May 27, 2012 at 5:25 pm #1290386
So here's a question.
What's going to be the lesser evil assuming your gear in the pack is stored in a waterproof bag of some type (ie: garbage bag, dry bags, pack liner etc)
Is it worth taking a pack cover, say a cuben fibre job that weigh's an ounce.
Will the water that hits the pack and eventually soak the fabric end up outweighing the ounce pack cover (Working on the pack cover keeping all that outer fabric dry)
I guess what I'm leading too is the ounce pack cover going to save say 5oz in h2o if it does rain all day / days ??
Your gear will still be dry as it's protected either way from the waterproof liner.May 27, 2012 at 5:35 pm #1881566
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Personally, I have never used a pack cover in my life. I don't think that my backpacks are too much out of the ordinary, so they have a bit of normal water resistance. I've never had more than about three drops of water appear inside the pack after a day in the rain. As a result, I keep my down sleeping bag inside its stuff sack, and some other down items are in some kind of plastic. Everything else in there will just have to deal with the three drops of water.
–B.G.–May 27, 2012 at 5:56 pm #1881572
@mrexplorerdouglasLocale: Arthur's Pass National Park
I've wondered about this before too. I've stuck with pack liners as most of my hiking has been in very wet and heavily vegetated areas, with risky river crossings. However I've been considering a pack cover recently for on trail trips.
So, I've just put 2 packs out in the rain, a nylon day pack, and an Aarn Load Limo (sans lid and balance pockets). I'll post again once they have gotten soaked with their dry and wet weights.
Oh the anticipation…May 27, 2012 at 5:59 pm #1881574
drowning in spamMember
Out of concern for this, I used to spray my pack with water repelling spray. I never noticed if it worked or not. Now I'm more concerned about ticks, so I spray my pack with permethrin instead.
A pack cover doesn't work for me because I store my food for the day in the front pocket that I access frequently.May 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm #1881580
"So, I've just put 2 packs out in the rain, a nylon day pack, and an Aarn Load Limo (sans lid and balance pockets). I'll post again once they have gotten soaked with their dry and wet weights."
Awesome. We shall see.
I'm guessing the ounce pack cover might save the acumulated h2o weight by quite a bit. (After all, we are gram weenies right ??)May 27, 2012 at 7:24 pm #1881593
@mrexplorerdouglasLocale: Arthur's Pass National Park
Golly, faster weight gain than I expected. After 45 minutes in steady rain the smaller pack* gained 168g/5.9 ounces and the big pack* had gained 253g/8.9 ounces.
Of course, with a pack cover water will still get into shoulder straps, hip belt (if fitted) and pack padding. No time to test those parts of the pack in isolation today. A fun wee exercise nonetheless.
*The smaller pack is a Cactus Climbing "Henry", 30 litres/517g. The big pack was an Aarn "Load Limo", 70L/1762g. Both packs are well used, so no factory repellency left.May 27, 2012 at 9:42 pm #1881624
Mike In SocalParticipant
Something else I've been thinking about is do I want to put a wet pack in my shelter under my feet if I bring a short sleeping pad?May 28, 2012 at 2:33 am #1881644
Really appreciate the pack in rain test.
Shows it is well worth the ounce pack cover. I'd guess the straps hold a bit of water and the back panel too but even at half the total water weight the pack cover is still lighter.May 28, 2012 at 5:05 am #1881655
The back pad getting soaked is one fo the reasons that I went with The Packa as my raingear/pack cover. One of my buddies was using the rain shell/pack cover combination in an all day rain and the water running between his back and his pack soaked through and left him with a puddle in the bottom of his pack.May 28, 2012 at 6:12 am #1881660
The following is a post I wrote on 6-11-11. For the full thread, click on this:
Pack liners vs pack covers
I did a little test on the patio a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to see how much added weight a fully-soaked pack would have. I used a 42 L. Absoroka pack, with one of Lawson's cuben pack liners stuffed with fleece jackets. Rain drizzled nearly all night, fully drenching the pack. The next morning, I emptied the pack and hung it up for 30 minutes to let the excess water drip off. It turned out that the roll top liner had fully protected the contents, and that the drenched pack was 11.0 oz. heavier than when it was completely dry. So…this might support the case for using both a liner AND a pack cover when you know that you will be hiking in full-on rainy conditions. A 3 oz. pack cover could lighten your pack weight by a net of 8 oz.May 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm #1881803
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> rain shell/pack cover combination in an all day rain and the water running between
> his back and his pack soaked through and left him with a puddle in the bottom of
> his pack.
AND the cold rain running down your back chills your body, AND the rain gets into the foam padding on the back panel, AND the rain water wicks through the stitching on the back panel because the mfrs don't waterproof that part (hence the 'puddle').
Which is just part of the reason I use a poncho over me and my pack.
CheersMay 28, 2012 at 5:46 pm #1881828
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Roger, I thought you folks had really high winds, there in Oz? :-) I've found ponchos to be rather useless in high winds and horizontal rain.
I do use a pack cover (1 oz. cuben from ZPacks). That's because my pack is my pillow at night, and I really don't want my sleeping bag hood rubbing against a soggy pack front! I definitely don't count on the pack cover to keep my pack contents dry, because it won't!May 28, 2012 at 7:33 pm #1881859
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
In the sierras I don't bother with a pack cover because many trips have little or no rain, and even the trips with rain tend to be measured in hours not days. When I am places with a lot of rain (Smokies, Pacific Northwest, etc) that a pack cover is definitely worth it's weight, first by keeping at more than it's weight of water from accumulating, and second, for greatly reducing the amount of wetness you bring into your shelter… assuming you bring your pack in with you. My experience is that just a rain cover isn't enough… things I really want dry live inside a dry bag inside the pack.
