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Compactor Bag vs. Dry Sacks
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Terri Wright
(ncalcamper) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Compactor Bag vs. Dry Sacks on 05/24/2011 21:08:05 MDT Print View

I've done a search to see if this topic has specifically been discussed and didn't see it. I'm scheduled to do the JMT beginning July 29th and I'm trying to nail down my gear list. I think I like the idea of two dry sacks for my sleeping bag and clothes vs. the stuffing problems with a compactor bag but I'm counting the ounces! Advice, greatly appreciated.

Edited by ncalcamper on 05/24/2011 21:08:54 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Compactor Bag vs. Dry Sacks on 05/24/2011 22:48:32 MDT Print View

What are the stuffing problems with a compactor bag?

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Compactor Bag vs. Dry Sacks on 05/25/2011 08:06:27 MDT Print View

I hiked the PCT with two compactor bags, one for food and one for clothes. When I came to a deep stream, I put my sleeping bag in with the clothes and twisted the end and folded it over. I swam across the stream fully submerged. I was pretty sure everything would be wet, especially since I'd been using the bags for quite some time and they had some holes. I unpacked everything and nothing in the bags got wet.

If you are thinking the disadvantage is you can't compress your sleeping bag into some tiny thing, well, actually, if you leave it loosely compressed it will be fluffier when you sleep and a bunch of small hard items will leave unused spaces around them but a large soft one will just fill the gaps.

Also, compactor bags are much larger and lighter than dry bags. I would use a small silnylon dry bag for electronics but compactor bags for the rest.

Terri Wright
(ncalcamper) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Compactor Bag vs. Dry Sacks on 05/25/2011 21:18:21 MDT Print View

I may be overstating the compactor issues, but I know I've read previous posts that have described the downsides of compactor bags, i.e. poking holes and slippery packing issues if I recall. I guess I'm asking for folk to compare and contrast these two methodologies. My normal hiking does not include the need for a dry bag or rain option, and I have no reference for having to swim through stream crossings! But given this year's snow fall, something I need to consider. Hope this helps clarify things. Thanks in advance.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Compactor Bag vs. Dry Sacks on 05/25/2011 21:47:50 MDT Print View

I'm one who switched from the trash compactor bag to two dry bags, one for the sleeping bag and one for my insulating clothing. I've commented on this before on other forums and probably on this one, too. Reasons:

(1) I gave a bunch of my original (2005) compactor bags to my son and his family for their packs and then couldn't find any new ones that weren't perfumed! There may be some unscented ones, but not in any of the supermarkets in my area. Of course you could cut down a contractor trash bag to fit.

(2) I got really frustrated shoving small items down into gaps in my pack only to have them pop right back at me thanks to the slippery plastic surface. Since I switched to the dry bags, it takes me about 5 minutes less to pack, with far less deleterious effects on my blood pressure.

(3) Now that I've switched to cuben fiber dry bags, the weight of the two dry bags combined (1.3 oz.) is less than the weight of a 2 mil trash compactor bag.

The summer after I switched, I had a good test of the then new setup when I slipped and fell during a dicey stream ford. When I unpacked my pack to see how it survived, I found 2 inches of water in the bottom, but none of the contents got wet!

William Zila
(Ultralightwillinn.m) - MLife

Locale: Albuquerque
What Mary said on 05/25/2011 21:56:18 MDT Print View

Get a granite gear eVent uberlight for your bag and whatever else you want to keep dry there uberlight "pun intended" and the eVent section allows the air to escape so they conform to the pack I use one for my bag and one for all my clothes and down jacket they weigh less the a contractor bag

Scott Truong

Locale: Vancouver, BC
RE: Unscented Compactor Bags. on 05/26/2011 02:05:00 MDT Print View

The ones sold by Ace Hardwear (store brand), according to my nose, are unscented. Big white ones, box of 10 or 15 for $5.

I like the fact that at the end of my trips, whenever I've been flying, I can use it to put my pack into for the flight home as checked baggage. Also, trash compactor bags seem to make it a no-brainer for packing properly in a frameless backpack, at least for me.

Though the Granite Gear eVent dry sac William mentions has me intrigued just for organization. I guess cost would be a determining factor.

Edited by elf773 on 05/26/2011 02:08:50 MDT.

Terri Wright
(ncalcamper) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Frameless Packs on 05/26/2011 23:03:03 MDT Print View

So the concept of ill-shaped dry sacks within a frameless pack is not something I have previously considered. Can you elaborate on that?

William Zila
(Ultralightwillinn.m) - MLife

Locale: Albuquerque
Drysack on 05/27/2011 00:22:18 MDT Print View

If the item in the drysack still can compress due to not being overstuffed and the eVent panel it allows air to escape and the drybag to conform to whatever shape te pack is I just like the convinience of beige able to pull items out in the rain without risking getting items such as my quilt and clothes wet

Chad "Stick" Poindexter
(Stick) - F

Locale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
ZPacks Cuben Fiber Drysack Pack Liner on 05/31/2011 14:26:25 MDT Print View

I recently had Joe at ZPacks make me a 18x36 dry sack pack liner out of 1.26 oz/sqyd cuben fiber. Since Joe sews his cuben I had to seam seal it, but before seam sealing, it weighed 1.7 oz and after sealing it it now weighs 1.9 oz. Plus it is an envelope shape which means it tapers around the edges rather than rounding out. This design, and size, fits perfectly inside my ULA Circuit which also comes to a taper at the bottom. So, the shape does not alter the shape of the pack at all, and it fits inside like a hand in a glove. Sure, at $35 it costs a little more than a trash compactor bag, but it will last much longer than any trash compactor bag, and IMO it will be more reliable in the field (meaning I am way less likely to accidentally poke a hole in it). Check out my video review of it here on my blog:

So, everything inside the pack is safe, but I still keep a few other items inside cuben or sil stuff sacks for extra protection. My bag/quilt is inside a large MYOG sil stuff sack at the bottom and my clothes are in cuben stuff sacks. Then other things like my ditty bag, and kitchen set-up are also in appropriate cuben stuff sacks.

Terri Wright
(ncalcamper) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Videos on 06/01/2011 20:39:51 MDT Print View

I love videos and pictures. I'm a very visual person. Anyone have a video or pictures of how you use the compactor bag?

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: What Mary said on 06/13/2011 14:58:31 MDT Print View

I've tried the same drysack over the past weekend while canyoneering. When canyoneering you're spending a lot of time going in and out of the water, swimming in pools and through slot canyons.

This means that every time you eat, or need to get something that you want to keep dry (or avoid turning into a sandy mess), you're opening your drysack.

The eVent bottom is marketing fluff. Air doesn't pass through eVent fast enough for it to be noticable. It's much faster just to reroll the dry sack until you get all the air out of it. This is even true when you have an insulated puffy in the drysack (likely the same as having a sleeping bag inside).

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Poly Pack Liners on 06/13/2011 15:45:19 MDT Print View

The other options are the GG or BPL poly bag liners. They are lighter than Cueben Fiber Dry sacks generally.

kevin timm
(ktimm) - MLife

Locale: Colorado (SeekOutside)
Drysack on 06/13/2011 16:03:47 MDT Print View

I have a ULA Epic / Drysack and I like having the drysack for a lot of reasons. I find it easy to push the air out, so event I would not waste time with. It allows a pretty good cinch down, keeps everything dry, allows me to keep everything tight in the drysack , if I'm going out on a dayhike from camp.