After 4 years using a waterproof cover on my camelbak HAWG I became increasingly irritated by the fact that it didn’t really keep the rain out. It was okay in ‘damp’ conditions but actual rain was a different matter, it always managed to penetrate around and under the cover resulting in a wet bag and contents.
The Ortlieb Flight 22 is a waterproof rucksack designed for use when walking or cycling, there are three large ‘pockets’ inside the bag one of which has a zipped closure while another is designed to take a water bladder (not supplied), my 3 litre camelbak bladder is a perfect fit. The remainder of the main compartment is an open space that stuff can be crammed into. The exterior has a large waterproof pocket that is narrow but runs the whole length of the bag, this is ideal for tools, spares and trail clearance kit. There are also two non-waterproof elasticated pockets on the side of the bag, I haven’t found a use for these yet. The bag is made from tough canvas that appears to be impregnated with a PVC type of plastic, this material is 100% waterproof. The bag and waterproof pockets are sealed with plastic toothed zips that sit behind a plastic barrier that comes together snugly when the zips are closed. As per the instructions I rubbed a small amount of grease along the teeth of the zips and despite reservations that this would smear onto my hands etc as I load and unload the bag so far this hasn’t happened. The tube from the bladder exits the bag through a rubber grommet this is a very tight fit and takes some wrestling to get through. The bag has a mesh harness so it sits off your back, a design that is much more effective than my HAWG at reducing sweaty back syndrome and the bag stays put rather than sag like the HAWG depending on what I put in it. Adjustable padded shoulder, chest and waist straps keep it secure and these seem to be made of a lighter weight version of the PVC impregnated material, whatever, the straps are waterproof.
There is not a lot to say about the bag performance other than it holds 3 litres of water has a strap clip to hold the tube in position, it has a zipped compartment for money, keys, and valuables and a larger pocket for other things. The main compartment easily swallows spare shirt / jacket, food and camera (digital SLR inside a padded case no problem). The long waterproof outer pocket holds spares, tools and such like. The main question, is it waterproof? yes 100%. The interior of the bag and the contents have remained bone dry after use in heavy rainfall, I zip it shut hang it up and use a garden hosepipe to wash the mud off without emptying anything out of it.
It does exactly what is claimed, it is 100% waterproof, has more than enough room for what I want to carry and is very comfortable on the bike. What I anticipated would be an expensive luxury has rapidly become indispensable due to its convenience and practicality.