Portage PacksReviews

Vaude Hobb Creek Review

Paige's first canoe trip in the BWCA with a Hobb Creek pack in view.

I have a thing for backpacks. I have two full sized packs for backpacking, one lightweight backpacking pack, three day packs (or is that four). I recently sold two packs, and, of course, if we get to canoe packs, I have two SealLine packs, a Bell portage pack, a Duluth pack, and this Vaude pack. Why so many packs? Because you can never have too many packs, and different situations require different packs. So how does this pack stack up?

Paige's first canoe trip in the BWCA with a Hobb Creek pack in view.

Seal Her Up

The first thing you will notice with this pack is the fold over closure system, and perhaps this is the most important part of this pack. It was originally designed for canyoneering and spelunking, which both can demand a waterproof pack. And it seems that this pack delivers a waterproof seal, although not as secure as a SealLine pack – you have to be much more careful sealing this pack’s closure to make it as waterproof as a SealLine. It passed the Famous Nessmuking Seal and Drag Test, which is where I load it up, seal it, and drag it behind the canoe for a couple of hours. I do this on all “waterproof” bags.

Bubbha, the Tow Rope is Behind the Seat

No, I didn’t really drag it behind my car, but I can tell you that this pack is a good piece of durability. The construction details are flawless, the fabric seems to be as tough as a truck tarp, and I have no doubt that it would remain waterproof after a drag behind my car. In the five years, I’ve owned the pack the only reason it doesn’t look brand new is because of the mud.

Problem? Where?

The suspension system leaves a little to be desired. It lacks shoulder stabilization straps, which wouldn’t be too much of a problem if the pack had less depth. But the depth of the pack tends to allow the heavier items in the pack to sit further away from the center of your back, which in turn pulls the pack backwards off of your shoulders. With shoulder stabilization straps, this problem would have been solved. Of course, if you go lightweight, this won’t be a problem. It will carry perfectly for you.

And There’s More

Other features of this pack include a zipper pocket on the outside, although not waterproof comes in handy for carrying a water bottle. It also has a mesh pocket and some bungee cords to stash a jacket behind.

It’s Not the Size, It’s How You Use It

The size of the pack is about perfect for a lightweight fall trip of 5 to 10 days. It’s not as small as a Boundary 35, but it doesn’t weigh a whole lot more, mine comes in at 2 lbs. 9oz. And it fits inside my Magic much better than my Duluth pack or my Bell portage pack.

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Overall, I’d say this is a good buy if you can find one. It’s not as small as a Boundary 35, but is much more durable. It’s not as easy to secure as a Boundary 35, but with careful closing is waterproof (I still line this one.) If you’re traveling light, then this pack will carry nice, and it fits even in skinny canoes, like the Magic. Oh ya, and before I forget, above I forgot to mention my ice climbing pack, and my padded food pack.

Product Reviewed: Vaude Hobb Creek Pack
Date Reviewed: 8/9/2005
Retail Price: Good Question


  • bryan,
    is that a telescope mount in the photo? If so what do you have and how long did it take for you to get comfortable enough to take $$$ equipment tripping?

    • It’s a camera’s tripod. That’s my mid range one which iss about $350 worth of tripod and ballhead. It’s not light, but it’s solid and comes with me on low milage trips that I want to get good photos on.

      I’ve never really been uncomfortable taking expensive equipment tripping. For electronics, I use Aquapac drybags, WXtex bags, or Sea to Summit bags and they keep the equipment dry and working. For delicate equipment, I pad the drybags with foam cut from a sleeping pad. Coleman makes a cheap sleeping pad that’s light and easy to cut.

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