Waterproofing Your Backpack

Recently, a post on the Section Hiker blog posted about using Trash Compactor Bags as Bag Liners. I keep a LBTB (Large Black Trash Bag) with me for this same purpose. This got me back into writing a post I started a couple of months ago, but never finished – backpack waterproofing. So, thanks for the motivation Section Hiker! Here it goes…

Entire Pack

About twice a year, I hang my bag up in the shed in the backyard, and give it a few healthy coatings of Camp Dry. While this does not make the bag 100% waterproof, it certainly helps. No one likes wet gear, especially when you are cold…

Bottom of the Pack

[ See my 5/29/13 update on this solution here ]

This year, I had ordered some Rust-Oleum Leak Seal Flexible Rubber Sealant to put a grip on my Petzl Snowalker 60 Ice Axe. Once I started using this awesome stuff, I got to thinking… I am constantly setting my pack down on wet ground… even though I keep my sleeping bag in a Large Sea-To-Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack at the bottom of my pack, it is another chance for water to get into the bag, and get my gear wet, so, I rubberized the bottom.

Before rubberization…


Taping it up…





I made sure to get above the lip for added coverage.


It is not pretty by many means, but, it gets the job done!


Inside the Pack

Inside, in addition to the LBGB I have handy if needed, and the dry sack I have for my sleeping bag, as well as my extra clothing (a small eVent Dry Compression Sack), I keep everything that could potentially get wet (first aid kit, food, stove, etc.) all contained within their own quart or gallon zip-lock bags. They also function as ditty bags and stuff sacks.

Outside the Pack

I sometimes have on me a pack cover, but really… with all of this other waterproofing I am doing, it is just added weight that I really don’t need, and a pack cover does nothing but get my back and backside of the pack wet.

So, that is how I keep things dry when hiking and backpacking. What do you do for waterproofing your goodies on the trail? Leave a comment!


10 thoughts on “Waterproofing Your Backpack

    • Just slightly under 500lbs at roughly a mere few ounces at most. I also made a few other changes to my pack around the same time, so I am not 100% sure the exact weight difference. I had a nice and dry pack on my last trip though, and that bag hit the snow quite a bit.

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  3. I used to do the big poncho method (one that would cover my pack too) which works great for walking in the rain, but not so great if you are above treeline (wind) or when you need to put down your pack. I typically stick to the LBTB method and a little internal waterproofing (my stuff in ziplocks or dry bags), but I also live in high, dry Alberta, so it’s usually cold, but it’s a dry cold:)

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