Road Tests :: Rip Curl Search Backpack
A wet & dry backpack for exploring
Ahhhh surfing. Such a radical pursuit. It takes you to the far reaches of this globe, chasing waves you’ve spent your life dreaming about. It gets you malaria. Or Dengue fever. Or just parasites that riddle your system for years. You get cut up on reef, bounced off rock, partly drowned and burnt or frozen. And then you want more, and Rip Curl want to help immerse you in all this…
More than any other surf company, Rip Curl stand for ‘the search’. So it makes sense that Rip Curl create carry gear to get you out there and back again. And this latest Ultimate Search backpack, soon to be released, aims to do just that. We were loaned the pack for the last month or so to put it through it’s paces.
At the heart of the pack is a big roll-top section, much like most trendy new packs out there today. However rather than going the velcro hold down, the Search Pack borrows from one of the roll-top pioneers with an Arc’teryx-like side cinch set-up (say that 6 times fast).
There are two big front organizing pockets. The top one deals with your tech and delicates, and the lower one with any fins or surf bits. There are then side and top pockets so every bit will have a home.
There’s a hydration section that can be coerced into a laptop section (what pro doesn’t haul a macbook around for Facebook stalking), and a pretty bomber harness that even avoids dastardly air-mesh (there is a god).
So after Rip Curl loaned it to us for a month or so of play and travel, how did we go? Pretty good really. But that’s never enough of an answer for this sort of thing…
The Wet & Dry
Lots of cycling roll-tops are using heavy duty tarp for the sealed section. This stuff weighs a tonne, and is overkill when it’s already inside a layer of outer fabric. The Rip Curl has found a much lighter, but still totally solid lining fabric that works a peach, without weighing you down.
There’s lots of it, and it generally works really well. There’s bits for tech and toiletries and surf stuff and whatever other stuff you like to haul.
All the tech
There’s a solid (and removable) waist belt, there’s gear loops, there’s compression, and there’s most of the other bits you never thought to ask for.
There’s not really anything too bad with this. Of course we can find some minor things…
Which way is up?
Haha, this one is a touch silly, but I must admit to double taking a few times to work out which way was up. The front two pockets can be a little fiddly with orientation, but it’s really not much of an issue.
This is relevant to most roll-tops, where they can be a bit of work when you’re just trying to office hop. If you want to grab and go, it can be a pretty significant flap you have to deal with. It all cinches up really well, it just takes a little time to do that.
If the tech pocket had better water-proofing, and the pack was a little more capable at dealing with a laptop, I’d be happier. I just think most surfers now travel with cameras and tech, and while this deals well enough with them, it’s not amazing with them.
For a surf adventure, this is a great pack. It’s light, versatile, and really comfortable (so long as you’re a pretty average height). It has an innovative format, loads of features, and is valid for most water sport adventurers.
The Ultimate Search Series Backpack will be getting released over the next month or so (Oct/Nov ’11), and should find a very warm welcome from surf adventurers around the globe. Check your favorite surf shop or www.ripcurl.com around November to have a play.