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Lightweight Dry Sacks: Comparison Testing Results
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Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Lightweight Dry Sacks: Comparison Testing Results on 06/27/2006 23:05:35 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Lightweight Dry Sacks: Comparison Testing Results

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
POE Pneumo as a pillow on 06/28/2006 13:48:55 MDT Print View

Has anyone used the Pacific Outdoor Equipment WXtex Pneumo Lightweight Dry Sack as an inflatable pillow? How might it compare to the FlexAir Dual Compartment Ultralight Pillow? I am obviously most concerned about comfort. The weight of this dry bag is easier to justify if I can find some other uses for it. I am happy packing my clothing in Zip-Lock bags. I use a garbage bag for my sleeping bag or quilts. I am entertaining the idea of using a dry bag rather than a garbage bag. As a hammock user, I don't carry a sleeping pad, so the dry bag may be my best bet for being able to float my pack.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: POE Pneumo as a pillow on 06/28/2006 15:03:38 MDT Print View hi-light for me the fact that hikers can sometimes be 180 degrees different. I could never use a hammock or anything airfilled as a pillow, and in combination I might as well try to sleep standing up.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: POE Pneumo as a pillow on 06/28/2006 16:09:35 MDT Print View

I love my hammock, but have not yet tried an air filled pillow. I used to always have spare clothing that I would use as a pillow, but I'm a little more efficient now. On my last outing I missed having a pillow so I bought a FlexAir pillow. I'll have to try it on Friday night.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Re: Re: POE Pneumo as a pillow on 06/28/2006 17:58:55 MDT Print View

>On my last outing I missed having a pillow so I bought a FlexAir pillow. I'll have to try it on Friday night.

Just barely inflate it, enough so your head doesn't bottom out against the hammock (maybe 1.5 inches thick with no load on it). This is probably less air than you would need to keep from bottoming out if you used the pillow against the ground, since it wraps around your head a bit. It should stay under your head nicely and provide insulation from the cold side of the hammock. If you over-inflate it, it will scoot out from under your head; no fun.

Jim Wood
Great article on 06/29/2006 08:08:24 MDT Print View

Carol - Very nice work as always.

As you may recall, I've done a lot of dry sack testing myself, mostly in connection an article published on my website last year entitled "Keeping Your Critical Gear Dry". That article was also recently updated with my own test results of the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil bags, which I too found unacceptably leaky.

I must say, in fact, that I've mostly given up on any dry sack whose seams are sewn and taped. That construction technique, irrespective of manufacturer, just doesn't seem to hold up to real world trail use and always seems to eventually leak. Instead, if I bother to carry dry sacks at all, they must now be built with welded seams.

My current lightweight favorites are the Camp Inn basic nylon dry bags that weren't included in your review. In wet conditions, I often carry two: the first is the 10-liter bag that holds mostly trail clothes and, if necessary, camera gear in the event of downpours or river crossings. It weighs 3.2 oz.

The second is the 19-liter bag for my sleeping bag and camp clothes. It weighs 4.5 oz. (the 10-liter bag is not quite large enough for these items).

I also like the fact that the Camp Inn fabric coating is thicker and hardier than on most other bags. It's also a lot more slippery, so gear stuffed into the bags slides in more easily. So far, these bags have held up very well. Though there are slightly lighter bags available, most just don't get the job done, IMO.

I've examined the WXTex Pneumo bags you reviewed and they appear to be well made. Because of the way the top is designed, however, they're not as easy to load as the Camp Inns and the interior waterproof coating is a bit sticky, which makes it harder to slide gear into them. They're also heavier than the Camp Inns.

Further, while the two-way purge valves on these bags are an interesting idea, I think they could also become a liability. The positioning on the sides of the bags would seem to make the valves vulnerable to breakage. I don't know, however, if anyone has actually experienced such a failure, so perhaps I'm just being paranoid.

Anyway, thanks again for an excellent article.

Jim Wood.

Edited by jwood on 06/29/2006 08:20:15 MDT.

Al Shaver
(Al_T.Tude) - F - M

Locale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
Compression Sacks on 06/30/2006 13:42:29 MDT Print View

After years of testing "dry sacks" and extensive conversations and letters to OR product designers and late founder Ron Gregg I came to many of the same conclusions that Carol faithfully reports in this article. The one idea that I was unsuccessful at communicating and have seen no awareness of by any manufacturer or reviewer is that roll down dry sacks (especially the Sea to Summit bags reviewed) make terrific and lightweight compression sacks. I use these almost exclusively not for their waterproofness (although that is occasionally a great benefit)but for their ability to compress my sleeping bag and clothes into far less volume allowing me to carry a smaller and lighter pack.
I find the Sea to Summit bags are functionally waterproof in almost any situation I encounter as a backpacker. If I need SERIOUS waterproofness, say for a sea kayak/camping trip on the NW tip of Vancouver Island in November, I will investigate Jim's recommended Camp Inn bags.

Colleen Clemens
(tarbubble) - F

Locale: dirtville, CA
Re: Compression Sacks on 06/30/2006 22:35:27 MDT Print View

al, that is almost exactly the result i have found while testing the POE Pneumo Ltw for i LOVE the compression aspect of it - i was able to squeeze my packed clothing ridiculously small and thus really keep the overall size of my backpack down as well. this could be a very handy possibility for going on trips where i plan to bring back more than i took in the first place.

and thanks for the idea to use one of these as a pillow. to think, on my last trip it just laid there on the ground while i slept, and the idea never occurred to me! i'm gonna give it a whirl. now, what to use as a pillowcase...

