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HomeOutdoorPack Liners vs. Pack Covers: Which to Use for Backpacking

Pack Liners vs. Pack Covers: Which to Use for Backpacking

Maintaining dry. It’s an vital but tough job whereas backpacking. There are the inevitable moments the place you’re going to must make your peace with moisture: wet climbing days, tent condensation, stream crossings, and humidity meets profuse sweating, to call a number of. 

However although getting moist is considerably inevitable throughout backcountry journey, there are key precautions to take, like guaranteeing your most crucial items of drugs—sleeping bag, camp garments, and electronics, for instance—stay dry. That is the place pack liners and pack covers come in useful.

Do you want each a pack liner and a pack cowl for backpacking? Most likely not. It’s extra weight and each kind of accomplish the identical factor. (Plus, a poncho and pack liner combo gives the true successful possibility—keep tuned for extra on why!) 

However, if not each, which one is best for you? We’re right here that will help you resolve!

Beneath, we’ll provide the full rundown on pack liners and pack covers, together with:

  • The right way to Use Pack Liners and Pack Covers
  • Execs and Cons of Utilizing a Pack Cowl
  • Execs and Cons of Utilizing a Pack Liner
  • The Verdict: Ought to You Use a Pack Liner or Pack Cowl for Backpacking?

The right way to Use Pack Liners and Pack Covers

Pack liners are usually plastic luggage which are massive sufficient to fill the principle compartment of your backpack. They are often trash luggage you’d use to your kitchen’s rubbish can, or one thing extra fitted for backpacks and made out of stronger plastic, akin to Gossamer Gear’s clear waterproof pack liners.

Pack liners get inserted into the principle compartment of your backpack earlier than you pack all your gear into it. So, primarily, you’ll be packing your gear into the liner bag. The pack liner creates a water-resistant wall between your gear and the surface of your backpack.

Pack covers could be normal plastic luggage, however are additionally generally made out of nylon, polyester, or different materials much like your backpack. They’ll usually embody elastic across the opening or some kind of cinching machine to make sure it suits snugly to your pack. 

Pack covers match over all the again of your pack everytime you want them. Until it’s raining out, it’s doubtless saved in one among your pack’s outer pockets for simple grabbing. As soon as it begins raining, you’re taking it out, stretch it over your pack’s exterior, and hold climbing. It creates a reasonably waterproof shell to your pack.

Execs and Cons of Utilizing a Pack Cowl

There are drawbacks and advantages to utilizing a pack cowl.

A number of the execs of utilizing a pack cowl embody:

  • Easy to placed on. Placing on and taking off pack covers is a reasonably fast course of. You simply have to stretch it over your pack for those who want it.
  • Retains the outside of your pack dry. Since pack covers go on the surface of your bag, they provide water safety to each the gear inside your pack in addition to the outside of your pack. 
  • Don’t have to recollect to place it in first when packing. Since pack covers are a use-as-needed merchandise, you’ll be able to deploy them every time, whereas pack liners must be put into your bag earlier than you pack all your gear.

A number of the cons of utilizing a pack cowl embody:

  • Dripping water. As water hits your waterproof pack cowl, it beads us and drips down. In lots of circumstances, this may imply it drips down onto your behind. When you’re not sporting rain pants, this regular added stream of water could make wet climbing much more tedious.
  • More durable to seize issues from facet pockets. As soon as your pack cowl is on, you don’t have quick access to the outside pockets of your pack. So, for those who’re making an attempt to succeed in again to your water bottle, you’ll have some extra hurdles to face.
  • Can snag on branches. If you need to do any bushwhacking or for those who simply end up on an overgrown path, pack covers can simply catch on brush as you stroll by. This will journey you up, make you lose your cowl with out realizing it, and even transfer your pack cowl in order that it’s now not totally defending your gear.
  • Potential for leaks. When you don’t suit your pack cowl securely round your complete bag, it’s potential for water to get below it nonetheless and soak by way of to your gear.
  • Additional weight. Since pack covers want elastic or different closure gadgets, they usually weigh greater than pack liners. Moreover, since they’re on the surface of your pack, they gather water weight. When you’re unable to completely dry it out after use, you’ll have to hold it moist in your pack.
  • Gained’t hold hip belt pockets dry. Pack covers solely cowl your essential compartment, so your hip belt pockets can nonetheless get drenched. In the event that they’re not waterproof and also you’re preserving your telephone in a single, beware! 
  • Need to cease to place it on. To correctly deploy your pack cowl, you’ll must take off your pack, which could be a little annoying for those who’re making an attempt to maneuver by way of the rain as shortly as you’ll be able to.

