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down bag and stuff sack
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(bigjerr) - F

Locale: high country
down bag and stuff sack on 04/05/2011 12:33:43 MDT Print View

new guy with a ? on proper stuff sack for a 15 deg. bag "Marmot helium",just got two of these bags and read somewhere that useing a larger stuff sack than what comes with the bag is better for the bag if you can afford the space. seems to make since to me but how big is big enough if on a long or thru hike pulling out once a daY ? I bought two sizes of sea to summit ultra sil dry sacks a 13 liter and a 20 liter ,any recomdations on whats best of these two? the packs we use are ULA cucuit & catalist so there going to get somewhat smashed and compressed regardless of the stuff size so whats best?,,,thanks Jerry

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
down bag and stuff sack on 04/05/2011 14:05:24 MDT Print View

I would skip the stuff sack. Stuff sacks are not waterproof (put a towel inside and dump it in the bathtub, and you'll see what I mean). They compress the bag but otherwise only add unnecessary weight to your pack.

The two favorite methods of "stuffing" a sleeping bag are:

--Use a waterproof pack liner (a trash compactor bag is fine if you can find ones that aren't scented). Shove your sleeping bag into the bottom of your pack and put everything else on top. The sleeping bag will conform to your pack and what's on top and will actually take up less space. Check the pack liner daily for possible holes and use duct tape if you find any. Make sure the liner is closed water-tight (use the "candy cane" closure) before you do any stream fording.

--Use a waterproof dry bag with roll-top closure for your sleeping bag. (Test the dry bag in the tub to be sure it really is waterproof for at least a 3-5 minute immersion, such as slipping and falling while fording a stream--I do this annually.) Yes, I would use a dry bag a bit larger than your stuff sack. If there isn't enough room at the start of the trip, you can squish it tighter. As you eat your food and the pack gets smaller, you'll have to compress less and less.

I also found out the hard way that stuffing a damp sleeping bag the last morning of a trip and leaving it stuffed in the pack for a 2-3 day trip home is NOT a good idea. I now get the sleeping bag out of my pack when I get to the car and spread it out. .

Daniel Fosse
(magillagorilla) - F

Locale: Southwest Ohio
stuff sacks on 04/05/2011 14:38:03 MDT Print View

I declaired war on stuff sacks last year. I had too many of them. One for my bag, one for clothes, one for food, one for little dittys, one for stakes......... it had to stop. Now I put all my insulation in a garbage bag and chuck it in the bottom of my pack. The weight of all the other gear compresses it down. I use a 1qt ziplock for all my little items. Some of the smaller stuff like toothpaste dots and pills are in individual 1x2in zip bags. I have 1 small silnylon stuff sack I use for a pillow. I fill it with spare clothes. So technically I'm down to 3 stuff sacks, one being a garbage bag (I can use as a bivy for splash protection), one a quart ziplock, and one a pillow.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
sack me no more!!! on 04/05/2011 14:44:27 MDT Print View

as others have said ... try not to have to many sacks

a bag liner, and one for the sleeping bag will be fine ... maybe one for clothes if yr paranoid

id spend the extra money and weight on a dry sack for the sleeping bag ... that CANNOT get wet if its pure fluffy dead goose

as to the rest ... cheap transparent plastic produce bags work well ... or light mesh bags

you dont get that cool, pull out my gear in name brand stuff sacks feeling though ;)

Daniel Fosse
(magillagorilla) - F

Locale: Southwest Ohio
oooops on 04/05/2011 14:50:38 MDT Print View

I forgot to add my food bag, which is usually a plastic grocery bag. Technically a stuff sack I guess.

Yes there is something sexy about a brand name silnylon stuff sack or a your favorite cottage maker's cuben sack (though probabely as light as a quart ziplock but for sure not cheaper). You must resist.

I find the more little bags I have in my pack the more little things start sneaking in to my pack. If I have nowhere to put something it's easier to not bring.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: down bag and stuff sack on 04/05/2011 14:52:32 MDT Print View

Adding to the chorus...

