Dry bags or pack cover?

10:48 a.m. on October 2, 2012 (EDT)
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Im wondering how people keep their kit dry. Lots of different options out there. Ive been using a heavy dry bag from my kayaking days. I use a dry bag that basically fills my pack then put everything in it. I never have wet gear but its a pain in the butt to only have top acces. I decided to try the individual dry bags, im gonna use those and a pack cover the next time I go out. In heavy rain im still gonna use my poncho over my pack. I hate the water down my back from just a pack cover. What do you guys do to keep your kit dry? Im trying to find a new lighter method than ive been using.

12:05 p.m. on October 2, 2012 (EDT)
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Inside the pack - I place everything I want to keep dry in zip-lock freezer bags (freezer bags are much stronger than storage bags).

I use quart size thru 10 gallon size.

Outside of pack - waterproof pack cover

3:58 p.m. on October 2, 2012 (EDT)
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Problem with using a drybag inside the pack is that if it rains, the pack still gets wet. That makes it heavier, and it takes a long time to dry out. Besides, there always seems to be something in one of the outside, unprotected pockets that you really needed to stay dry that winds up getting soaked.

For backpacking, I'll put some stuff into ziploc freezer bags, especially things like my down sweater or a change of clothes. My food goes into an OPSac, and the sleeping bag has its own waterproof bag.

I carry an orange garbage bag for emergencies, and if I think it might rain I'll use it to line the pack with. But I'll still pull the pack cover over the whole kit. I'm wearing a waterproof jacket, anyway, so I don't have a problem with water running down my back.

4:04 p.m. on October 2, 2012 (EDT)
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I once hiked coastal Alaska and paid the price for getting wet.  I now carry a pack cover.  For dry bags, I would remove the pack bag altogether.  For canoeing there are large heavy 3 mil? bags to fit inside canvas canoe packs that would work great in a backpack.

6:56 p.m. on October 2, 2012 (EDT)
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The heavy ones your talking about has been what I used. Its rwally thick and absolutely dry but heavy. Im tryin to shave weight and stay dry.

8:35 p.m. on October 2, 2012 (EDT)
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Shades of grey.  There's rain and then there's rain.  I don't favor pack liners or dry bags except for my sleeping bag and a few ziplocs for the journal and the camera.  My butt big pack is hard enough to pack and cinch, I don't need or want the hassle of yet another bag inside the pack to stuff and cinch.  And it's important to keep the pack dry as peter1955 says, especially in the winter were a wet pack and zippers can freeze solid.


A person has to know when to go and when to stop---the shades of grey part.  Do I hike or do I pull a zero rain day in the tent?  I prefer to sit out deluges inside the tent.  If I'm caught in a deluge while hiking I'll throw off the pack and cover it and lean it up against a tree so the water does not go down the back shoulder harness and into the sleeping bag compartment and wait it out.  A heavy rain usually only lasts 20 to 30 minutes.

In the meantime I don the fancy rain jacket and squat on my haunches.  When it lets up I wring out my t-shirt and hat and get moving.  This can be repeated until camp is reached.  In a light rain I just keep hiking all day.

The hard part is sleet and rain at around 35F.  Then the gloved hands get soaked and turn into blocks of wood and even if you reach camp it's a struggle to get camp squared.  With numb hands it's even hard to unbuckle a hipbelt or undo zippers.  Good luck.

9:10 p.m. on October 2, 2012 (EDT)
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I live in nh, so the rain in the shoulder seasons can be cold. Im mostly curious how diffrent people keep their gear dry. I guess im thinkin of days when a zero isnt an option. We have been gettin tons of rain this fall and ive scrubbed a couple of overnites because of it. I bought a couple of smaller lighter dry sacks and im going to experiment with options other than the monster,heavy dry bag.

9:35 p.m. on October 2, 2012 (EDT)
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I typically use a trash can liner bag(pack body/sleeping bag compartment and always a bunch of ziplocks. 

I also use a pack cover for reasons previously stated.

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I am also looking at the 65L version of this:

http://www.seatosummit.com/products/display/64

10:51 p.m. on October 2, 2012 (EDT)
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Another vote here for a pack cover over the idea of putting everything in the pack in bags.  I don't care much for the hassle of everything in a pack in bags.  If I was wading the Narrows, then I'd opt for bags within bags withing bags.  For the type of packing I do, the pack cover has always served me well.  Those few ounces of a pack cover are the bet I'll make.  Soaked packs are heavy and suck.