Execs and Cons of Utilizing a Pack Liner

As with pack covers, there are drawbacks and advantages to utilizing a pack liner.

A number of the execs of utilizing a pack liner embody:

  • Light-weight. Pack liners are easy: a skinny plastic bag. There are not any elastic bands or clunky clips that add weight. Additionally, because it’s on the inside of your pack, it received’t gather water weight and also you don’t have to fret about drying it out at camp.
  • Low cost. Pack liners are a no frills piece of drugs. You may even use a trash bag you have already got, although it won’t match fairly as properly as a liner particularly made for backpacking.
  • Retains the underside of your bag dry and protects gear whatever the climate. Even when it’s not raining out, your pack liner will come in useful for preserving your gear dry. When you set it down on moist grass, for instance, or occur to take a wee tumble right into a creek as you’re crossing, the liner is already in place to guard your gear from any water soaking by way of.
  • Creates a pleasant divider inside your pack. If you find yourself with a moist tent within the morning or in any other case have gross gear you’d wish to separate out of your cleaner, dry gear, a pack liner will help with this. Merely slip your moist tent or different gear into the area between the liner and the surface of your pack and place every little thing else within the liner bag.

A number of the cons of utilizing a pack liner embody:

  • Have to recollect to place them in first when packing. It may be a little bit of a ache to have your pack totally loaded and then keep in mind you forgot to place your liner in.
  • Utilizing one can take some getting used to. When you haven’t packed your bag with a liner earlier than, it would take some time to regulate to the texture of it. You continue to have the identical area to work with in your pack, however it might not appear that means at first.
  • May not match as properly with some packs. When you’re utilizing a backpack that has a number of compartments, utilizing a liner could be tougher, because it received’t slip as simply right into a essential compartment.
  • Doesn’t hold the surface of your pack dry. Whereas your gear inside your pack will likely be cosy as a bug, you need to do not forget that the outside of your pack remains to be uncovered to the weather. So, be conscious of what you’re preserving in your exterior pockets and take into account storing gadgets in Ziplocks or different waterproof luggage. (There’s one other professional tip within the subsequent part, although, that may additionally assist with this!)

The Verdict: Ought to You Use a Pack Liner or Pack Cowl for Backpacking?

In the end, the selection is yours! Do what works greatest for you and your hike. Our vote, nonetheless, goes to the pack liner. In terms of preserving it light-weight, low cost, and sensible, the pack liner actually will get the job completed. And, most of its drawbacks have straightforward fixes. 

Listed here are a pair professional tricks to additional enhance your pack liner expertise:

  • Having bother preserving your pack liner in place as you load gear into your bag? Set your pack on the bottom and stand it upright as you place the liner into the principle compartment. Regulate the liner till it fills up all the area contained in the bag and stand it up parallel with the highest of the bag. Subsequent, roll the liner and prime of your bag down collectively three or 4 instances. This retains your liner in place and gives a large opening for loading your gear. As soon as every little thing is loaded, separate the highest of the liner out of your pack and roll it down earlier than closing your prime lid.
  • Anxious about preserving gear in your exterior and hip belt pockets dry when utilizing a pack liner? This may be simply solved by selecting a climbing umbrella or poncho as your private rain apparel, each of which is able to cowl the surface of your pack. An umbrella can play double responsibility preserving you cool on sizzling days and even provide some reprieve to your doggie. Additionally, with Gossamer Gear’s hands-free attachment, it may possibly clip proper onto your shoulder strap. A poncho is straightforward to deploy from a facet pocket in your pack and covers you and your pack, together with hip belt pockets. It will possibly additionally double as a makeshift tarp if wanted and gives higher breathability than many raincoats.

Hungry for extra backpacking gear and planning information? Try a few of our different articles on the Mild Toes weblog:

And, for those who’re searching for an superior, light-weight pack liner, you’ll be able to snag our Clear Waterproof Pack Liners on-line! They’re bought in two-packs and match most backpacks, particularly these within the Gossamer Gear line. They weigh simply 1.2 ounces and are made from tremendous robust 2 mil clear virgin polyethylene movie.



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