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View Full Version : Pack Cover vs. Pack Liner



Bster13
2007-04-12, 22:34
Pack Cover:
http://tinyurl.com/2xecpv
3.0oz

Pack Liner:
http://tinyurl.com/2fux5w
1.2oz

I can see benefits of both...the pack cover keeps your entire pack (including the outside) nice and dry and anything stuffed into your mess pockets dry as well. Where as the Pack liner weighs less.

Downside of the pack cover is weight and costs more (especially if u just go with trash bags) and downside of the pack liner is that your pack gets wet and more importantly the sleeping pad u're using to add structure to the pack on the outside in something like a Mariposa pack (http://tinyurl.com/82fx2) gets wet as well.

Thoughts on which way to go?

Also, how durable are the pack liners? Like a think trash bag or better? Hopefully there are more durable than a trash bag to justify their cost in ways other than just the fact that they are fitted to packs unlike a trash bag.

Thanks,

Bryce

SGT Rock
2007-04-12, 23:01
I sort of do both. I like pack liners because the material of the pack helps keep them from getting holes poked into the pack. The down side is the material of the pack can absorb water. Some packs also turn into a bucket so you have a wet pack full of water with bag full of stuff inside you are trying to keep dry.

With a pack cover, you can get water that goes down between your back and the pack cover and soak into your pack from that way. It can also get snags and tears as you put the pack down on rocks or hike through brush. But it also protects the pack itself and the stuff on the outside of the pack (like in the mesh pockets) from getting rained on.

I am personally paranoid about getting stuff wet, so I go in a sort of 4 layer system:

4. Everything goes into sil-nylon stuff sacks. Sil-nylon is virtually water proof too. But the hole you stuff in is a weak point. If water were get around the sack though, it gives better protection than normal nylon sacks would.

3. Those stuff sacks go into a tough trash compactor bag that I use as a pack liner. This thing stands up to use better than other bags. It is also cheap and replacable, so if it does eventually fail I am not getting rid of a sil-nylon liner. Plastic bags like this almost never leak unless you screw up. I just roll the top closed to seal this bag.

2. My "pack" is sil nylon and I use a highly water resistant pad as part of the pack system and this normally completly covers the liner and even overlaps itself. If water makes it past layer 1, then it also has to make it past this one to get to the pack liner.

1. A packa rain jacket. The beauty of this rain jacket (besides being waterproof and well ventilated) is that it covers the pack and the straps as well. As mentioned before, water can leak into the pack with a normal cover as it runs down your jacket and gets between the pack cover and the jacket. Add to that the jacket/cover system leaves the straps exposed so they get soaked through too - and since most are padded, they can end up like a couple of wet sponges. With the packa all the suspension system is under the cover with you too. Another thing about this system which has great pit zips is the the fact the pack straps do not cut off air flow. See, you could have a pack on over a normal jacket, and simply by design the pit vents get isolated from the air flow of the rest of the jacket because the shoulder straps and waist belt cut off the flow from the rest of the torso - so you have isolated pockets of body heated warm air all over your body. With the packa there is no issue except where you always have it with an internal frame pack - against your back.

I hope all that makes sense. I know it sounds a little overdone, but it works.

Take-a-knee
2007-04-12, 23:20
Sounds pretty smart to me Rock, you turned me on to compacter bags a long time ago, they are lighter than anything made of nylon. I plan to order one of those gear hammocks from JRB (in orange, so I don't get shot at...in my own country). I've seen that Packa thing, you and Just Jeff both like it so it must be worthwhile. I figured if it is cool enough for an actual raintop I'd just wear my raingear, right now I'm using the marmot precip, I didn't know about the Frogg Toggs when I bought them. If it is too hot for a rain top I'll just throw the rear of my poncho over my pack like I've done for thirty years now.

SGT Rock
2007-04-12, 23:22
Good mention Take a knee. The poncho is another system for a rain top that allows you to cover the pack too.

Bster13
2007-04-12, 23:35
at $100+ for the packa I guess I'll be gunning for a poncho too, ahah. But it poses another interesting question...I realize a rain jacket is generally regarded as better for protecting the body from rain, the poncho (obviously) protects the pack better....and I guess I'm not willing to pay 100 bucks yet for a packa, argh! :p

dropkick
2007-04-13, 01:07
I do almost the same thing as Rock, I just use a few different items.
I use the compactor bag liner, but then instead of silnylon stuff sacks I mainly use food and bread bags for individual items.

These are 1 gallon sized, twist tie closing, thin plastic bags that you can find at almost any grocery store. They are lightweight but in my estimation work better than zip lock bags and in many cases are less likely to burst.

I do individual packing in plastic bags not so much to protect the items from rain as to protect them from each other.

-When I was young and in Boyscouts, for some reason only known to prepubescent boys (and long since forgotten) I decided to bring along a bottle of Hi-Karate on a camping trip. It broke and soaked everything in my pack. I spent the weekend recking of the stuff - and contrary to the t.v. ads I didn't have to fight off the women.
It was a hard won lesson and one that I've never forgotten.

