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The Multitool of Dry Bags: Fishpond’s Submersible Backpack

If you're spending time in the water with gear you need to keep dry, the Fishpond Submersible Backpack may become your new best friend.

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Whether you’re fishing, paddleboarding, boating, or in any other way surrounded by water for an extended period of time, Fishpond will keep you mobile and your gear protected with the Submersible Backpack.

The places I like to fish are very moist environments. From the snowy streams of Montana, the rain-soaked forests of the Pacific Northwest, or even the surf zone of Baja Mexico’s East Cape, my gear and I often get just as wet as the fish themselves. 

I searched a while for a pack that was versatile, yet rugged. Comfortable to wear, yet easy to open so I can grab my camera, an extra layer, or a different fly pattern. I went through the motions of big-name brands like Patagonia, Yeti, Simms, etc. All had the general concept I was looking for, but they lacked a few things I wanted — until I came across Fishpond’s Submersible Backpack and was stopped in my tracks. This was what I was looking for.

But, could it live up to my expectations?

In short: Fishpond’s Submersible Backpack does everything I need with very few shortcomings. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t hesitate to click that ‘buy now’ button.

Fishpond’s Submersible Backpack Review

Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack


  • 900D TPU-coated NewStream fabric
  • Coated nylon Cyclepond fabric
  • 21” x 12” x 9”
  • 28L (1,648 cu. in.)
  • 3.05 lbs.


  • It performs. Gear stays dry.
  • Lots of attachment points


  • Zipper failure
  • Steep price tag

First Impressions

At first glance, it actually seemed smaller than I expected, but the yucca green was a color of a pack that I have always wanted, and to be honest, this contributed heavily to my purchase decision. It does come in two other colors: cutthroat orange and riverbed camo, but the yucca caught my eye. I mean, it’s just a slick-looking green.

The smooth fabric made it look as if it could wick away water before it even landed on the pack. And the zipper was another really crucial part of the purchase. The pull along the rails was a bit harder than I expected, but the rigid yet smooth nature of the zipper allowed for those quick openings and quicker closings when the occasion called for it. 

Handles, Lash Points, and Accessories

Fishpond Submersible Backpack
Internal pouch for the important stuff; (photo/Sean Jansen)

The pack is a dry bag that can be fully submerged, but it is set apart by its use as a backpack. The two padded shoulder straps are just as adjustable as any standard backpack. The hip belt works great but is completely removable if you aren’t the hip belt type.

It’s really the extras that push this pack over the top. Inside the bag, there is a small detachable pouch where you can stow important items like your phone or even a wallet that you can keep organized away from the main contents of the pack. The pack makes up 28 L, plenty of room for a day’s worth of gear, no matter the elements.

Two Lariat gear straps can be moved from the left side of the pack or to the right and can easily synch down a rod tube or even a tripod.

The most unique part of this backpack is that it is part of Fishpond’s Thunderhead line. What this means is there are buckles along the shoulder straps and along the hip belt where you can connect other Fishpond Thunderhead products, like the Thunderhead Chest Pack.

Submersible Backpack Downfalls

As the name of the line implies, Thunderhead will also represent the shock your checking account will experience. At $300, this backpack is a serious investment. Now, Fishpond did use recycled single-use plastic to make the pack, and that money goes toward further recycling and helping to save the planet, but it is still a steep cost.

When it comes to the pack function, the zipper is rigid. Over time, with salt encrusted on it and drying in the sun, I found it slipped off of its track more than I would like. It is easy to realign; however, over time, I can see the zipper being problematic.

Fishpond’s Submersible Backpack: Final Thoughts

(Photo/Sean Jansen)

Simply put, the backpack is worth the purchase. I had a wave crash over me in Baja, drenching everything I was wearing, but the contents inside the pack were drier than the Mexican desert my car was parked in. I slipped on a rock on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and halfway submerged the pack, threatening my camera and iPhone. But, inside the bag, the chance of rain was zero despite the downpour I was in outside.

What matters is this: It is a steep purchase, but it’s one that does guarantee the safety of your gear. All of this is accomplished while being comfortable and convenient, just like any other “normal” backpack on the market.

If your gear matters and you need to keep it dry, it’s worth every penny.

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