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Why aren't there more waterproof packs?
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Mike R
(redpoint) - F

Locale: British Columbia
AC2 on 03/22/2012 17:26:32 MDT Print View

I use the Arc'teryx Ac2 packs. They're a bit on the heavy side, but I'm generally doing things like climbing and mountaineering where durability is also very important. When you have to start adding liners and covers and wetted-out fabric, you're upping the weight on a traditional pack anyway. You can literally do anything with these packs and the contents will remain dry. I currently have a Naos 55 and would also like to get an Arakkis 40. It's pretty awesome to just seal-up your pack and leave it and its contents outside the tent or bivy sac in the pouring rain or a snowstorm. Plus, these packs are pretty sexy.

NW Hiker
(king2005ify) - M
Sexy :) on 03/22/2012 20:11:19 MDT Print View

They are not that light, but either way they sure are nice, bullet proof and secure.

Arcteryx family

Edited by king2005ify on 03/22/2012 20:14:05 MDT.

robert mckay
(rahstin) - F

Locale: The Great Land
Barrel Harness on 03/23/2012 00:28:08 MDT Print View

Check out the Granite Gear Vapor Flatbed. It is made to haul barrels for canoeing, but it works awesome with a drybag. 34 oz w/o drybag and easily trimmable to 28 or so. Mine is 38 oz with an OR durable dry sack and 2 aftermarket water bottle holders. The shoulder straps are a bit wider than normal vapor packs making it extra comfy. No pockets, mesh or any extra bits and pieces, but it can handle 45 lbs no problem. When hiking with odd shaped items the whole harness adjusts to handle anything (ie. fishing gear, bear canister, guitar, packraft) On extended ski trips, I strap my day ski pack in the harness and put all my clothes, gear, etc. in the drybag. That way I dont have to shred during the day with a huge pack. On day hikes or hut trips I use a smaller dry bag to save weight. On week long trips with no resupply, the over the top strap(think rope carrier) can easily hold down all the extra food. The end all is the price. It is really inexpensive considering how many different packs it replaces.

Ty Ty

Locale: SE US
Re: Barrel Harness on 03/23/2012 08:02:58 MDT Print View

rahstin - That is pretty interesting idea. Do you have any pictures of your setup in action?

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Waterproof on 03/23/2012 08:24:22 MDT Print View

The frame/harness may not be waterproof, it's probably not ultralight based on BPL definitions, but my ULA Epic is pretty darn waterproof. Granted the main compartment is a dry bag. But depending on the trip, being able to change from a smaller to a larger dry bag adds a lot of versatility. Similar idea to the Granite Gear Flatbed.

And Ty, the Cabelas Boundary Waters Bag you referenced work well but are heavy. (The large pack weighs 4.5 pounds.) We started with the larger ones for our boundary water trips. Used them several years. And despite Ken's warning, we have never punctured or scuffed a hole in one despite throwing them around on granite portages. The harness is a bit lacking in comfort though when heavily loaded...not that that would be an issue for a true BPLer (which I apparently am not :)

Edited by BER on 03/23/2012 08:43:44 MDT.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Why aren't there more waterproof packs? on 03/24/2012 19:26:38 MDT Print View

Because you can't tell just by looking at it in the shop if it will leak like a sieve. And there are not a lot of test reports for packs' waterproofness, as there are with rain gear. So we are at their mercy.

All the spectra and dyneema gridstops, as well as silnylons (including the heavier 1.9 oz ones) eventually leak on a pack, no matter how well the seams are sealed during construction. Perhaps it's because packs get the most abrasion and rough treatment. In any case, that's what happens. And it doesn't take dragging behind a truck to happen, just time with normal use. The heavier (and stiffer) Cuben materials have a way of permanently creasing at bends and folds that for me, casts serious doubt on the ability of the thin mylar layer to remain waterproof, especially when subjected to abrasion. Too expensive an investment for an unpredictable outcome. They also look hideous.

