In the backcountry where weather conditions change rapidly, waterproofing our sleep systems and insulating layers is paramount. Weapons against hypothermia like base layers, puffy jackets, and quilts must stay dry at all costs.
Pack covers help but can only withstand so much rain before soaking through. Pack liners work well but do little to help organize gear for quick retrieval when a storm hits.
Dyneema stuff sacks from LiteAF add redundancy to any preferred waterproofing method and have the added benefit of organizing gear in a way that maximizes pack space while facilitating easy access.
The small, medium, and large bags all weigh less than half an ounce each. They are seam taped and waterproof unless completely submerged. The 2.2L, 5.9L, and 8.2L volume options can protect everything from a full-size sleeping quilt to any other odds and ends cinched tightly inside the locking pull closure.
What I love about the LiteAF Dyneema Stuff Sacks
Perfectly sized - Unquestionably my favorite thing about these resilient stuff sacks is that they are just the right sizes. The large one is perfect for my Enlightened Equipment quilt, leaving enough room for an inflatable pillow. The medium bag houses my puffy jacket in its reassuring waterproof embrace. The smallest one protects my night clothes with room to spare for extra socks and a change of undies.
Waterproof AF - As mentioned these mighty little wonders are not intended to be submerged. They are not a roll top style dry bag, so the upper closure will allow water in should they fall into a creek. Otherwise the Dyneema® Composite CT2K.18 material is impermeable. I left a stuff sack filled with my fleece, tied to a log, and dangling into a lake overnight. The top opening was never underwater and come morning my fleece was still bone dry. Not a drop seeped through the material.
Organizable - In the past I have used a single dry bag to protect my gear. In doing so I found it difficult to utilize every inch of backpack space. Not only were my items hard to retrieve, the bulky dry bag left pockets of wasted space in the corners of my pack’s main compartment. With the individual sacks I can cram stuff into the nooks and crannies created by larger items and maximize pack space for a more balanced load.
LiteAF - Ultralight backpackers are often quick to ditch stuff sacks to save weight. Yet all three stuff sacks together weigh only 28 grams. Adding a valuable and potentially life saving waterproof layer to vital gear for less than an ounce seems like a no-brainer.
What I Didn’t Love
Line Lock Slippage - The line locks on the stuff sack closures are just a touch too large for the draw cords. When the sacks are not filled to the brim, the line locks work just fine. When they are filled up all the way, the line locks lose some of their grippiness.
Draw Cords Can Tear the Dyneema - The point where the draw cords exit the bag to make the cinch closure is not reinforced in any way. Friction and pulling on the draw cords too severely can tear the material. These bags need to be closed gently to retain the ability to tighten down all the way. I would love to see a small piece of seam tape there to fortify such a high-wear area.
Even with the imperfect closures the LiteAF Stuff Sacks are a terrific way to protect electronics and other moisture-sensitive equipment. The Dyneema is absolutely impenetrable and the sacks are 100 percent waterproof unless completely submerged. For almost no weight these stuff sacks aid in organization and provide peace of mind. The varying sizes make use of tight spaces helping to create a more balanced and comfortable pack. With their redundancy added to my waterproofing systems I fear no downpour and hike right on through storms.
Mandy Esch is an international pro skater turned avid outdoorswoman who enjoys backpacking, camping, fly fishing, cliff diving and passing on what she learns along the way. In her backpacking blog, Mandy shares video trail reviews and trip planning guides. Follow her adventures at www.backcountrydirtbag.com.