If it starts raining while I'm hiking I toss my poncho on myself and over my pack (I keep it tied to the top of the pack if it looks like rain).
I don't have a poncho specifically designed for covering a pack but the one I have does a good enough job keeping things dry.

I also carry a lawn and leaf bag for covering my pack if I decide to go somewhere with my poncho and leave it behind.
-The bag also occasionally doubles as something dry to sit on.

I've thought about going higher tech in the things I use to do this, but it has worked for many years and I'm happy with it until I find a great sale on stuff sacks and possibly a new poncho.

Take-a-knee
2007-04-13, 01:17
BSTER, IMO the poncho vs rain gear thing is all about temperature. If I'm carrying a pack, it has to be really cool and or windy not to get lathered up walking with raingear on. If it is warm enough for shorts, it is probably warm enough to just use a poncho, your legs will get wet with the poncho anyway. Get a silnylon poncho that has an extention in the rear. As for raingear, a lot of guys on Whiteblaze like the FrogToggs, and they are light enough you can carry both those and the poncho. I have a pair of side-zip Marmot Precip Pants that I like a lot, they breath MUCH better than Goretex. They will go on and off over boots, if you use shoes instead of boots, you can probably get by with the knee zip versions and save a few ounces.

JAK
2007-04-13, 06:32
I tend to use lots of plastic bags for everything. Should probably weigh them.

Something to keep an eye on also is that some clothing systems don't need quite as much rain protection as others. The system I like is based around wearing a wool sweater all the time, heavier in winter, lighter but more water resistant in Spring and Fall like a fishermen's jersey. The wool never gets soaked or takes up space if it stays on. The other layers then tend to be very light and packable, and don't absorb alot of water anyways even if they do get wet. For wind/rain gear I opt for whatever is lightest and cheapest for pants and top as long as it keeps most of the rain and wind out, and then a sylnylon poncho/tarp. I do like wearing over the pack. The sleeping bag is the only real concern. I use a plastic bag, sometimes two, but still mess up now and then. I don't use a stuff sack but just pack it last to take up the remaining space. Perhaps a stuff sack is needed, not totally compressed, but just a little.

Bster13
2007-04-13, 09:48
Another worry about a poncho that popped into my head is that I consider my Mountain Hardware Epic rain jacket another layer...although a very thin layer, it should provide some wind protection (right?), where as a poncho doesn't give u that added benefit, right?

Take-a-knee
2007-04-13, 10:20
If it is really windy, you'll look like a clipper ship with a poncho. The weight of a silnylon poncho (ten or so ounces) is light enough I'm willing to carry it and lightweight raingear. In the summer months, and late spring and early fall in the south, a poncho is the only raingear that won't overheat you.

Kea
2007-04-13, 10:31
Thoughts on which way to go?

I took Jim Woods' advice on this.

I have a pack cover, which is only good when it is on the pack and does nothing for submersion accidents. My absolute critical gear is in Granite Gear Dry Bags, and I line my pack with a garbage bag. Other items are compartmentalized in smaller bags inside the liner.

In fact, given what happened on my first trip, there might not be enough garbage bags....

deadeye
2007-04-13, 10:44
I go the multiple layer route as well. Most items are in silnylon stuff sacks, critical items (sleeping bags, clothes) then in plastic bags, and a pack cover. My pack covers are either silnylon or Hefty garbage bags, and some of my packs are silnylon as well. Where my set-up is a bit different is that I use an umbrella instead of a poncho, but the effect is the same: not much rain actually falls on my pack, and there's no rain between the pack and my back. This set-up kept me and my stuff dry through Katrina.

Kea
2007-04-13, 17:16
Where my set-up is a bit different is that I use an umbrella instead of a poncho, but the effect is the same: not much rain actually falls on my pack, and there's no rain between the pack and my back. This set-up kept me and my stuff dry through Katrina.

Oh yes! I have a gaudy, pink and orange umbrella. Love it. Buys me time to get somewhere to put the pack cover on. Also pretects me from the sun.

Oh, and you can use it to hide behind while you pee.

deadeye
2007-04-14, 04:55
I'm too dumb to know if I just got flamed, but I'll admit to getting some strange looks with the umbrella. More than once I've had people tell me they've read about them, but never seen anyone actually use them. I love 'em and won't go without now. The trick is to hold the handle lightly so that it will spin in your hand if it snags a tree, hum, and skip just a little.:aetsch:

Frolicking Dino
2007-04-14, 06:32
I've gone to the new ziploc big bags (http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.ziploc.com/big-bags/&sa=X&oi=smap&resnum=1&ct=result&cd=4&usg=__o21S2tlZsW916lGR2Abvaqay1cs=) as inner bags. While this may be overkill for most, I'm more proned than most to fall while crossing a stream so a submersion scenario is more likely. These bags seal so my down and dry camp clothes stay dry. A second advantage - if I have to pack out a wet, muddy tent and/ or clothes - these bags keep the mud / water off my other gear. Finally, they make one heck of a kitchen sink / bath tub / laundry tub.