The D-P fabrics, like the more supple 5 oz. VX07, show some promise. They are light enough not to add more than a couple ounces to the pack, yet are extremely waterproof, at least initially, and appear to resist abrasion well. So that's my bet for the next pack project, and if buying a pack, would look for this material. You still have to carefully seal the seams, of course, and for MYOGers this is best done during construction. Not having to fiddle with a rain cover = +1.

Miles Spathelf
(MilesS) - MLife
Durability on 03/24/2012 23:52:28 MDT Print View

NWHIKER - I've benn looking at the AC2 packs from Arcteryx and the fabric looks quite durable. I'm curious how it has held up for you. I'm considering an Arrakis 50 to replace a MountainSmith Ghost for winter overnights and summer weekends. Cheers

NW Hiker
(king2005ify) - M
Re: Durability on 03/25/2012 07:55:33 MDT Print View

Miles - The Arcteryx packs are easily the toughest packs I have encountered...there is very little chance you'll ever do any harm to them. I have used a Naos for years now, and it has seen everything from rolls down granite to sharp protruding deadfall, and I actually even have a hard time finding scratches let alone any type of puncture.

Arrakis is made of the same material, so hope that helps.

The Arrakis has lots of little "surprises" which make it nice (access, pockets everywhere, cool ice axe and snow shovel storage, and the dedicated probe pocket makes a great place to stash tent poles or Tenkara rod). Check out the many videos on there website if you haven't already.


BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
@Ty waterproof packs on 03/27/2012 11:28:15 MDT Print View


FYI: the Cabelas BW-II 3600 cu in drypack weighs 49oz on my scale. A few inches of webbing and a lifting handle could be cut off, but not much else one could do to lighten these bags.

Then again, in comparison to the Arc'teryx Arrakis, it's half the weight and one fifth the price for close to the same volume.

Edited by BER on 03/27/2012 11:44:50 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Why aren't there more waterproof packs? on 03/27/2012 12:10:29 MDT Print View

I ran across this Outdoor Research waterproof pack this weekend. I assume it is a prototype/test model. I haven't seen one like this before and it lacks any consumer labeling. OR is headquartered in Seattle and has design and production staff here, so little surprise.

It has the basic features of the Drycomp Summit pack, but it has a 3D mesh/padded back panel, fabric rather than mesh side pockets and the zippered pocket down the center. It looks like a 35 liter capacity pack and weighs 18oz. Those vertical compression straps convert to a waist belt.

The photos show it with a heavy 20F synthetic sleeping bag for fill. It could benefit from the same packing techniques used for other frameless packs. I think it would make a good wet weather day pack.

Outdoor Research waterproof pack

Outdoor Research waterproof pack

Outdoor Research waterproof pack

Interior seam details:
Outdoor Research waterproof pack

Outdoor Research waterproof pack

Edited by dwambaugh on 03/27/2012 12:19:19 MDT.

Miles Spathelf
(MilesS) - MLife
Re: Re: Durability on 05/04/2012 19:37:34 MDT Print View

Picked up an Arrakis 50 a few weeks ago and it is a fantastic pack for what I want (survive the rainy summers in Alaska without worrying about damaging fabric in the rough brush and for some overnight winter travel). Cheers

water resistance. on 05/04/2012 20:30:08 MDT Print View

Typically, there is no such thing as water PROOF , only varying degrees of water resistance.

If you can make a pack as waterproof as a 1.2 oz pack liner for less wt, I want to hear about it.

Patagonia makes some duffel bags which are waterproof to about 5 ft when submerged.

$400 for a plain duffel bag. Its not especially featherweight either.

Whisker Biscuit
(WhiskerBiscuit) - F

Locale: Really close Rainier
Exped on 05/04/2012 23:06:49 MDT Print View

I got an Exped WB 30, aka the Exped Torrent 30. i absolutely love it. It is very minimalist, if you needed to strap stuff to the outside you can either clip it to the daisy chains or do what i did and run a little bit of shock cord/bungee on the pack using the daisy chains. here are some vids.

