Hands on with the Filson Dry Backpack

Leonard Schoenberger

In the ever-changing rhythm of the great outdoors, a reliable companion is your anchor.

Enter the Filson Dry Backpack, a steadfast ally designed to weather the storm—literally. In this expedition into uncompromising reliability, we’ll dive into the features that set this backpack apart, ensuring your gear stays dry and your adventures remain untamed.

Specs and Features

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Filson Backpack Dry Bag Reviewed
The Filson Dry Backpack (left) and its brother the Backpack Dry Bag (yes, the names are a little confusing). Photo: Christian Anwander

Fully waterproof and submersible

Rolltop closure

Outside zippered pocket (not waterproof)

Padded shoulderstraps

Colors: green and orange

Capacity: 20″H x 12 ½”W x 6 ½”D

Dimensions: 28L

Price: $210

Limited lifetime guarantee

First Impression

Filson Dry Backpack front pocket
The Filson Dry Backpack is made from a very durable nylon fabric and features welded seams. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

The Filson stands as a fortress against water intrusion, crafted from 840-denier nylon with a TPU coating. Fully seam-sealed to repel rain, river splashes, or whatever else Mother Nature throws your way. The roll-top closure, a hero in wet conditions, ensures a secure seal against the elements. Seamlessly adjust the volume of your pack to fit the adventure—roll down for a compact day hike or roll up for an extended backcountry escapade. That’s also what sets the Dry Backpack apart from its brother, the Filson Dry Bag Backpack which offers less flexibility and feels a lot bigger and bulkier although it has the same capacity (it’s more comparable to the YETI Panga in terms of shape).


Filson Dry Backpack opened up
The Dry Backpack features just one main big compartment that closes with a rolltop. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

The heart of this backpack lies in its roll-top closure. Picture it as a fortress gate, impervious to the onslaught of rain or river spray. The roll-top design not only provides an impeccable seal against water but also offers a versatile approach to packing. Whether you’re gearing up for a quick day hike or a multi-day expedition, the roll-top adapts, ensuring your gear remains dry and ready for action.

What’s great about the rolltop closure is that it simply closes with the wide velcro patch, then you roll it up and close the two buckles (one on each side), see photo below.

Filson Dry Backpack top handle
The rolltop closure features a big central bucket and two smaller ones (one on each side). Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

What makes the Dry backpack standout from the crowd is the fact that is the only rolltop backpack out there that is not only fully waterproof but also fully submersible (at least I don’t know of any other model). The Filson also comes with two small pockets for essentials, one on the inside (for items that need protection from the elements) and one on the outside with a zipper (which is water resistant but not waterproof).

Filson Dry Backpack inside pocket
Zippered inside pocket on the Filson. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger
Filson Dry Backpack outside zippered pocket
Zippered outside pocket on the Dry Backpack. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger


Filson Dry Backpack shoulder straps
The padded shoulder straps ensure carrying comfort even when the bag is fully loaded. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

Padded shoulder straps and back panel provide a cushioned embrace, ensuring comfort during those long treks. The sternum strap adds stability, preventing the backpack from shifting, even when the trail gets rough. On the shoulder straps you’ll also find a number of attachment options for additional gear such as pliers, nippers or an extra tippet spool.

Build Quality

Filson Dry Backpack Pocket
The nylon fabric is tough as nails. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

Filson’s commitment to quality is evident in every stitch, ensuring longevity that withstands the test of time and terrain. The fabric is very abrasion resistant and I found it to be very scratch-resistant as well. I personally don’t mind scratches too much anyways, since I think they add to the character of a product and tell the adventures you’ve experienced together.

Besides the fabric of the backpack I also like the quality of the buckles. The big one on top and the smaller ones on the side close precisely even after opening and closing them hundreds of times.

Filson Dry Backpack Buckle
The Filson boasts an excellent build quality. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

Verdict: Toughness at a Decent Price

The Filson Dry Backpack is one of the best waterproof backpacks out there, that’s for sure. Plus, like I said in the beginning, it’s the only waterproof and fully submersible rolltop backpack out there to my knowledge. This really makes it stand out from the crows. I am a big fan of the rolltop closure since it increases versatility compared to other models. And, last but not least, at $210 this backpack provides excellent value for money.




FAQs: Filson Dry Backpack

Can I submerge the Dry Backpack underwater?

Yes, the Filson Backpack is one of the very few fully submersible rolltop backpacks.

How do I clean the backpack after a muddy adventure?

Gently wipe off mud and dirt with a damp cloth. For stubborn stains, a mild soap solution can be used.

Is the backpack suitable for winter adventures?

Absolutely. The Filson Dry’s robust construction makes it a reliable companion in various weather conditions.

Can I use this as a daily backpack, or is it purely for outdoor adventures?

It’s versatile enough for both. While it excels in outdoor settings, its design and features make it practical for daily use.

Does Filson offer a warranty for the Dry Backpack?

Yes, Filson stands by the quality of their products. The Dry Backpack comes with their renowned warranty, ensuring peace of mind in your outdoor pursuits.