6:51 a.m. on October 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Pack covers are like socks---they last a season or two and then need to be replaced.


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An early pack cover was an Outdoor Research urethane in black.


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Sgt Rock prefers something in the silnylon category.


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I dumped the OR cover later for a series of blue Gregory pack covers. 


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Here's a pic of Little Mitten using one of my Gregory pack covers.


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Another shot of Mitten with the Gregory cover.


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My current pack cover is a redesigned Outdoor Research model in extra large.  I think it's the only pack cover out there which is big enough to cover a fully loaded 7,000 cu in pack.

9:14 a.m. on October 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I use a pack cover as well. I do not like all my gear mixed up inside my pack, though, so I usually have my clothes in one or two dry bags. I've had more than one or two dunkings at crossings, and really like knowing at least one set of clothes will be dry. The ones I use are $10 at walmart and on Amazon, and weigh very little. To me, that's a lot of organizational functionality and dryness security for miniscule weight and cost. 

9:28 a.m. on October 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I mentioned carrying an orange garbage bag. That's a light-weight option and it has a number of uses. If you want to be sure your gear will stay dry, put it in the garbage bag inside the pack and knot the top. Add the pack cover and you should be fine.

An orange garbage bag is also recommended gear in some areas (British Columbia for example). In addition to its use as a pack liner, it can be used as a rain poncho, an emergency bivy sack, and because of the colour it's visible from the air if you need rescue (well, maybe not so good in the fall!). Just one of those handy, all-purpose gadgets...

12:39 p.m. on October 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I use Dry bags and a pack cover.One Dry bag for cloths, one for sleeping bag and one for food..The bags don't weigh much but it offers great protection..

3:10 p.m. on October 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I’ve been irritated with pack covers and haven’t used them in a while. I mostly use a liner garbage bag and dry bags in the pack.

At least in warmer temps I don’t care if my pack gets wet. My Mystery Ranch pack is mostly “X-Pac Corudra” fabric and dries very quickly.

Hey I just Googled Mystery Ranch Trance to look up the fabric name and two pictures of me come up in the Google images. huh

 

Anyway, I will use a pack cover one when it's cold and wet.

 

I get paraniod about my down stuff getting wet and take extra precautions when it's cold enough to be a real safey issue (dry bag and cover).

3:20 p.m. on October 3, 2012 (EDT)
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So this is funny...

One the pictures that came up was taken by Tipi last year and shows me about to load my down bag (which is already stuffed in a fancy Sea to Summit E-Vent dry bag) in to the Cordura pack while wearing a down sweater.

apropos, i reckon 

 

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7:20 p.m. on October 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Patman said:

Hey I just Googled Mystery Ranch Trance to look up the fabric name and two pictures of me come up in the Google images. 

 Tipi comes up if ya google "Petra Hilleberg pics." :p

7:43 p.m. on October 3, 2012 (EDT)
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here in ca in the laguna mtns we don't get alot of rain, but when its wet I'll use a garbage bag to line my pack. nice and light and cheap!

8:12 a.m. on October 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Keeping everything in your pack dry is very simple if you do not expect full or partial submersion. IMO using a trash compactor bag liner on the inside of the pack and a pack cover is all you really need for protection from rain. Now if you expect a chance for full or partial submersion from water crossings etc you may want some additional protection for your critical items such as putting sleeping gear and clothes in a dry bag.

My trips usually involve semi deep water crossings so I typically have a compactor liner, a pack cover, a s2s dry/compression bag for my clothes and sleeping quilts, and a few ziploc bags for first aid and other misc items.

I prefer the trash compactor bags over a regular heavy duty trash bag, they are much thicker, almost like painters plastic and hence stand up to a lot more abuse without puncturing etc.

9:50 a.m. on October 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I have several dry bags made to use on a boat. They are completely dry,you can use them as a flotation device if you blow them up. I just think they are overkill with a pack cover and a pain having all my gear in one bag. Im gonna try a few smaller, lighter hiking style dry bags. Ive been putting things in regular stuff sacks in a dry bag in my backpack. Thats three bags,im gonna do away with the big dry bag and swith out the stuff sacks for dry bags. If I stick a trash bag in my pack for really heavy long lasting rain I will still be lighter and nit feel so foolish with three layers of bag.