Mike R
(redpoint) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Arc'teryx on 05/05/2012 15:26:27 MDT Print View

I've had two Arc'teryx waterproof packs: Accrux 50 and Naos 55. I currently own only the Naos 55 and love it. These are really tough packs. The comments above that allude to the fact that a waterproof pack is only waterproof until you get a hole in it are kind of ridiculous ... the same can be said about inflatable sleeping pads, gore-tex jackets, or anything that relies on membrane continuity. First-of-all, to get a hole in one of these Arc packs, you'd have to be doing something very very wrong and even then, a little seam grip or duct tape [while enroute] and it'll be repaired. I live in the Pacific NW and 90% of my outdoor pursuits are mountain-based and more likely than not on snow or glaciers. Rain, snow or shine, I always leave these packs outside of my shelter knowing that its contents will remain dry. Both my Arc packs get/got some serious abuse, the type that only a mountain environment can dish-out: from ascending/descending steep, craggy technical couloirs to bushwhacking to being buried in snow outside a snow cave. I've used many a rain cover on packs over the years and I've never found them very effective, the pack fabric wets-out eventually ... plus they're a pain in the ---.

I suppose that there aren't more waterproof packs out there simply b/c of cost. These Arc'teryx packs start around $400 and go almost to $800. They're not for everyone, they're a bit heavier and if you're camping in parts of the world that rarely see water, there's really no point owning one unless you need the durability. Once you dial-in the frame to your own anatomy, they carry quite comfortably. They're easily one of the best choices for people who beat-the-snot out of their gear.

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Arc'teryx on 05/05/2012 15:46:49 MDT Print View

4# 10 oz of pack to save 2.2 oz of pack liner. Hmm...

Zack Freije
(oldskool) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Re: Re: Why aren't there more waterproof packs? on 05/05/2012 15:53:21 MDT Print View

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

I purchased a Patogonia Nano Puff pullover recently because of how much I loved my last one. Normal price is $149 but I found it online for $69 shipped. It is ~10oz.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Why aren't there more waterproof packs? on 05/05/2012 22:05:18 MDT Print View

I've got an Exped Cloudburst which seems well sealed. However, I would always use a sack liner even with a "waterproof" pack for the reasons already mentioned. The Aarn packs are marketed as 100% water proof They use a DrLiner within the pack, so really it's just a removable liner inside the pack.

Mike R
(redpoint) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Re: Re: Arc'teryx on 05/06/2012 01:44:21 MDT Print View

Sure, but tell me what your soaking wet pack weighs? When I used to use a Dana Design pack, if that thing wetted-out it's weight tripled. It's funny how people calculate weight on BPL sometimes, they save weight here, but then have to compensate for the loss here by adding here and here. I see this mostly in people's sleep systems. Regardless, the Arc'teryx packs are more than just waterproof, they're very tough packs that carry loads well. A frameless, cuben fiber pack may be light, but I'd shred that thing on the kind of climbing trips I do. Additionally, climbing gear and backcountry ski gear can be heavy, so a frame is important to me as well. Add waterproofness, tough 420D packcloth, and a frame and you get a heavier, but functional [for my needs] pack. Like I said in my post, they're *not* for everyone. No pack suits everyone's needs. Uber lightweight is not always functional, sometimes you have to strive for "as light as possible" while still meeting your needs. In cold, wet, full-on mountain conditions, I'll take the 'extra' weight of a proper sleeping bag over a quilt or a proper mountaineering tent over a freaking tarp any day.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Arc'teryx on 05/06/2012 01:57:11 MDT Print View

That actual pack tripled in weight? What was it made out of cotton? That doesn't sound right.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Arc'teryx on 05/06/2012 06:52:10 MDT Print View

"That actual pack tripled in weight? What was it made out of cotton? That doesn't sound right."

Doesn't sound too far off actually. Just the water absorption alone into nylon fabric can double the weight or more. Wool or cotton can be worse - closer to 4X. And this doesnt include any pooled water in pockets etc.