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DIY Waterproof Liner for Any Bag, Practically Free!

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DIY Waterproof Liner for Any Bag, Practically Free!

Old 01-18-08, 08:51 AM
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DIY Waterproof Liner for Any Bag, Practically Free!

So I have a big old BaileyWorks mess. bag that I love and have used forever, but my new routine involves hauling a laptop, some case files (I'm a lawyer), the usual complement of tools and camera and such, and lunch, and it was starting to make my back hurt. So I switched to a very sturdy, basic EMS backpack (2000 cub. in., one little pocket inside, lots of straps and buckles outside), which is, of course, not waterproof. In the long run, I'd like to invest in a waterproof bag (either the Timbuk2 Hacker or the Banjo Brothers commuter backpack), but until then, I came up with the following solution for a very inexpensive but sturdy waterproof bag liner. All you need is some kitchen garbage bags, some plastic shopping bags, an ironing board, an iron, and about half an hour:

(Instructions first, then pictures)

1) Find a size of garbage bag that is slightly larger than the bag you want to line. I used 13 gallon kitchen bags.

2) Place four of these bags inside one another (like double-bagging it at the grocery store).

3) Place the quadruple bag over the ironing board so that just one side is exposed.

4) With the iron at about 60% of maximum heat, press down on the quadruple bag. Don't drag the iron as you would on clothes, just press, lift, and move to another spot. The bags will melt together. You will probably make some holes all the way through. Don't worry about this.

5) When you have melted the four bags together on all sides, the plastic will feel tough and kind of stiff in most places. Find the spots where it still feels filmy like an ordinary plastic bag or where there are holes.

6) For each hole or weak spot, take a plastic shopping bag, fold it in half, and iron it on. Start by ironing the edges of the shopping bag to hold it in place, then do the middle. If little bits are left sticking up, just cut them off with scissors.

7) When your liner feels adequately sturdy, fold the corners or sides as needed to create the shape you want. Iron each fold into place - this may take a little more heat, because you're working with a thicker piece of plastic.

8) Reinforce any part of the liner by ironing on more bags. I did this on the bottom of mine.

9) Depending on how the liner will fit in the bag, you may want to make a flap (as I did). Just use the same technique to make a big flat piece of stiff, melted plastic, then use a few more shopping bags to create an iron-on hinge. Make the flap too big, then cut it down with scissors.

10) Voila! Insert liner in bag and ride in the rain.

Here's my masterpiece, outside the host bag, with flap open:



Here it is with flap closed:



Here it is in the backpack, with the flap open:



Ready to go:

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Old 01-18-08, 09:01 AM
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Neat. That does seem like a lot of work.

My method:
1) Take trash bag.
2) Put items in it.
3) Put trash bag in bag.

However, it does not exactly rain much here.
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Old 01-18-08, 09:04 AM
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Sure, if rain is a once-in-a-blue-moon kinds thing where you live, the trash bag route makes sense. I was going for something a little more permanent and less likely to tear. (Not that I really carry anything with sharp, exposed corners or edges, but it's nice to have the option - I mean, someday I might have to bring all my ninja throwing stars home from the office!)
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Old 01-18-08, 09:06 AM
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Lol
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Old 01-18-08, 10:12 AM
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I'm not sure if I should applaud or laugh.

It's certainly hipsterfabulous (you know, like ghettofabulous only, well, you get the idea).
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Old 01-18-08, 10:40 AM
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You should both applaud and laugh!

As for hipster-fabulous, I think I'm a little too old/lawyer/homeowner-with-two-kids to have any serious pretensions to hipsterdom. I do try to keep it ghetto, though.
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Old 01-18-08, 10:50 AM
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Uh, I just put stuff into gallon sized freezer zip lock baggies inside the panniers. When the baggies get old, I get new ones.

Pretty simple.
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Old 01-18-08, 10:57 AM
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A Sea-to-Summit SilNylon drybag keeps your stuff dry, costs under $40 for the really huge ones, and doesn't make you look like a hobo when you arrive at your destination. I applaud the concept, but the implementation could use some work.

