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  1. #1
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    Default Pack cover - worth it or don't bother?

    I'm sure there's a thread out there but haven't seen one. Just trying to get some feedback regarding the use of a waterproof pack cover for a thru. Worth it or just go with waterproof stuff sacks and a trash compactor bag as a liner? BTW & if it makes any difference, will be carrying a new Osprey Ariel SOBO. Thanks.


    "Dear Lord, if you pick em up, Ill put em down."

  2. #2
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    trash bag. should save you about $20. they have multiple uses. always be keen about multi-use gear you can find around the house. saves money, and more importantly, weight.

  3. #3
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    Default Pack cover - worth it or don't bother?

    I use a cuben fiber pack cover. If I think it's gonna rain a whole lot I'll double up with a trash bag liner as well.

  4. #4
    83.9% complete Berserker's Avatar
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    I think the general answer you'll get is that if you are using waterproof stuff sacks and a trash compactor bag inside your pack, then you don't need a pack cover. Me personally, I use a trash compactor bag inside my pack, and I still use a pack cover. I use the pack cover because I don't want the material on my pack to get saturated with water. It's not a big deal if it does, but it makes it heavier and takes a while to dry out. So the 4 extra ounces for a sil pack cover is worth it to me.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Berserker View Post
    I think the general answer you'll get is that if you are using waterproof stuff sacks and a trash compactor bag inside your pack, then you don't need a pack cover. Me personally, I use a trash compactor bag inside my pack, and I still use a pack cover. I use the pack cover because I don't want the material on my pack to get saturated with water. It's not a big deal if it does, but it makes it heavier and takes a while to dry out. So the 4 extra ounces for a sil pack cover is worth it to me.

    Me too! Worth it to me, can you do without the cover? Sure
    Don't Die Before You've Had A Chance To Live!

  6. #6
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    "I'm sure there's a thread out there but haven't seen one."
    Please understand that I mean no negative implications in this (such communcation can be perilous over the internet), but I wonder if whiteblaze could use some "new member" process that sort of pushes some basic search information at folks?
    I admit that the whiteblaze built-in search isn't all that good sometimes; a domain-constrained search using a site like Google, however, makes it pretty fast to do such a search.

    At any rate, here are a couple of such threads:
    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/show...32-pack-covers
    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/show...er#post1161583
    Gadget
    PCT: 2008 NOBO, AT: 2010 NOBO, CDT: 2011 SOBO, PNT: 2014+2016

  7. #7
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    Hmm, and maybe I should add my own 2 cents too! :-)

    My feeling is that people debate the utility of pack covers in part based on personal experience, and in particular, based on the type of places they tend to hike. In the Northwest, I didn't used to use a pack cover as a poncho did double+ duty. On the AT, however, I had several days of warm rain where a person might want the pack to stay dry but not wear any rain gear. That essentially never happens in my "home ground" backpacking areas.
    Then there are situations where I need to strap things external to my pack, most typically ice axe, snow shoes, crampons, etc. These things really don't coexist well with pack covers, and perhaps for some folks the fact that they sometimes have to deal without one means they just get used to the pack liner being all they use.

    On the CDT last year I liked having a cuben pack cover. I wouldn't bring one on the PCT, but found a pack cover worth carrying on the AT. So it's situational for me.
    Gadget
    PCT: 2008 NOBO, AT: 2010 NOBO, CDT: 2011 SOBO, PNT: 2014+2016

  8. #8
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    It seems needlessly redundant to me. On the other hand, if the pack is designed to be breathable, it might make sense. I have a Jam2, which is very waterproof. A downside of this is that some things are going to be damp, or even wet, when you pack them away. A large mesh pocket would help, but the Jam2 doesn`t have that feature. The other way to go might be an all mesh, or highly breathable pack, and a light rain cover, or oversized rain poncho.

    The 6 pound overbuilt pack I have gotten rid of was the worst of both world. It didn`t breathe well, but it wasn`t waterproof either, and it had an overbuilt built in pack cover that added alot of weight, and took up space, and held alot of moisture itself because of the extra surface area. Keep it simple.

    Less stuff. Less wetness.

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    It depends on how you pack your pack. I put my food for the day in the back mesh pocket. Since I access that every hour, having a pack cover would be very tedious. If ULA made bigger hip belt pockets, that's where I'd keep my food, and a pack cover might actually be feasible.

    That said, I am currently using a poncho for the rain. That already covers my pack. I also usually carry an umbrella for the sun, and when combined with the poncho, does a great job of keeping my upper half and pack dry. I still use a trash bag and a pack liner though, if only because it keeps my stuff dry if I put my pack in a puddle or drop it in a creek.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianLe View Post
    Please understand that I mean no negative implications in this (such communcation can be perilous over the internet), but I wonder if whiteblaze could use some "new member" process that sort of pushes some basic search information at folks?
    I admit that the whiteblaze built-in search isn't all that good sometimes; a domain-constrained search using a site like Google, however, makes it pretty fast to do such a search.

