What Backpackers Need are Textured Stuff Sacks

Imagine reaching into your backpack and being able to pull at the exact stuff sack you need because it feels different from the others. Using different colored stuff sacks to pack different gear types is great, but you still have to take them all out of your backpack to find the one you want. But if there was some way to differentiate between stuff sack because they felt different when you reach into your pack looking for one, then you could pull out the one you wanted and not all the rest.

I’ve been using a travel organizer from Eagle Creek for 10 years that lets me do just that. Called a Packit-it Sac, it’s also one of Eagle Creek’s all-time most popular products. My Eagle Creek Pack-it Sac (size medium) is a 1.4-ounce water-resistant plastic pouch with a black lattice grid stenciled on the exterior that gives it a textured feel that feels totally different than any of the other stuff sacks in my pack. I use it as a purse to hold my reading glasses and sunglasses, keys, wallet, passport, phone, some spare change, and other odds and ends. I can just reach into my pack, find it by feel, and pull it out.

Eagle Creek sells these Pack-it Sacs individually or as a three-sack set.

They all have a plastic clip at one end so you can secure them to a gear loop for extra security. But the limitation with Eagle Creek’s Pack-it Sacs is they’re not really shaped right to hold backpacking gear or clothing. So it’d be cool if some smart cottage manufacturer added texture to their stuff sacks instead.

For example, people can easily tell the difference between a rough surface and a smooth one with their hands. So if you could make the outside of a stuff sack rough, it would stand out from the other stuff sacks in your pack. It wouldn’t surprise me if people could tell the difference between multiple textures, so they’d know exactly whether they were pulling the right stuff sack out of their pack by touch alone.

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22 comments

  1. they will all get a texture if you don’t seal the peanut butter packet

  2. Well, now, this is just brilliant.

  3. Love the idea, but all of my stuff sacks are ultra-light, and weigh much less than these Eagle Creek sacks. I I’m tempted to find a way to make my existing sacks identifiable by touch without compromising their waterproofing.

  4. Tape on the outside. Duct tape, packing tape, Scotch tape, other tapes.

  5. how about a stripe of silicone joint sealant. Straight line, wavy pattern, geometric shape

  6. How about some knotted para-cord? One knot, then two, three, etc.

  7. The only problem I can see is that it only works once. As soon as you add the second textured sack, you’re right back to not being able to tell the difference between the textured sacks solely by feel. (And yes, I’m being somewhat cynical here. I’m old; I can now legally chase crummy kids off my lawn. Sadly, I live in a condo development, and crummy kids are in short supply…but I digress.)

    I can see how this could be an issue. My own OCD responses are two:
    1. I tend to put everything I use during the day in a specific outside pocket of my pack, which eliminates 95% of such issues.
    2. For the stuff that goes inside the pack (which I don’t need until I reach camp 99% of the time), I pack the same way every time: the stuff I need first when I get to camp goes toward the top, and the stuff I need last goes toward the bottom. That way, I know that the bag on top is my food bag or kitchen (which is in a mesh – textured! – sack because that’s how the vendor packaged it); the next layer is one or two sacks with my clothes. The long vertical sacks are my tent and poles – easily distinguished by “hard” or “soft.” Nothing else stores in a sack.

    This works for me; that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s the “correct” way to do it. And I’m not trying to trash textured sacks as a solution, if it works for you. You may now call me a curmudgeon.

  8. I think you guys are over (or under thinking) this. What about embossing DCF? You could prototype the concept with a meat tenderizer. The stuff is mostly glue. You could just texture the end product with a pattern.

  9. if you pack with consistency this is all alleviated. I know exactly where everything is because of this.
    I use HMG Pods. KISS theory.

  10. Put different kinds of cords on each sack. If you use a cord lock, use a different size and type of cord lock….easy..

  11. WOW! What a brilliant idea, Having a black trash sack as a pack liner the only way to find what I want is to unpack with one exception, my cook set is in a heavy stiff nylon bag and feel totally different from all the rest of my dry sacks.
    Hummm! Must be a way of making each bag feel different.

    • Tony – I agree. I think its a great idea. Eagle Creek obviously made it very successful and I expect something like it, tailored more for backpacking and day hikers, would be a runaway bestseller and quite useful.

      For example, I sometimes pack without any stuff sacks at all. Except for my textured sack from Eagle Creek.

  12. Learn Braille and make Braille bag tags to let your fingertips do the reading..

  13. What about a high tech pseudo polymer that is suspended in an emulsion that dangles by a chain composed of carbon fiber nanotubes? One made of hand knit alpaca wool. Another of shredded plastic bags that have the fibers melted and spun on a loom and then knitted into a bag. One more that is made from ragg wool that has been carded by the finest craftsmen in Germany and then boiled in Norway. One more that is made from old tires. Another of spider silk.

    All jesting aside, I like the general concept. I just wanted to contribute to the overthinking.

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