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Compression Sacks – Not Worth the Weight

Lightweight or Heavyweight Stuff Sacks?
Lightweight or Heavyweight Stuff Sacks?

I own some compression stuff sacks but I never user them. They weigh too much. If you are counting ounces, you can usually get the same amount of compression for half the weight by simply kneeling on the item you want to compress and putting in a simple stuff sack.

Let me give you an example. My zero-degree synthetic sleeping bag comes with it’s own compression stuff sack which weighs 6.1 oz,. alone. It has all kinds of straps hanging off of it to compress the bag, but it is not waterproof. I substituted it  with a very large 1.8 oz Sea-to-Summit waterproof stuff sack that I also use to pack the long underwear I wear in my sleeping bag. Size-wise, the degree of compression is identical with significantly less weight.

Another place you can save weight with stuff sacks is to use mesh sacks if your primary goal is to segregate gear, rather than keep it dry. For example, I use a head net that weights 0.7 oz. to hold a lot of loose gear like my pack towel, bandana, tent stakes, bear bag cord, prescriptions, glasses, etc. Stuff sacks from Outdoor Research and Sea-to-Summit can weight 2 or 3 times that.

So don’t fall into the trap that you can’t shave off weight using different kinds of stuff sacks. WEIGH EVERYTHING!

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  1. "Weight everything" – it's the only way to go! It's often amazing to see what things actually weigh.

    When you first go through your kit with a digital scale – lots of things get left behind…

  2. Red Yeti is absolutely correct about weighing stuff. I was once asked by someone what's the most important piece of lightweight gear I own – and I replied, my digital scale. No fooling. :-) Go onto ebay and buy one.

  3. Another option is to not use a stuff sack for quilts or clothes for example — instead line pack with waterproof liner & these puffy items will fill in the gaps

  4. I did the same thing, replaced my (very nice) eVent compression stuff sack (137g) with an 8 liter Ultra-sil dry sack (31g). For those who don’t speak SI, that saved over 3.5 ounces.

  5. I don’t use compression stuff sacks anymore. I just shove my quilt/sleeping bag towards the bottom of my pack inside a trash compactor bag. My clothes are inside a plastic grocery bag (which I can use as a trashbag at camp of needed).

    The only stuff sack I use are the small size ones for my cook kit and ditty bag. You’ll be amazed how much weight, cumulatively, all your stuff sacks total up to be.

  6. On my recent solo backpack trip in Yosemite, my Sea-to-Summit stuff sacks were probably my best “optional” purchase. First, they helped me keep what I packed to a minimum. But more importantly, they helped keep everything organized and facilitated repacking my pack each morning. I will not travel again without them!!

  7. I’ve down-sized my use of stuff sacks significantly. I now only use a large Sea-to-Summit Ultra-Sil stuff sack to substitute for the eVent compression stuff sack to store my sleeping bag within the pack. The weight savings just from that one item is 3.8 oz. Since all the stuff sacks I owned were in good shape, I was able to part with them through gear swaps and eBay. The masses have yet to be converted to the “less is better” philosophy.

  8. my Kelty compression sack that came with the sleeping bag is 2.75 oz, 78g, does pretty good, buckles and straps.

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