View Full Version : Material for Food Bags

09-03-2010, 14:06
I know I am making this all harder than it needs to be. Really. But its what I do. I tried to do a search on this before starting this thread and didnt find the answers I was looking for. I apologize for multiple threads/postings as I have had a few private messages telling me not to start so many threads. I have been reading articles and have several books, but sometimes this is just the easiedt way to get input. So...

Food bags...do they need to be waterproof? What size is most common for carryng food?

I exchanged the big giant sacks I just bought for a couple of smaller ones but only one of them os completely water proof.


09-03-2010, 14:18
Silnylon, you can make your own, seam seal, add a pull tie and you're all set. Fast, cheap, and the size you want, without the weight!

Otherwise, a dry bag is nice, they have new ultralight ones....


09-03-2010, 14:19
Most common size?

Pedaling Fool
09-03-2010, 14:29
...I have had a few private messages telling me not to start so many threads....
Ignore them, I finally just let my box fill up and haven't cleaned it since.

I just use normal nylon bags ranging in size of about 8" x 11" (give or take). Since I keep everything in plastic bags no need to have a waterproof foodbag. Don't waste money on those odor-free bags either, because with all the food handling the bags will get an odor on the outside that can be detected by animals.

I have about 3 food bags, but I like to stay away from town for longer than the average hiker (3-5 day town visits), but how much you need is determined by the amount of food you take between town visits. Practice hikes are the best way to figure out your needs.

09-03-2010, 14:49
My favourite bag for awhile was a breathable white nylon bag that came with my sleeping bag. It wasn't the stuff sack but a bigger one that allowed you to store it away uncompressed. The white nylon made it easier to put you head inside and see stuff.

I think breathable is generally the way to go, because it is lighter, and seems like it would stay cleaner. Sylnylon might be a better choice for hanging, to keep it waterproof and to keep the smells down. Still, I really liked the feel of the white breathable nylon. You could still have a plastic bag inside for hanging.

09-03-2010, 14:56
One way I did research before I hiked was to go to trail journals and find woman in my age group and look at their gear lists, also look at the last of their entries to see if they did a gear review. I found those really helpful.
As to a food bag, waterproof is nice if you are hanging your food but you can always have the food in ziplocks inside a non-waterproof bag. I finally realized that I never eat/want dinner the first 3-4 days, just tea and maybe some crackers and cheese.I am not hungry after walking all day. I do like my breakfast tho.

09-03-2010, 15:01
I went and looked and for 4-5 days I use a 4L Sea to Summit dry sack crammed full. That will include 2 dinners just in case or I can have one for lunch.

09-03-2010, 15:12
Increasingly I like to use natural materials. Not so much because they perform better or are better for the environment, but more because they have a little more character. If you are going to be out there alone for sometime it's nice to bring a few friends along. Something made of thin leather, or birch bark, or woven straw, has a much better chance of becoming friendly over time than a white plastic kitchen bag or nylon stuff sack. Sure their sexy, but you gotta think long term relationship.

09-03-2010, 15:15
You can also stuff a huge clarinet full of small snacks :)

09-03-2010, 15:23
I just bought a couple of these in size S and M. Either will be plenty big for an AT food bag. You usually only carry 3 or 4 days of food. These allow air to escape, thus closing them is easier, but they are waterproof. Added benefit to this type of closure is that it makes a handle that can be used for hanging.

09-03-2010, 15:24
Guess I should have given the link.


09-03-2010, 15:30
You can also stuff a huge clarinet full of small snacks :)I remember in grade 7 a friend forgot his spoon for his chocolate pudding, so he used the mouthpiece of his bass instrument as a straw. I think it was a trumpet. Then I should him how to make a spoon out of the pudding lid.

09-03-2010, 15:32
I thought I was pretty clever at the time, but he's the one that learned to play the trumpet, and all I do is stuff like making spoons out of pudding lids and writing about it on the internet.

09-03-2010, 15:35
I use an old sleeping bag stuffsack which is no longer waterproof (the inside coating peeled off long ago. It is 6.5 inches in diam. and 14" tall. I used a larger one for the Hundred Mile Wilderness, but I use this one almost all the time for trips up to 4 days without resupply (I intended to spend 8-9 days in the "Wilderness").
The reasos I use this bag are:
1) Because it's old and otherwise worthless
2) Because it fits my Evernew 1.3 liter pot perfectly in the bottom (btw, this is how I pack it - stove and windscreen plus condiments in pot, pot in bottom of bag, and all food [in zip-lock bags] on top).
Since the cookset always has some lingering food smells I always hang it with my food (as well as my Gatorade bottle).

If you use a waterproof bag that has a grab loop on the bottom, hang it upside-down by the grab loop and water running down the "bear bag" line won't run into the sack.

Doc Mike
09-03-2010, 15:38
This thread was just done about two weeks ago. I know because i started it. If you want I can show you how to use the search feature. I know it helped me when I started using it.

Doc Mike

09-03-2010, 15:51
14-15L sil-nylon bag.

There are some bags made out of much heavier material which is complete overkill and way too heavy.

Start thinking in "ounces" now. Once you begin your thru hike you'll understand why.

singing wind
09-03-2010, 23:46
Waterproof bags - they're ok, but not really necessary. Just about anything will do.

Recently I took a nylon jacket found for less than $1 at a 2nd-hand shop and sewed it into a larger size stuff sack. The material was water resistant and a plastic grocery bag takes care of the rest. Size: the new bag was constructed keeping in mind the size I need to hold all my food + stove + anything I would not want a bear or other animal to access. YMMV.

I have also used those fabric grocery bags that stores provide in lieu of plastic bags - just be sure to reinforce the handle connections with a few extra stitches before use! :)

When hanging food sacks I find it especially helps to put a plastic bag over the sack (grocery store plastic variety works well) before stringing it up for the night.

Good luck with your research!

Country Roads
09-05-2010, 20:57
I use a 9 x 18 or 10 x 20 silnylon bag. I can haul 4 or 5 days of food in one (with careful planning). I like the silnylon because when the smaller critters run out the food cables and jump for the bag, they usually slip off since the silnylon is slippery (unless they manage to snag the cord). I put stuff in plastic bags or use a large, 2 gallon zip lock or slide lock bag. For shorter trips, I use a roll top bag (the round bottom, light green one) from outdoor products, which comes as a 3 piece set at walmart. It repels water but does not seem to be totally water proof. The roll top bags are easier to slip over the hooks of the bear poles in Shenandoah NP too.
I think Granite Gear makes a roll top bag in Cuben Fiber that is water proof and very light.