Dry gear guide
Hi all Im new to the site. I've been researching gear and particularly keeping myself and my gear dry as possible. I found good advice here, so thanks to all the contributors. One article I have found which was fantastic was this: http://jwbasecamp.com/Articles/DryGear/index.html So well written and clearly setting out his reasoning for gear sacks or dry bags as I call them Hope this is of some use to people (like me) starting out Pete
That artical is over 10 years old and not that well suited to NZ conditions. I would disagree with his take on pack liners. The liners sold by Macpac MSC Katmandu etc are a lot heavier than his quote and will last several years which for under $10 is a good investment. You can tie off the top of the bag if pack swimming but most times just folding it correctly is enough. If however going the full drybag way is what you want they are readily available in outdoor stores in NZ
I've done several river crossing courses with the top of an MSC big orange bag just twisted and then tucked down the inside of the pack. That's been adequate to keep things dry. Nowadays I use some nice light silnylon packliner and it seems to be pretty resilient. If you carry duct tape or something similar, you can always repair your packliner in the field. The MSC packliners also have useful stuff printed on the outside e.g. firelighting strategies.
I've never bothered with pack liners, I use several sized roll top dry bags for what I need to keep definitely dry, and other stuff - food etc. in in plastic bags. Never had too many probs with this method in UK, Europe and NZ.
These methods do all work but $10 or less for a liner or 30+ for dry bags of a suitable size. I have dry bags but keep them for special occasions ie trips known to have long swims. Even better than the pack liners is the survival bags. These are the same grade as liners but another meter taller. Much more to fold and tuck in plus if it all hits the fan they do have another use
I use the orange survival bags as liners: more plastic to do multiple foldovers at the top to seal. Plus bigger and thus better as ground sheets and crawling into if required. Done plenty of swims - a few of 50m+ with no noticable water ingress - clothes, sleeping bag still dry. Days of pushing through wet vegetation for hours, likewise. I still put valuables (gps, beacon, cellphone) in separate bags / tuppaware inside the main bag: to be sure to be sure.
Wherever possible, I only buy waterproof gear. My philosophy is, I WILL be wet. I expect it. In fact, I relish it. I prefer to tramp when conditions are less than ideal; I overheat easily. The number one reason I moved from Oz to NZ. The only stuff I absolutely keep dry is my sleeping system and one set of clothes. Everything else can be dried later. Electronics? If it's not submersible, it doesn't cut it. Dry bags inside an emergency bag or even decent bin liner is sufficient to keep my sleep system dry. It's also why I don't bother with "waterproof" footwear. Because there's simply no such thing. Walk wet, sleep dry. My tramping mantra. :)
I largely tend to agree with Kreig. Pretending you are going to stay dry in the NZ bush is just a recipe for disappointment. Having said that a wet saturated pack is a heavy miserable lump to cart about, and life is generally better if you aren't mucking about with squelchy gear all the time. Especially food. The integrated roll-top internal dry bags is one feature of Aarn's packs that isn't usually given as much credit as it could be. I still put my sleeping bag and dry clothes into a separate dry bag for double security, but overall I've never had one of Aarn's packs leak on me. And this despite a few pretty long gorge swims.
Thanks for the linked article Peteflynn. Like others, I have my pack contents seperately bagged, inside a bag liner. Even supermarket or bread bags will do for this, as what little might get past the pack liner won't translocate far in a snuggly packed pack. Might look into ultra-light oven bags, tho what I recall is they ripped easily ?. My daily tramping clothes are quick, easy-dry material. Except the woollen sox !. Even if I get wet, or wash them out on a multi-dayer, they'll drip-dry overnight or dry out on me in quick time. You should have some warm dry clothes as spare for a multi-dayer anyways ?. Sleeping bag has it's own special dry bag. Or I'll switch to synthetic fill if the trip looks gnarly. Regards :)
Something Ive wondered about but dont want to test with my down bag. When its fully compressed in its stuff sack how wet can it actually get? The stuff sack isnt more than splash proof but the bag is squashed to the point there isnt much room for water to get in. Anyone with a old down bag they dont care about getting wet how feels like trying this? I mean dropping it in a bath fully compressed for five or 10 minutes then seeing how much water got in.
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