Dry bags

Discussion in 'Gear Talk' started by pawsplus, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    So I have a ton of dry bags, but they are all the kind that are rubberized on the outside, and most are pretty large. They are NOT gonna fit in the itty bitty NDK hatches! It's not just the size--even the smaller ones are hard to get in b/c they are sticky, not slidy, like the Sea to Summit bags. I'm assuming that the Sea to Summit ones are not as 100% dry as my bags are, but the hatches seem very tight on my boat (rolled and surfed for 2 days and no water in there at ALL). so they should be OK.

    How do I figure out from the sizes given on most websites if they will fit? 5L, 10L? Sometimes they give size in inches, but it's not clear if that's diameter when filled or just width when laid flat.

    I'm annoyed that I have to order MORE STUFF, but looks like I do. <sigh> I just have to make sure I get the right sizes. I will make some of my smaller bags do--I will be able to stuff them in if it's just clothes inside. Anything less malleable and it's impossible.

    Planning a 3 night camping trip in April, so need to sort it out by then. Will have to re-do my whole packing procedure, so will need to practice, I think!
     
  2. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Paws:
    You have 'nailed' some of the problems I too have with dry bags - the 'sticky' ones I bought in quantities when I first started paddling, the difficulty getting some bags through the round hatch openings on some boats, lack of clear size information in catalog (aka website) listings, etc.. Also, it's not that easy to pack a group of 'cylinders' - compression sacs - without wasting space.

    Even though the hatch openings are larger on my 'camping' kayak, I still try to use 5L bags when possible. That was the recommendation from Shawna Franklin at Body Boat Blade when we were packing for an overnighter using their NDK boats (Romanys and Pilgrims). The 'problem items' are the sleeping bag and bulky items like synthetic insulated vests or jackets. I also have used some (no longer made) Hyalite Pneumo sacks that have an air valve like a Thermarest pad and pack 'flat'.

    For the down sleeping bag when I had NDK-sized hatches, I used an OutdoorResearch Air Purge 10L compression sack. It fit and I could turn it lengthwise once it was inside the boat. I still use that bag, but had to look for something bigger when I got a synthetic sleeping bag. If you buy one of those OR sacks, make sure it's from a place that offers a good return policy, since the reviews at MEC indicate that the quality may be different in the newer versions.

    I've bought some stuff sacks recently from Ernie Antonchuk in Alberta - excellent prices and he has given me very good service.
    https://geartrade.ecwid.com/Storage-Sacks-Compression-Bags-c26930087
    For a bigger selection, it's MEC, though they really focus on gear for hiking and climbing.
    If you have specific questions about 'packed size' of sacs, I can test a few and post the results here - just ask.
    I'm in the midst of gear re-organizing just now, so things are 'out'. :)

    Good luck with your quest!
     
  3. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    Thanks!
     
  4. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Paws, two thoughts. And sympathy fitting gear through those small hatches.

    1. Vinyl drybags (seem rubberized, but they are typically made of PVC) can be made slippery by regular treatment on the outside only with 303: https://www.goldeagle.com/product/303-aerospace-protectant/ The manufacturer says it is not greasy. Technically correct, but the stuff will make vinyl dry bags feel slippery. And, yes, sea to summit bags are not immersion proof dry bags. I use them for stuff that can get wet without damaging it, like fleece, etc.

    2. Sizing cylindrical dry bags. I hate it that manufacturers do not provide diameter numbers. But here is how to convert "width" figures into diameter: the width of the bag, when flat, is half the circumference when packed full and round.

    circumference = pi x (diameter)

    2 x ( width) = circumference = pi x (diameter)

    diameter = 2 x (width) / pi
     
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  5. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    I have 303-will try that. The huge bags I have will never fit matter what, but I hate to just ditch the smaller ones, and I'd rather get new bags that are truly waterproof like my old ones.

    I can use a big one to put my little portable grill in and bungie it on the deck. So they won't go totally to waste.

    What about my sleeping bag? The compression dry bags that will fit all seem to be the semi-dry bag variety.
     
  6. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Yeah, I somehow ended up with a pair of compression dry bags made of heavy duty coated nylon, complete with vent ports. The ports allow air to be vented during compression, and seal quickly so the whole system cannot expand. Even so, I think they would be too bulky to fit smaller deck hatch portholes. I would have replaced them, bu I cannot find equivalent bags anywhere.

    Those Sea to Summit dry bags are just too light for use in kayaks. I think every one I own has pinholes.
     
  7. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    Ugh. The people who sold me my boat, and ran the symposium I attended, and taught us last weekend, told me my bags were overkill, the NDK boats "never leak," and that the Sea to Summit bags are all she uses! Guess I need to see if I can get my smaller PVC bags into the boat.

    I have tended to just put everything in dry bags, since I had inherited a lot of them, including huge ones. A lot of stuff doesn't really need to stay dry, though (cooking utensils, etc), so I shall re-think that.

    The sleeping bag remains an issue. It's down, but if I put it in a PVC dry bag it will have to be a larger one and I'll never get it in the boat.
     
  8. Kayak Jim

    Kayak Jim Paddler

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    I never rely on any dry bag being 100% dry. For that reason I only travel with synthetics, including my sleeping bag (or wool). It's not just when packed that a down bag could get wet and useless. I have larger hatches but if faced with this problem might choose a lighter synthetic sleeping bag and either an overbag or a fleece liner, in separate smaller bags. (I think this has been discussed previously on this forum).
     
  9. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    Got this sleeping bag for free, and it's a really nice one!
     
  10. Tangler

    Tangler Paddler

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    I gather that back in the day (when Brit style boats had really small hatches) people would put the empty "dry bag" inside that hatch then stuff the sleeping bag into it. Could be messy if wet out...
     
