I’ve ruined a lot of backpacks over the years by carrying sopping, disgusting surf gear to and from the beach. Packs equipped with waterproof wetsuit pouches certainly fair better, but keeping those pouches from turning into a nightmarish bog of saltwater, sand and melted wax seems more or less impossible. Inevitably, everything I stuff my wetsuit into seems to get filthy in a way that begs for not just hot water and industrial-grade cleaning products, but perhaps an exorcist as well.
Recently, I came across something that seems way better suited for hauling surf gear around than any backpack I’ve ever had. The Yeti Camino Carryall ($150) is basically just a tote bag on steroids, built with a thick, waterproof shell and a semi-rigid bottom that keeps the bag upright and open when not clipped shut. That means that you can throw all your gross surf stuff in here and it’s not going to seep all over your clothes or your car, and it also means that it’s very easy to hose out and it dries quickly. As a bonus, I’ve found that it’s actually big enough to stand in as well, so it can double as a changing mat in a pinch.
The Camino also features a small side pouch that can probably hold a few bars of wax and a face stick of sunscreen. But the strength of this thing is really in it’s simplicity. Sure, it’s a large, durable and fancy-looking bag, but it is just a bag nonetheless. For that reason, some might balk at the $150 price tag. But it feels like a quality product made with nearly-indestructible materials, so something tells me you’d only need to feel the sting of that purchase once.