Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Prudent Prepping: Get Stuffed and Dry Too!

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Now we concentrate on what to do in, and how to plan for, the long term via Prudent Prepping.

In preparation for summer trips, I have been cleaning and organizing my camping gear -- most of which has not been used since last century. (Around the time of the Bush 41 for some, a bit before that for the cold weather stuff.) Everything was stored correctly, out of direct sunlight and kept from extreme heat, but even so there were items that need to be replaced due to being old.

One of the first things I checked were the stuff sacks used for my sleeping bag and rain gear, both of which had the drawstring pull out of the top when I tried them. The sack for my sleeping bag was already a bit suspect, since the waterproof vinyl coating was wearing off. A dry sleeping bag is very important to me since I spent two miserable nights in a soggy down bag several years ago!

Sea to Summit Ultrasil Dry Sack
The replacement sack for my sleeping bag was purchased at my local REI store, as I wanted to touch the bag and see how it closed. What I bought is this:

Ultrasil Dry Sack details:
  • Siliconized on the outside, tough Cordura® nylon is weatherproof, lightweight and durable for hiking and backpacking in wet conditions
  • Polyurethane coating on the inside permits the fabric to be seam taped; waterproof seams are double-stitched and factory-taped for added weather protection
  • Hypalon® watertight roll-top closure keeps contents secure and protected; fold the Hypalon strip down first and make at least 3 rolls before closing the buckle
  • Roll-top fabric sacks are not intended for complete submersion; sensitive electronic devices should be double-bagged or packed in a waterproof hard case for maximum protection
  • Ultra-Sil sacks are designed for use inside a backpack and are not suitable for boating
This sack holds my sleeping bag easily, and is actually waterproof if loaded correctly and the top folded as directed.

REI Lightweight Stuff SackEGGPLANT
My other stuff sack was also purchased from REI, and isn't waterproof since waterproof gear is going to be stored inside.

From the REI website:
  • Strong nylon fabric is coated to provide excellent water repellency 
  • Drawcord opening cinches to secure contents 
  • Bottom haul handle makes it easy to carry the sack and unstuff your bag 
  • Available in a range of color-coded sizes: 5L, 10L, 15L, 20L
My Gore-Tex rain shell and pants fit nicely into this sack, but not anything that could be damaged from getting damp. This bag is water repellent at best and not to be used for critical items; all of my critical gear will be going into waterproof storage bags like the Sea to Summit dry sack or zip top storage bags for smaller items. I've got another 4-8 weeks to prepare my gear (and myself) for a short 'shake down' trip before a longer trip into the Sierras.

The Takeaway
  • Critical gear needs to be tested before use and protected from damage that can hurt you or the item. 
  • Shop for the correct size bags for the gear to be stored. Slightly too big is better than too small. 

The Recap

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If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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