"Man, we sure are trashy folks." One of our gear testers made this comment to a fellow tester after gauging their garbage collection near the end of a five-day journey on the Appalachian Trail. From the empty freeze-dried food bags to the coffee grounds and orange peels, they'd amassed a nice-sized lump of rubbish.
Fortunately, all that nastiness was contained in a Sea to Summit Trash Dry Sack. Hikers and backpackers often use Hefty trash bags or Ziploc bags to store trash, but these can accidentally open, leak or become punctured when repeatedly stuffed into a backpack. No doubt, it's a real bummer to find slimy food goo coating your gear and clothes, but we found that the Trash Dry Sack offers a clean, secure way to haul messy leftovers.
We tested the 10-liter sack (a 20-liter version is also available), which is made of waterproof nylon and weighs 3.5 ounces empty. The way the system works is you place a plastic trash bag inside the nylon Dry Sack to hold the trash. Any plastic bag will work, but we found that a 6- or 8-gallon bag designed for a small trash can fits well inside the 10-liter Dry Sack.
What makes the Dry Sack so effective is its roll-top closure system. Once you place a plastic bag into the nylon sack, you fold the top of the plastic bag over a stiff, plastic rim at the top of the Dry Sack. Then, you the fold the plastic rim down, which sandwiches the plastic bag and holds it in place. Next, you pull the upper portion of the Dry Sack over its plastic rim. Sounds complicated, but it's actually a fairly simple procedure, and a diagram showing the steps of the procedure is printed on the side of the sack. (A big thumbs-up to Sea to Summit for including this very helpful detail.) After depositing trash, you fold the top of the Dry Sack as you would any roll-top bag, and then secure it with a buckle.
This system does two things. First, it holds the liner bag in place when the Dry Sack is opened or closed, and contents won't spill into the outer nylon sack. Second, the roll-top closure creates a watertight seal that not only prevents your trash from leaking onto surrounding gear, but also helps contain odors inside the sack. Our testers said at the end of their trip on the AT, they could hardly smell any odor coming from the bag.
We especially liked that the sack has attachment points so that you can easily hang it from a tree out of reach of bears and other critters. At the top of the sack are two Hypalon rings, but we used the handy nylon daisy chain webbing on the sides to hang the bag. You could also use the daisy chain to lash the bag to the outside of a pack or secure it to the deck of a boat.
We really had no complaints about this product, though we recognize that old-school, minimalist backpackers might poke fun at the idea of having a product designed specifically for trash. And those obsessed with weight might avoid adding these extra ounces to their overall pack load. But our testers liked having the peace of mind that when they reached into a pack to pull out a shell jacket they wouldn't dip a hand into the remains of yesterday's breakfast. And when traveling through bear territory, it's nice to have a piece of gear that goes a step further in shielding food odors from other supplies.
Also, the sack is a logical addition to our gear quiver because it can be used as a standard dry bag in addition to a trash container. Plus, we've found that the Trash Dry Sack is a helpful travel companion in the car -- as a receptacle for candy bar wrappers, it's much more sanitary than the floor of the back seat. Yes, in the past, some members of our team were pretty trashy folks.
SNEWS® Rating: 5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: 10-liter $29.95; 20-liter $34.95.
For more information:www.seatosummit.com