Cover photo by Jameson Midgett Photo
We are so stoked to introduce to you our newest local and women-owned vendor, Boatyard Beta, hailing from Durango, Colorado! Read on to learn more about our initial impressions of their dry bags before and after a 4-day Gates of Lodore trip.
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on some new Boatyard Beta dry bag samples last fall, just in time for a 4-day Gates of Lodore raft trip where I could test one out. As the only woman in the CKS sales crew, I felt very passionate about this new vendor and ultimately convinced the guys to start stocking them (it didn't take much convincing once they learned more about how great these bags are!).
The gist of these dry bags is that they help organize toiletries and discreetly store period trash (goodbye messy Ziploc baggies at the groover and awkward trips to the kitchen trash!). However, their odor-absorbing pockets prove useful for all sorts of other personal trash like used Q-tips, face and body wipes, and anything else you may use at camp to help feel a little bit cleaner in the wilderness.
You like to rough it a little more out there? That's okay too, because even if you don't take advantage of the odor-proof pockets, these bags also feature zippered watertight internal pockets, making them perfect for storing toiletries that have the potential to leak (toothpaste, lotions, sunscreen, etc.).
Packing for the Trip
A notorious last-minute packer, I hadn't even opened up either bag until about a day before leaving for my Lodore trip. The first thing I noticed was how intentionally and beautifully packaged they were. Each bag was folded and wrapped up incredibly neatly with a thank you note. The Lady Bitz Bag, the 50L purple option, came with 15 disposable, biodegradable liner bags for the odor-proof pocket, and the 20L blue Ebb & Flo bag came with 10 liners. Replacement liners can be purchased through Boatyard Beta directly or you can opt to use the dry bags sans liners if you don't mind a tiny bit of clean up after your trip (the pockets are designed to be easily cleaned with a disinfectant wipe, soap and water, or simple spray cleaner). You can also use a Ziploc bag or plastic shopping bag as a liner as well.
Size comparison of the 50L Lady Bitz bag and the 20L Ebb & Flo bag
Since we would only be gone for four days and it was not my time of the month, I opted to bring along the smaller 20L Ebb & Flo bag. The 20L provided ample room for all of my partner and I's toiletries for the trip. I was very glad to see the internal watertight pockets, as I have experienced leaking fluids in a dry bag TOO many times on river trips. It gave me peace of mind to zip up items such as toothpaste, lotions, tinctures, and eye drops for safe-keeping. I am also an avid face and body wipe user on the river, so I was looking forward to utilizing the odor-absorbing pocket for neat wipe disposal until we get off the river.
I chose to leave the shoulder strap at home for this trip since the bag is small enough I figured I wouldn't mind carrying it by its tote straps. I also knew I would be rigging it at the top of my gear pile so I wanted to minimize any excess entrapment risks!
On the Water
We own a Hyside Max 12, so clever packing is crucial for two people's gear on a multi-day trip. Every inch of space is valuable! I found that the Ebb & Flo bag was easy to rig right next to our captain's seat (we sit on the Canyon Coolers Outfitter 75, currently). This allowed us to quickly access things we'd need to use on the water such as sunblock, hand sanitizer, or ibuprofen.
The Ebb & Flo bag nestles nicely between my cooler seat and mesh rig bag (rower's right)
I particularly enjoyed the two methods of closing the Ebb & Flo bag. You can close it like a traditional roll top dry bag, or you can clip the ends down to the sides of the bag. I found I tended to close it by clipping the buckles to the sides.
The Ebb & Flo bag was a hit! I showed it off to the other women on the trip and we all agreed it was about time something like this hit the market.
The bag was easy enough to sling over my shoulder with the tote straps, so carrying it off the raft with some other bags or rocket boxes in tow was a piece of cake. It was such a treat to have our toiletries completely separated from our clothes and sleep kit. Everything stayed extremely organized and easy to access, and the bag itself hardly took up any space in the tent.
Image by Jameson Midgett Photo
The odor-proof pocket was more than large enough to store all of my used wipes and other personal trash for four days. Once we returned home, pulling out the liner and throwing it in the trash was as simple as could be!
While timing didn't line up for me to fully put the Ebb & Flo bag through the wringer, I wholeheartedly believe it is up for the test from even the most adventurous of women. The odor-proof and odor-absorbing pockets are larger than you'd think, and they will eliminate trips to the group trash for most women on all but 2-3 week river trips.
All of the handy features aside, the bags themselves seem as durable, if not more so, than any other leading brand's dry bags. I was particularly pleased by the versatility of removable carry straps and different closure options. The bags are simply designed and easy to rig, making everything you need easy to access and well-protected from the elements.
All of you rad ladies out there, if you don't have a Boatyard Beta bag yet, do yourself a favor and get one today!
I couldn't help but think about other uses for the incredible Boatyard Beta dry bags beyond their predominant intent. Here is the list I have come up with (so far):
- Toiletry bag with used wipe storage (how I used it on Lodore)
- Diaper bag for rafting mamas with infants and toddlers in tow
- Groover supply bag (TP, bleach or body wipes, feminine products, etc.)
- Travel bag for medical equipment such as CPAPs
- Beach bag/Weekend bag