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Budget Dry Sacks from Outdoor Products

manufactured by:
Philip Werner
Version:
1
Price:
16.00

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On November 3, 2011
Last modified:September 25, 2016

Summary:

Outdoor Product's Ultimate dry sacks are a bargain when compared to what you'd have to pay for the same combination of name brand waterproof stuff sacks, costing three times as much. That's pretty outrageous when you consider that all of these products are virtually identical and they're all probably made in the same factory in China.

Outdoor Products Dry Sacks
Outdoor Products Dry Sacks

I went to my local Walmart to see what kinds of products they sell there for backpacking and to see whether one could assemble a lightweight backpacking kit for a beginner backpacker or boy scout with what they sell. The selection wasn’t that great and is oriented more for car camping, but I did manage to pick up a few interesting items, including a $1 folding knife, a 1 pound plastic tarp (from the hardware area) for $15, and a set of three “weather-resistant” roll-top stuff sacks from Outdoor Products  for $12 (MSRP $16), sized as shown:

  • 2 Liter Sack: 7.75 by 13 inches
  • 4 Liter Sack: 9.5 by 15.5 inches
  • 8 Liter Sack: 10.75 by 22 inches

These dry sacks caught my eye because they’re a pretty good bargain when compared to what you’d have to pay for the same combination of Sea-to-Summit roll-top Ultralight Sil waterproof stuff sacks ($43). That’s pretty outrageous when you consider that all of these products are virtually identical, none of them are technically waterproof,  and they’re all probably made in the same factory in China. On that basis alone, I decided it would be good to try these dry sacks from Outdoor Products to see if they were really a bargain or not.

Material and Sewing

Outdoor Products Dry sacks are made out of polyurethane ripstop nylon with double stitched and taped seams. If you examine the seams closely, there are two rows of stitching inside the seam and one outside that look identical to the seams on stuff sacks made by Sea-to-Summit. I’m no expert on seams, but I couldn’t detect any visible difference.

8 Liter Roll Top Stitching
8 Liter Roll Top Stitching

The rest of the hardware on the two sacks and the stitching on the roll top closure are very similar although the stitching on the OP Dry Sack is a little heavier than on the Sea-to-Summit, probably because the latter is Cordura which is a thinner nylon fabric.  Weight wise though, there’s no difference between the 8 liter stuff sacks from the two companies and both weigh 1.1 ounces.

Field Test

I normally use an 8 L Sea-to-Summit Ultralight Sil sack as a stuff sack for my 3 season down bag. So, I swapped it out for the OP 8 L Dry sack on a recent two night trip and it worked fine without splitting a seam. Time will tell – I usually split a seam on the Sea-to-Summit sack once a year because I use it a lot and I really cram my bag into one, but I can’t see any downside to using the Outdoor Products Dry Sack instead. Even if I do have to replace it after a year, it will still cost a lot less.

Sink Submersion Test

For this test, I filled the 8 Liter Outdoor Products Dry Sack with dry paper towels and submerged it in the sink to see if any of the seams would leak. This dry sack is not guaranteed to be waterproof, but I wanted to see what would happen anyway.

Sink Test
Sink Test

After 10 minutes, I pulled the dry sack out of the water and the seams hadn’t leaked. Good news. Again not a long term test, but unless you plan on swimming underwater for an extended period of time while you’re wearing a backpack, the Outdoor Product Dry Sack should keep your sleeping bag dry if it rains or if your hydration bladder leaks.

Recommendation

I’ll be using these Outdoor Products dry sacks from now on and I’ll replace the remaining “waterproof” Sea-to-Summit stuff sacks I currently use with them as they break down.

Thank you Walmart – these 3 stuff sacks are a good deal at $16 – and a good way for more people to save a little money on new backpacking gear.

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19 comments

  1. Yeah, I have been using the larger bag out of this set for two years, now. They pretty much work, OK.

    While the make a fair water carrier, turned inside out, the hardware and strapping is not up to this for a full bag. On one trip, water was about a 1/4mi away. So, I filled the bag to have water for the evening and the next morning. I snapped it around my belt, and hiked back. In that time, the strap had partially ripped. Two days later, while closing the bag around my night cloths it ripped off entirely, rendering the clip useless. Duct tape held it back on for about a week, till I could get a replacement. The Sea to Summit ones never did that. Could be a quirk. But, only fill them half full of water if you do this.

    On a canoe trip, after several hours of windy weather, high waves and 2-3" of water in the boat, they *did* leak. All of my breakfast were wet. Fortunatly, they were double wrapped. They were allowed to dry overnight with only three packets of cocoa and one oatmeal actually wet, inside.

    But, at the cost of these, they are well worth it. I only use the larger size. Origonally, I got them to pack a DSLR camera & two lenses with us on a canoe trip. They also make great bear hangs bags. Really worth it for an beginner scout, and for me…the quinessential cheap camper.

  2. Jim – I never would have thought to use one of these dry bags as a water sack – I normally use a big hydration reservoir for that kind of thing – but then again – you are the FIRST boy scout!

  3. The small blue one for me never kept stuff dry, green was good and orange's sewing was off but held enough.

    Check each out before relying on them. :)

    -Stephen

  4. Or just go over them with some seam seal diluted with mineral spirits. It'd be a good lesson for a scout or anyone else for that matter on how to weatherproof gear and it costs a few cents compared to buying a higher priced product – what ever happened to the frugal American spirit!