–markMay 28, 2012 at 11:57 pm #1881915
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Yes, we can and do have high winds, in Oz and in Europe too.
But take another look at my MYOG poncho:
and at The Packa. Both are ponchos, but both have a body rather like a jacket. Based on real-life experience I have to say the design works very well.
> I definitely don't count on the pack cover to keep my pack contents dry, because it won't!
Um … so … the water gets inside your pack through the back panel then?
CheersMay 29, 2012 at 12:06 am #1881917
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Still sounds like the Packa is the best answer. No wet back, hipbelt and straps plus nice venting due to an "open bottom".
He does make 'em in Gore-Tex and maybe eVent by now.May 29, 2012 at 12:38 am #1881918
The pack I now use the most is my Zpacks custom Zero in hybrid nylon/cuben fabric, which itself is waterproof, but I wonder if the nylon on the outside soaks up any water… doesn't seem to from the 7 or 8 times I have taken it out, half of which was in some kind of rain (one time was out in heavy rain for about 12 straight). I seam sealed it from the inside to avoid having to use a pack liner/garbage bag, plus the stuff sacks I use are either sil-nylon or cuben, and very water resistant. So it also depends on what kind of pack you use, too. Some won't soak up very much water, if any at all, with proper seam sealing and/or waterproofing. I should also note that I only had to use a small fraction of the tube of goo, maybe one fifth or sixth, there were not that many seams on the inside of my pack.
I do own a Zpacks cuben pack cover too, but I use it for my urban pack, as I often will haul around my lap top and it rains a lot where I live.
If I were to go on a longer trip, like a thru-hike, I might opt for my MLD Exodus, in which case I would take a poncho to cover both me and the pack, plus I would put all my night clothing/extra layers along with my down sleeping bag inside a 20l STS dry bag. I've tried the whole garbage bag liner thing, and didn't like fussing around with it–I like just being able to get to everything in my pack without having something else in the way, and one less thing to worry about while packing, just throw it all directly in the pack. What is important is just to keep the sleeping bag and clothing dry, I don't really care if my Ti pot or my tarp/tent get wet, and my food is mostly in ziplock bags anyhow so it will stay dry.
Anyhow, if you are looking to save the most weight vs. wet pack, get a cuben fiber pack and seam seal it.May 29, 2012 at 5:59 am #1881934
I have one in eVent that works really well. I'm a big guy and I generate a lot of heat (read "sweat") while hiking. The huge pit zips on the Packa give as much ventilation as possible. The length in the rear is also really nice – I use my MLD cuben rain chaps for my legs if it's really raining.
The eVent Packa isn't light – mine in the Large size weighs 17.3 ounces. I'm usually pretty careful about counting my grams, but this is one exception if we're expecting rain on a trip. I use a hydration bladder and hose so being able to access a water bottle while hiking isn't an issue for me, but it could be challenging if you need to pull your arm out of the sleeve and reach back through the jacket every time you wanted water.
Contact Eddie at The Packa if you're interested in something lighter. He's really easy to work with and can get you one made out of Cuben (weighing 4-6 ounces) or even one made out of the new WPB Cuben that would probably come in around 10 ounces).May 29, 2012 at 7:29 am #1881950
okay, so my two cents worth is that I have sprayed my bag with a weatherproofing on the pocket-side, and my bag is water repellent. That being said, the pad on my back is still going to get wet regardless of rain or shine due to the amount I sweat that builds up back there when I am on the trail. Perhaps that is just a problem in the southwest and not so much up north when temperatures are lower (and for bigger guys like me vs smaller), but I would have to say my pack picks up a few ounces of wet weight just from that. I use a garbage bag to keep all items in the pack insulated from wet and to provide an emergency poncho in case I need it.. although at the price, I am contemplating purchasing the poncho tarp from golite… anyone have any experience with the newer model that has room for a pack underneath it? I am wondering if I should add this to my gear list when they restock them.May 29, 2012 at 7:58 am #1881956
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
In most cases, it's not a case of being soaked 100% of the time so the weight savings while it's raining may not offset the amount of time you are carrying the packcover in your pack (when it isn't raining).
I don't carry a pack cover because the packs I use only have padding on the straps and waist belt and the foam padding is the part that will gain the most weight when it's raining. A pack cover isn't going to stop the shoulder straps and waist belt from soaking up water. I only have to worry about the amount of water that dynema gridstop fabric can hold. Since it dries pretty quickly when the rain stops, I don't think the weight and hassle of using a pack cover is worth it. I keep all my gear in dry bags inside my pack so things getting wet inside the pack is a non-issue.May 29, 2012 at 9:59 am #1881998
One of the other steps I've taken since moving to The Packa is that I eliminated several of the dry bags I used to use for my top quilt and underquilt (I usually sleep in a hammock). That's 2 13-liter Ultra-Sil dry bags weighing 1.5 ounces each that I no longer carry.
A side benefit of eliminating the dry bags for my quilts is that I no longer have the "dead" space between stuffsacks in my pack anymore. I simply put the quilts in my pack first and then put everything else in on top of them. They compress as much as necessary and no more.
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