The Outdoor Research DryComp Summit Sack, appropriately atop a 12,500 foot summit, March 2008.
The Outdoor Research DryComp Summit Sack can serve as a lightweight frameless day pack, compression stuff sack, and dry bag. The pack is basically a dry bag with shoulder straps and mesh side pockets. It's not ultralight, but it is very versatile and has a lot of potential applications for winter camping, base camping, and water sports, to name a few.
At 13.1 ounces (measured weight) and 1885 cubic inches, the DryComp Summit Sack is lightweight, but not ultralight. It's constructed of durable Antron nylon that has a protective Hydroseal polyurethane coating on the inside with taped seams. The top access seals with a dry bag-type roll down closure and side release buckle. It has two mesh side pockets and two daisy chains, plus two ice axe loops for storing or attaching gear on the outside of the pack.
The front of the pack (left) is adorned with two daisy chains and two ice axe loops for attaching gear. The shoulder straps on the back panel (center) double as compression straps. Two other straps double as a waist strap or compression straps on the front side. There is one mesh pocket on each side (right) with a drawcord closure.
I used the DryComp Summit Sack as part of my gear kit on an extended eleven-day winter camping trip in Yellowstone National Park in February 2008. On that trip, I used the Summit Sack as a day pack while pulling a pulk or daily ski trips, as well as a dry bag for storing gear in the igloos we built. Back home, I also used it as a day pack on numerous snowshoe and backcountry ski trips. Although I did not have an opportunity to test it for canoe camping, I believe that would also be a good application.
My testing of the DryComp Summit Sack left me with a lot of varied impressions. The pros and cons:
- It's indeed versatile. For me, the most important uses are as a day pack in cold and wet weather, and as a dry bag in camp to keep critical gear dry.
- The Summit Sack's waist strap did not interfere with another hip belt I wore for pulling a pulk.
- In my opinion, it's too heavy to carry in a backpack to use for summit hikes or day hikes from camp (my max weight for this is eight ounces or less).
- For some people, the pack's heavier fabrics make it better suited for winter and canoe camping, where extra durability is appropriate. Personally, I would prefer a lighter version of this pack.
- Its 1885 cubic inch (31 L) volume is appropriate for cold weather outings, like winter day trips and winter camping, but it's too large for warmer weather day trips.
- For convenience, I would like to have a large waterproof pocket on the front of the pack. On cool and cold weather outings, I frequently need to add or remove clothing, and it would be very handy to have a large, easy-access pocket on the front of the pack.
- Some readers have asked for a waterproof ultralight backpack. The DryComp Summit Sack meets that criterion, but it would be better if it had a large waterproof front pocket and a better waist belt.
- The side release buckle on the top closure is difficult to open with cold hands or gloves. I struggled on many occasions to get the buckle released.
- I carried the Summit Sack on snowy and rainy days on several occasions, and found that it is indeed waterproof. My gear inside the pack did not get wet.
- The outside nylon fabric has a DWR treatment to repel water, but it eventually wets out and absorbs water. A hybrid silicone/polyurethane coated fabric would seem to be a better choice, as it would make the outside completely waterproof, accept seam tape on the inside, and lighten the pack.
- When loaded, the pack slides off my shoulders, especially when I am wearing a smooth hardshell jacket. My wife added a sternum strap to the pack I tested, which solved the problem.
- The pack's waist strap is useful to stabilize the pack, but does not transfer any weight to the hips.
- As with most frameless packs, the maximum comfortable carrying capacity is fifteen to twenty pounds.
- Because of the pack's depth, I often found it difficult and frustrating to find a specific item inside the pack, but that is an issue with any deep rucksack.
The DryComp Summit Sack in compression stuff sack mode, used to compress a bulky -10 °F down sleeping bag.
Overall, I really like the utility of the DryComp Summit Sack, but it left me wishing for a lighter weight version and a few hiker-friendly modifications, like a large waterproof front pocket, easy-to-open top closure, and a sternum strap.
Specifications and Features
- Manufacturer: Outdoor Research (http://www.orgear.com/)
- Year/Model: 2008 DryComp Summit Sack
- Fabrics: Hydroseal coated Antron nylon
- Volume: 1885 cu in (31 L)
- Sizes: One size
- Dimensions: 24 x 11 x 9 in (61 x 28 x 23 cm)
- Features: Roll top dry bag closure, padded shoulder straps, two mesh side pockets with elastic drawcord closure, two front daisy chains, two ice axe loops, fully seam taped, four compression straps convert to shoulder straps and waist belt
- Weight: measured weight 13.1 oz (371 g), manufacturer specification 12.2 oz (346 g)
- MSRP: $59 US