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Use stuff sacks or not?

Old 08-29-21, 02:27 PM
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rbrides
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Use stuff sacks or not?

For bike packing, do you put your sleeping bag and tent in their stuff sacks and then into your bike bags, or do you forgo the stuff sack and put them right into the bike bags? What Pros and cons have you experienced with one method vs the other?
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Old 08-29-21, 02:34 PM
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I like to use small ultrasil stuff sacks for everything, It organizes stuff and makes it easier to find things (they are color coded. I find I can pack more compactly as well.
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Old 08-29-21, 03:28 PM
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I use panniers.

Sleeping bag always goes into a compression stuff sack, usually a waterproof one. One like this, although size I use may vary depending on which sleeping bag I use and whether or not a down vest is packed with it.
https://www.rei.com/product/807788/g...ession-drysack

Tent is usually wet when packed, so you likely do not want the tent to get your other stuff wet, use a waterproof sack. But, I usually pack other stuff in that pannier that can get wet without any problem.
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Old 08-29-21, 03:45 PM
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Stuff sacks and compression sacks just make life easier and simpler.
so much simpler to stay comfortable and on track when rushed by the light or weather or just exhaustion.
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Old 08-29-21, 04:54 PM
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Just one stuff sack for me, for clothing/pillow.

I tour with two panniers, one stays dry and one can get wet. All insulation, clothing and maps go in a trash compactor bag in the dry side, while tools, spares, tent and food can get wet in the other side. Sleeping pad and tent pole sit on the rack and they can get wet too. I pack simply and this works fine.

A fellow traveler asked me to critique his heavy load during a hostel stay in rainy weather. We pulled everything apart and found he had over 30 stuff sacks, nested up to three deep. He said he's an organization freak. His stuff sacks alone weighed more than my tent. When he saw my one stuff sack, it led to some soul searching. He later emailed me that he'd easily reduced his load by over ten pounds with a few easy changes, including mailing home a stuff sack full of stuff sacks. (You should have seen his first aid kit.)
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Old 08-29-21, 07:29 PM
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Sleeping bag in a compression stuff sack inside a pannier. Save a lot of space. Tent rolled up in its bag on the rear rack.
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Old 08-29-21, 11:05 PM
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I use compression sacks for my sleeping bag and our 2-person tent. If I am carrying an insulated jacket, I also put it into a compression sack.
The tent is in the blue compression sack, and my sleeping bag is in the green compression sack. The small gray bag is the tent's footprint. A compressible pillow is in the gray bag between the tent and sleeping bag. The orange bag is my Thermarest pad.



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Old 08-31-21, 08:36 PM
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I use the stuff sacks my sleeping bag an my tent came in. I have a large tarp that I pitch first if it's raining when I'm about to set up camp or if it looks like it's going to rain. Then I pitch my tent under that tarp. That keeps myself, my tent and my gear dry when I'm packing up. I also keep anything I want to keep dry in double trash bags = stuff like clothes, sleeping bag and tent.

I don't carry a pillow as I just roll up my clothes and use them.

Cheers
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Old 09-01-21, 08:57 AM
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I also use the tent and sleeping bag stuff sacks, and the tent stakes have their own. I've found that after stuffing and loading the sleeping bag (artificial fill for me), I can compress it a bit more if I need more room in the big pannier.

Not a formal stuff sack, but I put dirty laundry in a plastic bag to isolate the moisture from everything else in the pannier. (Or, for commuting, to keep work clothes clean and dry!)
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Old 09-01-21, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
...
Not a formal stuff sack, but I put dirty laundry in a plastic bag to isolate the moisture from everything else in the pannier. (Or, for commuting, to keep work clothes clean and dry!)
I usually use mesh packing cubes for my clean laundry, I would rather have two or three packing cubes in the tent instead of a pile of loose unsorted clothing. The dirty laundry does not go in the packing cubes, that is how I know what is clean and what is not.

I use waterproof panniers, but as I previously noted I use a waterproof compression sack for my sleeping bag, which is a bit redundant. Decades ago I learned from a Boy Scout leader that was in the Navy in WW II, you always use a redundancy to make sure your sleeping bag stays dry.
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Old 09-01-21, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by rbrides View Post
For bike packing, do you put your sleeping bag and tent in their stuff sacks and then into your bike bags, or do you forgo the stuff sack and put them right into the bike bags? What Pros and cons have you experienced with one method vs the other?
I put them in stuff sacks and let them ride on the rack. I never have understood the idea of carrying them in a bag. My tent poles wouldn’t fit in the bag and I can’t imagine putting a tent wet with rain or morning dew in with my sleeping bag.

