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Mustang Survival ‘Highwater 60L Waterproof Gear Hauler’ Review: The Durable, Well-Designed Future of Dry Bags

Mustang Survival Highwater 60L Waterproof Gear Hauler man on beach with gear(Photo/Sean Jansen)
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Mustang Survival Highwater 60L Waterproof Gear Hauler is the ultimate one for its design, durability, and price. At $165, the price tag will be your only concern when heading out into open and treacherous water.

The package couldn’t have come at a better time. I needed another dry bag. But not just any dry bag, one I could trust to hold all my necessities for a long standup paddle ocean expedition.

In short: The Mustang Survival Highwater 60L dry bag has already accompanied me for over 400(!) miles of paddling, and it’s not showing any signs of retiring. There are some unique and clever things about its design and it’s durable as heck. Read on for our full review.

Mustang Survival Highwater 60L Gear Hauler Dry Bag Review

First Impressions

At first glance, two-thirds of the bag looked to be exactly like every dry bag on the market. Black, with a shiny gloss to its nylon fabric, and smooth to the touch. But the upper third is what caused my heart to sink. Did they send me the wrong bag? I needed a dry bag with a roll-top closure to prevent water from sneaking in. But a blue plastic fabric with a drawstring closure is what initially caught my eye. Upon a closer look, the roll-top closure for waterproofing was underneath.

Mustang Survival Highwater 60L open
Packing up the Mustang Survival Highwater Gear Hauler; (photo/Sean Jansen)

I laughed when I began opening and closing the system, adding that this dry bag looked to have a “skirt” on it. But as I took the Highwater Gear Hauler to Baja and beat the crap out of it, this “skirt” proved to be my favorite part of the bag.

With a heavy-duty nylon shell, this chameleon of dry bags is a bit deceiving. 20L of the pack is actually outside of the waterproofing realm, but this served to be an awesome addition that other companies have yet to dive into. When your bag is popping at the seam for waterproof coverage, even on a wet expedition, there are usually items that can be left out in the elements. This extra compartment allows for easy wet storage and access.

I don’t think there will ever be a way for any dry bag company to create a system for easy and quick access in a waterproofing scenario, but this drawstring system is a step in that direction.

Mustang Survival Highwater 60L Waterproof on beach next to other gear
The Mustang Highwater dry bag in a pile of gear, mid-SUP expedition; (photo/Sean Jansen)

Handles and Lash Points

Another wonderful feature Mustang Survival has thrown into the mix are the numerous lashing points and handles for easy grabbing. There were many scenarios on my solo-SUP trip in Baja where I had to make an emergency beach landing due to weather.

Waves crashing on the shore, wind howling at my face, water lapping up and over my board — and all over my bags and gear. Upon unloading in rough seas, this bag was a breeze. With handles on all fronts, six in total, not including the obvious backpack straps, I could close my eyes, put my hand on the pack, and likely be touching a handle— or at least be very close to one.

With this pack’s double-coated PVC nylon, I never worried about dropping it or slamming it against sharp rocks or large gravel-lined beaches with crashing waves. This pack was ridiculous when it came to durability — ridiculously awesome. Something I can’t say for the other packs I’ve tested.

Highwater Gear Hauler Downfalls

One of the flaws I have found is the misnomer. Only 40L of that storage is actually waterproof. The other 20L make up the blue apron section with the drawstring, which isn’t waterproof. So when going to purchase this item, make sure you’re aware that you’re purchasing a 40L dry bag, not a 60L. (This a small downfall, but we wanted to make a note nonetheless.)

Mustang Survival Highwater 60L Waterproof Gear Hauler being worn as a backpack
(Photo/Sean Jansen)

Lastly, something I am grateful it had but was disappointed with was the shoulder straps. A large role this pack played was its ability to be my daypack while land exploring. There was a scenario where I needed to hike 7 miles through rough desert terrain to get help. The pack proved to be very uncomfortable on my back and shoulders. Regardless of what I put into the pack, it wilts hard and pulls not just down but also away from you, making it very inefficient for hiking. And with no adjusting straps to keep the pack near your center of gravity, your back and shoulders take the brunt of the beatings. Thankfully, there is a sternum strap.

Final Thoughts

Mustang Survival Highwater 60L Waterproof Gear Hauler man with paddleboard on back at sunset
(Photo/Sean Jansen)

For a company famous for creating gear to keep you alive in the roughest of liquid environments, the 60L Gear Hauler keeps the company’s ideals moving forward. Is it worth it, even factoring in the lack of comfort on long hikes/hauls? Absolutely, and I can’t wait to bug them for future designs and hopefully an expanded product line down the road.

Even as I’ve paddled 400 miles with it and need at least 400 more to complete my maiden voyage along the Baja peninsula, the last thing I am going to worry about is this pack ripping open or leaking water. It’s kept my lifelines — my tent and sleeping bag — dry and ready for use, even in rough seas or cactus-lined beaches.

Check Price at Mustang Survival
SUP loaded up with dry bags

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