The Best Backpack for Boaters
Not a West Marine Backpack
I live aboard my boat and have for years. Just about every day I climb from my boat into my kayak and kayak to shore where I tie up at a stay-chain on the beach. In short, I spend an awful lot of time carting things to and from shore. Everything from water and food to laptops and clothes and tools. I have a pretty good idea what backpack features are important and which ones aren't.
While I don't have anything against the backpacks and bags that you can buy from West Marine, I have never seen one that really gets it right. Plus they are grossly expensive.
Earlier this year I purchased a rather expensive pack from my local marine store. It boasted its water protective qualities and the staff at the store touted its quality. Well that didn't turn out to be true. The rubber shoulder strap broke about day three (3) and one of the clips broke off sometime before that. Worst of all, the pack leaks! Both the marine store and the manufacturer are adamantly denying any responsibility despite the warranty I have on the pack.
The lesson that I learned, and you should too, from that awful experience is that, just because it is expensive and marine stores are recommending it, doesn't mean that it's the best or even a good option.
Here Is A Good, Affordable Backpack
You don't have to overpay for a good boating backpack anymore.
Husky Jobsite Backpack
Here's some of the reasons that I like and so strongly recommend this HUSKY JOBSITE BACKPACK.
a) Its simple design without a lot of external straps and pockets to catch on things as you are moving around and stepping over lifelines.
b) The pack's inside pockets are tough canvas that you can feel are durable and not that popular netting which does catch and tear with alarming regularity.
c) The side pockets are enclosed with zippers and not those open pockets. You can confidently put things into the side pockets on this pack without the fear of them falling out and vanishing below the surface of the water forever.
d) This pack zips closed with a zipper, not a draw string. I like the drawstring because it is quick and simple and doesn't get gummed up with the sale air. But it's also not very secure or water proof so it's a trade off. I like the zipper setup on this pack better because it secures my stuff even in the roughest conditions and it keeps water out.
e) The bottom is a solid, rubber boot. I'll talk more about this in the section below.
f) This pack has a handle on top for lifting and carrying like a bag. It might not sound like much but, trust me, it is a very nice feature to have and, once you have enjoyed the benefits of it, you'll never look at another pack without one.
g) This pack zips closed and does not use straps and buckles which get annoying when you are in and out of your backpack a lot.
h) It has loops on the shoulder straps. See more details about this benefit below.
Loops On Shoulder Straps
This backpack has the same kind of attachment rings on the shoulder straps that you might have seen on some other packs before. These aren't designed to hang heavy things from but small canisters of water or other things that you might want to be able to get at easily and quickly fit here perfectly. I use carabiners (see details at the bottom of this article) when I want to attach things to these handy loops,
Husky Jobsite Backpack Review
Have You Used This Backpack
Have You Used This Husky Jobsite Backpack?
Waterproof Rubber Boot
The bottom of this backpack is a protective, rubber boot that is really useful and valuable for many reasons. Some I didn't even think of when I was first buying it.
1. It's 100% waterproof. Obviously that is an important feature for any backpack or luggage bag that you intend to have around water but there's also another advantage to it. When I go to the beach to untie my kayak or dinghy so that I can drag it into the water and launch it, I sometimes have to put my pack on the sand. This usually happens because another boat might be crowded in on top of my kayak. (If you've ever been to Coronado beach in San Diego you will know exactly what I am talking about). The waterproof boot allows me the peace of mind to set this backpack down on the often wet sand without any concerns that the water will seep inside. It's a big benefit! Oh and it's also extremely easy to wipe clean. If you've ever had to lug bags from the beach into the interior of your boat you know that it brings sand with it. This pack is simple and quick to wipe down and that keeps the sand on the outside of your boat.
2. It stands up. The boot is shaped flat on the bottom and this means that the pack stands upright all on it's own. It doesn't need to lean against anything. The advantage of this feature is that, if you have to get something out of the pack, it is much easier. You just stand it up, unzip the pocket and reach in. No more laying the pack on a table while you rummage around inside to find whatever you are looking for.
3. Impact resistant. The ocean is not always calm when I kayak out to my boat. With all of the wind, normal ocean movement, other boats and the dreaded jet-skis zooming by, it can sometimes be quite the laborious task to get back on-board from my kayak or dinghy. The rubber bottom of this pack is thick and tough which allows me to toss or drop it onto the moving deck without fear of breaking whatever is inside.
4. It retains its shape. OH how much I love this feature! To be honest I didn't even really think about it when I was excitedly buying this pack from HomeDepot. I didn't really seize how much easier this would make my daily life in the simplest of ways. My old packs have mostly been soft, like cloth bags. I never really thought too much about it. Until I got this wonderful pack that retains it's shape due to the stiff rubber boot on it's base. It is so very much easier to pack, unpack and search through (especially since it also stands upright).
Water Repellent Spray
Do I wish this backpack also had a zipper flap for another layer of protection against water? Sure, but I haven't had any issues with water getting inside the pack yet so I can't really complain or call it a shortcoming.
Carabiners To Attach Accessories
Inside Pockets of the Backpack
I like this backpack more every day as I find new advantages to it. This morning I realized that when I use a public restroom or shower, the rubber base is also very useful because it rejects water and stands upright. It keeps getting better every day.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
© 2019 Dale Anderson