If you're at all familiar with a sewing machine, you can get a yard of SilNylon, a bottle of seam sealer, a couple feet of webbing and a snap clip for about $15. 20 minutes at a sewing machine and you can custom build a really nice waterproof bag insert.
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Old 01-18-08, 11:01 AM
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I do the trashbag thing. Everything goes in a small trashbag, then into the panniers. It rains every now and then here ;-) and it works great. When I get to work I carry the panniers into the locker room and out comes my stuff. Not too hobo-ish but I can live with any similarities.
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Old 01-18-08, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
A Sea-to-Summit SilNylon drybag keeps your stuff dry, costs under $40 for the really huge ones, and doesn't make you look like a hobo when you arrive at your destination. I applaud the concept, but the implementation could use some work.

If you're at all familiar with a sewing machine, you can get a yard of SilNylon, a bottle of seam sealer, a couple feet of webbing and a snap clip for about $15. 20 minutes at a sewing machine and you can custom build a really nice waterproof bag insert.
You make two bad assumptions here:

1) That I have a sewing machine.
2) That I consider looking like a hobo to be a bad thing.

I know the implementation is, ahem, rough, but I'm pretty pleased with the functionality. I mean, it fits perfectly inside the backpack, it cost me almost nothing, and I did it with no special materials and on very short notice. With practice, I'm sure I can refine this technique - I actually got the idea from a really cool-looking messenger bag made almost entirely out of blue NY Times delivery bags, which was on display at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston - but for now, I think it's a handy and cheap way to make inexpensive, functional drybags. And, for an added bonus, it makes me look like a hobo (which goes nicely with my riding-in-the-rain outfit: baggy dark blue rain pants, baggy black raincoat, and black galoshes).
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Old 01-18-08, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
Neat. That does seem like a lot of work.

My method:
1) Take trash bag.
2) Put items in it.
3) Put trash bag in bag.
I'm suing for patent infringement! That's MY method!

My usual is to use shopping bags because of their better size, and tie a knot in the top to keep all the water out.
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Old 01-18-08, 12:07 PM
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I use the shopping bags for my feet.
It rains so rarely around here I have never bothered to rain proof my feet.
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Old 01-18-08, 12:43 PM
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Rainproofing your feet? That's a novel idea. I usually just let them get soaked. Do you put the bag outside or inside your shoes?
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Old 01-18-08, 12:49 PM
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I hate cold wet feet. In summer they just get wet.
In order to minimize the dorkiness factor I put them between 2 layers of socks.
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Old 01-18-08, 01:27 PM
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Oh that isn't any fun to hide your baggies. I just wear bags between my socks and shoes for cold rain or just cold in general. I make sure to keep enough over the top of the shoe before trimming to show everyone I am using those nice thick bags that target used to have, not the superthin ones they went to now like every other stores.
I use those hefty bags to put anything in then throw it in my freeloaders on my xtracycle. Now that I'm commuting on my merlin I use a backpack but it has a neat little rain cover under a zipper I can pull up and over it.
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Old 01-18-08, 01:53 PM
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I don't even like my socks showing.
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Old 01-18-08, 05:18 PM
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I have a highly refined technique:

1) Walk to mail room.
2) Take waterproof UPS or Fedex package of appropriate size.
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Old 01-28-08, 06:55 PM
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I tried this, and it worked really well.
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Old 01-28-08, 07:17 PM
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Wow, all I can say is, do NOT use your good iron for this. My wife would friggin shoot me if I melted plastic with her $80 Rowenta. It'd be like driving nails with my helmet.
Get an iron at a garage sale or something to do this with.
I just cram stuff in a plastic grocery bag. My panniers are old and crusty and have many holes in them, but a simple plastic bag and I can ride through a rainstorm and not have my change of clothes get wet.
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Old 01-28-08, 07:21 PM
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[QUOTE=Ya Tu Sabes;6004921]

