Do you use a backpack rain cover to prevent your gear from getting wet? In my experience, they’re marginally effective since moisture can easily leak through the parts of a backpack they don’t cover, such as the shoulder pads. Shoulder pads are sewn to the body of a backpack, creating needle holes in the fabric. This is true even if the backpack is made from a waterproof fabric like cuben fiber or XPac. When you poke holes in it from sewing, it will leak.
Packs made without waterproof fabrics, like Robic Nylon, Cordora, or Dyneema also leak at the seams, but the fabric they’re made with can absorb water as well, when condensation forms on the inside of your backpack cover and drips onto the surface of your backpack. Granted, these nylon variants are far less absorbent than the can pack cloth that vintage backpacks were made with,
Most long distance hikers who hike in climates where it rains, line their packs with a plastic garbage bag. White Compactor Bags are the best, the ones you line the inside of trash compactor with, because they’re quite tough and durable. I can get an entire season out of a compactor bag. It’s important to get the unscented kind to avoid attracting animals or bears. The white color makes it easier to see the contents of your backpack so you can find things more easily.
I still pack my smaller gear – first aid kit and electronics – in small stuff sacks, but pack most of my clothes and other gear loose inside. I trust the white plastic compactor bag to keep them dry, even when I put my backpack down on wet ground. Any rain that leaks into the seams of my backpack gets stopped cold by that plastic bag.
I using a compactor bag is too low tech for you, several companies sell pack liners that are just as effective and last longer. Hyperlite Mountain Gear sells a 44 liter dry-bag style cuben fiber pack liner which I’ve used and is also effective at keeping your gear dry. Exped makes an excellent 45 liter dry-bag style silnylon pack liner called the Schnozzel, which serves double duty as a sleeping pad pump sack compatible with the flat values used on sleeping pads made by Exped, Sea-to-Summit, and Klymit.
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