Breakwater Supply Explorer: Review

Breakwater Supply specialise in waterproof bags and gear. Jeff Grant checks out their work/play explorer backpack!

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Breakwater Supply is a name you might not have heard before: I hadn’t until the bag landed on my doorstep. I knew I was getting a waterproof submersible bag to test out, so I had an idea what to expect when it arrived.  But as I took it out of the box, the first thing I thought was “this bag will kill it on the kayak!” Even from the first glance, it’s clear this bag was made to be out on the water.   

The company started making an emergency, waterproof kit for sailing. The Explorer is made for use with kayaks, boats, paddle boards and generally a life around water.  It’s a fully submersible waterproof bag, matching well with this lifestyle. That said, Breakwater Supply also describe the Explorer as having ‘true work/play versatility, so I loaded the bag up, tossed it on my back and headed into the office.

Tech Specs

Height20″50.8 cm
Width13″33 cm
Depth7″17.8 cm
Weight2 lbs.91 kg
Capacity1525 cu. in.25L
dimensions recorded by reviewer

Primary Materials
Main BodyDouble-Sided TPU Polyester
TrimAirtight + Watertight Zippers

Quality and Comfort

While the Breakwater Explorer comes in at an easy to swallow price of $175 USD, the materials used
to construct the bag are top notch. Most waterproof packs and drybags I’m used to have a
rubber outer and sticky feel. The Explorer has a woven fabric facing exterior. This might be
unexpected in a waterproof bag but adds to the durability of the pack. I tossed this bag around
quite a bit, fully expecting it to fail and it never did. This was tested when I physically tried to
sink the pack in a lake and it was so airtight, I could not get the bag to fully submerge.

In addition the only lashing strap has an unbranded buckle, but has been able to hang with me
and my shenanigans. The straps and webbing also held up to being tossed around and even pulled by my young pup who is not taking well to the leash manners I am trying to instil in him.

With the bag loaded up, the Breakwater Supply Explorer wears and feels good on the body.  The bag has a molded EVA back panel with air channels and a bit of embossed branding.  It felt comfortable to wear both on my back and tossing it in and out of the car, and on my back cruising into work on my Honda Ruckus.  

In addition to the back panel, I dig the straps.  They have a slight S curve to them, a medium density to the foam, and are backed with neoprene to keep with the waterproofness.  I’ve always liked neoprene, and it has a soft feel, it’s not abrasive, yet it’s durable and waterproof.  The straps felt good on the body, conforming over the shoulders and clavicle well.  They feel good both walking around and on the scooter.

Because of the waterproof material and structure, the main body of the bag is boxy and holds its form well. The construction combined with the flat bottom also allows the bag to stand pretty well on its own.  This is something I always forget about, as most bags don’t do a very good job with it.  So, when I get a bag that does stand on its own, I love it.  It makes accessing my junk so much easier.

Gear Hook provided by 8Timber

Organization and Access

 The crucial feature of the Breakwater Explorer is the big, chunky, Airtight/Watertight zipper.  This will keep water out very well, assuming it’s fully closed and locked. Casually closing the bag will leave a gap at the end of the pull, allowing water to enter the bag. This will turn your pack into a water hauler, not a water barrier. 

The Explorer is a half zip design. Due to the rigidity of the bag materials, the front of the bag does not peel down.  Normally this would present an issue with access, but also means the bag holds its form when open. This still allows the user to see and get into the bag pretty easily. Once inside the bag there isn’t too much organization, just a laptop sleeve and two mesh dividers. Breakwater Supply claim the suspended laptop sleeve will accommodate a 16” MBP, (I can attest to a 15” MPB fitting just fine). 

The Explorer also features a dedicated pocket for a cellphone or other electronics – I fit an iPhone 11 without its case, with plenty of space for larger phones. Accessed from the inside of the bag, the phone is visible and even touch-accessible through a clear panel, but still protected from external moisture. I can even use facial recognition to unlock my phone through it.  So you can kick back on the open water, unlock your phone and watch your favourite YouTube bag reviewers

Getting the cellphone out might be an issue though.  Having the pocket only accessible from the bottom of the interior of the bag means digging down through everything inside to get to it.  In addition, I had to remove my phone from its case to get it to fit. Since there’s no padding in the pocket, this risks my primary means of calling for help, should a waterborne adventure go awry.  

On the other side, an external bottle pocket doesn’t fit larger water bottles, but I can stick a 750ml in there with no issues. There are two lashing points on either side of the bag, one of which can be used to secure said bottle to the bag while crossing any rough sea, so that potable water doesn’t slip overboard.  

The Explorer also has a front zipper pocket featuring another Airtight zipper.  This pocket does not have its own volume, so it will be sharing space with the internal space of the bag.  And again I want to point out, for the pocket to be fully secured, it’s necessary to close and lock the zipper.  

What’s Perfect

  • Excellent waterproofing will keep contents dry in any aquatic adventure.
  • Comfortable enough for bike commuting in a downpour.
  • Sufficiently durable for the price point 

What’s Not

  • Will look out of place at the office.
  • The bag does not have a lot of built in organization.

Wrap Up

All in, if you are looking for a pack for your boating adventures, this might be your guy.  It feels good on the back while being active, and will keep your valuables and extra socks dry if the bag takes a dip. 

 For the casual wet weather user, this might not be your best option.  It stands out in the crowd and doesn’t have an admin area for your daily needs.  Though Breakwater Supply says “true work/play versatility,” this pack is pretty purpose built to be out on the open water.  And while there, it will do a good job at hauling your gear and keeping it dry.

Disclaimer: The Explorer backpack was provided by Breakwater Supply for use in this review. The content of the review was not shared with Breakwater Supply prior to publication. Our reviews are impartial and never altered to keep a brand happy.

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