/ waterproofing a rucksack

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leeoftroy - on 30 Dec 2012
I have an old but very tough and trusty rucksack, british army issue. It has travelled the world with me over the last 15 years and is perfect (given that I haven't allowed myself to look too deeply into the benefits of more modern bags)...except that it lets water in quite easily. Looking around it seems that few manufacturers are interested in making rucksacks from a waterproof material and instead insist on supplying waterproof covers which to me seems like another thing to carry around and also not very practical when you have things strapped to the outside of your bag. My particular rucksack is a kind of heavy duty nylon and I was considering buying a can of nixwax or similar and giving it a good dousing. Would this work? Any ideas?
vark - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to leeoftroy:
You might be able to make water bead off the surface to some extent but it will still leak.
Buy a selection of roll top waterproof stuff sacs. You can organise your kit and be safe in the knowledge it will be dry.
Nigel Modern on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to leeoftroy: TX 10 it - it will still leak but as someone said use roll tops.

Alpkit do some good waterproof bags and also 20L, 30L etc 'canoe bags with straps' called Gourdons
happy_c - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to leeoftroy: I dont think there is any way to waterproof it, although i suspect a lot of the fabric will already be waterproof, but not taped zips and big zips everywhere, personally i go for the using dry bag options someone mentioned,

I think ortilab (sp?) make some proper rusksacks, that are waterproof, as apposed to a dry bag with straps if that makes anysense? How ever id probably still use dry bags just to help organise a bit!

With your current bag, you could try the silicone spray, breathabillity is less an issue as with clothing, you could also shove a load of wax over the zips but it will still let in somewhere! Nikwax is a water based product, it maintains breathabillity but wont have a good a barrier as a silicone product!


Carolyn - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to leeoftroy:

Thin, flexible waterproof dry bags are definitely the answer for bits that need to stay dry. Or a large one that fills most of sac.

Apart from the Ortleib truely waterproof bags, I've found the Macpac sacs to be most water resistant - think they're a cotton/nylon mix, so cotton swells when damp and fills in the holes. Ish.
CarolineMc - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to leeoftroy: Definitely worth a can of Fabsil to keep out the worst, and get a tube of Seam Grip to seal the stitching too. It won't make it reliably waterproof but will certainly keep out the lighter stuff, but will also stop the sack from absorbing so much water making it a little lighter in heavy rain! Co:
a lakeland climber on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to leeoftroy:

+1 to the replies who recommend roll-top dry bags. I use Exped dry bags. Available in a variety of sizes so you can organise your kit as to how you want. This has the advantage that if you need to open your rucksack when it's lashing it down, you only have to open the bag that you actually need.

ALC
jonnie3430 - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to leeoftroy:

Ortleib make a big black dry bag that comes in different sizes that you can put everything in. When that gets holes, use seam sealant to repair. Or you can use seam sealant on your rucsac (fill it with water, find the holes, dry it and fix the holes/ tape the seams,) which will waterproof it, but only until you put the next hole in it!
Solaris - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to leeoftroy:

Line the sac with a big, tough poly bag - cheaper than roll tops, probably lighter, easier access to contents of the sac and more useful in an emergency. I sometimes put my sleeping bag in another, smaller poly bag.
butteredfrog - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to leeoftroy:

After exhaustive testing and spending about 200 days a year out in the pi##ing rain that is loosely described as British summertime, I can say Exped drybags are the way forward for me.
Get a few colours for different bits of kit as it makes it easier to pick the right bag at a glance.

m0unt41n on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to leeoftroy: No matter how good the fabric, or how much you try to waterproof it, its the seams that let the water in. Whilst the fabric seems waterproof on both my XPod and Crux they still get water in the bottom when torrential rain, ie last 6 months. Only solution is waterproof bag liner, Exped Rucksack liner has always worked well for me. I guess waterproof covers work in a shower and up to a light breeze but otherwise they just act as a sail. I would just get a waterproof liner bag instead of a can of nikwax. If your bag fills up with water so much it adds weight then you could of course punch drainage holes in the bottom of it!
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dgp - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to leeoftroy: Perhaps a bit hasty in dismissing a cover ?. Their very light - less than carrying a rain soaked rucksac! - , waterproof, can be left behind in good weather, roll into a tiny bundle..

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