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Why aren't there more waterproof packs?
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Ty Ty

Locale: SE US
Why aren't there more waterproof packs? on 03/22/2012 06:54:56 MDT Print View

Why? It seems like they should all (or most) be waterproof. Yes you can use a trash compactor bag but then the outside of the pack gets wet and heavier in rain plus then it is wet if you use it for padding (in my case for my dog to sleep on). Well then yes you can put the pack inside the trash compactor bag but still, you have a wet pack.

Seems like there would be a huge selection of waterproof packs then none of this is an issue. I guess then the only issue is if your pack leaks.


Any good waterproof but light packs anyone knows about?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Why aren't there more waterproof packs? on 03/22/2012 07:01:46 MDT Print View

Most are hot, sweaty, heavy, and lack features. I want an Outdoor Research Drycomp Ridge Sack. 16.4oz/465g and 34 liters. This one should be reviewed here.

Or wear a poncho....

Ty Ty

Locale: SE US
Cabelas on 03/22/2012 07:03:51 MDT Print View

Wonder how the 3600 cu in one of these would work. Looks like an ultralight pack.

Edited by TylerD on 03/22/2012 07:05:29 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Why aren't there more waterproof packs? on 03/22/2012 07:04:59 MDT Print View

As soon as you abrade the first hole it is done being waterproof. I am always amazed that people think this is a good idea. A rain cover weighs more than the water absorbed by the pack when wet.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Why aren't there more waterproof packs? on 03/22/2012 07:32:34 MDT Print View

I agree - why aren't packs waterproof? - makes no sense - having a pack cover or trash compactor bag is a kludge

I make my own out of silnylon. After I coated it with mineral spirits/silicone it has been waterproof for almost 2 years - maybe 80 nights. Today I'd probably use the thru-hiker Shield silnylon which is waterproof.

Maybe one problem is pack makers over-build so use Cordura, which has huge fibers, which means it's hard to make a waterproof layer on it.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: waterproof packs on 03/22/2012 07:43:06 MDT Print View

There aren't more packs marketed as waterproof because designing one to have seams that can fit in a seam taper is difficult. There aren't more packs made with more weatherproof fabrics because most people don't hike in the rain (winkwink).

I agree with you Ty. Even without sealed seams and even with a few other leaks from use having a pack made of waterproof materials is nice. One of the reason I and other are so fond of VX-21 when making our own.

rOg w
(rOg_w) - F

Locale: rogwilmers.wordpress
deleted on 03/22/2012 08:35:16 MDT Print View


Edited by rOg_w on 05/28/2012 17:45:02 MDT.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Waterproof packs on 03/22/2012 08:52:08 MDT Print View

My understanding is that the stresses placed on packs makes it difficult to keep seams waterproof. My cuben pack is plenty waterproof, I believe, except for the seams. I don't think I ever see any water in it after a rain, but I will still wrap my down in a bag.

Ty Ty

Locale: SE US
Re: Re: Why aren't there more waterproof packs? on 03/22/2012 09:21:13 MDT Print View

Jerry - I am thinking more and more I am going to have to make more of my gear out of pure necesity and lack of options versus wanting to save money.

- I want a synthetic insulated jacket that does not weight a ton, has a relaxed fit, and does not cost $200 bucks.

- I want a Duomid but don't want to order something and wait several months for it.

- Now I want a simple, light waterproof backpack and they apparently don't exist.

I guess Jerry's MYOG posts to the rescue :)

Rakesh Malik

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Waterproof packs on 03/22/2012 09:34:59 MDT Print View

> My cuben pack is plenty waterproof, I believe, except for the seams.

I think that's also the case for my pack, which is made of Dyneema. I'd call it rainproof rather than waterproof, though. Waterproof implies dunkability, which is an extra level of water protection that's overkill even for most die-hards like us :)

Most of the silnylon packs out there are probably pretty close to rainproof, except at the seams, which is easier to deal with. Seam sealer might actually do the trick for a lot of them.

I've had my gear out for hours of rainy hiking, and although some of the stuff in the top pocket of the lid got a little wet, that was it.

Kenneth Houseal
Waterproof Pack on 03/22/2012 09:44:49 MDT Print View

My HMG Windrider is sitting outside in the rain as I type. It seems to be doing a pretty dang good job at being waterproof(nothing is getting wet on the inside!). I also just bought some cuben tape to finish sealing up the seams.

*Rainproof is probably a better description, I have no clue about the dunkability of my pack.

Edited by Homewardbound on 03/22/2012 09:46:07 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Waterproof packs on 03/22/2012 09:47:11 MDT Print View

Initially, I took my silnylon (2nds cheap stuff) pack out in the rain

Where there was a synthetic insulated garment inside, pressing against top of pack, rain sort of pooled up on the outside, and wicked through the fabric and got the synthetic insulated garment a little wet.

No big deal, just a little damp, but I don't like that

Then I sealed entire surface of pack with mineral spirits/silicone

Now, and for 2 years, it doesn't leak

But, Shield from thru-hiker should work as is - that would be better

Worse is where the pack presses against my back. I have two layers - 200d polyurethane and silnylon which works, but not totally happy with that solution

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Why aren't there more waterproof packs? on 03/22/2012 10:28:41 MDT Print View

Looking at the commercial packs I have, the number and placement of seams often works against waterproofness. Something to think about for MYOG.

