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#158817 - 12/16/11 04:28 PM making your gear smaller if not lighter
twinmike Offline
member

Registered: 03/25/11
Posts: 43
Loc: Holbrook, AZ.
has anyone made a use of space bags concept to compact sleeping bags and clothes even smaller, is the extra weight of the pump down worth the extra space, at home the bag went down to one third the size with the unit from bed bath and beyond but has the same weight of course
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#158818 - 12/16/11 05:01 PM Re: making your gear smaller if not lighter [Re: twinmike]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3297
Loc: Portland, OR
Making gear smaller can be helpful, if it allows you to use a smaller, and therefore lighter pack.

However, if you use a powered unit to pump an item smaller, then the benefit only lasts until you allow it to expand the first time, because you won't have the unit with you on the trail or a way to power it.

An ordinary compression sack adds a small amount of extra weight compared to no sack, or a non-compression sack. That approach is sometimes worth the extra bit of weight and sometimes not, depending on the total package of gear you are working with.

It's a YMMV* situation. (*Your Mileage May Vary)

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#158822 - 12/16/11 06:06 PM Re: making your gear smaller if not lighter [Re: aimless]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6800
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Undue squashing of insulation (i.e. too much compression), particularly sleeping bags and puffy jackets, can cause permanent damage. It also turns the compressed items into rock-like objects that don't conform to your pack. You may be better off to have those items soft, so they squish into the little nooks and crannies of your pack instead of leaving gaps.

It's for this reason that I'm seriously considering returning to a single pack liner instead of using dry bags for individual items. That way I can put my sleeping bag (unstuffed) in the bottom of the liner and put everything else on top. That way the sleeping bag will fill up all the nooks and crannies in the bottom of my pack.

I'll report back later this year on how well this works! EDIT: Oops, make that next year, which is almost here!


Edited by OregonMouse (12/16/11 06:08 PM)
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#158823 - 12/16/11 06:06 PM Re: making your gear smaller if not lighter [Re: twinmike]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2939
Loc: NorCal
You can do this, more or less, using compression stuffsacks. They've gotten lighter recently so might be a way to carry a pack smaller enough to compensate for the stuffsacks' extra weight.

Experienced backpackers acknowledge that gear and especially food expand after one leaves home and unpacks the backpack the first night on the trail. Rule #1: if it barely all fits when you first pack it, it ain't all going back in on day 2.

Cheers,
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#158828 - 12/16/11 08:00 PM Re: making your gear smaller if not lighter [Re: Rick_D]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I tend to put my sleeping bag in a sack, as much for protection as anything else. I have taken to packing my tenting material loose in the backpack (or bike pannier) in order to save weight.

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#158847 - 12/17/11 02:16 AM Re: making your gear smaller if not lighter [Re: Rick_D]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
It usually takes until the third or fourth day to notice any free space in my bear canister.
Duane

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#158861 - 12/17/11 01:26 PM Re: making your gear smaller if not lighter [Re: OregonMouse]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
I'm really with OM here. I own a couple of compression sacks from my earlier, less enlightened (?) days, but consider them evil things now. In fact, I use the very light versions of dry sacks for my sleeping bags, and always size up the dry bag to allow me to stuff the sleeping bag a little *less* when my pack capacity allows that. Similarly, I almost never use the stuff sack provided for insulated jackets or vests, but put them in a larger dry bag or just a gallon or two gallon ziplock bag. Stuff as needed to get the pack to close.

All things being equal I'd rather solve the "limited space" problem through a combination of carrying less stuff in general, and putting more stuff in the external mesh of the pack.
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#158864 - 12/17/11 01:55 PM Re: making your gear smaller if not lighter [Re: hikerduane]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6800
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Duane is right--always put the first 2-3 days' food on top of the bear canister, so you don't have to unpack the whole thing to get tomorrow's breakfast. It could take hours to get everything back inside!
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#160643 - 01/19/12 05:31 PM Re: making your gear smaller if not lighter [Re: OregonMouse]
under10kg Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/19/12
Posts: 14
Loc: Australia
Yes always store your sleeping bag at home not stuffed into a small stuff sack but fully uncompressed.
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#160648 - 01/19/12 06:14 PM Re: making your gear smaller if not lighter [Re: Rick_D]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I can fit all my gear in a 40 liter backpack. When I use a 50 liter, it still all fits, and it takes up most of the pack just the same. Strangely the 40 liter has some room left after packed, also.

It's what you want, actually - a consolidated pack carries better than one that has a loose load that shifts. I let my insulation loft up in the liner and stuff the rest in to take up only the space it needs.
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#160651 - 01/19/12 06:21 PM Re: making your gear smaller if not lighter [Re: under10kg]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 1010
Loc: Australia
This is how I do it.


