Friday, June 02, 2017

gear review: dry bags

if you've ever taken a trip with me, you know that i'm a bit of a bag whore. and because i go camping a lot, i need a collection of stuffsacks and packs. and because i go camping a lot on water, i need drybags. i'm going to review a bunch of them for you today.

let's be clear: these are all bags that i either purchased or were purchased for me by friends and family as gifts. none of them were provided to me by manufacturers or retailers. i'm writing about them because i have them and because you might for some reason want this information.

i don't know, maybe you like camping too. or bags. or my breezy style. or you're curious about how i carry all that freakin' gear with me when i go out and live in the woods.

so ok.

modern stuffsacks are pretty water resistant, but for water travel or for very wet weather your stuff will be driest in drybags.

old-school drybags are the most durable and also the heaviest. these are the vinyl-coated fabric bags that weigh a ton and are bulky, but man, are they bombproof. i have an old EMS brand boundary 70 liter backpacks style and the comparable sealline baja bags in the 20 and 30 liter sizes. i've used mine hard, a couple of them for a decade at least, and they show no sign of giving out and none of them have leaked on me.

come to think of it, none of my drybags have ever leaked on me, but i also don't put the little splash-resistant ones in the bottom of the boat or toss them around like cargo, either. but that 70 liter daypack has done me well when i needed to put another daypack INSIDE it and swim with it trailing in the water.

i also have a couple of the sea to summit big river bags, one of which serves as my kayaking purse and gets rough use. i keep my camera inside a 3 liter tucked inside the 8 liter, and bone dry. going on 3 years.

more recently i've acquired a pair of event compression drysacks (also from sea to summit) which are not intended for submersion, but boo-yah, i'll tell you that the couple times a sleeping bag has escaped down a bank and into the lake my sleeping bags have stayed completely dry for the time it took to get in a boat and fetch them back. it only happened twice, but hey. i'm satisfied. plus overnight your sleeping bag collects some moisture and i like to air mine in the dry part of the day and then bag it until bedtime, and this bag does super well for that while in camp. the compression straps get a little in the way for this purpose, but uncompressed the bag is just about the right size for daytime storage that preserves loft on your bag.

i just now returned from my first trip with a cute little granite gear 13 liter drysack that i used onsite to keep my pajamas out of the rain. it also makes a spiffy little pillow in my hammock. i have not subjected it to much abuse, but everything in it stayed dry and the bag is supple and light.

and also making its first appearance in my gear array is the super-cute granite gear slacker packer compression drysack, which is large enough to hold my entire hammock system for transport to my site and light enough to be my go-to shopping bag for trips across the water to town. also it's handy for jaunts on and off the paddleboard because it's a pack.

i dunno. maybe i just love all these too much.

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