NW Hiker
(king2005ify) - M
Arcteryx on 03/22/2012 11:55:09 MDT Print View

I love the waterproof features of the Arcteryx packs, and they carry very well.

I have the older Acrux as a excursion, lightweight (40L only weighs 2.8 lbs) pack, Naos 55 as my Packrafting and wet conditions pack, and just pulled the trigger using REI dividend and 20% off on the 65L Arrakis for snow camping, and Alaska trips.

They are very well made (made in Canada), and the Acrux and Naos are completely submergible and in fact could be used as a floatation device if needed. The Arrakis has waterproof zips, and roll top closure so is still very rain and quick dunk proof.

Never, ever worry about things getting wet, even if you take a dunk in the creek crossings which I hate to say has happened to me :)

Zimmerbuilt's Dry Bag carrying packs are intriguing to me as well, and look like the would work, certainly for things like pack rafting

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
hmmmm on 03/22/2012 12:05:38 MDT Print View

1. as mentioned, the first hole and the waterproofness is gone ... now this can be offset by using bomber fabrics like dead bird does in the arrakis (which i used to own) ... but thats not UL

2. ever had to break open a pack in the heavy rain or wet snow winters? ... theres a decent chance that moisture will get inside regardless either directly or from the wet/snowy items yr putting in the pack, you can try shaking it out but theres still moisture ... this means that in poor conditions you should be packing yr bag/clothes in a separate dry bag anyways .... ive know some people who put everything in a single watertight bag/compartment , snow gets inside the pack, body heat against the back melts said snow, they end up with damp gear ...

3. so that moisture that gets in also gets out (unless you are one of those positive people who believes yr UL skills are so good that moisture can never get into yr pack, not me !!!) ... you should have drain holes or something similar anyways

not to say that they wont work ... but if you have one of those sensitive to moisture 900+ fp down quilt/bags and puffies ... do you really want to bet the house on a single waterproof compartment where youll be stuffing in wet/snowed on gear in adverse humid conditions ..

Maris L
Exped Cloudburst on 03/22/2012 12:18:56 MDT Print View

Regardless of potential drawbacks in some circumstances, I think waterproof/rainproof packs could be very useful other times, like using one as a daypack or for long distance trail running. Something where you're not too worried about some dampness introduced in your pack, but where the general water protection will keep you from even thinking about drizzling or quick rain storms.

I've always wanted to try out one of the Exped Cloudbursts, they have then sized in 15L (9.8oz) and 25 (10.6oz):

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: hmmmm on 03/22/2012 13:11:45 MDT Print View

I've had to open my pack when it's raining

1 - I don't put anything wet in my pack. The most I ever wear is a rain jacket and a base layer. If it stops raining I'll let the jacket dry off on me while I'm hiking before taking it off and putting in pack. I never have a wet or snowy garment that I have to put in pack.

2 - if I'm packing up, I'll put everything in my pack under my tarp, then close up pack, then take down tarp and put in waterproof bag (zip lock plastic), wipe the bag off a bit, then quickly put that in pack.

3 - On my pack, I have a roll top with velcro closure. If I want to put something in or out, I'll shake it off as best possible before opening, then carefully make sure the opening is above everything else so water doesn't drip in. Make sure water doesn't drip from my jacket into pack. Do it quickly when it's raining. Try to wait for the rain to let up or find a protected place.

4 - Sometimes I'll put something that's wet strapped on the outside of the pack

5 - My vest and sleeping bag are synthetic so they can get a bit damp without making much difference. Once I left the top of my water bottle untightened and some water got on things. If it's raining a lot it's impossible for a little water to not get on things.

Different systems will work, this is just one way to do it

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: hmmmm on 03/22/2012 15:32:21 MDT Print View

Why I don't want a waterproof pack: they are unnecessarily heavy and expensive. A trash bag liner (more specifically contractor or compactor bag) works -- and it's a lot lighter and a lot cheaper.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Why aren't there more waterproof packs? on 03/22/2012 15:55:57 MDT Print View

Economics, just simple economics.

It is MUCH cheaper to sew a simple seam and bind it than to sew a hemmed seam and waterproof it. Cheap cheap cheap...

Crux packs from UK have bonded seams, and are waterproof. My packs have hemmed and taped seams.


Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Drybags on 03/22/2012 15:57:58 MDT Print View

I use individual drybags. One for my sleeping bag/quilt, one for clothes and one for electronics, toiletries, and any other little things that need to be dry.

Everything else can get wet.

A pack that is waterproof would grow mildew from condensation after a few days on a wet trail.

Using individual dry bags for items that need it allows everything else to breath in your pack reducing pack funk.
I find the contents inside a pack liner can get funky as well, unless you are very careful and only use it when needed.

I can totally unload my pack in the rain, set up my shelter and then open the drybags under my tarp.

I also don't have to worry about my gear if my pack should fall in water during a crossing.