I use LW stuff sacks (to protect the fragile fabric of some of my gear) that are much larger than needed and let the weight of the rest of the gear compress the soft stuff.
If you use a compression bag, it will take the shape of the bag not necessarily corresponding to the shape of the pack.
The result (commonly referred to as bowling balls effect) is that you have gaps inside the pack.
I took these two shot just to illustrate the idea.
The first has my gear inside three tightly packed stuff sacks with a 4 liter water container on top.
The second shot has the same gear in loose stuff sacks, the 4 liter of water, three bricks (I use them to set up tents in my bedroom...) and that still takes less space.
Obviously you are not going to have food or other stuff as dense as the bricks but you can always use the backpack compression strap to get down to that size.
Franco

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#160742 - 01/21/12 12:38 PM Re: making your gear smaller if not lighter [Re: OregonMouse]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3983
Loc: Bend, Oregon
single pack liner
put a garbage bag inside your pack and fill.
Stuff sacks add weight even light ones.
I use no stuff sacks at all. My gear expands to fill the pack. Of course I do have a 6500 cubuc inch pack. smile Even in the winter I just put my WM bag into the pack, stand on it to push it down in, and then shove the other stuff in on top of it. I never need color coded stuff sacks because I don't carry a lot of stuff to keep sorted out. grin Anything small that could get lost is in the top pocket along with anything that MUST be found, and theres a photon light attached to the top pocket to faciliatate locating the items. When I leave camp evey thing is simply shoved into the pack. If I had to stuff stuff sacks it would take me 3 times longer to pack.
Jim
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These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#160753 - 01/21/12 01:23 PM Re: making your gear smaller if not lighter [Re: Jimshaw]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Hmmm. That's not bad. But if its raining cats and dogs you have to be more careful.

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#160754 - 01/21/12 01:40 PM Re: making your gear smaller if not lighter [Re: Jimshaw]
Rich_M Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 165
Loc: Southern Oregon
All good ideas, just different. That is why I like this forum.

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#160801 - 01/21/12 10:59 PM Re: making your gear smaller if not lighter [Re: OregonMouse]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
REI has a good page on this: How to load a backpack

OM, they also advised putting your uncompressed sleeping bag in the bottom of the pack.

I tried it out this afternoon with a new pack that I received quite unexpectedly and learned a lot in the process. First I came back here and reviewed this thread and then poked around and found that REI page.

Now, I was tempted to take Jim's advice literally and not use a single stuff sack, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it, I did use fewer of them though, and they were loosely filled, and I have to say that it works great. When I was done it looked just like the retail photos of backpacks for sale laugh

More importantly, I noticed when I was unpacking it my sleeping bag was not as compressed as it was in the stuff/compression sack that came with it, even when that sack was fully loosened. The biggest difference I could see was that the backpack looked completely full, but I know I could still get more stuff in it without forcing it.

Franco's demonstration illustrates why perfectly. (That's pretty cool Franco, thank you!)

I'll be looking to get a dry bag for my sleeping bag, like BrianLe uses, and I'll use the heavy duty garbage bag pack liner like Jim uses too. That will work perfect for me here.

Anyway, I want to thank you all because I just put all your experience based advice to use as best I could and it worked out great for me. smile
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#160805 - 01/21/12 11:30 PM Re: making your gear smaller if not lighter [Re: billstephenson]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By billstephenson

I'll be looking to get a dry bag for my sleeping bag, like BrianLe uses.


I've always equated dry bag == heavy.

I just use a silnylon sack, or another garbage bag. when defended by that, as well as a garbage bag liner in the pack, I've actually gone in the water with my backpack, on, goten out, shaken the water out of everything and not had a wet bag.

My standard wet weather rig, is sleeping bag and clothing in a silnyon sack (one for each), in a garbage bag. then everything else in the pack - possibly with the pack lined by a second garbage bag. Such rigging usually survives me getting into camp looking like a giant fat prune after a day long soaking and my gear is still dry and comfy





Edited by phat (01/21/12 11:30 PM)
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#160807 - 01/22/12 12:01 AM Re: making your gear smaller if not lighter [Re: phat]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
Quote:
"I've always equated dry bag == heavy."

There are dry bags and then there are dry bags --- I don't use the heavy rubberized type except for kayaking trips (i.e., when the weight isn't on my back ...). The lighter ones aren't all that bad, and inside an overall pack liner are pretty bullet proof, so even in deep stream crossings, etc I've never had a problem (plus I live in the pacific NW, a notably damp climate overall).

The largest dry bag I have for a sleeping bag is an 18 liter Granite Gear bag, a large fit for for my 10F rated down bag. This dry bag weighs 77g (2.7 oz). More typically I'll use a dry bag that's under 2 oz, and for my summer bag I sprang for a cuben dry bag --- don't recall exact weight, perhaps 1 oz tops. I.e., not that heavy.

Also not as truly waterproof, perhaps; these sort of lighter dry bags will wear over time and become at best "less water proof", but again, inside a yard waste pack liner, it's pretty good protection overall.

As with so many things in the world of backpacking, there's no single "right way" to do it!
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Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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