When WetDawg.com said I could test the NRS Paragon Pack, I got pretty
excited. It looked like an excellent alternative to my drybag with built
in shoulder straps. You know, the ones that break at the worst possible
moments and leave those nasty red marks over your shoulders. Besides the
buckles on my last one had just fallen apart and I needed a new one.
My most frequent use of these is when the put-in or take-out is a far
enough distance from where we can park our cars that carrying a loaded
kayak isn't practical. I often have to carry the kayak, then come back
for my gear. One of the many problems with a drybag that uses shoulder
straps is that you have to get one big enough to accommodate all your
gear and you don't have any versatility.
This pack essentially allows you to place your drybag or many other types of bags whithin
its frame and carry it with the comfort of an internal-frame backpack.
When I first got the pack I gave it a thorough inspection for quality of
construction, quality of materials and general design.
The construction is excellent, everything is reinforced with double
stitching. I'm not sure, but it looked like some of the load bearing
points were even triple stitched? Upon closer inspection I could find no
loose threads or missed stitches. It was put together with the highest
of quality standards, which I've experienced in the past with other NRS
The materials chosen are of equal quality and suitable for a wet
environment. The webbing is a dense weave and was cut so as to not
unravel at the ends. The thread is a heavy industrial nylon and the
clips and buckles are much sturdier than those that come on
shoulder strapped drybags. In short, this is a "real" backpack, and best
of all it has variable load capacity.
When I first put it on it was obvious that the designers are users as
well. This showed in the general design. The pack was as comfortable as
the best of the internal framed backpacks I've tried. The shoulder
straps are articulated to lie comfortably. The waist/hip straps are
padded appropriately and placed the load comfortably on my hips.
I have a 50" chest so the sternum strap that attaches the two shoulder
straps together across my chest is just a hair too short to be
comfortable. However, I found it didn't seem to make a difference one way
or the other in the overall performance of the pack.
The padding throughout seems to be in all the right places and caused
no uncomfortable pressure points, even with a heavy load (way more than
rated capacity) strapped in. The cargo space was capable of managing
some rather large loads as well as some of the smaller loads I've used
By the way, don't limit your thinking of this as a piece of gear for
extreme kayakers or sports enthusiast. I'm a parent of two young
daughters ages 3 and 5. I've used the pack to carry our picnic supplies
to the neighborhood park, carry their luggage on a flight to visit
granny, and to carry a small/medium ice chest down to the swimming hole.
Recently my business has required a fair amount of travel and I like
this pack so much that I've been using it to "portage" my carry-on
luggage through the airport.