I started out with separate stuff sacks for tent, bag, pad, clothing, food, and misc -- 6 in all. I remember what a royal pain it was to wrestle some of the stuff into their respective sacks with cold fingers every morning!

I didn't much care for the incremental weights of the 6 stuff sacks, and I could even overlook the time and effort expended each and every day -- if using stuff sack resulted in better pack space usage... But the OPPOSITE was true!! I experimented by dispensing 4 of the 6 stuff sacks (I kept the tent sack as that goes outside my backpack, and one small one to house the various small and loose items) -- and I quickly found out that I could pack a lot more stuff in a lot shorter time!!

So, forget the stuff sacks. Just cram the stuff in and the way the arrange themselves into all the nooks and crannies of your pack -- it will be a lot easier, more efficient space wise, and lighter weight too.

(bigjerr) - F

Locale: high country
I agree but ? on 04/05/2011 15:29:45 MDT Print View

Thanks guys ,great opservations on the merits of stuff sacks but my main question was the idea of not useing the stock stuff sack cause some say bad for the down ? true or false ,then if so how mutch bigger ? I use both a compactor bag linner AND stuff sacks ,reason ,I hike the pct with my 28 year old son whos autistic (handicap) ,so to help make it easy for him to pack up & unpack we use bags color coded his stuff one color mine another color and ours shared Items cook,food,cathole and Hygene other colors . He relys on organization ,he wood never be able to pack his bag his self with out it . But he does great and he really enjoys 3 weeks out on the trail and he can do 18-20 a day on the PCT as long as I keep it stuctured the same ,day in day out.
so if you Had to use a stuff sack and didnt want to hert your down bag ,stock or 13liter or 20 liter ?
ps I am concidering no stuff for the down bag only but as mentioned it getting hard to find unsented trash compactor bags....Thanks Jerry

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: I agree but ? on 04/05/2011 15:42:08 MDT Print View

I used to go backpacking every summer with my nephew who's autistic. It was a lot of fun and he seemed to enjoy it. Gave his mom some time off.

Last time a couple years ago he spent the whole time asking if we were going home yet and now when we ask him he says he doesn't want to go, but I'm never sure he really understands.

Too bad because it seemed like he got a lot out of it.

Edited by retiredjerry on 04/05/2011 15:43:44 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
stock stuff sack on 04/05/2011 15:58:12 MDT Print View

will be fine ... the main reason not to use it would be because its not a dry bag

Tipi Walter
(TipiWalter) - F
Stuff Sacks on 04/05/2011 17:59:44 MDT Print View

I'm always disappointed by the poor quality stuff sacks that come with outstanding bags, and so I always go better and larger. A couple years ago I go a decent WM Puma -15F rated bag and the stuff sack was an afterthought, so I upgraded to a Sea to Summit 35L roll-top thingie---waterproof. Why 35 liters? Because it's hard to stuff a sleeping bag at -10F and I need all the help I can get from reaching high frustration levels. I always like to use a larger stuff sack for my bags, and will never use compression sacks. Roll tops can be squashed anyway, so there's no problem.

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: down bag and stuff sack "Candy Cane" on 04/05/2011 18:20:08 MDT Print View

HGM -- I give. What is the "candy cane" closure method? Thank you.

All good tips on the stuff sacks. Less is more.

(bigjerr) - F

Locale: high country
candy cane twist on 04/05/2011 22:04:16 MDT Print View

Id say its a strong twist off the top of bag then fold between pack and bag itself,at least thats how I did it last year. never got to test its seal since we do most of our hiking inthe fall when the creeks are real creeks not raging rivers of ice water ....oh and playing with these roll top dry sils ,they really seam to hold a seal ,aleast when brand new ...I think Im going with the 20 liter and use the 13 for clothing bag ..JERRY

Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
Re: Re: down bag and stuff sack "Candy Cane" on 04/05/2011 22:06:48 MDT Print View

>> HGM -- I give. What is the "candy cane" closure method? Thank you.

With the "neck" of the bag, twist, twist, twist, twist, then bend it over and secure it (usually with twine or rubber band).