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Backpack rain covers.

Does anyone carry a rain cover for your backpack? I've always carried a large garbage bag for emergencies but have always wondered how efficient it would be in a real downpore. Is the extra weight of a rain cover worth it?

Posted by
5788 posts

The don't work in high wind/rain conditions. If you use them, make sure that you leash the cover to your pack so you don't lose it when it blows off. Use the garbage bag (or dry bag) if any of your stuff needs to stay absolutely dry.

If you are doing a walking trip, a waterproof map case is essential.

Posted by
2526 posts

Two backpacks hold all my gear...a Rick's bag for most items and a smaller day backpack for some basics when out. I've never owned a rain cover for any backpack, but do stash a kitchen garbage sack in my small bag and have used such just once in a sustained rain to protect my DSLR.

Posted by
638 posts

When I walked the Camino de Santiago I carried a rain cover for my backpack, it's only a couple of ounces at the most so it didn't really figure into the weight I was carrying, I had to use it twice in 33 days. And being that I do most of my hiking in the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia and Alberta part of my process is to line the inside of my pack with a garbage bag, it's just something I've become accustomed to doing. I also separately bag my emergency clothes, I guess I have a triple redundancy system in place. The large garbage bag on the outside is a recipe for failure with gaps and wind coming into play.

I think it would help if we knew what kind of traveling you will be doing. Are you backpacking in Scotland or day-hiking around Italy in April - for examples. There are some cheap rain covers on Amazon and sea- to- summit may have some lightweight ones. Does your pack have a storm flap over the zippers? What kind of pack are you using?

Posted by
1277 posts

I used a 6.99 poncho to cover me and my back pack the day we walked from our apt to the train station in varenna in a downpour....it was about 1.5 miles.

Posted by
786 posts

I absolutely think protecting your luggage from the rain is worth it. I remember getting caught in a downpour while walking from the train station to a hotel on the first day of the vacation. All of my clothes for damp enough that I had to hang them up to dry and do laundry early.

My rain protection is in my suitcase. I put all of my clothes and/or cubes in the the "large" ziploc bags. The bags then get re-purposed for dirty clothes and an on-the-go laundry maching (as I learned from others in this forum.

I wear a crossbody bag during the day and I intentionally buy rain coats roomy enough that the bag fits under it and I can still zip up in heavy rain.

Posted by
8168 posts

I have a poncho that has the extra pocket on the back that covers the back-pack nicely. No need for an extra cover. It worked in pouring rain and very high winds. Were you going to wear a rain coat too? One of the things that people often complain about is that rain leaks through their coat where the straps of the back-pack are. That is why I chose a poncho that covered everything. All of my gear stayed perfectly dry.

Look for Altus ponchos. There are also some rain jackets with a similar feature.

Posted by
400 posts

I struggled with this after our last 30 day Europe Trip. Last day in Paris and we had to get to the metro in a downpour. My backpack got soaked, along with my clothing. So i vowed to buy some covers, purchased one thru Amazon and fortunately it arrived in a wrong size. I couldn't see how it would work to completely keep the contents dry. Water can still (and did) enter between your back and the uncovered portion. So after checking out various options, I decided to go with a garbage bag lined inside my pack. To me this WILL keep everything dry, takes up no extra room like the folded up cover and has a much better cost.

Posted by
25 posts

Sun-baked. My inquiry is for future travel. On my last trip to Michigan I got caught in a storm with my RS Rolling Carry-On. I covered it with a jacket, and, although the bag got somewhat wet, nothing inside did. I have since bought a RS Convertible Carry-On and wonder about a rain cover, I like the idea of using a garbage bag inside with a rain cover for the outside.

Posted by
1115 posts

If you google for "backpack rain cover" you will get what you need.

I always carry one since one vacation in "sunny" Italy where everything in my backpack got drenched - including my notebook with all the information I needed and my notes on spending. The only that saved us was that the next stop was ab apartment with a washing machine and a drying rack. Didn't save my notebook though :-(

Posted by
607 posts

When i used to do a lot of backpack camping, i used to just wrap items in plastic shopping bags. I also carried a plastic garbage bag to cover the backpack in a downpour. I would poke a few hokes in the bag to run the shoulder straps through the garbage bag. A nylon backpack cover costs more and may leak depending upon the coating and seam seal. The garbage bag is simple, cheap and the plastic is waterproof. I could also cut armholes in the bag and use it as a jacket in an emergency.

I also owned a poncho similar to this: https://store.ricksteves.com/shop/p/rain-poncho.
However, i did not like wearing it because i felt like a walking tent.

Posted by
963 posts

As a Brit, I concentrate on keeping the contents dry by putting them in dry bags and if wanting to 'belt and braces' it, putting these in a large plastic back inside the rucksack (you can buy plastic bags that are called 'rucksack liners' in the UK - they are however, heavy duty garbage bags by any other name, but then some hikers - including me! - are suckers for kit!).

My own day sack (Lowe Alpine) has an integral cover, but I rarely use it unless it's an absolute deluge. You then have got the problem of making sure it's dry before re-stowing it. As for the separate ones, well I've spent far too long chasing other people's across UK hillsides to believe they are worth the effort!

If you can't pick up dry bags near home you may be able to order them via e-mail. Some come as heavier rubberised bags but that seems to be overkill, even for the notoriously inclement UK. Most are water proofed fabric and have roll tops and they come in a variety of sizes, colour coded usually, so you can remember what's in which bag.

Ian

The weak link for water leakage is zipper areas that are not covered by storm flaps and seams. A backpack cover could also help deter a "pickpocket" by covering zippers. It could also be placed "backwards" over straps for containment when checking the bag at an airport. I bought a cheap cover from Amazon.com for a daypack. I had a bad rain experience once. There are lots of covers available. You just need to know the approximate size of your pack. Wal-mart even has them in the camping section. The straps will get wet - but the pack contents will survive.

SeatoSummit brand has some highly compact pack covers and a pack liner for the interior at reasonable prices.

Posted by
5788 posts

...deter a "pickpocket"....

I don't worry about pickpockets (or muggers) when trekking the fells or moors. And if pickpockets are a concern a roll top dry bag would be harder to get in to than a pack cover, in my opinion.

Posted by
2526 posts

The last time I used a poncho was during extended times fishing in miserable weather. If it's pouring rain, I've learned to seek shelter.

Posted by
1277 posts

Ms Jo, i opened yr link, functional, sure, but a vague qauisimodo vibe going there.
Bruce, i hear you about sitting it out, but im a proud member of of "eh, im not going to melt" school.....and if you have train tickets bought, and excitting plans in the next city....sometimes you just have to slog thru some puddles.......

Posted by
490 posts

I keep 2 tall kitchen drawstring style bags in the outer pocket of my bag, works like a charm and reusable for laundry! I always have a poncho to cover backpack & myself!