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Roman Ryder
(RomanLA) - F

Locale: Southwest Louisiana
Packing on 10/19/2008 11:05:27 MDT Print View

I've read quite a few backpacking books and there were a couple of suggestions that I really liked. One of them was using a foam sleeping pad and putting it in the bag first so that it gave the pack shape and provided extra durability and insulation from water. The other was was just shoving your sleeping bag down into the bottom first and then putting your other gear on top.

Is anyone using one or both of these methods for loading your pack? I'd be concerned about stuff a down bag in like that. Any suggestions on a good bag liner to keep everything dry? I had considered just using a heavy industrial trash bag cut to fit, but it will still be bulky. Oh yeah, I could also use some suggestions on stuff sacks. I'm still using some cheap ones from Academy. lol

Thanks for your input!

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Packing on 10/19/2008 17:28:45 MDT Print View

Trash compactor bags are less bulky than trash bags and just about as tough, IME.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Packing on 10/19/2008 17:37:10 MDT Print View

The foam pad lining is OK for a very light pack, BUT: the foam pad is thin (comfort?) and this makes the pack very round, pushing the weight way off your back.

Doing this with an air mat is OK on the street. Get into scrub with spikes, and you won't have an air mat very long.

Sleeping bag stuff in first: yeah, right, in fine dry weather. Water always collects at the bottom of your pack.

Beware all those 'really cute ideas': if they are not mainstream there may be a reason why not.


Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Packing on 10/21/2008 10:57:04 MDT Print View

I've been stuffing my sleeping bag in the bottom of my pack for three years now and have never gotten it wet. Granted I use a pack liner and an oversized stuff sack for my bag.

Oh, and yes I've been through many, many rainy days with this system without a wet bag. :)

Edited by chadnsc on 10/21/2008 10:58:22 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Packing on 10/21/2008 11:38:12 MDT Print View


Shoving sleeping bag to the bottom -- I started off using a stuff sack but switched to "straight shoving" when I realized that NOT using the stuff sack actually allowed me to pack more quickly and more efficiently! So I stopped wasting time and effort wrestling the bag into its sack. I do line my pack with a Husky contractor bag first. These bags are light but TOUGH. As a comparison, a contractor bag is 2-mil whereas "heavy duty" garden and lawn bags are usually rated just 0.8 to 1-mil.

Using sleeping pad as pack frame -- When carrying a total pack weight of less than 25lbs. -- I find using a sleeping pad "frame" more than enough for all-day carrying comfort -- such as hiking up Mt. Whitney. However, I do NOT use the "circle method". One layer of pad thickness won't provide much of a frame! Do this instead -- depending on the type of pad you use:

1. Blue foam pad - fold the pad length wise, and then width wise to approximate the size of your backpack. Weigh the thing down with encyclopedias and dictionaries for 1-2 days. The pad will "remember" this position, making future foldings a snap. To pack, simply fold the pad and slip it into your backpack flat -- against the back. Then pack as usual (i.e. shoving the bag in and all the rest) -- and cinch everything tight. Now, you have a very space-efficient, effective "pack frame" that's multiple thickness!

2. Self-inflating pad -- let out the air, close up the valve, and then fold flat as above. Some people write that they then let some air back in -- but I haven't found that necessary.

Hope this helps.

Edited by ben2world on 10/21/2008 11:49:53 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Packing on 10/21/2008 12:34:22 MDT Print View


Edited by FamilyGuy on 12/02/2013 17:40:14 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Packing on 10/21/2008 12:46:58 MDT Print View


Wonder no more. A sleeping bag is relatively light and just 'belongs' in the bottom (see diagram below) -- plus very little worry about suddenly needing to drag it out in the middle of the day.

Edited by ben2world on 10/21/2008 12:48:06 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Packing on 10/21/2008 14:13:49 MDT Print View


Edited by FamilyGuy on 12/02/2013 17:37:59 MST.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Packing on 10/21/2008 14:23:11 MDT Print View

Living in very wet Scotland, i have stuffed my sleeping bag at the bottom of my pack, for over 30 years. Fills up the corners nicely. Always used a liner. Never had it get wet yet.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Packing on 10/21/2008 14:27:49 MDT Print View


Time for a new bag. :)


Same here. I've hiked in heavy rain for hours and also had my pack dunked in a river (canoe mishap) -- and have never gotten my gear wet -- or even a little bit damp! The garbage bag (aka contractor bag as described above) works. But some folks prefer to spend money on brand name dry bags...

Edited by ben2world on 10/21/2008 14:31:45 MDT.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Packing on 10/21/2008 14:45:43 MDT Print View


Another advantage to free-stuffing the sleeping bag into the bottom of a frameless pack is that it allows the pack to conform nicely to the shape of the low back-upper buttocks area providing comfort and preventing repeated slide down the butt. In my first experience with frameless pack (GoLite Trek) I continued the use of a stuff sack which made the pack fit like there was a bear canister in the bottom with no flexibility. This stuffing method Ben discusses cured that ill and allowed undistracted appreciation for the weight saving of the light pack. Give it a try. It saves time and energy and saves your sleeping bag from excess compression.

Roman Ryder
(RomanLA) - F

Locale: Southwest Louisiana
What I decided... on 10/21/2008 14:58:23 MDT Print View

I spent some quality time (and a lot of money) at my local outfitter today. The owner has hiked the AT, JMT, CT, etc. and had a lot of good advice. He said that he puts his sleeping bag in an oversize stuff sack. Then he lowers it into the pack and kinda shoves it over on it's side. That way it fills up the bottom nicely and it's still in a bag for extra protection. He said his son likes to just shove the bag in on it's own though.

Here's what I decided to go with...I got a Sea-To-Summit 50 liter waterproof pack liner. My sleeping bag and clothing that I sleep in will go in there. Then I will roll it down leaving room in my pack. I got two Outdoor Research #1 Dry Sacks. My tent will go in one and my fly and footprint will go in the other. This way in the rain I can pull these out without getting my gear wet and I can put them back in my bag wet without getting anything wet. The rest of my gear is in a couple of the Outdoor Research zipper bags.

Edited by RomanLA on 10/28/2008 02:29:03 MDT.

Monty Montana
(TarasBulba) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Packing on 10/25/2008 21:43:55 MDT Print View

Roman, You're on to the right thing here. I stuff my down bag into an oversized OR Hydrolite stuff sack (taped seams) so that it will: 1)be comfortable around my hips, and 2)keep the bag dry no matter what. Of all the gear, the bag is the one item that you don't want to get wet and most stuff sacks are not seam sealed nor is the material itself truely waterproof...silnylon leaks under sufficient hydrostatic pressure.