  11. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

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    The trick I do with sleeping bags is to use the compression stuff sack lined with a thick trash bag (like a trash compactor bag). The stuff sack provides mechanical protection, but the trash bag provides waterproofness. like this:

    In wet (as in rainy) areas, I stick to synthetics, as it can be hard to keep things dry.
     
  12. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    It's a good idea to 'go over' the inside of kayak compartments with a good light, a piece of sandpaper, and a light touch with the hand to detect rough spots and glass spikes. Be careful; it's easy to 'stab yourself' when doing this. I have seen some nasty rough and spiky areas in a couple of boats.
    If the inside of the compartment is smooth, I think there's not much wear and tear on dry bags when loading and unloading them at the kayak.
    When outside the boat, the care level for gear varies a lot - usually I see gear going into Ikea carry bags and then directly into a tent, but on occasion I've seen the 'throw them in a pile over there' style as well.
    I can't see myself wearing holes in the Seal Line, Hyalite Pneumo, or Outdoor Research bags I have.
    I do have a couple of MEC 'Nano' bags that don't inspire a lot of confidence, but they are OK so far.
    But, I haven't filled my kayak compartments with water and packed gear either. The only way that's going to happen is if I put a hole in the boat, I think. How often does that happen?

    My older 10L OutdoorResearch 37591 AirPurge Compression Sack has been bombproof, so far, both on hiking and kayak trips...
    If I was concerned, I'd slide it into a thin fabric waterproof bag. In general, I've found over the years that double bagging is more effective than relying on a single seal.

    When I was using the 5L MEC PVC bags, I made some plain ripstop overbags to make them easier to slide into the boat. Adding string or webbing 'pull cords' help to extract them from the ends of the boat.

    My down bag is a lot more likely to get wet by touching a wet tent wall or coming into contact with wet clothing inside the tent during the night than from water in my kayak. And, that's a 'campcraft' issue, nothing to do with kayaking. When I'm deciding whether to take a down or synthetic bag on a trip, it's the possibility of an 'everything getting gradually wet over a week of camping in pounding rain' scenario that's on my mind....not a dry bag leaking.

    Still, it's good to think these things through - pulling out the stuff that's supposed to keep you warm and cozy and finding it sopping wet can be more than unpleasant.
     
  13. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    I don't understand.
    How can the compression sac reduce in volume if the air can't escape through the trash bag?

    The trash bag liner idea works inside a rucksack or a regular non-compression stuff sack, and is an excellent idea. It works better with the thicker plastic bags but they are more bulky.
     
  14. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    I've done the trashcan liner thing, but hate to rely on that. Starting to wish I hadn't sold my cheap synthetic bag!
     
  15. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Some of the most experienced kayak trippers/campers I know always use down bags- they have the skills/routines that keep them dry. Paddled to Alaska, Central coast trips, W. Coast Vancouver Island, etc....
    For summertime kayak trips that aren't 'up north', I wouldn't worry much about using your down bag.
    Also, any synthetic bag that will fit through your NDK hatch (even in a compression sack) is going to be pretty thin.
     
  16. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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    Since I have the same model kayak, I may as well toss in my 2 cents.
    The NDK hatches ARE 100% waterproof. IF you have fixed all the factory leaks. And IF you make sure the hatch covers are on tight all the way around. I hit the hatch cover hard about 8 times moving in a circle. And I usually double check it visually and by feel.
    When I am out for 10-14 days, space is at a premium. And I take extra gear because I am usually solo. So 2 radios etc.
    I take a light synthetic bag and a fleece liner. The two pieces are easier to pack than one thicker sleeping bag. Extra water and the tent fly go into a 20L drybag at my feet. The bow compartment of the PilgrimX holds a lot. Unfortunately I have to pack everything in a very specific order, but if you are camping for a weekend or a handful of days that should't be necessary. Bag & Liner go into rolltop compression sacs, tent etc go in plain compression sacs.
     
  17. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Not an NDK devotee, but Nootka's sleeping rig is one I have used several times, but for a different reason. I sleep warm. Really warm. Such that even a lightweight polyfill bag is sometimes too warm, summers, BC Coast. In which case I sleep under the fleece, only. Or tge bag, only.

    The other advantage to Nootka's method is a degree of redundancy if water sometimes enters one of the bags. Better half a dry sleeping rig rather two wet halves.
     
  18. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    Not sure I could get a big dry bag in the cockpit. The front bulkhead on this boat was custom to Eila Wilkinson's specs, and it's a bit farther back than normal, so less room in the cockpit and more in the front storage compartment. Given my issues with the "Smarty Hatch," I think that anything down near my feet is going to make it impossible to get in and out of the boat. If next weekend's weather is decent, I plan to stuff some bags and see what fits and what doesn't. Ordering a compression bag for the sleeping bag. It's a dry bag but not PVC, but if I line that with a trash bag, that may work. I have 2 10L 1 5L PVC bag, the rest of mine being 15 or 20, so I will see what I can do with the smaller ones. :)
     
  19. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    I think a trash bag liner may prevent the compression bag from squeezing the air out of the sleeping bag. Be interested in how that turns out. It could that some sort of close fitting waterproof bag, such as a Sea to Summit, over the compression sack, may work better.
     
  20. JKA

    JKA Paddler

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    Since discovering Sea to Summit compression drybags my life has changed! My sleeping system is a bivvy bag, down sleeping bag, lightweight inner down bag, and bag liner. That makes two bulky loads.

    Getting them through a small VCP hatch on my Nordkapp has always been a wrestling match, only achieved with lots of swearing. My friends used to consider it spectator sport, and would sometimes come over to watch!

    Their fun is over: the compression bags now make it easy, and putting them inside cheap nylon stuff sacks protect them from abrasion.