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Gear Review: Sea to Summit Big River Dry Sacks

IMG_3392In the past couple months on the road I think I’ve spent more time riding my scooter through rain than I have in the dry – this is clearly reflected in the fact that as time has gone by I’ve invested more and more money in things to keep my stuff dry, since wet gear sucks.

One of my favorite purchases for this trip is the pair of Sea to Summit Big River Dry Sacks I picked up just before leaving, in 13L and 20L sizes. They cost me around $20 each and are one of the best pieces of gear I’ve purchased in years – extremely durable, effective, and simple to use.

IMG_2255Most importantly, they work exactly as designed: they keep stuff dry. This is incredibly impressive when one considers that I’ve put these stuff sacks through direct exposure to heavy rains at 40MPH for hours on end. In these conditions anything that is only “water resistant” gets completely soaked through, and a lot of “waterproof” gear becomes sodden and wet in minutes. These dry sacks have held up, keeping everything inside nice and dry, through some pretty sick soakings. They’ve been caked with mud, deflected gravel, and even been had gasoline spilled on them repeatedly without contaminating whatever’s inside.

I also learned a cool trick that has changed the way I will pack my gear forever – waterproof works both ways. For a week straight, I was packing away a soaking wet tent in the rain in some normal “water resistant” stuff sacks and it was soaking the rest of my dry gear just by being in proximity during the day. After days of opening my giant 120L dry bag to find the inside covered in moisture and my backpack, sleeping bag, and other gear all wet I finally struck upon the idea of sticking my wet tent into my 20L dry sack.


Not only has this prevented my wet tent from “infecting” my other gear, but since the sack is completely airtight there is no mildew or bad smell buildup at all. Even cooler, I can smash the dry sack with my tent inside flat and it will stay flat once sealed up, giving me more easy options for storage than inside a normal round stuff sack that isn’t airtight.

So, what’ve I learned about these dry sacks?IMG_0880
  • They are *tough* and don’t rip or break easily
  • They are legitimately waterproof and airtight to the extreme
  • They are fairly lightweight and compact
  • The shape is adjustable due to being airtight, allowing flat or round packing
  • They work fantastically for storing wet gear next to dry gear without contamination

Honestly, for $20 I don’t see a downside. I won’t be traveling without these again, and absolutely recommend them for anyone but the most picky of ultra-lighters.  They deliver a legitimate value that is rare in the gear industry these days.



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