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Dry Bag Comments on 07/01/2006 14:19:58 MDT Print View

On my recent trek in the arctic, I used a POE Pneumo 65L dry bag as my pack bag, inside a ULA custom built dry bag pack harness. The Pneumo was not reported here, it's a 50d bag and only slightly heavier. POE reports its weight at 12 oz, mine was 10.4.

I think the valve is critical at keeping gear dry, whether in rain or immersion, as happened when we crossed rivers. It allows you to create a positive pressure head against water that might intrude into the top closure. Because the top closure is not airtight, I needed to add air to the bag about two more times during a 12 hour walking day.

The welded seams are a huge bonus. No risk at all of seam failure. Like many others, and what Carol reports, I don't do sewn dry bags anymore.

I've used the POE 65L Pneumo for the past year, mostly on packrafting trips. I've flipped my boat in whitewater on a number of occasions where my pack was submerged; on one occasion, I had to let go of my pack during a river crossing when I lost my footing, and the pack was taken under a logjam where it was stuck underwater for 20 minutes.

I've never had my gear get wet and no water entry through the rolltop closure.

I back up gear inside the main dry bag (keep in mind this is my packbag, not a liner inside a conventional backpack). For trips where I need to pack wet gear inside, such as a packrafting trip (where I might stow a wet tarp), I've been using Sea to Summit Ultrasil dry bags for my sleeping bag, insulating clothing, and electronics. For other trips where I may just be crossing deep rivers but not spending a lot of time in the water, I'm not comfortable stowing wet gear inside its own Ultrasil dry bag at the top of the main packbag, and packing the rest of my gear in lighter stuff sacks inside the main packbag.

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Water carrier on 07/04/2006 14:17:07 MDT Print View

Another dual use for any dry sack - besides pillow - is emergency water sack. Position the sack with the roll top closure up if possible and don't put it next to your down bag :)

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Re: and kitchen sink on 07/12/2006 23:38:49 MDT Print View

Because I am a gear tragic I purchased the Sea to Summit kitchen sink and than feeling guilty about the weight I bought the Little Kitchen Sink. ( one side to wash myself and clothing,the other side to wash the dishes)
Now I use their Sil cordura dry sacs. So I use one as my night gear storage/compression sac, as a sink and as a pillow case ( wine bag bladder, shirt around it, inside the bag and my towel as a soft cover over the Sil cordura bag.
And BTW the Sil Cordura bags do leak a little... ( I have not seam sealed them) but they are OK inside my Aarn packs.

Edited by Franco on 07/12/2006 23:41:47 MDT.

Kim Skaarup
(skaarup) - F

Locale: Cold, wet and windy Scandinavia
eVent® Compression Dry Sacks — NEW! on 07/13/2006 09:00:18 MDT Print View

Sea to summit has released a new concept in dry sacks with compression through a event membrane.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
re. eVent® Compression Dry Sacks on 07/13/2006 11:57:28 MDT Print View

This, I like. Now, if only they would produce a larger version, as well, for longer jaunts. 50 L would work.
But would it be permeable enough to squeeze air out? I guess the pillow option of the Pneumo would be out, as well.

Edited by kdesign on 07/13/2006 12:00:56 MDT.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
eVent® Compression Dry Sacks on 07/13/2006 12:47:30 MDT Print View

Kevin, You know that only the bottom of the sack is eVent. I don't think it would make much difference how big the bag was.

A larger bag might make a good MYOG project if eVent or some other material that works in the same way could be found/used. It wouldn't take much just for the bottom of the bag.

This seems like a good question for someone like David Olsen.

Edited by bfornshell on 07/13/2006 12:48:56 MDT.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
PFTE dry sacks on 07/13/2006 13:22:40 MDT Print View

As a MYOG, this could be done in more easy to obtain Goretex, easily enough. I might even do so if Brian of ULA comes thru w/ a production run of the Arctic 1000 pack system.

I wouldn't hold my breath as to short term availibility of eVENT in small quantities. But as I see it, the differences in permeability of the 2 materials are too small to be bothered with for this application.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
eVent on 07/13/2006 13:27:47 MDT Print View

Bill I have some scraps of 3 layer eVent if you
would like to experiment, also some similar
Gore fabric that air can get through. Pieces
are probably about a foot square or so.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
more PFTE dry sack talk on 07/13/2006 14:10:59 MDT Print View

Why not make the whole dry sack out of 3 layer PFTE as opposed to just the end? Even easier to squeeze air out of the bag?

Still, the POE Pneumo has a big advantage in that you can inflate/deflate as needed via the valve. Pillow and flotation aid----Alaskan stream crossings, anyone?

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
eVent® Compression Dry Sacks on 07/13/2006 14:38:39 MDT Print View

I have coordinated with David and will get some scrap eVent to experiment with. I really appreciate his offer and have thanked him several times.

I have a pattern that I made for a bag like the Pneumo that would be about 50 L. I have air valves but hadn't worked out how to attach one in a seamline yet. The eVent bottom will remove the need for an air valve. The rest of the bag will be some special Cuben material I have.

I will post the results (how-ever it turns out) when I get the first one finished.

I also don't think I will be crossing any Alaskan streams anytime soon. Fording the wild rivers that cross the AT up in Maine someday maybe.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
BF's dry sack MYOG on 07/13/2006 14:52:49 MDT Print View

How will you seal the seams, Bill? Can you reliably seam tape Cuben?

Edited by kdesign on 07/13/2006 14:53:50 MDT.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
BF's dry sack MYOG on 07/13/2006 15:20:02 MDT Print View

Kevin, There are a couple of tapes that I have that can be used on Cuben. I have only used the tape on small things so far.

Sail makers and several MYOG folks are using this same tape. I will test the tape on some small bags and see how it works before I use it on a larger bag.

I have a few different things to try on the seams.