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Food Bag and Clothes Bag for 10-day to two week backpacking trip

Hi.  I an gearing up for many section hikes of the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the coming 5-7 years.  These hikes will be from 10 - 20 days in length (estimate) with mail drops every 5 days or so for food.  Initially, these section hikes will occur in May and September in these states: Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.  I will probably hike Vermont and New Hampshire in August, Maine in late-August and early September (based on current plans).  I am more traditional in thought regarding equipment and weight (i.e. not a ultra light hiker).

I have a new pack (yeah) which is to arrive soon (REI Traverse 70, green, from the Used store)!  Now, I need to purchase some dry bags to keep my clothes and food.  I'm planning to purchase the Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sacks from REI (they are on sale now).  I was thinking of a 13 L bag for clothes and 20 L bag for food.  If these are too big, at least I can compress them when rolling up and "locking" the bag.

Any thoughts on the size of the Dry Sack for the clothes and food, based on the 10-20 days of hiking mentioned in my plan statement above?

Much thanks!!!

21 Replies

@SurvivalGal   There is always a first time...I didn't say ziplocks were not useful.  I said I have had them fail enough that I would not trust them as the only thing to keep non waterproof electronics protected and for that use I recommend looking for something better! 

And you haven't addressed how wrapping a sleeping bag in a poncho tarp works on a rainy day when your tarp starts wet and then you want to wear it as a poncho... The rainy day scenario is the primary reason for putting a sleeping bag inside something waterproof for most people.




Ah! Good question, but I'll do you one better: How do you keep yourself, your pack AND your sleeping bag dry in the rain with a combination hammock/tarp/poncho like mine. Obviously, there are limits to what ANY single piece of gear can do, even multi-use items can generally be used for only one purpose at a time (just look at the typical multi-tool or Swiss Army knife).

So, I still bring an ultralight rain layer/shell and a pack rain cover. The intent behind a multi-use item is NOT to have it do ALL things at the same time, but to have fewer things in your pack to help keep base weight down.

If there may be water crossings, I wrap my sleeping bag as I described above (my sleep AND shelter systems are small enough to fit into my sleeping bag compartment (a Gregory 70ltr Deva)) . Otherwise, I keep them separate so I can sling the hammock up, or lay the tarp down, easily for a quick rest.

If there is a light rain, I just use my rain layer and rain cover. However, ALL ultralight layers, and covers, WILL "wet through" in heavy rain eventually. THAT'S where the poncho comes in. I ordered my poncho longer in the back so it covers me and my pack including the sleeping bag compartment (in case you missed it, there's your answer). If there is a heavy rain, I doubt you would want to do a water crossing!!

I generally happen to prefer a hammock to a tent, so this suits me just fine. But whether there's [light] rain or not, I still use an ultralight tarp over the top (partly for privacy, but also to keep bugs, wind, and falling objects off me). If there's heavy rain, I also use a 2mm thick plastic tarp over everything. Other than a sleeping pad, that's essentially my whole system. And yes, as I mentioned in another post, I've had it in torrential downpours, high winds and freezing temperatures and it has NEVER failed me!

And BTW, in addition to the rough treatment I put to my plastic Zip-Lock freezer bags, as I described above, I use them SEVERAL times that way and they STILL don't fail! (let alone in the way you insist!!)


... Oh! Thank you... Too kind... Thank you very much... Oh, and flowers!...