As the years have gone by, I still have my bug out bag (and consider L.A. just slightly less evil). I feel an emergency bag is a great item to have stashed in the car trunk or front hall closet. You hope you never have to use it, but feel somewhat secure that it is there. Recently I needed to replace the emergency bag I keep in my car trunk due to an unfortunate meeting of a bowling ball and a tire iron.
I was recommended a Speedo Performance Pro Backpack as a good replacement backpack by my niece. She uses one as one of her high school backpacks and gave it high marks. The price was reasonable and
I thought I would give it a try.
Initial inspection and features
One of my traditions when buying any gear is giving it a good inspection. I do realize that this backpack was bought to be tossed in the trunk of a car, but I figure I can provide a small service by giving you a sense of what your money will buy.
• Dimensions – The bag comes in at 19″H x 13″W x 9.5″D. I find it to be a pretty good sized bag for what I’ll be using it for. (click here for more backpacks like this)
• Water-resistant rubberized bottom – This is a nice feature, but not surprising coming from the makers of the Speedo swimsuit. I’ve always appreciated the extra touch of giving a pack a rubber bottom because it adds extra protection.
• Nice storage options – Any good bag should have multiple pockets for stashing various items. The Speedo offers a media pocket, front zippered pocket with organizer, a wet pocket and cell phone pouch.
• Anatomically-shaped shoulder straps – I haven’t lugged the bag around a lot, but these shoulder straps make it seem that it would be a comfortable slog if you had a full pack.
The Speedo is not the most brilliant of looking backpack. Of course, a backpack usually looks like a backpack. If it did not, I would probably steer clear. The Speedo Performance comes in a variety of colors and patterns. I ended up with a purple backpack and have no complaints. My niece has one with a pattern that hurts my eyes. I give Speedo props for offering a variety of appearance options to satisfy their customers. Most gear manufacturers offer a few colors as a “take it or leave it” proposition. I usually do not care about the color of my backpack, but I figure more choice is always better.
This was going to be a weird review to write because my intended purpose for this bag was to fill it with emergency supplies and toss it into the trunk of my car. That would not make for a very interesting review. Me pointing that the bag and saying it works great does not help you. So I decided to take the Speedo on a few weekend hikes and take it to my evening classes for a couple of weeks.
Since this is not one of my usual hiking bags, I spent some time working out how to pack it well for a day trip. After working out what goes where, I can say it held everything I needed. I used it for a few weekends in a row and the pack gave me no trouble. I really liked it. It was comfortable to lug around, so I had no complaints there.
Using the speedo as a book bag was equally enjoyable. In fact, I found it to be an even better pack than the one I was using previously. I ran into more foul weather going to school than I did on my hikes, so I was glad for the water resistant bag. I’m luck to live pretty close to my grad school, so I can ride my bike there (and leave the car home).
After using the pack on these trips, I can say it has held up really well. No rips or tears are evident and the water resistant material has been a god send for those times I’ve been caught in what seems to be monsoon season level rains.
So how would I rate the Speedo Performance Pro Backpack? I will give it high marks for being one of the better sports backpacks I own. I realize that to some it might seem sacrilege to take a well-made piece of equipment and consign it to the trunk of my car. I would argue that it is a good thing that I am using a quality backpack to keep my emergency supplies protected.
The good news is that I was so impressed with the Speedo that I ran out and bought another one to serve as a spare book bag for school. If the bag had a laptop compartment, I’d be in heaven and would start using it for work. As it is, this is a great backpack for the price. It is nothing fancy (well, except for the colors it comes in).
So, if you are looking for a decently priced backpack that will give you good quality and decent protection from damp situations, the Speedo Performance Pro Backpack will not steer you wrong. I use it all the time now, and not just for stashing stuff in my trunk.