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Reviews > Packs > Frameless Backpacks and Day Packs > Outdoor Products Amphibian Weather > Test Report by Andrea Murland

Outdoor Products Amphibian Weather Defense Pack
Test Series by Andrea Murland

Initial Report - October 29, 2012
Field Report - January 8, 2013
Long Term Report - March 5, 2013

Tester Information

Name: Andrea Murland
Email: amurland AT shaw DOT ca
Age: 27
Location: Kimberley & Elkford, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Weight: 125 lb (57 kg)

I began hiking frequently in 2006 and have since hiked in Western Canada, Australia, and spent 2 months backpacking in the Alps. I spend most weekends either day-hiking or on 2-3 day backpacking trips, with some longer trips when I can manage them. I also snowshoe and ski in the winter, but don’t have a lot of experience with winter in the backcountry yet. Elevation is typically 500-3,000 m (1,600-10,000 ft), in the Canadian Rockies and the Selkirk, Purcell, and Monashee ranges. I try for a light pack, but I don’t consider myself a lightweight backpacker.

Image Courtesy of Outdoor Products
Amphibian Pack

Initial Report – October 29, 2012

Product Information

Manufacturer: Outdoor Products
Manufacturer's URL:
Model: Amphibian Weather Defense Backpack
Year of Manufacture: 2012
MSRP: Not listed
Colour Tested: Blue
Other Colours Available: Black
Listed Weight: None
Measured Weight: 772 g (27.2 oz)
Listed Capacity: 20 L (1220 cu in)
Measured Dimensions (approximate): 67 cm (26.4 in) x 36 cm (14.2 in) x 13 cm (5.1 in)

Description & Initial Impressions

The Outdoor Products Amphibian Weather Defense Pack is a 20 L (1220 cu in) top-loading pack with a roll-top closure.

In addition to the main top-loading compartment, the Amphibian has three pockets. On the front of the pack is a roughly 20 cm (7.9 in) x 20 cm (7.9 in) pocket with a 17 cm (6.7 in) zipper at the top. The front of this pocket is plastic mesh, so the contents are not protected from the weather. On each side of the pack there is a 14 cm (5.5 in) almost-vertical zipper that opens into a teardrop shaped pocket. All three of these additional pockets have no additional material or gusseting to increase the volume, so they’re very shallow. Above the mesh pocket, on one side of the pack, is a shock-cord with a cord-lock which I presume is for attaching gear. At the bottom of the pack there are two gear loops, separated by a 6.2 cm (2.4 in) x 2.5 cm (1.0 in) reflective patch.

The closure on the main compartment is a roll-top closure. The 41 cm (16.1 in) opening has a stiff band and the two ends have the opposite sides of a buckle. On the back of the pack, next to the back padding, are the appropriate buckles to match, attached to an adjustable strap. This allows the rolled top to be attached to the pack, instead of flopping around.

The Amphibian has curved, padded shoulder straps with mesh on the side facing the body, and vertical webbing strips on the side facing away from the body. The back panel has strips of padding, also covered in mesh, with a channel in the centre for my spine. The back panel is somewhat rigid, providing some structure to the pack. At the top of the back panel is a webbing carry loop with a soft plastic cover. The pack also has a sternum strap which slides vertically on the shoulder strap. The Amphibian does not have a waist strap, which will be a new experience for me.

The pack body appears to be made from a coated nylon fabric, which is pliable and feels sturdy. The interior of the pack has a shiny plastic-feeling coating and the seams appear to be welded. The construction looks adequate, we’ll have to see how well the water stays out!

Amphibian Details

Trying It Out

This is the first time that I’ve used a backpack with a roll-top closure, so I am very interested to see how I like it!

I packed up the Amphibian with all the things that I would normally take on a day hike and had lots of extra surprise, as my daypack for the past 6 years has had a capacity of 11 L (670 cu in) compared to the Amphibian’s 20 L (1220 cu in). Heading into winter, this is a good thing for extra layers! The side pockets didn’t hold very much, especially bulky items. About all I managed in them were a knife, pen, and some hand warmers. I got everything in the pack with room to spare, but I had little bits and pieces floating around (headlamp, bug spray, sunscreen, etc.). I might need to get a ditty bag to help me stay organized.

Once I had packed up the pack, I rolled the top closed and clipped it to the buckles on the back. Then I heaved it into place and adjusted the shoulder and sternum straps to my liking. They were easy to adjust, which is great for winter since I’ll be changing layers so often. I reached for the waist strap before remembering that there was none. On my quick walk around the block the pack was comfortable enough, and I didn’t notice the pack swinging around, but the block is flat and paved, so I’ll have to see how that goes on rougher terrain! Mostly it just felt extremely strange to not have anything around my waist.

I did notice that I was having trouble figuring out where to attach all the things I usually have hanging off my pack and waist strap. These include a hydration bladder hose, bear spray, a camera, and a GPS. The Amphibian is not hydration bladder compatible, so I will have to figure out some other way to carry water, but I’m not sure where I could attach bottles to the outside. There is always the option to carry them in the pack compartment, but that’s a good way for me to get dehydrated because I’m too lazy to dig them out. I’ll have to work on rigging something up. I am also not sure where I can carry bear spray other than the bottom of the shoulder straps, so that’ll have to do. I’m drawing a relative blank on where to carry the camera and GPS...I’m going to need more holsters and carrying cases for options! These are all things that I will iron out in detail for the Field Report.


