Dry-bags aren't just for paddlers and rafters, they're a handy all-round outdoor resource...
This week's Monday Tip is about one of the most versatile bits of storage equipment out there, the waterproof dry-bag with roll-top closure, here are a few ideas for ways of using them in the outdoors.
To Keep Stuff Dry
No kidding... a proper waterproof dry-bag or a selection of them is a brilliant way of keeping stuff you need to keep dry, well, dry really. If you backpack in typical UK conditions, a dry-bag is a brilliant way of keeping a complete dry set of clothing in your pack which you then change into at the end of a wet day. Next day, grit your teeth and get those wet clothes back on while the dry stuff sits happily in your dry-bag.
To Organise Stuff
Sure you can use normal stuff-sacs to organise things within your pack, but there are lots of small-sized, lightweight dry-bags out there these days which will not only keep your kit organised, but keep it dry too. Win/win!
As A Cunning Compression Device
Squeeze the air out of a dry-bag's contents and roll it shut and you're pretty much vacuumm packing the contents. It works brilliantly with down or synthtetic clothing and sleeping bags and there are even dry-bags designed to do just this either by incorporating a Therm-a-Rest style valve or a panel of air permeable, but waterproof fabric like eVent, so you can squeeze air out of the contents before securing. Genius.
As A Rucsac Liner
Pack material is usually waterproof, but seams generally aren't so packs themselves are more water resistant than waterproof. You can, of course, just use a big plastic bag as a liner, but a large, lightweight roll-top dry-bag is a more reliable solution - you can, of course, keep wet stuff safely inside the pack but outside the dry-bag.
As An Impromptu Side-Pocket
Need extra carrying capacity on your big pack but don't have pockets? Simple solution, use a toughened dry-bag - Ortlieb makes some ace ones - as an impromptu, waterproof side-pocket secured under the compression straps.
As Bike Luggage
Tougher dry-bags make a good basis for a handlebar roll-bag - just strap them onto your bars, with, erm, straps and youre good to go. The right shape, fully waterproof and compressible too.
As A Pack
Last but not least, several brands - Alpkit and Exped for example - have simply added straps to a dry-bag to create a simple, but effective, waterproof daysack. We're big fans of Alpkit's Gourdon for those wet as an otter's pocket days when you're not carrying much with your, but it's important that what you care carrying stays dry. Recommended for ghyll scramblers everywhere.