Here's my masterpiece, outside the host bag, with flap open:



Thats my moto..."Cheap, Simple, and effective"

Great job.
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Old 01-28-08, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
Wow, all I can say is, do NOT use your good iron for this. My wife would friggin shoot me if I melted plastic with her $80 Rowenta. It'd be like driving nails with my helmet.
Get an iron at a garage sale or something to do this with.
I just cram stuff in a plastic grocery bag. My panniers are old and crusty and have many holes in them, but a simple plastic bag and I can ride through a rainstorm and not have my change of clothes get wet.
A good idea would be to place the plastic bags in between sheets of wax paper.
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Old 01-29-08, 10:49 AM
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I'm with Vincepaul.

Trash bag is good too, but costs money.
Grocery bags are good, but we use canvas bags at the house so we don't have these very often.

SOLUTION:
FEDEX and/or DHL will happily give you a nice waterproof tyvek bag for FREE! They leave them for you in boxes all over town.

They also provide FREE water resistant padded laptop carriers in the form of bubble mailers.

Saggy ol' panniers? FEDEX, DHL and the post office leave these handy corrogated plastic tubs at the office all the time where they stack up to the ceiling. Cut out the bottom and you have a lightweight pannier backplate.

Need a fender for the unexpected wet ride home? The same tub you cut the bottom out of has a nice stiff wire inside the folder over top. Cut off the top and form the 3 inch wide fender with the built in wire. FEDEX also provides shipping tape to attach your custom fender to the bike. Same great low price...FREE

The environmentally conscious can re-use a tyvek bag that was previously used to send the omni-present "TPS report" from across town. Re-use a padded mailer that contained the obiquitous "Inspirational 'TEAMWORK' Art" that every office must have.
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Old 01-29-08, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Leiniesred View Post
SOLUTION:
FEDEX and/or DHL will happily give you a nice waterproof tyvek bag for FREE! They leave them for you in boxes all over town.

They also provide FREE water resistant padded laptop carriers in the form of bubble mailers.
The more people who steal (yes, you're stealing) the tyvek, padded and corrugated mailers and don't use them to ship anything end up increasing the costs for those of us who use them for the intended purposes. Eventually, DHL and FedEx will stop leaving them out and start charging everyone for them.

Seriously folks, I know the job market is in the dumper and money's tight, but spring the $3.00 for a box of friggin' trash bags if you need to waterproof your stuff.
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Old 01-29-08, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Leiniesred View Post
The environmentally conscious can re-use a tyvek bag that was previously used to send the omni-present "TPS report" from across town. Re-use a padded mailer that contained the obiquitous "Inspirational 'TEAMWORK' Art" that every office must have.
Make sure those TPS reports come with the new cover sheets.
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Old 01-29-08, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
The more people who steal (yes, you're stealing) the tyvek, padded and corrugated mailers ....increasing the costs for those of us who use them for the intended purposes. Eventually, DHL and FedEx will stop leaving them out and start charging everyone for them....spring the $3.00 for a box of friggin' trash bags if you need to waterproof your stuff.
First, while they might not want me to sell custom furniture crafted from their boxes, (https://www.newstarget.com/011583.html) I really doubt that UPS, DHL or FedEx objects to my taking an object plastered with their corporate logo and dragging it all over town in plain view of everybody I pass. But, yes, if DHL/UPS/FedEx thinks the distribution to usage ratio is not to their advantage, despite the advertising value of the packages themselves, they'll tighten distribution of them. I doubt that that's going to happen. YMMV. Second, and more importantly, in our mail room we collect used bags for reuse because Tyvek, while made from a small amount of post-consumer content, is 100% non-recyclable in our local waste management stream. The only way to recycle it is to send it back to DuPont. Guess what? Few mailers or recipients bother to do this. Repurposing these waste products is about as positive a moral act as you can find, at least for those of us who believe in stewardship of the environment.
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