Re-sealing backpacks (waterproof coating)

7:40 p.m. on July 19, 2008 (EDT)
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I have two older packs that I would like to fix up to have as loaners for new guys who don't yet have a good pack.
A Lowe Alpine Contour 4 & a VauDe which I have used for a day pack.

I have pack covers, but I would like to re-seal the pack material and lube the zippers. I have never re-sealed a pack before. I have found beeswax or chapstick works wonders on zippers.
I have looked at a product by Aquaseal, called Poly-seal, it is for coating tent fabric, I am waiting for them to respond to my E-mail.

If you have done this before I am open to ideas,
Thank you.

9:31 a.m. on July 21, 2008 (EDT)
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I don't think it is possible to completely waterproof a backpack because of the numerous seams and zippers. Just too many places for water to get in.

That being said, you can still coat it with a waterproof substance and get a high degree of water resistence.

I've found that the spray on silicon stuff works good on most fabrics. I bought a market umbrella on sale for $20 made of polyeter. I sprayed the top with two cans of walmart brand silicon spray. So far it has not leaked a drop even in severe summer thunderstorms.

5:31 p.m. on July 21, 2008 (EDT)
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Yes, nogods, you are right nothing on a pack is going to be 100%.
The packs have a "waterproof" coating on the inside similar to a rain fly, it is in need of touch up and I have never messed with the stuff.
I realize it might be easier to put my time and money towards new packs, but I enjoy these little projects. And If I bought new packs I would be more hesitant to loan them out.
I have used the silicone before, might end up going that route, but the brush on type coating seems more durable.

7:43 a.m. on July 22, 2008 (EDT)
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What about one of those canoe bag/roll top things that are about 50L or more, that line your pack and everything goes in?
I'm assuming the packs are internal frames with a main compartment opening at the top.
Never tried them myself as I imagine they would get caught up with items as you searched for stuff in the pack; but maybe not?
I resort to the small stuff sacks, some with roll tops (though I wish they were the lighter, silicone nylon type) for everything that matters.

And you should have some silicone lube aerosol for the zips in the garage, or no? Expensive but it comes in handy for lots of stuff, as a protector as well. Except for tent poles, which I don't think should be lubed as they need some friction in the joints. Salt water corrosion protector a different story perhaps.

All the best.

9:10 a.m. on July 22, 2008 (EDT)
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Jon C. has made a good suggestion - MEC sells a roll-top silnylon pack liner for $10-$15 CAD. I have one for my GoLite Pinnacle, it's waterproof, super lightweight, slippery so packing and unpacking is a breeze, and it's bright orange - perfect for emergency use. Even with the U.S. exchange, it's still a bargain...

12:35 p.m. on July 22, 2008 (EDT)
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I was wondering when someone would bring up the liner idea. It does add weight, but only a small amount. I have a summit pack I like that has long since lost its waterproof coating. I just put one of the black plastic garbage bags inside, put the gear inside that, and, voila, a completely waterproof pack that is only a couple ounces more than the original pack.

For my hike up Kilimanjaro last December, knowing that we were going through the rain forest, I got a couple of the Outdoor Research silnylon rolltop bags (about 4 ounces, and bright International Orange) and put the gear for the porters to carry inside those inside a very lightweight pack (found out they don't wear the pack, just balance everything on their heads!). That way, the OR bag was fairly dry on the outside when I pulled it out of the pack in the vestibule of the tent, and kept the rainwater out of the inside of the tent.

Yes, a liner adds weight (a few ounces), but it keeps a favorite pack in service. And the garbage bag type of liner is easily and cheaply replaced. Besides, you need a couple garbage bags to help pack trash out (LNT principles, remember).

4:14 p.m. on July 22, 2008 (EDT)
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Personally, I'm not too crazy about using garbage bags as liners, even heavy duty ones. A) they're dark in colour (makes it hard to find your items, esp. in a large pack), B) they never last long enough (and plastic bags are not municipally recycled where I live), and C) I use my plastic food storage bags for packing out trash. So an inexpensive but sturdy, long-lasting silnylon pack liner makes the most sense for my situation!

7:54 p.m. on July 22, 2008 (EDT)
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Alright now, you guys are trying to take the easy way out.

Yes I do have dry bags that I use for canoeing, so that is an option. I line my sleeping bag sack with a trash bag as Bill S. has said he does too. Where I go it stays wet all the time and a liner adds weight, and so does all the water a pack absorbs. (so does waterproof coatings, so maybe the point is mute) But it may be that I do decide to go with a liner. Pack covers offer marginal protection since a lot of the water here is just floating in the air, especially as the sun starts to hit the water mid-morning. I hike along a lot of streams.

I seem to like restoring things to their original condition,
for some reason. So that is why I am interested in doing it the very hard way! My wife says we are lucky I don't own any old cars....Hmmmm
I think she has been reading my posts!

2:24 p.m. on July 23, 2008 (EDT)
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Not all garbage bags are dark in color. I tend to use the heavier duty trash compactor bags, which are white, or get the "highway cleanup" bags, which are bright orange. The added weight is negligible - 2-1/2 ounces for the trash compactor white bags.

One advantage of the black ones, though, is that you can use them to melt snow for water, reducing the fuel cost quite a bit (lay the bag on the snow surface, not on dirt, and spread the snow out on top of the bag, not in it - make a depression in the middle, which will collect the water - works great, even at sub-freezing temperatures.

Restoring old cars - been there, halfway did it - way too expensive, way too much time consuming, gotta admire the perseverance and tenacity of some friends who do that sort of thing (although not their single-minded obsession). I have one neighbor who fully restored a Cobra (a real one, not one of the Ford imitations), and another who restored an early 1920s Rolls (he would only put the Silver Lady on it when he was physically present at the front of the car). We go to the Concourse on the Stanford campus every year and drool (I am not allowed within 20 feet of the cars because of the drooling).

4:17 p.m. on July 23, 2008 (EDT)
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