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Reviews > Packs > Frameless Backpacks and Day Packs > Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Dry Day Pack > Test Report by Gail Staisil

Sea to Summit
Ultra-Sil Dry Daypack

Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan

Page Contents:

Initial Report - November 25, 2012
Field Report - January 24. 2013

Long Term report - April 1, 2013
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Initial Report:
November 25, 2012
Author
 Tester Information

 Name: Gail Staisil
Age: 60
Gender: Female

 Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 152 lb (69 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com

For the last 20 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.

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Product Information

Manufacturer
Sea to Summit
Website

http://www.seatosummit.com
Model
Ultra-Sil Dry Daypack
Color

Black (Also available in Sky Blue, Orange and Lime)
Size

22 L (1343 cu in)
Manufacturer Weight
3.2 oz (91 g) on website, 3.5 oz (99 g) on packaging
Tested Weight
3.6 oz (102 g)
Model Year
2012
MSRP
NA

________________________________
Initial Impressions and Product Description 

Packaging
 The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Daypack arrived with no outstanding imperfections. The pack I received is black with gray accents. There is a printed label (Sea to Summit) on one of the gray panels but it is barely visible. The label looks like it was cut a bit off as the bottom of the
first letter "S" has been chopped off. This is a purely cosmetic defect but worth noting.

The pack was enveloped in a tiny stuff sack that measured approximately 5 in (12.7 cm) in length and only 3 in (7.6 cm) in diameter (when empty). Although I expected it to be small, it is probably the smallest stuff sack I've ever seen. The daypack pulled out of the stuff sack with a bit of effort so needless to say it probably won't be stored that way very often. The stuff sack has a snap on the end of it that fastens inside the pack to hold any other small object that I don't want to lose. It also makes the likelihood of losing the stuff sack not an issue.


Design and Technical Features

As is evident by the name of the daypack (Ultra-Sil) it is constructed with very light weight siliconized Cordura fabric. This fabric has a small check pattern integrated into the fabric for strength and is reportedly water-resistant. The daypack is designed to be very un-fussy and simple. The exterior has no pockets, loops (other than a very small hang loop on back), or waistbelt but there is a corded lacing system on the front of the pack. The reflective non-stretch cord zig zags through six loops (three on each side) and can be tensioned by a very tiny cord-lock device. This allows the fastening of an item on the outside of the pack for quick access.

The interior of the pack is without features other than the aforementioned stuff sack that attaches to the pack by means of a Hypalon material (rubber-like) insert with a single snap. There is no structure to the pack such as a backpanel.

Front of packThe pack is carried by the means of two simple shoulder straps that are also made out of sil-nylon material. Narrow webbing (0.25 in/0.64 cm) is attached to the side seams of the back by means of a triangular insert of sil-nylon material. The straps can be adjusted with a small buckle on each side.

The top of the pack has a roll-top closure that is often found on typical dry bagsBack of pack. The closure is made of Hypalon and it is
labeled "To seal roll at least four times and clip buckle". Although the daypack has the word "Dry" in its name the pack is only water resistant and according to the manufacturer it is not intended for situations where the pack will be submerged. All of the seams in the pack are double stitched and then taped to seal against water though.

I have already filled the daypack and took it out on a test run while cross country skiing. Inside I packed a light down sweater and emergency supplies. It seemed comfortable enough without having a chest strap but I do wonder how it will function or stay in place while wearing a jacket of more slippery material as the fabric of the daypack is very slick. When I stuffed the pack full it measured approximately 18 in (46 cm) in length (rolling the top closure four times) and about 11 in (28 cm) at the bottom tapering a bit to the top. Because the pack is unstructured it is really hard to accurately measure but my estimate is close.

Sea to Summit products have a lifetime warranty. I look forward to using the pack in all kinds of winter weather.

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Field Report:
January 24, 2013

USA Locations and Conditions

During the field test period I have worn the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Daypack for a variety of activities including cross country skiing, snowshoeing and day hiking. It was also used during a backcountry trip of three days. Location of all activities were in Michigan and ranged from hilly deciduous forest to open non-deciduous communities. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to almost 2000 ft (610 m).

Late December Trip

Location: Hiawatha National Forest, Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 18 mi (29 km) 
Length of Trip: 3 days/2 nights
Sled Weight: Approx 40 lb (18 kg) 
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, snowstorms   
Precipitation: Approx 6 in (15 cm) of new snow
Temperature Range: 10 F to 24 F (-12 C to -4 C)

Dayhikes/Snowshoeing

Locations: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Distances: 4 mi to 6 mi (6.5 to 9.6 km) 
Temperature Range: 15 F to 38 F (-9 C to 3 C)
     


During the field test period I have both worn and stowed the day pack as needed. For example it's been a handy pack to wear when carrying extra supplies for skiing. Lately the temps have been double digits below zero (-17 F/-27 C) with wind chills of -25 F (-32 C) or worse. These kinds of conditions always make me a little more safety orientated than I already am. The pack is easily stuffed with a down sweater, emergency blanket and fire making essentials, personal locator beacon and more.

When the conditions aren't as bad I have found the pack to be slightly a nuisance for fast-paced cross country skate skiing. Water bottles are harder to retrieve and the extra weight on my back is more noticeable. I am mostly used to wearing a waist pack during skiing which doesn't interfere with my style much and doesn't make my back hot. That said, I have instead found the pack very handy to bring my extra gear plus ski boots to the ski trailhead or hut and leave the pack there while I am skiing (minus the ski boots of course). When I come back to the hut I take out dry socks, shirt, hat, etc., as well as sometimes lunch from the pack. I like that the pack doesn't weigh much and I can wear it on my back to and from the parking area as I already have my arms full with skis and poles.  

