As someone who has done a fair amount of backpacking, having the right style of pack to hold my gear in a desirable configuration is important. I’m accustomed to using military style packs and found the EXOS Bravo Pack with its five zippered pockets and modular design lends it to being an exceptional gear bag for paddling.
EXOS Bravo Bag Specifications
- 34L capacity
- 18.5” tall x 14” deep x 11” wide (fully loaded)
- Heavy duty zippers with utility style cord pulls
- Front and side compression straps
- 600D Polyester, Double-Stitched Grab Handle, Ventilated Mesh Padding for Strap & Back Area
SUP Examiner Field Testing
The EXOS Bravo sits at the ready as my grab bag for paddling sessions. The two front zippered pockets are wonderfully designed to hold small items such as sunscreen and lip balm, sunglasses, phone and energy bars. The medium-sized “middle” zippered pocket has a mesh organizer sleeve on the rear panel for a wallet and is where I like to carry a couple of fin shims, repair kit and whistle. The large main compartment is great for holding a rolled up towel, water bottle, hat and extra clothing for a day long outing. Last, but not least – the rear most zippered pocket is designed to carry a hydration bladder and links to the hydration tube port on the top of the pack.
I’ve been using the pack at multiple day-long six-man outrigger canoeing events this spring. The 34L is a great size for a paddling event day pack where, depending on where you live, you may want to have some warm cloths for the morning before switching into your paddling attire and then later into a dry set of clothing.
The wide shoulder straps on the EXOS Bravo are padded with air mesh fabric which prevents them from digging into your shoulders, even when carrying a heavy load. The back panel on the pack is lined with the same air mesh fabric for an equally comfortable fit during use. The pack has sternum and waist straps, the latter are not load bearing, which keep the pack securely in place and prevent side to side movement.
The reinforced grab handle on the top of the pack works well and is nicely balanced. One inch wide Molle webbing is incorporated along the sides and front of the pack for easily attaching anything you desire. I like to hang a set of fin keys on a carabiner along one of the sides for easy access.
The modular style of the pack ensures it sits in an upright position without slumping over when placed on the ground. This makes it easy to access the pockets and retrieve your gear when needed.
I highly recommend the pack for paddlers looking for an alternative to a classic duffel bag. Using a backpack as your paddling gear bag allows you to keep your hands free to carry your stand up paddleboard and paddle. The compression straps are great for attaching additional items to the outside of the pack. I have a small collapsible camp chair I routinely strap to one side and my outrigger canoe paddle on the other when going to events. Last, but not least, the price point of the EXOS Bravo is well below that of comparable packs from major outdoor industry brands.
Disclosure: I welcomed the opportunity to receive a sample pack for testing and review to assess its suitability for the paddling community. All opinions expressed are my own.