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need recomendation for waterproofing an ALICE pack for extended foul weather use.

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gear, Survival Equipment & More' started by uluapark, Jun 16, 2015.

  1. uluapark


    Aug 10, 2013
    What product would you use to waterproof and alice pack for an extended foul weather trip? the trip will be rainy for 3 days straight or more.Trying not to buy a pack cover, want to keep the bag functional.
  2. pinnah


    Jul 28, 2011
    I don't use a pack cover. Sleeping bag stuff sack and camp clothes stuff sack get lined with garbage bags. Putting the garbage bags INSIDE helps prevent puncture. Cook gear, trail clothes and tent can all get soaked. Works in rainy New England for me.
  3. Smithhammer


    Nov 9, 2012
    What Pinnah said. Though I've used trash compactor bags to line my entire backpack. It's cheap and works great. And far more waterproof than a pack cover in an extended downpour. :thumbup:
  4. sideways


    Feb 19, 2013
    Yup. Trash bag inside pack and inside sleeping bag stuff sack.
    Any external pockets with stuff that needs to stay dry should also be lined.

    Naturally it helps if you can set up your dry shelter as soon as you get to wherever you are going. Then you can store your pack in the shelter while you do the things you do the rest of the time.
  5. neeman


    Apr 5, 2007
    I use the inside the pack garbage bags routine, but I do not want to get my pack wet and carry around my gear in a damp pack

    I use a pack cover as my first defense against the rain, so the rain drips off the back
    When setting up camp in the rain the cover helps to keep the pack clean and dry
  6. North Arm Knives

    North Arm Knives

    Jan 9, 2014
    What neeman and smith hammer said. I use a thick contractor type garbage bag inside my pack as well as packaging up the most important things in their own zip lock or garbage bag. That will keep your gear 100% dry. Like neeman I also use a pack cover to keep the worst of the rain off my pack, one of the main reasons is the more water the pack soaks up the heavier it gets!

    If you want to make the pack material itself a little more water proof you could use some scotch guard (the outdoor type) I've used it on my packs before and it helps bead the water better, though if you're spending three days in the rain it won't make much difference in the long run.
  7. leghog


    Aug 10, 2013
    ALICE pack aka "the tick" --- burrows into the wearer's back and sucks the life out of its carrier.

    You won't be able to waterproof it. If you insist on using it, you'll need to use waterproof bags inside (which is why waterproof bags were issued when an ALICE pack was issued). Best is to pack and seal what must be kept dry into ziplocks with the ziplocks then packed into the waterproof bag.

    Been there. Done that. Will never voluntarily carry an ALICE pack again.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2015
  8. Steve6387


    Jul 1, 2013
    +1. Rainy new England hiker here. That's what I do.
  9. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    waterproofing the pack fabric won't keep the stuff inside dry, but may help limit how much water the pack absorbs and how much heavier it gets. Thats the only reason I use a cover. A DWR treatment or scotchguard might help with that as well. Nylon likes water.
  10. neeman


    Apr 5, 2007
    Who remembers the weight of wet canvas anoraks, wet canvas rucksack and wet canvas pup tents?
    I do...........
  11. Ausseknifeknut

    Ausseknifeknut Banned BANNED

    Oct 26, 2013
    Pelican cases and dry sacks are always an option for keeping things in your pack dry. Pelican cases also make awesome containers for kits , psk , fire kits etc
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2015
  12. sideways


    Feb 19, 2013
    Nothing like hauling a 50 lbs waterlogged frozen sack of canvas through the forest in addition to your other kit. :)

    An alice pack would not be my first choice either.
  13. Fallbrook Forge

    Fallbrook Forge Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2006
    I've used an ALICE quite a bit in foul weather.

    If it's a heavily used pack you won't be able to waterproof the pack itself easily if at all. If it's in very good condition you might be able to with a silicon sealant like camp dry.

    What I used to do was take clear silicon sealant and dilute it with some mineral spirits and add Thomsons water seal, turn the pack inside out and brush that mixture onto the seams. Then once that is dry turn the bag right side out, and spray the entire exterior with camp dry or similar silicone spray.

    Your other option is to just water proof your contents, the material of an ALICE doesn't absorb that much water. Dry sacks, 50 gal trash bags, trash compactor bags and zip locks all work well for water proofing gear.
  14. mickhecquet


    Jun 18, 2015
    I use nikwax here in the uk or grangers 😀
  15. druid189


    Apr 27, 2008
    I beg to differ but YMMV

    I do....because I still use canvas pups :D
  16. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    I guess what I meant is that on its own nylon absorbs water at a molecular level. Cotton absorbs far more obviously. but wet nylon still gets heavy.
    As for my comment that waterproofing the fabric isn't enough, Its always been my experience that unless a pack has been engineered to be waterproof, there will always be a way for water to get in. Some seam that is hard to seal, a zipper that catches water, that sort of thing. Its all a matter of degrees, Very water resistant might be enough, but my definition of waterproof involves a full dunking. Just the kind of stuff I do, so its how I think about it. To each their own though. My definition of heavy rain changed a lot when I moved to the tropics!
  17. druid189


    Apr 27, 2008
    Given materials and construction, I can agree to that. Even the best "brand new" SilNylon tents will have some degree of seepage...

    The pack I have is an old Woodland Camo, IIFS Field Pack 8465-01-286-5356 pack with internal frame:


    I'm missing the Combat Patrol Pack NSN 8465-01-287-8128 that attaches to the back though:


    The Pack also appears under the alternate name of "CPF-90 Field Pack."

    ...and you are absolutely correct in saying water will eventually get in - but my experience [with this pack] has been that happens most when the bag isn't correctly closed up.

    When I waterproofed that bag, I used my previously posted concoction. There were some spots where the paste wouldn't absorb and had to be wiped off...but overall, it worked very well.

    There are no zippers but there are draw strings and straps/buckles. The only time I got water in my pack [after waterproofing] was during a torrential downpour that was actually blowing sideways. Think "monsoon" intensity winds and rains and you get what I mean...lol.

    I had too much crap stuffed in the bag and the "lids" didn't quite cover the pockets properly. That's my fault though, not the bag's and certainly not the waterproofing agent's. I have to learn to carry less crap into the field LOL.

    That bag was produced with a heavy nylon fabric with an application of [what I think is] latex on the inside of the panels. It's incredibly abrasion, as well as water resistant without alteration...but mine is suffering from the [Latex?] lining/backing cracking and peeling failure.....probably due to age and use. I got this back in the early 90s
  18. HJK

    HJK Moderator Moderator

    Jun 30, 1999
    In my experience the only truly waterproof bags are roll-tops and made of waterproof material, but you generally don't need that unless you are kayaking or canoeing etc and even then you need to use drybags or plastic bags inside. Depending on how easily your pack material wets out you may or may not need a pack cover ( which you could make yourself) but for sure you will want to use dry bag/s inside and you can get away with using plastic garbage bags, ( more than one).
    If your bag tends to wet out you'll be happier with some kind of pack cover.

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