Pack Cover

10:03 a.m. on May 30, 2011 (EDT)
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My Kelty Redcloud  5000 ST doesn't have a built in pack cover. Should I just use a garbage bag or can I find a cheap backpack rain cover that will do a good job. I definitely won't spend over $15. 

11:09 a.m. on May 30, 2011 (EDT)
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i don't like garbage bags because you end up wasting the bag, and because reasonably windy conditions can blow the bag off.  a decent rain cover will last for years and is much less likely to blow off.

1:26 p.m. on May 30, 2011 (EDT)
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http://shop.mobileweb.ebay.com/searchresults?cmd=SKW&kw=backpack+rain+cover&x=19&y=14

Buy a cover. The bags won't hold up for long and will be a hassel in wind. Alot of these are in your price range/free ship.

Welcome to Trailspace. Happy hiking.

4:50 p.m. on May 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Take a look at the PACKA, combo parka/packcover. It's a very clever and weight-saving item.

Eric

5:11 p.m. on May 30, 2011 (EDT)
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When it comes to pack covers I use them seldom.I prefer to have anything I want to stay dry in 1 gallon zip locks or line my pack with a garbage compressor bag.Out side pack covers do not keep the wetness from going between your back and the pack.I do use them sometimes on winter ski trips but  prefer to make my own from coated taffeta nylon,elastic cord and webbing.I also build in a small storage pocket in order to stuff it with in itself when not in use.

5:12 p.m. on May 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Forgot to add that living in the PNW we here deal with a lot of rain anytime of the year so keeping clothing and sleeping bags dey is very important.

7:45 p.m. on May 30, 2011 (EDT)
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This is one of those few instances when a syl-nylon or cuben fiber pack cover is probably the smartest choice. waterproof. incredibly light, since you probably won't be using the thing anyway, and most of the time, you're carrying as some type of emergency insurance.

one option: http://www.zpacks.com/accessories/pack_cover.shtml

6:15 p.m. on May 31, 2011 (EDT)
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I've never used one.  I do what Skimanjohn does, that is, use waterproof bags inside the backpack to keep stuff dry.

8:05 p.m. on May 31, 2011 (EDT)
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I am curious about something here, I can understand the logic of packing things inside a waterproof bag of some sorts inside the pack w/o a pack cover but....

Doesn't a pack cover also reduce wear on the pack body?

I would think that repeated wet dry wet dry would increase the rate in which the fabric on the pack body as well as the stitching would break down.

Now I am not saying this is a fact but... If the pack gets wet and the sun pops out wouldn't that also increase the UV breakdown rate of the fabrics/stitching?

If this is the case I think a cover is definitely the way to go so that the pack would actually live its full lifespan and not get cut short due to premature fabric breakdown. A $15 cover is alot cheaper than a pack.

9:37 p.m. on May 31, 2011 (EDT)
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the newer packs, especially the ultralight variety, are disposable. today's consumer comes from a very different perspective than all those previous. The idea of buying something that lasts 30 years is nearly foreign tongue. Not that there aren't folks like us who buy things of high quality, thus lasting for years and years, but the driving market groups don't generally think like that. Buy today. Buy again tomorrow.

I'm waiting for the rice paper backpack that lasts 25 miles and needs replacement every morning, but hey, it only weighs 50grams.

I think the trash compactor bag idea is a good one. In certain circumstances, I'd go that route, but for most situations, I'd rather use a pack cover.

10:40 p.m. on May 31, 2011 (EDT)
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On summer trips I generally use a pack cover.This is due to slight if any chance of rain,once again in the pnw there is always a chance.The compacter bag I use in winter and were crossing semi major streams risk my gear at getting very wet.I also prefer down sleeping bags and clothing over the synthetics,I do like wind blocker fleece and good base layers as well.Throw a good shell over these and you are good to go,most of the time,in our rather temperate climate.Also a pack cover can be used to cover gear outside a tent even for protecting from heavy dew,such as found in The Olympics.

9:13 a.m. on June 1, 2011 (EDT)
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I pack every thing in dry sacks, plus I carry a pack cover. When it is cold, i dont like to have everything wet. Plus, I like to use my pack under my feet when I sleep. Another option is to use a poncho which covers you and your pack for rain gear. The packa does look like a good idea, but it is expensive. You can get a good poncho from any backpacking store or online store for alot cheaper. If you are worried about it not giving you enough coverage (sides allowing too much rain in) you can use peel and stick velcro to make it close up better.

 

10:26 a.m. on June 1, 2011 (EDT)
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my main justification for using a pack cover is keeping the packbag dry.  i'm not an ounce-counter, but the delta between a dry and soggy backpack easily outweighs a four ounce pack cover. 

to clarify, i don't use a pack cover in the winter.  regardless of season, i put a few critical items in a drybag, even if i'm using a pack cover.  you never know. 

1:24 p.m. on June 1, 2011 (EDT)
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leadbelly2550 said:

my main justification for using a pack cover is keeping the packbag dry.  i'm not an ounce-counter, but the delta between a dry and soggy backpack easily outweighs a four ounce pack cover.

That's a great point.  The difference between a wet backpack and a dry backpack in weight is huge.  And it can sometimes take a long while for a backpack to completely dry, so you're lugging that water weight for too long.

12:38 p.m. on June 2, 2011 (EDT)
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II can't find off the shelf pack covers that will fit my kit; hence I use plastic bags to stow and keep gear dry.  In any case the covers I have owned didn't last, as the coating delaminates after a few years.  The last decade or so I have taken to using a large trash bag to cover my pack at camp, to protect it from UV rays.  My bag is pretty faded (the photo lies) and the fabric is starting to get brittle.  I am trying to milk a few more good years out of it as it approaches retirement - I wonder if I will outlast it, or vise versa.   The plastic bag-as-cover is good for snow camping too, as I usually store my pack outside my tent, finding it too confining when sharing such small space with my gear.  Even if you drag you pack into the tent with your, a large plastic bag is handy to protect miscellaneous stuff one would otherwise lose under a evening of accumulated snow.

Ed

4:03 p.m. on June 3, 2011 (EDT)
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buy a cover.

11:37 p.m. on June 5, 2011 (EDT)
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thanks,  lots of great options

10:45 p.m. on June 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks everyone for the great input. I'd like to get something like the PACKA, but I can't find them anywhere besides the PACKA site itself, and those are super expensive. Is there some other place that I can find the same idea only cheaper?

1:32 a.m. on June 7, 2011 (EDT)
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I'd watch for one on Ebay.  I have always found without exception, everything I've ever looked for on Ebay, though it does take a watchful eye sometimes.  There are currently 397 results for backpack covers on ebay right now.  Many that seem to be inexpensive while still being good quality.

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