Rockagator RG-25 40L REFLECT Backpack
NOTE: Every once-in-a-while I get the opportunity to test hammock-related camping gear, such as traditional sleeping bags, tarps, backpacks, and accessories. The Rockagator RG-25 40L REFLECT pack is a dry back/pack designed to keep your gear protected from the elements.
- Manufacturer: Rockagator, LLC, made in China
- MSRP: US$109.99
- Quick submersion waterproof
- Floats when dropped in water (when correctly sealed)
- Splash-proof external front zipper pouch
- Interior zipper pouch to store small items like keys and smartphones
- Internal carabiner loop strip so you can attach your gear inside the bag and keep it close to the top where you need it
- Reflective patches on shoulder straps
- Reflective screen printing on back of pack
- Elastic mesh pockets on sides for storing loose items
- Welded construction for watertight seams
- Padded shoulder straps
- Top carry handle
- Reflective elasticized bungee
- 40 L capacity
- 20 Kg strap strength
- Listed: Not listed
- Measured: 54.4 oz (1457 g) (a little over 3 lbs)
The Rockagator RG-25 is a rugged, roll-top, water-resistant dry bag/pack, designed to keep your gear dry in wet conditions. The company is very careful about overstating the waterproof characteristics because the roll-top enclosure can be susceptible to leakage based on how well the top is secured. It is not designed for full submersion, but the company does say it can survive “quick submersion,” or a quick drop in the water.
The pack boasts a 40-liter capacity with two small mesh side pockets, an internal daisy chain clip strip, and an external zipper pocket and daisy chain clip strip.
The other distinctive element on this pack is the high-vis yellow exterior and reflective strips.
I was attracted to the Rockagator RG-25 reflective series thinking it might make a good pack back for biking to work and for short hikes or backpacking trips. The two key features I liked are the waterproof sack and high-visibility (including the reflective strips), which would make this a viable option for staying visible while biking.
The pack is much more rugged than I imagined. The material is thick and hefty and can nearly stand up on its own. One reason I like the dry bag/pack concept is that it has the potential to lighten and simplify my packing efforts by providing an initial waterproof barrier. I usually use an inner layer in my packs to keep my gear dry. With how rugged the RG-25 is build, I had no fears about having the pack snag, rip, or puncture a hole. However, the thicker materials result in a heavier pack, which defeats at least one of my packing goals. For a 40L pack, it is quite heavy compared with similar capacity bags. This isn’t a big deal for me when I cycle, but I start to count ounces when I backpack.
All of the dry bag/packs I’ve used over the years have a similar construction, and the RG-25 is not much different: take a dry bag and add shoulder straps to make carrying a little easier. The Rockagator does come with a few additional features that help with carrying the pack, including an adjustable sternum strap, load lifters, shoulder straps, and a hip belt. Clip points on the shoulder strap provide places to attach additional gear up front, and the daisy chain loops on the back also provide points for additional gear. The large carry handle on the outside is also a nice addition for grab-and-go access.
On my backpacking trip to Fossil Springs, I took the pack knowing we would be doing a lot of stream crossing and swimming in the river, using the pack for “peace of mind” in case of any accidental plunges. While this was a simple weekend trip, the February temperatures demanded a little more insulation and other gear, so I pushed the Rockagator to its pack limit. I was able to store a two-person hammock kit, my clothing, and insulation in the pack, but the real limitation for me was water storage. The side mesh pockets are small and I my regular 1L water bottles wouldn’t fit, so I had to pick up slimmer bottles. Thankfully this trip had a water source at the creek where I could refill water. The only thing I couldn’t fit in the pack was my food sack, but I was able to attach it to the outside thanks to the daisy chain webbing.
The other challenge with this pack was the usability of the other pockets because they don’t add any more volume to the pack. The pockets are flat and slim, not gusseted, so thick items don’t work well. I was able to easily pack my map.
My only disappointment in terms of performance was that one of the grommet loops ripped off while I was packing up. I restrung the reflective shock cord through the daisy chain webbing and had no further problems.
The hip belt isn’t padded, but I was able to use it to balance the load while hiking. When carrying 20 lbs (9 kg) or so, the pack carries fairly well. The load lifters didn’t really do much since the pack has a soft frame with no internal load support. I also noticed that the sternum strap doesn’t have a whistle lock. It’s a small detail, but it’s something I’ve come to expect on all modern packs as a built-in safety item.
The Rockagator RG-25 pack is a very durable packable dry bag that I can continue to use while bike commuting. I’m not sure the bag is really intended for river trips where the possibility for full or long-term submersion is a high risk, just based on the company’s own recommendation, but I don’t think it means you need to be worried about using the pack around water. The real issue is making sure you have a good seal with three full turns on the roll-top enclosure (i.e., don’t overpack the bag!).
Disclosure of material connection: The author (Derek Hansen) was provided with a free sample from the manufacturer as coordinated by Outdoor PR for consideration for review publication. The comments in this post (written & spoken) are of my own opinion, which I formed after personally handling the gear.