The weight of stuff sacks can really add up if you go overboard with them. I’ve eliminated most of them from my packing system, but I still use two 8L Sea-to-Summit Ultra-Sil Waterproof Stuff Sacks to protect my down sleeping bag and my extra clothes. At 1.1 oz. each, they’re lightweight and have proven to be reliable for me.
That’s about to change. Mountain Laurel Designs has just come out with waterproof, roll top, cuben fiber stuff sacks. Mine arrived yesterday and they look like winners. They’re made using the same 0.74 oz sq/yd cuben fiber that MLD makes tarps out of and come fully seam sealed, for immediate use.
Unfortunately, Ron Bell is not listing the volume of each size on his web site, just the dimensions. But I can tell you, that my Western Mountaineering Ultralight 20 down sleeping bag fits in a size XL, weighing only 0.39 oz / 13 grams, and costing only $27. That’s slightly more than my old silnylon stuff sacks ($15 each), but about 25% cheaper than the new Granite Gear Uberlight CTF3 DrySacks, also made with cuben fiber, that were introduced this year.
I also ordered a smaller size Large waterproof stuff sack from MLD. It is perfectly sized for my extra clothes and only weighs 0.35 oz / 10 grams ($22).
It’s exciting to see the beginning of mainstream adoption of cuben fiber, at least in these accessories, like stuff sacks. Hopefully, lightweight materials will become a competitive differentiator that will help drive the cost of the material down.
Water Test: Unfortunately, these stuff sacks leak when filled with water. While this exact scenario is unlikely in practice, the fact that they leak at all is a concern. Ron Bell at MLD recommends not testing these stuff sacks in this manner, saying that they are sufficient as is for keeping wetness out. If you want something that is waterproof enough for swimming or high fords, MLD has another cuben stuff sack model forthcoming that is even more waterproof than these and can take the additional abuse.
Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.
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