Of all the household products used on the trail, Hefty trash bags remain popular as backpackers continue to use them to line packs and protect gear from rain. Unfortunately, trash bags can suffer plenty of wear and tear after a few journeys and they're not environmentally friendly. Mounds of bags that wind up in landfills, and it takes decades for them decompose, so it's not a bad idea to consider a more sustainable option, such as the SealLine Storm Sack.
After a spring and summer of hiking—including plenty of stormy weather— we found that the 60-liter Storm Sack is an effective, if somewhat weighty, pack liner.
Constructed of 210-denier PU-coated nylon, the Storm Sack has sewn and taped seams and a roll-top closure, making it a truly waterproof bag. The first time one of our testers unrolled the Storm Sack to tuck it into his backpack (a 60-liter Osprey Aether), he was a bit dubious. The Sack, weighing 7.7 ounces, seemed—pardon the play on words—hefty. He wondered if today's weight-obsessed backpackers would opt for such a beefy liner, especially if they were accustomed to a wispy trash bag. Indeed, some of our travel companions viewed the Storm Sack with raised eyebrows, dubbing it overkill. But long after our travel companions had gone through their third or fourth standard trash bag, the Storm Sack had suffered no punctures, tears or significant scrapes. And, most importantly, it kept pack contents as dry as possible when trekking through wet weather.
One thing we really like about the product is its oval design and rounded base, which allows it to nest perfectly inside a larger backpack. (For smaller packs, try the 25-liter or 35-liter model.) Unlike a plastic trash bag, the Storm Sack won't slump inside a pack, which can be really annoying when you're trying to pack. Also, the roll-top closure obviously offers superior protection to the plastic cinch straps you find on a trash bag.
There are a couple of other nice details, such as the interior of the sack, which is a bright white color, so it's easy to sort through the contents in low light conditions. Also, a ring located near the closure buckle allows you to hang the bag if needed.
Because the bag is watertight, it does trap odors, and any wet items you place in it will remain so, propagating funky smells from sweaty clothes. But the smooth interior of the bag is easy to clean with soapy water, and we found that when cleaned it didn't retain odors.
While the Storm Sack isn't especially cheap, it serves double duty, doubling as a dry bag for paddling trips—something a Hefty bag just can't do.
While this product can help you reduce the number of trash bags you contribute to landfills, there's the added bonus that it's made without PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a toxic material that can harm the environment.
So, if you're looking for a versatile product that holds up over time, keeps gear dry and lessens you environmental impact, the Storm Sack is a good way to go.
SNEWS® Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $34.95 60 liter; $29.95 35 liter; $23.95 25 liter
For more information:www.seallinegear.com