    At any rate, here are a couple of such threads:
    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/show...32-pack-covers
    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/show...er#post1161583
    Thank you very much. some great info on this thread as well as the previous ones you referenced. I have to admit that I haven't had the best of luck searching on Whiteblaze so your patience and direction is much appreciated.

  11. #11

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    I have a Packa. It's a rain jacket + pack cover for 20 oz. I never hike without it.

  12. #12
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    I'd rather have the extra few ounces in another layer of protection than the few ounces be in water. I'll be using a pack cover, trash bag as a liner, and dry sacks/Ziplocs for some important things.

  13. #13
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    Another vote for pack cover here. I use a cuben liner and pack cover for a combined weight of about 3 oz. I think the weight penalty is worth it to make sure my gear stays dry.

  14. #14
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    My pack cover is bright orange, so during hunting season it doubles as a safety feature.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Berserker View Post
    I think the general answer you'll get is that if you are using waterproof stuff sacks and a trash compactor bag inside your pack, then you don't need a pack cover. Me personally, I use a trash compactor bag inside my pack, and I still use a pack cover. I use the pack cover because I don't want the material on my pack to get saturated with water. It's not a big deal if it does, but it makes it heavier and takes a while to dry out. So the 4 extra ounces for a sil pack cover is worth it to me.
    A pack cover goes with me on every trip and it's a valuable piece of gear when you don't feel like dry bagging every single piece of gear you own. The top lid of my pack houses many items tightly packed together and these would be nearly impossible to arrange in one big stuff sac or many smaller sacks, so the pack cover is used instead.

    More important than a pack cover is how a person hikes in the rain. I have different techniques to stay dry in a downpour and one of them is to eyeball the sky and figure the deluge level and set up camp instead of hiking all day in the stuff. This is called a short day or if occurring in the morning, a zero day. Yes, zero days can be spent in the tent on the trail and it's allowed. No zero days in a motel for me.

    Another point---a pack cover is vital in the winter unless you want your pack to get wet and then frozen---we're talking frozen webbing and frozen zippers and fabric. Keeping wet snow off pack fabric is pretty dang important.

  16. #16
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    never owned one, never felt the need for one.

  17. #17

    Default Pack cover - worth it or don't bother?

    As said before. I know my backpack is waterproof. It rained three days ago and it's still holding water. Anyway. Skip the cover. Use a trash bag and roll on.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by heavyfoot View Post
    I have a Packa. It's a rain jacket + pack cover for 20 oz. I never hike without it.
    Heavyfoot---thanks for the plug, but it has been 10 years since I sold a Packa that weighs 20 oz. The current nylon Packas weigh slightly less than 13 oz.
    Cedar Tree

  19. #19

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    There are very few actual water proof backpacks out there. The only ones I can think of are the ones that is essentially a frame that holds a dry sack, such as the ULA Epic. There are a number of packs out there that are fairly water resistant, but water proof...not hardly. Two of my packs are made of cuben fiber, which happens to be a completely 100% waterproof material, however the pack is sewn and it is at these areas that the pack loses it's ability to be waterproof and then just becomes water resistant.

    Due to this fact, alot of people decide not to carry a pack cover. Many of the seams on a pack are at the back panel, where the pack cover does absolutely 100% no good. Water runs down your back and soaks into the material of the pack (if the material will hold water) and eventually through the seams and then there it is, right inside the pack.

    To defeat this, some people use a liner inside their pack, or simply dry sacks to keep certain gear in (sleeping bags & clothes, namely). This saves them the weight of a "useless" pack cover and still protects their precious gear inside their pack.

    Then there are people that use both. I am happy and surprised to see that a few users here in fact do this.

    Of course both my liner and my pack cover for my ZPacks (cuben fiber) Blast 30 backpack are made of cuben fiber. The liner weighs 1.9 oz and my pack cover weighs 1.2 oz. So, I have a combined weight of 3.1 oz for liner and cover. This is less than the weight of many conventional pack covers on the market today and only slightly heavier than a trash compactor bag (average of 2.2 oz). However, my cuben pack liner is much more durable than a trash compactor bag and is less likely to fail, although it was also about 10 times as expensive as a single trash compactor bag.

    I rely on my liner to protect the contents inside my pack and the pack cover to keep the items that are in an outer pocket on my pack dry. So, these two items actually do two different jobs.

    Another issue that some people come across with a pack liner is that as water runs down your back, it will collect in the bottom of the pack cover and pool. This does 2 things, it adds weight to the pack while hiking and the collected water can soak through the bottom of the pack and then get water inside the pack. An easy solution to defeat this is to add a hole in the bottom of the pack cover. If you want to get fancy you can add a grommet to the hole, although some packs come with this feature. When I bought my cover I requested for a tiny hole to be added to the bottom of mine. Problem solved.
    ...take nothing but memories and pictures, leave nothing but footprints, and kill only time... (Bette Filley in Discovering the Wonders of the Wonderland Trail)

  20. #20
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    I use a pack cover, and my gear is packed in silnylon stuff sacks, and sometimes even those are inside garbage bags. Redundant? You bet! At the end of a long day in the rain, I've never heard anyone complain that their gear was too dry!

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