Obnoxious, bright colored things are my thing. When I saw the So iLL 20L Dry Pack in all of its highlighter yellow goodness, it was love at first sight. I envisioned taking it all over the trails, the city, to my favorite rocks. But it didn’t quite end up that way.
The So iLL 20L Dry Pack supposedly a dry bag. I can’t attest to full submersion (but this video from So iLL shows it might be possible) but welded seams, waterproof vinyl and ripstop nylon makes this pack waterproof for those days where the rain never ends.
A roll down top allows this bag to be as big as 20L or as small as you want it to be. There are three pockets on the outside: one zippered pocket on either side of the pack and one mesh pocket. The main compartment is a bottomless pit. The shoulder straps and back are padded. A sternum strap keeps the pack and straps close to your body. I’m not sure of the exact weight; it’s not listed on the website, but I’m estimating it’s somewhere around 2lbs.
The empty pack weight makes it not ideal for long days in the mountains, but great for roaming around the city, short hikes and bike commuting. Since getting the bag, it has been my go-to for work. I cycle to and from work every day, rain or shine. The bright yellow helps with visibility, especially at night or in the rain.
It has been raining almost non-stop since Christmas save for a few rainy days. The dry pack has kept my 13” MacBook Pro and climbing gear completely safe from the elements. The extra padding on the shoulders and back make it extremely comfortable for cycling. I’m not a fan of panniers and I probably wouldn’t even be able to lift my bike up with them on anyway. I’ve ridden 2.5 hours from work with the pack on with no issues.
Until I looked at product photos of the bag, I realized that I’ve been buckling up the pack wrong the entire time. It’s supposed to be rolled down and then buckled down on either side of the pack, but I roll it down and buckle the straps on top together. I never knew what the extra buckles were for, and don’t think they add much in terms of design.
The mesh front pocket is great for keeping metro cards, work badges, lip balm and other things you don’t want falling into a bottomless pit. I don’t find the side zip pockets to be very useful. They’re oddly shaped and not very deep. I only keep my work badge in it so I can get in and out of our bike room without having to take my pack off. It would have been cool if they kept the mesh side pockets like the 15L bag has, or just removed them entirely. I would have also loved to see a daisy chain on the pack to clip my shoes to when its not raining.
It’s not the perfect pack, but it’s a fantastic, obnoxiously colored, commuter pack that will withstand inclement weather. Bonus points because it’s not a regular cycling company pack, and only climbers really know who So iLL is. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s no longer available on So iLL’s website, except in Japan, but you might be able to find it at gyms that carry So iLL.
This was sent to me for review.