This is a series of posts about ‘how to live out of a backpack’ as a nomad, minimalist, operative, expat, traveler or for everyday life as a lifestyle.
Improvised Waterproofing //
Do you need a waterproof backpack? No, not to live out of it. Do you need waterproofing capabilities in a non-waterproof backpack? Maybe, but with this method, it’s so easy and cheap that Franz Kafka’s words of wisdom never made more sense; “Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.”
Living out of a backpack as a vagabond, this means this “life pack” will be on your person not always but through a great deal of time and events throughout.
I was taking a half-broken speedboat along the Mekong River to cross the border to Laos and it started pouring bullets. My FAST Pack EDC backpack, made of nylon, was getting hammered.
I had my MacBook, various tech and newly washed clothing about to get drenched but I wasn’t worried. Because before we got on that death boat, I spent a whole 10 seconds to waterproof the precious cargo. Not for submersion protection from the river but indefinite impermeability from falling rain.
All I used to improvise waterproofing was a type of garbage I always have as a part of my packing list; a random plastic shopping bag.
The process is simple. Just insert the internal contents of your backpack inside a plastic bag as pictured. Make sure it’s on upside down and tied below, because you know, physics. And that’s it.
It’s obviously not submersible but as long as there isn’t a tear in the plastic bag, and the backpack is upright, no amount of rain should penetrate.
However, prolonged exposure could cause enough water to buildup at the bottom to reach the protected area. But there’s an additional step you can take to counter this completely while also adding momentary submersion protection:
Before using a plastic bag upside down over your contents, get another plastic bag and put it over right side up and tie it off. Then put the other plastic bag over it upside down and tie it off. Done.
Although in most cases this is unnecessary, that extra step gives it almost true waterproofness.
But again, water will penetrate with total submersion, this just gives you a few seconds to rescue it. Unlike how it would be if your backpack content was exposed.
A plastic shopping bag can be found anywhere, take up no space and weigh nothing – so add it to your kit.
How to Live Out of a Backpack:
[Gear featured: The Triple Aught Design FAST Pack Scout and VSSL Mini Survival Cache.]
Wow so simple but effective… I was imagining wrapping the entire bag with a garbage bag. Works but looks stupid… This is a great packing hack though. Will use.
The second step is genius! although seems so obvious now.