Kea
2007-04-14, 10:16
I'm too dumb to know if I just got flamed, but I'll admit to getting some strange looks with the umbrella. More than once I've had people tell me they've read about them, but never seen anyone actually use them. I love 'em and won't go without now. The trick is to hold the handle lightly so that it will spin in your hand if it snags a tree, hum, and skip just a little.:aetsch:

Oh no. I really do have a gaudy pink and orange umbrella that I carry. At first, I was mocked for the color, and then because it wasn't made of titanium, and then because it would occasionally snag on the trees.

Then it started to rain and I got whined at because it wasn't big enough for 2.... :aetsch:

(After that, no one dared to mock me because of the martial arts fan.....)

On this issue, Ray Jardine was spot on. :) :) :)

deadeye
2007-04-14, 13:07
Fair enough - mine wasn't pink, but had lots of flowers and leaves. It was often inquired about. Who want's to spend all day walking under a black umbrella?

My wife convinced me to get a red one. Didn't take much convincing! I digress, the point is to use a light or bright color so it's not gloomy underneath (helps you find it or not lose it in the first place, too). The bit about holding it loosely (as loose as the wind will allow) was also valid. If you carry it with an iron grip, you'll get tired, and there will be no give if you catch a branch.

Kea
2007-04-14, 21:33
Fair enough - mine wasn't pink, but had lots of flowers and leaves. It was often inquired about. Who want's to spend all day walking under a black umbrella?

My wife convinced me to get a red one. Didn't take much convincing! I digress, the point is to use a light or bright color so it's not gloomy underneath (helps you find it or not lose it in the first place, too). The bit about holding it loosely (as loose as the wind will allow) was also valid. If you carry it with an iron grip, you'll get tired, and there will be no give if you catch a branch.

I selected the one I have because it is way gaudy and easy to see. I always figured that I could use it for emergency marking/signalling in a pinch. Mine sees a lot of action as a sun shade.

dropkick
2007-04-15, 00:37
I just go with a straw cowboy hat.
Works good as a sunshade.
While I don't get the air on top of my head, I don't have to hold it, and when I get it wet it works as a mini swamp cooler.
Due to the holes in it, it doesn't keep my head completely dry in a rainstorm, but it does good enough for me.
- I do have a plastic cover I can use on it to make it completely rainproof but I very seldom use it.
Plus, (especially if I line it with a shirt or whatever) it can help keep me warm.
Don't think it would work good for signaling though (maybe if I set it on fire?)

TeeDee
2007-04-15, 21:13
Before you rely on silnylon stuff sacks too much read this:

http://jwbasecamp.com/Articles/DryGear/index.html

Silnylon and stuff sacks made of the stuff isn't all the vendors want you to believe it is.

pure_mahem
2007-04-24, 23:20
Before you rely on silnylon stuff sacks too much read this:

http://jwbasecamp.com/Articles/DryGear/index.html

Silnylon and stuff sacks made of the stuff isn't all the vendors want you to believe it is.
While I can see your point which were pointed out in this article, I also find a major flaw with their test in the way that one would use silnylon on the trail it is never under the kind of pressure where it would actually have to hold water. Unless of course your going to use your stuff sack as a water bladder.:sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep:

Kea
2007-04-25, 09:42
While I can see your point which were pointed out in this article, I also find a major flaw with their test in the way that one would use silnylon on the trail it is never under the kind of pressure where it would actually have to hold water. Unless of course your going to use your stuff sack as a water bladder.:sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep:

His supposition is based around your pack falling into the water and becoming immersed. I'm carrying everything that must be dry in drybags now, and still using silnylon for the stuff that doesn't matter.

SGT Rock
2007-04-25, 12:05
You know, I have seen people actually carry water in sil-nylon sacks. I think for a short term immersion or no pressure applications it would serve well as one barrier in a layered approach.

pure_mahem
2007-04-26, 19:46
I think a better test would be to put an absolutely dry piece of newspaper inside a seam sealed silnylon sack and dunk it like a tea bag or just submerse the sack in water. Then see if the newspaper ends up wet. I believe there is a severe presure difference in keeping water out and holding water inside the sack I really don't believe that silnylon was designed to hold the water under that type of pressure verses just having the water sit on the outside of the fabric. After all if you fill a silnylon sack with water and have the waters weight now stretching the fibers to hold the water under stress it only seams logical that it would difuse through the fabric after all its not plastic it's a waterproof outdoor fabric if it was meant to be used for diving they would probably make wet suits out of it! Not trying to be a jerk but don't expect to get something out of a product that it wasn't designed to do. It's like trying to use a blender as a rockcrusher!

Take-a-knee
2007-04-26, 20:42
Good points Mayhem, I would add that just setting your pack under a sprinkler for several hours would be a more realistic test for an AT hiker, if your newspaper is still dry, you should be good to go. I just bought a couple of those rolltop/drybags that Sea to Summit makes, I plan to put them inside a compactor bag, we'll see how it works.