The Outdoor Products Amphibian Pack looks like it will be a good size and functional for the winter testing that I’ll put it through. I’m going to have to work out the details on how to carry water, bear spray, and my camera and GPS. I am looking forward to seeing how I do without a waist strap and I’m looking forward to testing out the pack in colder temperatures and giving the waterproofing a good test.

Field Report – January 8, 2013

Field Conditions

Field Report Use In the Field Testing phase, I have used the Amphibian Pack for 5 day hikes in the Rockies, all for distances less than 10 km (6.2 mi), and at temperatures from 10 C (50 F) to -18 C (0 F). On all of those hikes the skies stayed dry. I also used the Amphibian as my carry-on and day pack on a warm-weather scuba diving vacation. The primary function of the pack was as a dry bag on the dive boat, and the Amphibian carried my stuff and my dive buddy’s stuff for all 20 dives that we did. On the dive trip the temperatures hovered around 25 C (77 F), and the pack went through torrential downpours as well as ocean spray.


General Function:
The Amphibian pack has been easy to use. While hiking, I have generally had one side pocket full of geocaching gear and the other carries some combination of my wallet, phone, and keys (but all three won’t fit at the same time). The front pocket I’ve usually had some extra warm gear in – a light toque, or extra gloves. In the main pocket I’ve been able to easily fit a rain jacket, an insulated layer, a stuff sack full of assorted odds and ends, a water bottle, and my lunch. I like that extra space in the pack is easily taken up by rolling the top farther down.

The person I travelled with really liked that the pack configuration gives either the option to clip the rolled top to the back panel (as I showed in the Initial Report), and also to clip the two ends of the roll together (as on a traditional dry bag).

I have carried water in a bottle in the pack, which means I drink less water, but I haven’t come up with another good solution using the gear I already have. My bear spray holder I clipped to the bottom of the shoulder straps, and it was fine there, though it did rub the inside of my arm slightly. My camera and GPS I generally have shoved in various clothing pockets...the advantage of cooler-weather hiking!

I am happy to say that I haven’t noticed the lack of waistband to be a problem. The hiking that I’ve done has had moderate elevation gain, but nothing extremely steep or extended climbs. I haven’t noticed that the pack has been swinging around. The shoulder straps are comfortable. The two strips of padding on the back panel are functional but I can clearly feel that there are two separate strips, even through winter layers. Overall, I’m happy with the way the Amphibian carries.

The waterproofing of the Amphibian has been excellent. I put it through its paces when I was diving. We had several potential downpours, and the pack kept my towel and clothes dry through all of it. It also survived ocean spray and my boat captain dumping a tub of water on it while it was lying on the deck. At no point did anything inside get wet.

I have no issues with the durability of the Amphibian, it looks as good as new!


The Outdoor Products Amphibian Weather Defense Pack is off to a great start. It has proven to be waterproof, as it claims, and comfortable to hike in. The side pockets are a little on the small side, but that’s a pretty small nitpick. I hope to get some more snow on it in the next two months!

Long Term Report – March 5, 2013

Field Conditions

Long Term Report Use In the Long Term Testing phase, I used the Amphibian Pack for a further 6 day hikes or skis in the Rockies, all for distances less than 10 km (6.2 mi), and at temperatures from -15 C (5 F) to 10 C (50 F). There was some light snow falling on one of the hikes.


General Function:
Overall, the Amphibian Pack does just what it needs to – carry stuff. I was able to comfortably fit inside: my stuff sack of odds and ends, lunch, water, extra hats, mittens, and jackets, and some new geocaches to be placed. On one occasion I carried my avalanche gear inside the pack. It fit well, though I was then unable to put as much other gear in. Although it was fine for the short ski that I was doing that didn’t actually require avalanche gear, in any situation where I was likely to actually need my avy stuff, I would also want the other contents of my emergency pack, which didn’t all fit in the Amphibian. In addition, it took longer to get my probe and shovel out of the pack than I am used to, though it wasn’t too bad.

I continue to wish that the outside pockets had more space, but have come to appreciate that everything the pack is carrying is inside the main waterproof pocket. I also wish that there was an exterior mesh pocket (or something) for carrying water, as I found carrying water inside the pack to be generally inconvenient.

I have continued to be pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the Amphibian Pack is to carry. I haven’t missed the waistband at all. The pack balances well. I can’t comment on the comfort of the straps and back padding against bare skin or with summer layers, as the temperatures at this time of year don’t allow for wandering around outside without multiple layers on.

Waterproofing & Durability:
The Amphibian Pack has continued to keep water off the contents, and looks as good as new. A bit of mud that got onto the pack easily wiped off, so the pack doesn’t even look dirty.


I have really enjoyed testing the Outdoor Products Amphibian Weather Defense Pack. It worked great as a winter pack, keeping the contents protected from snow, and allowing space for a lot of extra layers. I definitely think that it has earned a place in my kit for dive trips as well, it did an awesome job!

Thumbs Up:
Comfortable to carry
A good amount of space in the main pocket

Thumbs Down:
Small exterior pockets
No built-in method of carrying water externally

Thanks to Outdoor Products and for the chance to test this pack!

Read more reviews of Outdoor Products gear
Read more gear reviews by Andrea Murland

Reviews > Packs > Frameless Backpacks and Day Packs > Outdoor Products Amphibian Weather > Test Report by Andrea Murland

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