When Madera sent me their Waterproof Ultralight Travel Backpack to test and review, I knew that I had to take the assignment seriously. There was only one place to thoroughly test this backpack. I booked my plane tickets and headed off to one of the wettest places in the United States: Hilo, HI during the rainy season.
The Big Island is known for its copious amounts of rain, especially on the eastern side. Hilo, the biggest city on the island, gets an annual rainfall of about 127 inches, making it the rainiest city in the United States. There is no better place to test waterproof gear.
|Weight||5.5 oz folded, 2.3 oz unfolded|
|Materials||High Tenacity Nylon|
|Packed Dimensions||(L x W) 6.5″ x 5.5″|
|Unfolded Dimensions||(L x W) 17″ x 12″|
|Best Use||Camping, Backpacking, Everyday life|
|Weight Capacity||80 lbs|
Madera’s Waterproof Ultralight bag is extremely lightweight. It packs into a 6.5inx5.5in pocket and weighs only 5.5oz. This is perfect for getting weight down on airplanes or backpacking.
When fully extended, the pack measures 17inx12in, featuring a small interior pocket and an outer drop pocket.
The compact nature was incredibly useful on our trip. On the flight to the island, the bag traveled in my suitcase. But on the way back, I was able to pull it out as my second carry-on to carry my extra souvenirs, such as my coffee from Buddha’s Cup (read more about that experience HERE).
Due to its ultralight nature, the pack has no back support. I found it uncomfortable to wear fully loaded unless I slid a handy folder in the back for extra support. The bag is designed to more comfortably carry lighter loads, such as an outer layer and a snack. The heavier and more awkward the load, the more uncomfortable the bag becomes.
This made it perfect for running around town. I could stick my small purchases in the pack, my layers, and carry water without issues. However, it was less comfortable to long hikes that required more gear, such as binoculars, guide books, layers, and a full lunch.
The pack is made from a lightweight high tenacity nylon, allowing it to pack down extremely small. It features waterproof zippers and reinforced straps. According to Madera’s website, the pack is rated to hold 80lbs. I didn’t test that full weight capacity, but regularly carried about 15lbs to 20lbs on my trip with no difficulties. While I have no doubt that the material and construction of the bag can withstand loads of 80lbs, I doubt it would be comfortable to wear long-term.
This is the big question I wanted to answer: just how waterproof is Madera’s waterproof travel pack?
To test the pack, I wore it out on the trails two days in a row on the Big Island. The rain was non-stop both days. Think full rainforest deluge.
The first day I took the pack to Lava Tree Monument outside Pahoa. The loop trail runs 0.7 miles with occasional rain shelters along the way. There was intermittent rain throughout the trail. We’d have a period of time with just a light drizzle, and suddenly the rain would pour before lightening up again. The trail took about 1.5 hours to complete (side note: the geology was amazing! I definitely recommend a trip). At the end of the trail, the inside of the pack was damp, though some of that was attributed to humidity.
I continued to wear the pack throughout the day, which alternated between heavy rain and drizzles. The pack remained slightly damp, but not particularly wet.
The next day the rain was significantly harder. I wore the pack at Akaka Falls (0.5mi, 1.5 hours outside). The rain fell in heavy sheets. By the end of the trail, the inside of the pack was wet and everything was soaked. There was no doubt, this was not due to humidity.
Madera’s Waterproof Ultralight Travel Backpack is very water resistant but not fully waterproof. The pack holds up just fine in a light rain or running from point to point but, but not suitable for extended periods of time in heavy rain.
The pack is extremely lightweight and compact, making it ideal in backpacking or as a secondary travel pack.
Would I recommend it? Yes, I would. This pack will not be a main pack for me, but it is one I will definitely pull out again as a secondary travel pack or as a summiting pack while backpacking. It’s good value for it’s price-point, features, and durability. I would put it in the same category as REI’s Flash Pack series.
Interested in the Waterproof Ultralight Travel Backpack or other Madera products?
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Want to hear my thoughts about more of Madera’s products? Check out my review of Madera’s Emergency Headlamp.
Disclaimer: As a Madera Outdoor Ambassador, I received the Waterproof Ultralight Travel Backpack at great discount to test and review.