When it comes to the right travel gear for a trip to Scotland, functionality is key. The weather can be unforgiving here. You don’t want to be caught off guard when suddenly the heavens open and rain comes crashing down. Waterproof jackets and shoes are the minimum you need to stay dry, but you should consider another item for your Scotland packing list: a waterproof daypack might be the perfect solution.
While I’m not usually too bothered by rain – it’s just part of life in Scotland and what makes the country so green – I really hate when all my stuff gets wet – duh. Who doesn’t?
For years, I used colourful rain covers to cover my backpacks. They are designed for activities and many hiking backpacks even come with in-built rain covers. I always used them when cycling to work and of course when hiking in the Highlands and they served their purpose of keeping my things dry and increasing my visibility in traffic. However, when I was just walking around the city or went on a road trip, I always hated how “outdoorsy” and practical they made me look. Not the style I’m aiming for on an everyday basis…
I have tried some water-resistant backpacks before, but to be honest, never fully trusted them in a proper Scottish downpour. So, when Nayo Smart asked me if I wanted to try one of their travel backpacks, I was super excited.
Nayo Smart and the Nayo Rover
Nayo Smart designs minimalist backpacks for the everyday or business use. Their range features sleek business backpacks, anti-theft bags with maximum functionality and a variety of large-capacity travel backpacks.
The Nayo Rover belongs to the third category. It is a waterproof backpack that is ideal for daily use or overnight adventures. It combines style with practicality as it has a smart look and tons of practical features. It can hold 33L and weighs 1.1 kg by itself. It measures 50 L x 16 W x 32 H cm which means it fits within the standard carry-on luggage dimensions.
I have tested the Rover for a month now, taking it with me on trips around the city as well as going on short adventures with it. Read on to find out what this daypack offers that others don’t.
My Favourite Features of the Nayo Rover
The waterproof material & SBS zippers
My favourite thing about the Rover is that it is made from waterproof material and has waterproof zippers. I’m often on the road with tech gadgets like my camera and laptop and I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go. Knowing that all these will definitely stay dry even if it starts pouring rain, is so reassuring.
In Scotland, you never know when you get caught in a downpour. Sometimes it can begin so suddenly and strongly, that you get drenched to the bone while still fiddling about with the rain cover for your backpack. Having a backpack that is waterproof in the first place is the perfect solution.
The pocket system
The Rover has a gazillion of pockets in different shapes and sizes. There are two large, two small and one “hidden” compartment– so five different zippers on the outside of the backpack.
On the inside of the two main compartments, there is a plethora of pockets to stow away smaller items, tech gadgets and so on. It’s really easy to organise your things so that every item has a spot. I find this super important when I’m travelling and carry more stuff with me than normally.
My favourite pocket is the iPad-sized compartment inside the main compartment. It fits my notebook like a glove.
“Hidden” back compartment
The zipper for the “hidden” compartment runs across the back of the daypack. It is near impossible for anyone to access it without you noticing while you carry the backpack. Thus, it is ideal for stowing away your travel documents or money – anything you want extra protection and discretion for.
The zipper for the largest compartment can be opened 180 degrees, which makes it easy to pack and unpack the backpack and access things at the bottom without taking everything else out.
USB charging port
The Rover comes with an inbuilt USB charging port. You can charge your backpack at home and then plugin your phone or other devices on the go. The port is on the outside, but faces down, so it won’t get damaged in rain.
Those are just my highlights though. The backpack also has other features such as a side pocket for a water bottle, a whistle and a mini compass on the sternum strap and a rear strap to secure it to a suitcase handle.
The Rover has an ergonomic design with comfort at the heart. But is not every backpack supposed to be ergonomic? So, what does that even mean?
In my experience backpacks can feel differently on your back depending on how heavy you pack them and where the bulk of the weight is located. With the Rover I feel like the weight is always evenly distributed and regardless of how heavy my backpack is, it doesn’t feel like a burden on my back. It feels like the backpack is moving with me and always remains close to my body.
I also like, how the Rover is designed in a way that I can set it down on the ground and it stays standing by itself. Few things are more satisfying!
Packing a backpack with ergonomic shape definitely took some getting used to. I am used to stuffing my backpack with the majority of space at the bottom, thinning out towards the top. Since the Nayo Rover is designed to retain its shape and distribute weight equally across your upper body, it is as wide at the bottom as it is at the top. I had to learn to stack my things efficiently inside the bag to make the most of the space.
After a month, I now have a system and everything I carry with me has its designated place and pocket in the backpack. It was definitely worth unlearning and relearning how to pack my daypack, because my back feels so much better carrying it compared to a conventional backpack.
So far, the material has proven to be very strong and forgiving. When the backpack gets muddy, I can simply wipe it down with a wet cloth. It has withstood quite a few rain showers and downpours. The zippers are really high quality and feel very secure.
In the beginning, I found the Rover to be a bit long for my back, but after adjusting my straps and carrying it for a few weeks, I have definitely adjusted to that and found a position for the backpack that is completely comfortable.
If you are looking for a functional, waterproof daypack for Scotland, I can’t recommend the Rover enough. It fits everything you might need during the day, is very comfortable to carry, super-functional and keeps your things dry, regardless of what the Scottish weather has waiting for you.
You can find out more about the Nayo Rover here. It is currently on offer and priced at $77 / £60 and ships worldwide .
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All photos by Kathi Kamleitner and Gemma Armit.