Road


Off-road

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Old 09-01-21, 08:13 PM
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I am all about stuff sacks. Generally for sleeping bag it is in a compression sack and in a lot of cases the water proof one because I don't want my sleeping bag to get wet at all because that would really suck.
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Old 09-02-21, 04:59 AM
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I usually do not put my sleeping bag or tent stuff sacks on the racks, but I use panniers, not bikepacking gear. Sometimes I am quite happy that my gear was in waterproof panniers and drybags, like the day below.

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Old 09-02-21, 06:54 AM
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All our gear is on the living room floor as we prepare to leave on Saturday!
Our old Ortlieb panniers at still waterproof even in the heaviest downpours so here is what my wife has done. She is using areas pannier as a stuff sack for our sleeping bags. Yeah they take up a bit more room but when she was using 2 compression stuff sacks they didn't fill the pannier up very well. Lots of voids. Plus the time savings when unpacking and repacking,and it's her job, is a plus!
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Old 09-02-21, 07:15 AM
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definitely yes! I am a pedant in these things.
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Old 09-03-21, 07:03 AM
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I reckon the only time a sleeping bag would be better without a stuff sack would be fitting it into the narrow end of a long seat bag to avoid any wasted spaces. From my experience however, it will tend to move and expand any time pressure isn't against it, if removing a nearby item, so compression sacks at least always keep it contained and in the same shape/ size.

rb, what do you think?
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Old 09-03-21, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I reckon the only time a sleeping bag would be better without a stuff sack would be fitting it into the narrow end of a long seat bag to avoid any wasted spaces. From my experience however, it will tend to move and expand any time pressure isn't against it, if removing a nearby item, so compression sacks at least always keep it contained and in the same shape/ size.

rb, what do you think?
100% right
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Old 09-03-21, 08:39 AM
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I keep my sleeping bag in its stuff sack, which lets me pack it down tighter than I could otherwise. I have a couple of other stuff sacks for segregating my cold-weather and wet-weather clothes.
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Old 09-03-21, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by rbrides View Post
For bike packing, do you put your sleeping bag and tent in their stuff sacks and then into your bike bags, or do you forgo the stuff sack and put them right into the bike bags? What Pros and cons have you experienced with one method vs the other?
no stuff sacks, saves weight and SPACE, less volume if I press the sleeping bag into empty space into a pannier with other stuff, of course stuff that can't damage the sleeping bag. tent in its own bag into a pannier, or frame bag.
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Old 09-22-21, 10:21 AM
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I got home a few days ago from a backpacking trip. And during the trip I remembered this thread when I saw how many stuff sacks I had. When you tell me I had too much stuff, this was for a two week trip where I wanted to be ready for sub-freezing temps.



Starting from the right:
- yellow and gray compression waterproof stuffsack my sleeping bag is in, this is a keeper.
- small dark gray one with my air mattress. This is a keeper, to protect something I do not want punctured or abraded.
- green dry bag (15 liters) for my food to reduce odors that can attract animals, goes in my Ursack.
- black mesh bag that holds my water filtering stuff, bladders, etc.
- blue bag came with my cooking pot, I suppose this is not really needed when I am not using kerosene, as the pot is not getting sooty on this trip. Few other cooking items inside pot too.
- gray mesh bag holds my kitchen stuff together, convenient when loading pack etc, as there are probably a dozen items in it.
- dark gray tent bag, not really needed, but when my tent is packed up soaking wet I would probably want to have it. Not shown, the stake bag in it keeps the dirt in the bag and the stakes together.
- red drybag, meds, wallet, keys, passport, other critical stuff I do not want to lose.
- black mesh bag, toilet kit of tooth paste, brush, first aid gear, sewing kit and a dozen other items.
- light gray dry bag, roll of toilet paper.

Not shown, I had a few packing cubes for my spare clothing, towel, bandanas, etc. Also not shown, I was wearing my down vest, stocking cap and neck gaiter so the dry bag for that was in my pocket at the time of the photo.

I probably could shed two of these, but still plan to use them anyway, force of habit. And the convenience they offer is worth it to me.