I have also stowed the pack on top of my sledge during a three-day trip. It contained all the necessary emergency supplies so that they were readily accessible. The water-resistant material kept the contents dry and I had no hesitancy to place the pack on the ground when retrieving other items.

Where the pack shines for me is for day hiking and snowshoeing. It is hardly noticeable for such activities as my fo
rward motion doesn't hinder carrying a pack (unlike skate skiing where the torso is rotated). I like how the pack can be cinched and the top rolled down to hold supplies in place.

So far the pack has held up well. I have not been picky about putting wet cross-country ski boots in the bottom of it plus other wet clothing at the end of a ski session. Of course I empty it out as soon as I get home so that no odors are noticeable. It has been carried in all kinds of winter weather including frigid cold and blustery snow storms without incident.

I haven't bothered to use the stuff sack as the pack is small enough on its own already. I wasn't too keen on stuffing it in a tiny sack only to deploy it anyway on an almost daily basis. I have found the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Daypack to be a useful and dependable addition to my outdoor activities.


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Long Term Report:
April 1, 2013

USA Locations and Conditions

During the long term test period I have used the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Daypack for five backcountry trips totaling twelve days as well as for daily activities. Locations of all activities were in the states of Michigan and Wisconsin and ranged from hilly deciduous forest to open non-deciduous communities. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to almost 2000 ft (610 m).

Location (Feb 4- 5): Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail/rustic cabin trip
Distance: 7 mi (11.3 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night
Sled Weight: Approx 40 lb (18 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Snow    
Precipitation: 0.22 in (56 cm) 
Temperature Range: 13 F to -4 F (-11 C to -20 C)
 

Location (Feb 9-11): Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail/rustic cabin trip
Distance: 11 mi (17.7 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days/2 nights
Sled Weight: Approx 45 lb (20.4 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, snow   
Precipitation: 0.70 in (1.78 cm) Snow
Temperature Range: 34 F to -3 F (1 C to -19 C)

Location (March 2- 4): Hiawatha National Forest (Western Unit), Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 20.5 mi (33 km) 
Length of Trip: 3 days/2 nights
Sled Weight: Approx 40 lb (18 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, snowstorms   
Precipitation: 0.01 in (0.03 cm) Snow
Temperature Range: 24 F to 7 F (-4 C to -14 C)

Location (March 18-19): Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Chapel Basin), Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail/Bushwhack
Distance: 10.5 mi (16.9 km) 
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night
Sled Weight: Approx 40 lb (18 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, snowstorms   
Precipitation: 0.58 in (1.47 cm) which is more than 11 in (28 cm) of new snow
Temperature Range: 34 F to 9 F (1 C to -13 C )

Location (March 25-26): Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Beaver Basin Wilderness), Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail/Frozen Lake
Distance: 14 mi (23 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night
Sled Weight: Approx 45 lb (20.4 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy   
Precipitation: 0.02 in (0.05 cm) 
Temperature Range: 34 F to 20 F (1 C to -7 C)

Location of Other Activities: Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Wisconsin 
Distances: 4 mi to 6 mi (6.5 km to 9.6 km)
Temperature Range: 38 F to 15 F (3 C to -9 C)
    

During the Long Term period I continued to wear the Ultra-Sil Dry Daypack or stow it in my sledge on all of my backcountry trips.  I usually keep my ready-to-go items in the day pack such as a down sweater, extra hat, emergency beacon, re-tractable ice picks, fire starters and matches, hand warmers, snacks and permit when traveling by sledge. That way I can easily retrieve the items on the go when needed.

The pack has never leaked and all items have remained dry. I have only used the outside stretch cord a couple of times as usually everything I want to take fits in the inside of the pack. I secured an extra jacket on the outside only to experiment and I didn't have any issue with the jacket staying securely in place during two different day trips.

I have also continued to wear the pack for both backcountry skiing and snowshoeing. Again similar supplies were loaded into the daypack plus a water bottle. It has worked out well for the most part. Although
the pack is light to carry, the exertion of skiing always leaves my back more damp while wearing the pack. I always wear breathable wool garments underneath my parka so it is not that uncomfortable just noticeable. However this would hold true for all the other packs that I have worn on my back.

The pack has also served for bringing a change of clothes to the trailhead for both my skate and classic ski outings. I leave the pack either in my vehicle or ski hut so that I can have the items handy when I return from skiing. 

As far as durability, the pack has held up well. It usually is loaded into my vehicle on top of skis, poles, snowshoes and other gear and has survived all the various sharp points on gear. During backcountry ski and snowshoe trips it has encountered all kinds of bushwhacking with no rips or catches to the fabric. As aforementioned, I have not had any trouble keeping my gear dry in the pack even though it has been subjected to heavy wet snow, sleet and even light rain. There has been over 15 ft (4.57 m) of snow here this year so it is almost a daily occurrence. I have not used the stuff sack as it is very tight and I use the pack so often that it is not necessary to stow.

Overall, I have found the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Daypack to be very dependable for its light weight and I like the fact that it has been versatile for a variety of uses.
 

  

Pros 

  •     Water-resistant
  •     Light weight
  •     Roll-top closure easy to use

 Cons 

  •     Stuff sack is very tight so I haven't bothered to use it
Tester Remarks

Thanks to Sea to Summit  and BackpackGearTest for this opportunity to test the Ultra-Sil Dry Daypack.This concludes my Long Term Report and the test series. 

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