  5. I bought these as well several months ago. I would treat them as WR not WP. But as long as you're gentle with them they work quite well.

    My biggest interest was using them to compartmentalize and for use as bear bags. They did the job.

  6. After moving to the south and two weekend hikes with surprise storms. I new I was going to need a couple of dry bags if I wanted to hike here. I bought a new Osprey Pack with a built in Rain Cover and then started looking for some dry bags to stuff clothes and my sleeping bag into. Like you I noted the prices at the Speciality Stores and was considering just lining my pack completely with Plastic when I to came across the Dry Bags at Walmart. That was three years ago…I use them for hiking and for storing items in my Bass Boat as well as for Campground Camping. This past Labor Day I had to leave the Camp ground because of the Storm and Tornado threat and left three of the dry bags with clothes and a sleeping bag sitting on top of the picnic table in our rush to get out of there.. I came back two days later to find them still there but blown off the table and up against some brush about 40 yards away. The Rangers said they measured 7 inches of rain in 24 hours..None of the contents were wet and their were no leaks or tears or rips in the bags just some soiling that washed off…So they maybe Walmart and less expensive but they work!

  7. I've used them for a while. My wilderness first aid kit for group trips is in one of the orange ones and has survived a fair few miles and downpours without issues.

    rob

  8. I've used a set for a couple years now and have no complaints (or leaks) whatsoever. I wish it was possible to just buy the large size–OK, maybe that is a complaint. I use the large one for my sleeping bag, the small one for the large and small Neo Airs my grandson and I use and the medium one for other items. Last week, my brother in law and I backpacked on the Buffalo River Trail in Arkansas in 36 hours of continuous rain. He had the Sea to Summit bags and I couldn't see any difference in them.

  9. Haven't used the OP sacks but it sounds like they're pretty decent. I picked up a pair of the OP hiking poles at Wal-mart a few years back and found them fairly high quality and much cheaper than something from BD. (Think I paid $30 for the pair, versus $100+ from BD or the like). They even employ the 'snap-lock' locking mechanism like BD which I think works much better than the 'twist' type. They survived a winter trip up Mt. Washington and numerous backpacking excursions with the only downside being the small snow baskets both snapped off on Washington. For the price though, I'll take it!

  10. I used the green bag as a bear bag during a section hike along the AT in Georgia. Everything worked ok until I resupplied and the buckle broke. I just used a s-beener to hook it to the rope. I wouldn't recommend using them as a bear bag. But for everything else, they work wonderfully.

  11. I also use the large one for bear bagging. Has worked great for me. Strap did break after my son dropped it from a hang totally full. I sewed on the buckle with some grosgrain so it's good to go for quite a while now.

  12. I have several of those I've used for years. They're great for organizing gear. They certainly aren't waterproof though.

    I call mine damp sacks, 'cause they're wonderful at keeping whaterver's in them damp the entire time. :)

    For things that really need to stay dry I use Event stuff sacks. Yeah, they're heavier and more expensive, but I've repeatedly swam rivers using my pack as a kickboard and had a bone dry sleeping bag on the other side.

  13. I've heard others mention the eVent stuff sacks and how waterproof they prove to be in real world settings. One of these days, I'll go by a retailer that has them and see which I need for my sleeping bags.

  14. I was at Walmart the other day and also noticed they have some micro fleece hoodies with front zippers and zip pockets for $10 each. I scrunched one up and it will pack to the size of a grapefruit. There wasn't a huge selection of styles and colors but I'm thinking of getting some as a layer for my grandkids. I might even grab one for myself.

  15. They also have some interesting synthetic base layer garments in the same price range. Patagonia competition!

  16. I've purchased 3 sets of these from different wally marts over the last year. My experiences have been mixed. In each set, at least 1 or 2 bags suffered from problems caused by the lining film adhering to the other side of the bag. What I mean is, I had to literally peel the bag open…hoping I would not tear the lining film away from the nylon. I was only marginally successful. What I ended up with is 9 bags, of which only 4 or 5 are still watertight. Too bad outdoor products could not insert a sheet of paper or something into each bag to prevent the film adherence issues. Other than that…they are a great deal.

  17. I've learned to be very careful and choosey when buying Cold weather clothing at Walmart. Their winter hoodies unless lined with artifical wool barely keep you warm at 65 degrees and I would really becareful of their fleece clothing..But then again. I have never ever been warm in Fleece from 13,000 feet to Sea Level I have tried numerous styles and manufacturers in the continuing search for the lightest and warmest gear and have wasted money and have had many Store Returns and out of frustration have gone back to wool and Goose Down…I have to admit I am on blood thinners since the insertion of two Stents, but my good wool sweater and my Goose Down Vest under a Goretex Parka makes me a very happy and warm camper/hiker.

  18. I have loads of ” danskin now” bubble mesh tanks, light weight shorts etc – they work better than all my Columbia etc quick dry clothing! Thx I’ll get two of these ( for the larger sizes ) you can always use seam tape & reinforce under the strap ( where it weakens ) in key areas – at this price I feel free to experiment! Ha!

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