of quickly.
The Big Creek is absolutely waterproof thanks to robust seals and a generous, consist polyurethane coating. PU doesn’t stop working with prolonged exposure to wet, dry or dirt, and all of the seams are vigorously sealed and reinforced. The enclosure seals up tight on its own, and rolling the top down over top of it only further secures it from leaking. I’m yet to have a single drop of water get in, and this is a testament to their design and build.
Speaking of build quality, it’s excellent all around. Durability is also excellent , with the fabric taking an exceptional amount of abuse without wearing down or showing any signs of failing. All the of the straps and clips are an exceptionally robust combination of thick webbing and burly plastic, which slide easily and snap in place with a satisfying click. The seams are actually multiple layers of fabric, reinforced with multiple stitches, and then battened down with extra sealant, so they’re not likely to blow out during stress. It’s also backed by a lifetime warranty, which helps to instill a sense of security. The use of polyurethane on the fabric instead of PVC or some spray coating also makes it highly resistant to UV damage over time. Basically, this is a bag that’s going to last a long time.
It’s fairly comfortable and competent as a backpack, but not something I would necessarily choose for hiking. The well padded shoulder straps are adjustable, allowing the pads to sit in a proper position no matter how full the pack is loaded, but there is no frame or method to keep the bag from rounding out with a large load. This puts the weight squarely on the shoulders and against the back, which O.K. for a while. This does however make it less ideal for a long trek, but excellently suited for short spurts, such as fishing trips, portaging a boat, or stashing it inside a raft for use later. It does get a little weird if you’re trying to roll the pack down to a tiny size, as the shoulder straps don’t really work well past about half capacity, but then the loop strap on top works well as a carry handle. The shoulder straps also come off completely, so when you’re using it like this they can be left at home and out of the way. The larger packs in their line provide hip straps, which would be handy for unstable ground or carrying heavier loads. So if you are planning on some soggy treks, take a look at those.
Organization is basically non-existent, with only the main compartment being used for gear storage. Although, you can use the top strap to secure a fishing pole, foam pad, or other thin item to the top if needed. There are no external pockets or clips, so anything else you want to carry will have to dumped inside the main compartment. It’s not a big deal and standard for this type of bag, but it is something to point out. One can always use smaller dry bags inside for micro-organization, or even some small mesh laundry bags, as the exterior is already doing all the water protection.
Overall, I quite like the Big Creek from Watershed. It’s built really well, exceptionally easy to use, and does an excellent job of providing reliable protection from water. It’s also fairly lightweight, packs down to a small size, and comes in handy in a wide range of scenarios. I can see it as en excellent camping bag, my new kayak storage pack, or even something to keep around for use when I know I’m going to be outside in the rain, but need some gear close. As long as it’s not being used as a long distance pack, this is an excellent option for solid, reliable water protection.
For more information on Watershed Dry Bags and their wide range of gear, check out their website, DryBags.com
For information on our rating system and our testing procedures, check out our About us/ Contact us page.
I want to extend a huge thanks to Watershed for providing this product for review. We couldn’t do it without their help. Our full disclosure can be found here.
Thanks as always for reading! Don’t forget to follow our blog for future updates and reviews. If you have any questions, comment below, send us an email, or find us on Twitter or Facebook (links on the right).