Those of us whom spend much of our time in the great outdoors invest a great deal of effort into reducing the weight of our packs.
It’s not just a pride thing, either. A heavy pack creates discomfort, so reducing pack weight matters.
The frustrating thing is that, no matter how much you reduce the weight of your pack, heavy and/or persistent rainfall can drastically increase the weight you’re carrying.
Most fabrics – including those used to produce your sleeping bag, your clothing, and even your rucksack itself – can all absorb water, drastically increasing their weight.
What we need is a way of keeping our equipment dry, so that it never absorbs water and, of course, never gains weight.
Something that doesn’t add any appreciable pack weight, while preventing your gear from getting wet.
What we need is a Drybag
As the name suggests – and I’m sure most of you reading this already know – a Drybag keeps any items contained within… dry.
Items go inside, then the opening is folded a minimum of three times to create a waterproof seal. Since the fabric itself is waterproof, rain cannot get inside, and everything remains dry.
Simple Drybags are readily available from any half-decent outdoor retailer, and of course online.
Some are heavier than others, and its up to you to balance heavy-duty with light-weight to suit your personal requirements.
Exped produce quality Drybags in a range of sizes, which can be bought individually, or (as with the Amazon links provided here) as a multi-pack containing one of each size.
They also produce them both in vibrant, distinct colours; or as the OD Green popular with many outdoor enthusiasts these days.
Exped also produce Ultralight Drybags, weighing significantly less than their heavy-duty counterparts, while providing total waterproofing to items contained within.
These can be purchased either individually, or as a pack containing one of each size. However, I have been unable to find the Ultralight Drybags in the ubiquitous OD Green to which so many outdoor enthusiasts are accustomed.
From Dry, to Compact
It’s all well and good having a pack full of nice, dry, unencumbered gear; however, typical Drybags can very easily take up more space than they need.
Yes, to some extent you can squeeze the air out of the bag before sealing it, but this involves kneeling or sitting on the dry bag, which in turn can lead to breakages.
Not just a broken Drybag, either, but potentially the gear within it.
Additionally, even if you’re safely able to squeeze the air out of a Drybag, you’re limited to the shape and size it will become.
Generally, they will compress to a flat, but long and wide “pancake” shape.
Pancakes may not be the best fit for your pack.
This is where Compressible Drybags offer a massive advantage.
Compressible Drybags come in two distinct varieties, making it easy to optimize the compressed shape of your individual Drybags to best fit your pack.
These varieties are known as “Horizontal Compression” and “Telecompression”.
Horizontal Compression Drybags compress around the diameter of their roll, making them longer, but thinner.
These are ideal for the Small- and Medium-Sized Drybags, used for items such as smaller (summer) sleeping bags, changes of clothing, and food ration packs.
Telecompression Drybags are more useful for larger/bulkier items such as heavy (winter) sleeping bags, thicker outer clothing layers etc.
Telecompression Drybags compress vertically, creating a shorter, fatter “ball” shape. This has served me well for sleeping bags when packing them into a dedicated sleep compartment on my pack.
Compressible Drybags provide a “drain plug,” through which all of the air inside the Drybag can be removed.
This helps to further reduce the amount of space each Drybag consumes within your pack, since you’ll no longer be wasting space carrying air around with you.
You can even use a vacuum cleaner or pump to ensure that the maximum amount of air is removed from each Drybag.
The following links (from Large on the left, to Small on the right) are for Exped’s Horizontal Compression Drybags on Amazon.
I personally have two of the Large, two of the Medium, and 4 of the Small in my collection. They have served me extremely well for almost a year thus far.
The following links (from Large on the left to Small on the right) are for Exped’s Telecompression Drybags on Amazon.
At the time of writing this, I personally own two of the Large and two of the Medium Telecompression Drybags. Again, these have served me extremely well for almost 12 months.
Please enjoy my YouTube video on this subject, discussing and demonstrating Compressible Drybags in action.
I consider these to be very high on my list of “essential equipment” for all outdoor enthusiasts, especially if you live within a climate prone to heavy rainfall.
Compressible Drybags provide the perfect solution not only for keeping your gear dry (and therefore light), but reducing the amount of space your gear consumes inside your pack.