The ones that are mesh are very light, allow me to see what is inside, and if something inside is damp, it can dry out.
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Old 09-22-21, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by str View Post
no stuff sacks, saves weight and SPACE, less volume if I press the sleeping bag into empty space into a pannier with other stuff, of course stuff that can't damage the sleeping bag. tent in its own bag into a pannier, or frame bag.
I don’t get the putting a sleeping bag into panniers or bikepacking bags. They take up more space that way. A sleeping bag is a bit like a gas in that it expands to fill the space. In its own water proof bag, it can ride outside without issue. That leaves more space in the pannier.

70 miles of driving rain and the bag was perfectly dry


I would never carry a tent inside a pannier nor with a sleeping bag. Tents can be wet with morning dew or drenched with a downpour. In a closed pannier with a sleeping bag is a good way of ending up with a wet (and cold) sleeping bag.
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Old 09-22-21, 11:38 AM
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I would never tour with my whole household fixed on my bike...

and a wet tent is strapped to the top tube.
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Old 09-22-21, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by str View Post
I would never tour with my whole household fixed on my bike...
Real subtle. Since I don’t have the picture in X-ray mode, you have no idea what I have fixed to my bike.

and a wet tent is strapped to the top tube.
Why? You have a panniers because

press the sleeping bag into empty space into a pannier with other stuff…
So you have a rack. Why strap the tent to the top tube when you have a deck on a rack you could use?

Additionally, how do you strap the tent to the top tube if you are using a frame bag? Your own words: “…tent in its own bag into a pannier, or frame bag…”

Finally, if you are carrying panniers and a frame bag you have as much or more volume than I do. Wonder what you carry in all those bags? Or do you just bring them along so that they don’t get lonely?
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Old 09-22-21, 12:31 PM
  #24  
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As others have mentioned/alluded to - there is a major difference between "stuff sac" and "dry sac". Some are combinations. Then some are "compression sacs". A "stuff sac" isn't necessarily a "compression sac" nor necessarily waterproof.

Using Stuff Sacs can help a lot with organizing. I use several. Most of them are small Cuben Fiber bags from Hyperlite Mountain Gear (HMG). I like putting snacks in them, stakes etc for my hammock and tent, etc. They come in handy. Again, organization is greatly enhanced, I feel, with them.

As to more bulky stuff - like bedding, shelters, and clothes - what can be compressed should be compressed.

My sleeping bag is a 0deg down bag and I have a home made fleece liner. That is my year-round "sleep system". When it is warm I use the fleece by itself. When it gets cooler I pair it with the bag and open/close the bag to regulate temp. I would rather have warmer gear than I need than to end up freezing at night. Been there, done that. Don't want to do it again.

In any event, the sleeping bag and fleece liner compress nicely in the compression sac that the sleeping bag came with. I compress it as tight as I can get it and keep it in a pannier.

My shelter options are a 2 person dome tent of sorts (heavy duty - Mountain Hardwear Hammerhead 2) and a hammock set up. The tent and all parts of the hammock set up are in stuff sacs - simple drawstring closures, not compression. The hammock is 4 pieces (if you count the stuff sacs) - the hammock itself, the fly/tarp, door kit (front/back closure panels) for the tarp, and my underquilt (down). They do compress, but are not in compression sacs. They normally ride in a dry sac combined with some other gear.

I feel clothes should be well protected from getting wet. So even in a pannier having them in another dry sac or bags is a great thing.

I agree with others that having a way to separate wet gear is a good thing. I have put my tent in its sac in a pannier when wet, because I really didn't have much of a choice with how gear was packed. If doing that out of necessity - be sure to let things dry out any chance you get. With a prolonged wet trip that can be impossible, though - even more reason to take care with things you need to keep dry. Even if your tent (outside and inside) is wet but your bedding and clothes are bone dry you'll be in good shape. If your bedding and clothes gets wet, too... Well, sorry about your luck, bud.

Sometimes you just can't keep some gear dry - and setting up/taking down tents in the rain is one of those deals. At that point - does it matter if you have it in a dry sac or not? I think if you could keep the tent dry more that would be best. Having it in a dry sac will help that, but again if you're in a prolonged period of wet weather and you can't get dry it won't matter.

Good luck in however you choose to package things.
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Old 09-22-21, 02:03 PM
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Sleeping bag goes into a stuff sack which is then strapped on top of a ground cloth that is on top of the rear rack. No need to put it inside anything in addition to the stuff sack. I have never used a tent on bike trips as the ground cloth / tarp with a length of line works well enough. Important where you sleep if expecting rain during the night so there is no runoff where you will be and end up with a wet bag. For my part I dislike riding in the rain and avoid going places where it is likely to rain and so no need for a tent.
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