11:12 a.m. on October 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Bags for use in a boat are a lot heavier, aren't they? A difference of a few ounces of weight isn't a big deal if you're packing it into a canoe (and maybe doing an occasional portage), but it makes a real difference for hiking.

Lots of good ideas here.

11:53 a.m. on October 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Thats exactly my point, while totally waterproof those bags weigh a ton. I was lookin for ideas to do away with those heavy bags. Im gonna try some of these ideas.

12:00 p.m. on October 5, 2012 (EDT)
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i use an outdoor research pack cover (6000 cubic inch backpack) that weighs about 8 ounces.  it completely covers the body of the backpack and has a good elastic shock cord that tightens easily.  so far, it has seen 70-80 mph winds and has not been plucked off.  while it keeps the pack body dry for the most part, the suspension obviously still gets wet.  when i'm out in day-long steady or driving rain, water pools a little in the bottom of the pack cover as it drips down my hard shell and around the cover.  i'm not sure any pack cover could avoid that.   

inside the pack, even with the cover, i still use 1 or 2 small silnylon dry bags to hold certain things i absolutely don't want to get wet - electronics and sleeping bag, mainly.   separately encasing the sleeping bag is important because that water pooling in the bottom of the coverc could soak through most packs and wet out the sleeping bag. 

12:29 p.m. on October 5, 2012 (EDT)
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leadbelly2550 said:

i use an outdoor research pack cover (6000 cubic inch backpack) that weighs about 8 ounces.  it completely covers the body of the backpack and has a good elastic shock cord that tightens easily.  so far, it has seen 70-80 mph winds and has not been plucked off.  while it keeps the pack body dry for the most part, the suspension obviously still gets wet.  when i'm out in day-long steady or driving rain, water pools a little in the bottom of the pack cover as it drips down my hard shell and around the cover.  i'm not sure any pack cover could avoid that.   

inside the pack, even with the cover, i still use 1 or 2 small silnylon dry bags to hold certain things i absolutely don't want to get wet - electronics and sleeping bag, mainly.   separately encasing the sleeping bag is important because that water pooling in the bottom of the coverc could soak through most packs and wet out the sleeping bag. 

 You remind of something I do with my OR extra large pack cover in a hard rain.  Like a Packa, I can pull the elastic edge of the cover up and over my forehead while hiking and like the Packa with the hood all the water which could go down my back DOES NOT.

3:35 p.m. on October 5, 2012 (EDT)
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There was a thread on this topic a few months ago:http://www.trailspace.com/forums/backcountry/topics/129967.html#129967

What I ended up doing this summer was a combination of protective bags for critical gear inside the pack (mostly just my down sleeping bag & some clothing) and a pack cover.  This worked out well hiking in the high Sierra in weather ranging from occasional sprinkles to heavy downpours.

The rain on my trip notwithstanding, this was an exceptionally dry season.  If this had been like last year, with high water at creek crossing late in the season, I might have wanted more extensive drybag protection for gear inside the pack, just in case it got dunked.  Actually, my sleeping bag got double protection.  I used a Sea to Summit ultralight day pack as a stuff sack (and day pack on side trips), and used the Loksak inside that for extra water protection.  I wasn't taking any chances with the down bag, especially since I discovered my pack tended to pool water between the fabric layers at the bottom if I happened to set it down on wet surfaces (under the sleeping bag compartment).  One thing I miss about my Kelty frame pack is the ability to set down the pack without it ending up in  the water, mud, or whatever happened to be there.

Here's a pic of the Sea to Summit pack cover on my Deuter ACT Lite 65+10.  I was very pleased with its performance and durability on this 30-day trip, 10 of which included rain.

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5:25 p.m. on October 7, 2012 (EDT)
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so what happened to the kelty frame pack? did it just get plain worn out? I still have my kelty, after ten years it's still going strong. 

5:38 p.m. on October 7, 2012 (EDT)
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My Kelty (model "D4") is older, more like 34 years old.  The pack material has delaminated, and there are some rips.  I get the impression it's deteriorating and would probably rip easily if stressed. 

