At the Australian Lure & Fly Expo in July I watched the Wilson’s boys carry in a stack of new bags which I hadn’t seen on before. They looked the goods so it wasn’t long before I was pestering them about RRP’s and when they’d be available. To my delight our old mate Stephen ‘Boothy’ Booth said he’d love for us to test one for the magazines and tacklejunkie.fish. The bags are part of the Mustad Dry Gear range and were all a nice charcoal colour and looked to be finished very well. The 30L Dry Backpack was of most interest to me. It seemed a perfect fit for what I was after. Something sturdy, comfy to wear all day and tough enough to take a beating from sticks, rocks and the elements I encounter on long walks through skinny water country. My backpack soon arrived, and since then I have dragged it all over the countryside. Up and down trails, in and out of gorges, and in the water more times than I would have liked it to be.
As the name suggests it’s a 30L backpack but unless I was carrying 30L of liquid (Great Northern Original) that’s kind of useless as a size. I know it’s the universal language for luggage sizing but its pretty silly. However, I was able to carry a LOT of gear with me on these trips. This included a camera, a first-aid kit, two large tackle boxes, wallet, sunglasses case, pizza shapes and a spare shirt. There’s also a pocket on the front, which is where I put my phone and a drink bottle holder outside the bag for easy access. For how much stuff I crammed in, the bags straps were set up so well that you hardly feel the weight. The load is spread right across the shoulders and there are two more clips that go across the chest and waist to stop it moving from side to side when walking. To access the main body of the backpack you can use the large zipper at the top (which rolls down at the top for extra security) or through a smaller zipper on the side. This smaller zip is handy if you’re just needing a pair of pliers or a leader roll, but I was wary of using it too much in case I left it open and dropped anything.
I have worn this pack for close to 50 hours now. It’s seen a lot of rough country and a fair few fish. At times the padded support behind the back has been dripping with sweat, caught up in thorns, multiple slides down rock faces and it’s passed with flying colours. It’s pretty dry, but not waterproof. The material the backpack is constructed from and all the stitching held up great but I did fall backwards while fighting a fish on a wobbly rock and the front pocket took on water through the zipper and drowned my iPhone. This is more my fault than the backpack’s, though. There are other bags on the market which are similar in design with waterproof zippers, but they’re 4-6 times more expensive than the Mustad Dry pack. At $74.95 SRP, it’s extremely good value. There’s eight bags available across the Mustad Graphite Bag range, and more information is available at www.wilsonfishing.com.