Owner Review: Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sacks
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SEA TO SUMMIT LIGHTWEIGHT DRY SACK
January 1, 2004
Personal Biographical Information
Name: Andrew Priest
Height: 180 cm (5' 11")
Weight: 96 kg (212 lb)
Location: Perth, Western Australia, Australia
I have been hiking in Western Australia for approximately five years. For
the past four years I have been regularly walking and now leading walks
with the Perth Bushwalkers Club. These bushwalks range from all on-track to
all off-track pack-carries. I consider myself as moving towards being a
lightweight tent-carrying bushwalker with my pack base weight in the 8 to
12 kg (18 to 26 lb) range. In 2003 I completed my End to End of the
Bibbulmun Track. I have also end to ended the Cape to Cape Track and the
Coastal Plains Walk Track.
Manufacturer: Sea to Summit
Year of Manufacture: 2001 - 2003
Listed Weight: NA
Weight as Delivered: Size XXS = 30 g (1 oz) and Size XL = 114 g (4 oz) as
weighed on my Arlec digital scales.
Dimensions: Size XXS = 16 cm by 25.5 cm (6.5 " x 10 ") ; Size XL = 36.5 cm
x 59.5 cm (14.5 " x 23.5").
The hiking environment of the South West of Western Australia allows for
hiking and backpacking from coastal plains to forested ranges. Elevation
ranges from 0 to 585 metres (0 to 1,920 feet). Within this region, I hike
in varying conditions from forestry roads, to sandy tracks to
single-purpose walking trails, to rock hopping, to beach walking to
completely off-track walking through open and dense country.
During the summer period, daytime temperatures average 30 C (86 F), whereas
from March through to December the daytime average temperatures range from
15 C to 26 C (59 F to 79 F). During the autumn (Fall), winter, and spring
periods the normal weather pattern is fairly wet with frequent heavy
rainstorms evident. It does not normally snow in Western Australia.
According to The Times Atlas of the World (Concise Edition - Revised 1997)
our weather is described as being "Mediterranean - rainy climates with mild
winters, coolest month above 0° C (32° F), but below 18°C (64.4° F);
warmest month above 10°C (50° F)." The atlas depicts the coastal area north
of Los Angeles as having the same climate.
Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sacks come in a range of sizes from XXS to
XXL. While I make general comments in respect of the sack design, my
experience is limited to XXS and XL sized sacks.
The Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sacks are made of what the manufacturer
describes as "lightweight 70 denier nylon" with the seams heat sealed. The
closure on the sack is a roll down type claimed to be watertight when
closed in accordance with the instructions. The sacks are not designed to
be submerged. In addition Sea to Summit claim that the sacks are "super
compressable (sic)", but no further explanation of what super compressible
means is given. The term "lightweight" is also used by the manufacturer,
again without explanation or basis to this claim. I will leave it up to
the reader to decide for themselves if these sacks are indeed lightweight.
I have been using Sea to Summit size XL sacks since 2001 and following a
rather unfortunate incident with my mobile phone, a zip-lock bag and a pack
swim across a river in 2003, a size XXS sack since mid 2003. The XXS sack
is now used to protect my mobile phone on all bushwalks. I also often keep
my wallet, keys etc in this sack as well. The XL sacks that I own (three
of them) are used both for bushwalking as well as trips on my deadly
treadly to work and walks to work. On these trips a sack is used to protect
my laptop and other important documents such as my diary from the elements.
On bushwalks, my sleeping bag and spare clothes are always stored in one XL
dry sack. More recently I have gone over to using a second XL bag as my
food storage bag as its keeps dry food protected from the weather and water
on river crossings. Following an unfortunate incident (seem to have to
many of these) with a red wine bladder recently, a third sack has been
brought into play to store the bladder and to protect my gear from any leakage.
The actual shape of the two sack sizes I have vary. The smaller, XXS sack
is a rectangular shape, whereas the larger XL sack's base is circular in
shape (see photo above). I am not sure at what size in the range the
circular base is added to the design.
Consistent across the range is the closure mechanism adopted by Sea to
Summit. Closure of the bags requires removing excess air, aligning the two
top edges and folding over the top edge at least three times. The buckle
is then secured. The photo on the left shows this process completed while
the photo above shows the top of the bag and the closure mechanism. With
the edge folded over three times and the buckle secured, the sack should
now be water tight.
I have been using these stuff sacks since 2001 and have been very happy
with their performance. I have, as indicated used the XL size extensively
both to protect my laptop and my clothes on various outings. More recently
I have used the XXS sized sack to protect my mobile phone and other
valuables. Whenever I have used the sacks they have been stored inside my
backpack or day pack. The sacks within the outer pack have been exposed to
a range of wet conditions from light drizzle to heavy continuous downpours
to floating across rivers during pack swims. On the pack swims, water
leakage into the pack is normal. To date I have had no experience of the
sacks letting water in.
In addition, there is no evidence, particularly with the XL sacks which
have been used since 2001, of internal or external damage from storing hard
surfaced products within (i.e., laptop). There is no evidence to date of
the seam-sealing peeling. The bags have got a bit grotty over time but
they can be cleaned in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions - no
detergent and no hot water. I have washed mine at various times with
washing powder and cold water with no determinantal effect.
Sea to Summit do make a claim that the sacks are "super compressable
(sic)." Personally I have found the XL sacks relatively easy to compress to
remove excess air and then seal. With the XL sack that I use to store my
sleeping bag and spare clothes, I find kneeling on the bag seems to work
quite effectively at removing excess air and holding the compressed state
whilst sealing the sack. My experience has been that the seal is not only
watertight but it is air tight as well, so getting all the air out is not
as simple as it sounds and in fact I don't bother now trying to get
Overall I am quite happy with my Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sacks, they
have undertaken the function they are designed for without fail over the
past two years of extensive use, including an end to end of the Bibbulmun
Aushiker: Hiking in Western Australia - http://aushiker.com
President - Perth Bushwalkers Club Inc - http://www.perthbushwalkers.asn.au
Senior Edit Moderator - http://www.backpackgeartest.org
Moderator - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/trekking2/
Moderator - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bushwalking/
ICQ N0. 38215599
Bibbulmun Track End to End - 2003
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