My wife and I signed on to a four day Zodiac tour of remote parts of Haida Gwaii. Recalling a whale watching tour some years back and how thoroughly soaked my camera gear and I were as soon as the boat hit big water, my choices were to find a dry bag or leave my camera gear at home.
My gear fits into an airport regulation sized backpack. It’s easy to find top loading dry bags that will fit my pack but they’re a pain to use. They’re huge and you need to stand up to take the camera bag out of the dry bag and to wrestle it back in. The process becomes more difficult still when the outside of the dry bag is wet. If I chose a top loading bag, I knew that my camera was much less likely to see the light of day because of the hassle. I wanted something that I might be able to work out of on the boat if needed.
I checked out the Mountain Equipment Co-op website to see what was available there and I was quite certain that I’d found the holy grail of dry bags for my purpose. I gathered up my pack and headed downtown to the MEC to check it out.
The Scully 50 Duffle is a 50 liter dry bag that checked all of my boxes. It retails for $129.00 Canadian. Being a duffle, my camera bag sits nested inside on its back and ready to open. With my camera bag inside, there was a bit of room around it for miscelaneous items. Unlike many water resistant bags, the Scully is fully waterproof with a rolling inner liner although it is not considered submersible. I suspect gear inside would survive a short dump in the drink however. The bag has a bunch of attachment points and back pack straps that hide away when they’re not needed.
In use, the Scully did its main job perfectly. We went through 9 foot swells and were blasted with gallons of water. The underside of the main flap didn’t get wet through the zipper, let alone my gear beneath the rolled liner. I found getting my camera bag in and out of the Scully easy to manage, although my plan to rest the duffle on my lap in the boat didn’t work out due to the seating arrangements. The bag is seemingly made of very tough materials and stood up to the trip without incident. I opted, after putting my camera bag inside the Scully, to push the air out of the purge valve so that the bag was easier to handle on the boat. I found a couple of times that I’d forgotten to re-seal the valve, which of course defeats the purpose of a dry bag. It took a few times but I did make a habit of closing the valve.
The Scully also comes in 30 and 100 liter versions.