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On our recent trip to Italy we learned the hard way that our Classic Back Door bags were not water tight :-(
Actually all my paperwork and most of our clothes were soaked.

What do you do to keep your thing dry?

I have thougt about three solutions, but I don't know how good they are:

  1. Cover the bag with a "raincoat". I haven't seen anything that will fit but I might be able to McGuiver something
  2. Spray the bag with silicone or something similar to make tight
  3. Pack everything in plastic bags inside the bage - but the bag itself will still be soaked (and heavy)
Posted by
1856 posts

You can buy a rain cover for your backpack. My husband has one that came with his camera gear backpack - it's like a large shower cap. This came in really handy a couple of months ago when we were touring a national park in Europe and were caught in a deluge. REI sells them and I'm sure there are other retailers that have them as well. Just google "rain cover for backpack" and you should find something that will work for you.

Posted by
9929 posts

Do you mind sharing the situation where your bag got wet? Just wondering if you got caught in a downpour or if you had to walk a distance in rain.

I have started packing a large garbage bag in my bag in case it's needed, but haven't had to deal with it yet. I would think one issue about spraying with silicone is that the zippers will still be a vulnerable point.

Posted by
21867 posts

Go to any backpacking store and they will have a variety of solution. One solution is a backpacking poncho that is extra full in the back to cover the backpack. As mentioned there are covers for bags. We always pack a large trash bag just for an emergency. Sprays are ineffective because it is the zippers that leak unless you have waterproof zippers. And, of course, packing everything in plastic bags is always a very good practice. We had a bag soaked one time just sitting in the luggage carrier waiting to be loaded into the plane. The plastic bags saved us.

Posted by
1118 posts

Thanks for your comments.

The cover sounds like a good idea. My only concern is that cover outside and plastic bags inside will add to the weight but I guess the advantage of dry clothes outweights (unintentional pun) it.

We were caught in a downpour walking from our camping site outside Bardolino to the boat (20 minutes) and again in Peschiera walking from the boat to the station (20 minutes). The rain was really heavy :-)

Posted by
2081 posts


i pack a couple medium size plastic heavy duty garbage bags in my pack so that if i need them, i can use them for whatever purpose and that includes keeping my stuff dry. Most of my clothes is quick drying so its not an issue. Im going more or less paperless this year so it will be interesting.

i do have a carry type bag that i will have my travel books in and thats more or less waterproof. I made it many years ago but it needs to be replaced so i designing another one. That will also be water proof as much as i can, but so far i havent been poured on, on my travels.

happy trails.

Posted by
186 posts

Three years ago we came home to Los Angeles from Paris through Miami. We had about 2.5 hours between planes. About 30 minutes before our plane was due to depart, a thunderstorm came through and they pulled all personnel off of the tarmac. Apparently they left carts full of luggage out because when we returned home later that day and opened our bags everything in the top half was soaked. When we head to Germany at the end of next month we plan to pack with plastic trash bags as liners. We expect never to be rained on again because we are now prepared!

Posted by
1277 posts

I just got back from Italy.....perhaps we were caught in the same thunderstorm> we were leaving our apt in Varenna and walking.....maybe 8 blocks to the train station....but long enough to get drenched. my 3 friends each had actual women's raincoats......I had a five dollar poncho labeled "one size fits all" from the Farm and Fleet store.......I'm a 5'2"woman, trust me, there was plenty of hooded plastic to cover me, my back pack and my purse..................(eventually it dried off and went back into its little pouch.....whole thing about the size of a Readers Digest, slightly heavier)
FYI.....I also had the experience about 15 years ago of my bags being outside apparently on the top of a luggage cart for a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOng time in the rain in the Detroit airport......
Edited to ADD yup, GINGER, I was more dry than my friends., and my luggage CERTAINLY was. while I understand the above poster who said that a poncho would be whipped by wind if you were hiking....for average tourist trying to get to train station, its a good choice. of course, when rain is threatening. move travel documents into the body of suitcase and put stuff like shower shoes and hairbrush into outer pockets.....

Posted by
453 posts

Doric, what I want to know is whether you were more dry than your friends!! :-)

Enersen, I don't understand the comment you made about plastic bag and backpack rain cover being heavy...I doubt they're going to weigh 5 lbs!

Or do you prefer to carry a soggy backpack? Never had suitcase wet before, but always a first time. Now I'll definitely use the tips given here.

Posted by
31524 posts


What do you do to keep your thing dry?

The Backpack that I typically use for trips to Europe has a "rain jacket" built into it, so I can use that when I'm carrying the pack. It also has a rubberized lining on the inside which helps although as noted in other replies, the zippers are a weak spot. However, the rain jacket doesn't help if the pack is left on a luggage cart out in the rain.

The only luggage I've seen that addresses the issue with zippers allowing water in, are products from Tom Bihn. Most of their travel bags use #10 YKK Aquaguard® water-repellent zippers which have a rubber coating. The inside of the bags are also lined with a Dyneema nylon which is completely impervious to water. I wouldn't say they are completely waterproof but they're darn close.

I've also encountered torrential downpours when travelling in Italy, so I can certainly relate to the experiences you had.

Posted by
5792 posts

Short of a drybag, Patagonia's Black Hole Duffle Bags appear to by highly water resistant. I don't own one but have found other Patagonia products to meet their claims.
Made from 14.7-oz 1,200-denier polyester (50% solution-dyed) with a TPU-film laminate and a DWR (durable water repellent) finish.
Waterproof fabric with bound seams protects your gear in all but the wettest conditions

Posted by
18388 posts

"We had a bag soaked one time just sitting in the luggage carrier waiting to be loaded into the plane."

One more problem you don't have if you carry on.

Posted by
1118 posts

Thanks for all the good advice :-)

I will start a tour through my local outdoor shops to look for a cover - and then pack enough garbage bags for my clothes and ziplock bags for the paper and the electronics. I agree that the added weight is negligible compared to the weight (and inconvenience) of soaked clothes.