Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Backpacking: Waterproofing your Gear!

One of the most useful things I learned while in Torres del Paine was the value of waterproofing my backpack. There are basically two ways to go about waterproofing. One is cheaper and easier in the short term but will add up over time and is just generally a hassle. The other is more expensive in the short term but well worth the investment if you plan to continue backpacking. Pick the one that best suits your situation!

OPTION 1: Trash Bags

Take two heavy duty black trash bags and situation them so they line your backpack. Pack all your lose items, by category, into gallon Ziploc bags and put into your backpack's large main compartment. Take your sleeping bag and line the stuff sack with a trash bag and stuff your sleeping bag into it.

OPTION 2: Dry Sacks
Head to your local outdoor store and buy dry sacks. My favorite brand is
Sea to Summit and you can buy a number of their products at REI. I use one sack that goes in my top backpack pouch - this is easily transferable out to my REI flash 18 pack for day hikes. Then I use a several of the Ultra-Sil Dry Sacks to separate the smelly backpacking clothing (socks go into their own plastic bag) from the (less smelly) camp clothing. Lastly my down sleeping bag is kept dry in the eVent compression dry sack.
The third option is to buy a backpack cover and this works just fine if you are confident that your backpacking conditions involve only light rain and mild wind. This was not the case for Patagonia where a backpack cover would have just been a hassle but I'm sure it works perfectly in other conditions.

{recap: I traveled to Chile during the month of February. I was distracted these past few months and am only now getting to post about my experience in South America. Click here to see all my posts about this fantastic Ph.D. Trip}

*images from REI website

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