I talked to someone at Kelty about it earlier this summer, and he suggested that I send it in to see if they can recondition it.  I still plan to do that...  I just need to find a box large enough to pack it for shipping.

6:36 p.m. on October 7, 2012 (EDT)
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Bill,

If you just send the bag, you can use one of the small or medium USPS boxes. I doubt that Kelty needs the frame, though you could check to be sure.

6:47 p.m. on October 7, 2012 (EDT)
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OGBO, that's a good point.  The bottom ends of the frame are mangled up, and I guess I hoped they'd fix that issue too, if possible, though I don't know if they will.  Also I'd like them to replace the non-contoured, stiff shoulder straps & first generation "wrap-around hip belt" with something more modern (comfortable).  I figured they might need the whole thing (including frame) to make sure any replacements fit properly.

When I talked with the person there back in July, he was non-commital.  It was more a case of "send it in and we'll see what we can do".  Apparently they like to recondition these old packs [to keep them in use out on the trail].

9:41 a.m. on October 8, 2012 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

Patman said:

Hey I just Googled Mystery Ranch Trance to look up the fabric name and two pictures of me come up in the Google images. 

 Tipi comes up if ya google "Petra Hilleberg pics." :p

 I've noticed that as well, Lol! I think she wins the photo contest on that one ;)

Patman, I think there are actually five photos of you resulting from the Trance search, ha! 

12:54 p.m. on October 8, 2012 (EDT)
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I use Ziploc bags to keep everything in my pack in from food to my Bic lighter. The kind with the zipper tab. And some things I double bag.

I have used large trash can liners inside my pack when doing slot canyons like Buckskin Gulch (southern Utah off the Paria) where I may encounter deep wading pools. And have used a trash liner as a rain cover with the open end down and pulled up where my pack straps are on the inside again my back.

4:46 p.m. on October 8, 2012 (EDT)
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I have used a trashbag as a pack cover too, although they are not very durable when used that way. by the time I finish the day's hike it's usually ripped to shreds. have to bring several.

7:22 p.m. on October 8, 2012 (EDT)
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Neither? My newest pack uses waterproof 2.92oz hybrid cuben fiber/nylon fabric...seam taped too...pics coming soon...

I had Joe make me a Z-packs Arc Blast customized to my specifications. It's a modular pack that is approximately 14oz with frame; still, I almost always put my sleeping bag and other down items in dry bags in case I have to throw wet gear inside the pack. 

I, too, make frequent use of ziplock baggies as well...

9:01 a.m. on October 9, 2012 (EDT)
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Im dyin to see pics of this pack. I followed the link in the custon gear thread to your other backpack thread but cant find any pics of that pack.

2:01 p.m. on October 9, 2012 (EDT)
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I used to use a big, industrial trash bag as a pack cover.  It worked well, and it was surprisingly durable.  The problem with it:  IT WAS LOUD.  When it was windy and raining, along with the movement of hiking, IT WAS LOUD.  I couldn't hear anything but something to do with that trash bag.  I don't like loud camping gear.  It's a major deciding element when buying things like snowshoes, too.

6:42 p.m. on October 9, 2012 (EDT)
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Ask and ye shall receive, hotdogman...

All in all, they're pretty terrible pictures, but they show the basic design of the pack; it's got a roll-top closure, so it is functionally waterproof. I'll get some better pictures up soon.

Arc Blast w/Kuiu Icon frame:


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w/Zpacks frame:


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8:14 p.m. on October 9, 2012 (EDT)
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How much did you have to modify the Blast to get it to work with the frame?  I like hybrid setups.

3:55 a.m. on October 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Dry gear makes for a good experience. No pack in my 50 yrs experience is waterproof so ------------- I use a combination of retail plastic bags of good quality plus a survival bag as a pack liner and as my sleeping bag is in it's own compartment that is packed in a trash bag and if rain is looking real heavy (50mm per day or more) I use a 6000pu rain cover too. Touch wood I have always to date had a good dry night in my razor back tent. The down side is weight of course, all the protection weighs and I calculate 800g of protection is worth it. Last month we had 2 days of 200mm rain plus gales and still gear stayed dry in the pack.

September 18, 2014
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