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Stuff sacks for sleeping bags
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Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Stuff sacks for sleeping bags on 03/13/2013 22:37:04 MDT Print View

Hello. I recently purchased a ULA Circuit. The stuff sack for my WM Versalite is 16" long, way too wide for the ~10" I have at the base of my Circuit. I'm thinking about buying a smaller, waterproof stuff sack. After searching through the forums here, it seems like most people just shove their bag at the bottom of the pack. But it seems like I'd want to keep it dry, clean, and safe from abrasions in a separate sack. I'd love to hear feedback on whether a stuff sack is a good idea and recommendations on makes/models. Thanks.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Stuff sacks for sleeping bags on 03/13/2013 22:48:45 MDT Print View


In the olden days, I used to have dedicated stuff sacks for my bag, pad and clothing. But after doing comparisons with vs. without them, I found that I actually save pack space by not using stuff sacks:

1. Pad - I fold the pad in half length-wise, then into thirds to approx. the size of my pack back -- and slide the pad in flat. This saves space and also allows the pad to further stiffen the backpack -- making for more comfortable carrying.

2. Bag - Next, I stuff my sleeping bag directly into my pack. If rain or river crossings figure in the picture, then first line the pack with a giant trash bag (aka contractor bag) -- then pack as normal.

3. Clothing - I then stuff my clothing into the pack -- esp. cramming the smaller pieces into the pack's nooks and crannies.

Rarely are we able to ditch gear pieces and end up not just saving weight, but also saving packing time and effort -- and increasing pack space and efficiency as well! Never again, will I do something so unproductive as wrestling a bag into a teeny tiny stuff sack at the break of dawn with cold and half-stiff fingers -- only to lose instead of gain packing space!

Edited by ben2world on 03/13/2013 22:50:11 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Stuff sacks for sleeping bags on 03/13/2013 22:57:49 MDT Print View

Sean, when you hear about people shoving their bag into their pack, 98% of the time they also use a waterproof pack liner.

As per your question, I think it depends on how you like to pack. For me, I usually like an ultralight dry sack, like a cuben one. Sea to Summit makes good light ones in sil. That way I know that no matter what, my down bag is safe.

However, I just got a Catalyst and have been playing around with how I pack, and might be moving to a liner. Certain packs seem to lend themselvrs to being packed differently.

Play with many different ideas there's no right/wrong/better/worse way. But I'd suggest that no matter what you pick, make sure your insulating pieces (bag, puffy, etc) are very well protected from water.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Stuff sacks for sleeping bags on 03/13/2013 23:00:13 MDT Print View

I use a Granite Gear compression bag if I need to get a sleeping bag in a smaller pack. I think compression sacks need to be used sparingly and with discretion so the loft isn't destroyed. Avoid trying to create a black hole! The current version is an Air Compressor:

My preference is to use a waterproof silnylon stuff sack and just roll it down as far as practical.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Stuff sacks for sleeping bags on 03/14/2013 00:51:15 MDT Print View

If you get a lot of rain in your area the way I do, you should go with a light weight ultra-sil dry bag for your SB. The So-Cal folks can get away with a trash bag but that has never worked for me. I've found that keeping clothes and sleeping bag in a single bag (trash bag or dry bag) was a problem in heavy rain. The sleeping bag would get damp when I accessed the clothes (from rain, wet hands, drippy rain jacket). I now carry my spare clothes in one small dry sack and my sleeping bag in another small-ish dry sack and that has worked very well for me. The dry bag with my sleeping bag in it never gets opened up until it is in my shelter.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Re: Stuff sacks for sleeping bags on 03/14/2013 00:58:34 MDT Print View

Personally, I've been using a small trash bag. Put trash bag in bottom of pack, stuff sleeping bag into trash bag. Smash it down as small as possible and work out all the air, then just twist and tie an overhand knot in the trash bag. Fill the rest of the pack with all the other junk.
If rain is the worst I'm worried about, then I'll just twist the trash bag real good and let the weight of my other stuff hold it closed and waterproof.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Re on 03/14/2013 02:26:52 MDT Print View

Granite gear cuben event dry bags.

There does become a point where if low pack volume is desired then you must compress your sleeping bag. Stuffing it in the bottom can sometimes take up too much volume from it continually lofting up.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Stuff sacks for sleeping bags on 03/14/2013 02:45:01 MDT Print View

I just use a pack liner and stuff my quilt loose in the bottom of my pack. Like Ben, I've found that I'm able to pack more efficiently without stuff sacks. In a sense my pack liner acts like a 1.5 oz stuff sack that's large enough to fit all of my gear. Usually I put my sleeping bag in the bottom, my clothes on top, and roll the bag shut. They I put my cook kit, food, and shelter on top to keep it closed.


Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Stuff sacks for sleeping bags on 03/14/2013 02:45:01 MDT Print View

Sorry, double post.


Edited by aroth87 on 03/14/2013 02:47:19 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Stuff sacks for sleeping bags on 03/14/2013 03:04:12 MDT Print View

> keep it dry, clean, and safe from abrasions in a separate sack.
Right on!
Ours go first into a plain fabric stuff sack - same material as the shell. Then into a plastic bag inside a silnylon stuff sack. That may sound like serious overkill, but when your pack goes swimming in a big river the value becomes a little clearer.

Ditto for all other 'warm' gear.


Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Stuff sacks for sleeping bags on 03/14/2013 05:52:35 MDT Print View

I like the eVent bottom Granite Gear ones. Waterproof with roll top. The breathable bottom helps with compression.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Re: Stuff sacks for sleeping bags on 03/14/2013 08:43:28 MDT Print View

"Sean, when you hear about people shoving their bag into their pack, 98% of the time they also use a waterproof pack liner. "

Right, this. I use a cuben pack liner from Zpacks in my Circuit. My 30-F bag just gets shoved into the bottom of the liner, with my clothing bag on top and my ditty bag, then the liner gets rolled over and closed.

For my winter bag I use a Granite Gear compression stuff sack so I can fit my 5-F bag inside my Circuit. Works fine for a weekend hike, but I expect I would run out of room for food on a longer hike and thus need a larger pack.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Compression sack on 03/14/2013 10:42:58 MDT Print View

I hace to use a compression bag for my winter sleeping bag, It means I can use a 60ltr pack.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Stuff sack on 03/14/2013 10:51:02 MDT Print View

I have a fairly light stuff sack which is oversized for my quilt. It protects my quilt but still allows for me to mold it around gear in the bottom of my ruck. I've tried the compression systems and I felt that it was an inefficient use of space.

Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Thanks on 03/14/2013 12:39:05 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone for the feedback.

Does the use of an internal pack liner negate the need for a proper external pack cover?

Are there significant pros/cons to the different materials: silnylon, eVent, cuben? If purchasing cuben, does it makes sense to spend a bit more and have the pack made out of cuben? Of course, this cost can be avoided with the trash liner idea.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Thanks on 03/14/2013 12:52:05 MDT Print View

>Does the use of an internal pack liner negate the need for a proper external pack cover?

Yes and no. If used properly, a pack liner will keep everything inside of it dry, even if the pack is soaked. However, a soaked pack weighs more--possibly more than a very light pack cover--and anything not in the liner will get wet. This may or may not be of concern to you depending on your packing style.

Cuben is lightest and absolutely waterproof, but expensive. Sil is much cheaper and plenty waterproof for a pack liner and cheaper. Event is heavier and more expensive than sil, and not really needed for a liner.

A properly made cuben pack can be waterproof enough for rain, but I still would use another liner or drybags if you're going to be packrafting or crossing many deep streams. There are some packs that are essentially a big dry bag, so you'd be pretty good with one of those.

Rodney Mruk

Locale: Northeast Oregon
Pack liner on 03/14/2013 13:54:50 MDT Print View

I use a trash bag for the liner and have never had any issues. However, I need to clarify that the trash bag is a trash compactor bag. It is much thicker and more durable than an ordinary trash bag.


Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Pack Liner on 03/14/2013 14:04:13 MDT Print View

I went looking for trash compactor bags and my local Stop N' Shop didn't carry them.


My e-Vent 35L pack liner from Sea to Summit weighs an ounce or so more than a trash bag, but I find both a pain to use. I keep it around for wet weather but don't use it unless I'm sure they'll be some.

Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Re: Pack Liner on 03/15/2013 10:08:09 MDT Print View

By the way, if I'm not using a stuff sack for my sleeping bag, should I also avoid using a stuff stack for my Exped Downmat UL 7? It's a pain in the ass to get that thing back in the bag.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Baking bag on 03/15/2013 10:17:59 MDT Print View

I have used baking bags recently and prefer them over compactor bags. They are available at local groceries. For me, there are several advantages. First, they are clear and you can see your stuff. Second, they are smaller; a compactor bag is bigger than I need. Third, it feels lighter; I should weigh it to confirm. Fourth, it feels more durable subjectively. Fifth, it has a slippery feel so it slides better in the pack.