Monday, June 23, 2014
Product Review: Sea to Summit 10L Compression Dry Sack
Some of our gear, like clothing, takes up a lot of space and when you are planning a backcountry hunt you need to conserve that space. Upon the recommendation from Mark at SoleAdventure, I checked into the Sea to Summit compression sacks. A couple weeks after I began to field test the 10L eVent® Compression Dry Sack with great results. In fact, you have to be careful not to get carried away with packing more than you really need inside of it.
The eVent compression dry sack has no valve to let the air escape. So how does it work? It uses an air-permeable base made of eVent® waterproof fabric, which allows air to be pushed out of the sack, but won't allow water to get back in. Suitable to keep contents dry in any wet situation where the bag is not submerged.
This pack holds plenty and compresses really well and here's how I used it. On the hike into the desert back in February, I packed my sleeping bag, jacket, pants, and shirt inside and compressed it. The air escaped, but didn't flow back in. Pretty cool technology! I then folded over the Hypalon strip and clipped it, ensuring it was closed and would not unravel. I was able to compress all of that into the size of a normal sleeping bag. Sure, it weighs a bit more, but it is easily manageable.
While the likelihood that I would encounter any water or rain in the SoCal desert was slim to none, I still wanted to put the compression sack through the paces. I will be going to Colorado in the fall and who knows what type or weather I will encounter. Wanting to know how water-resistant it was, I dunked it a few times into a full cooler of cold water. I then reopened the sack and everything was dry. I continued holding it under for longer periods. At one time I held it under for over a minute and everything still came out dry. I allowed the water to warm up inside the cooler by leaving it in the sun (as not to waste water) and retested. Clothing and sleeping bag were still dry. I don't recommend getting used to that time period, but that's a win in my book! (I then used the water to water my outdoor plants, for those of you with the water police.)
The stitching holds strong and looks like it can take a beating, but use caution. Just because you CAN make the straps tighter doesn't mean you SHOULD. If it feels good and snug, and well compressed, just leave it be and move on. Should you pull too hard you are liable to tear the stitching, thus defeating the purpose of it being waterproof. You should also note that the fabric is very thin and any sharp object, even cactus thorns, will poke through and tear it.
If you are planning a backcountry hunt, especially in wet weather, get yourself a Sea to Summit eVent compression dry sack and save yourself some space and mental anguish. The 10L sack that I tested retails for $46.95. I think that's a good buy knowing it compresses well and is basically waterproof for a short periods of time. It's great knowing your clothing is packed away, easy to get to, and will stay dry. It also makes getting to the essential apparel you need much easier than if it were stored in the bottom of your pack.
Overall, I was quite impressed with how well the Sea to Summit compression sack functioned. I would definitely recommend looking at the different sizes and choosing one or two carefully. I chose the 10L because I felt like I would need it all and for the most part I was right, but I'll bet I could get away with a 6.7L sack for most hunts. This will be a great benefit when I hunt the backcountry. I will be looking into the smaller compression sacks for shorter hunts.