Friday, August 08, 2008

Make the Cavemen Jealous.


It will happen one day.

On a quiet morning, halfway through your vacation, you’ll wake up to the soft pattering sound of raindrops falling outside your window. You’ll turn over, smile, and slowly fall back to sleep before a revelation hits you. “It’s raining, and I have a six, to eight hour hike ahead of me today.”

It’s inevitable. It WILL rain. It simply must rain in order to preserve the beauty and natural order of the mountains that we love. But it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. With a little advance preparation, you’ll learn to welcome regular precipitation. You might even ask for it by name.

One of your greatest assets on a long hiking tour, aside from quality rain gear, is a good dry bag for your pack. There’s something intrinsically satisfying that comes from the knowledge that your gear sits properly stowed, protected and dry during a storm. I like to think that such comfort stems from a connection with much older, primeval memories buried deep within our psyche. I often wonder what coziness our Neolithic ancestors felt when they lit their first fire, huddled deep inside their caves, and braved the long, slow advance of the ice days.

I use the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Pack. They come in a variety of sizes so pick the one that works best for you. You basically want it to line the interior of your bag. I use the 20-liter version inside of my compressible 50-liter pack and it works well. Remember that rain gear doesn’t need to go inside the dry pack during the day. Keep your rain gear in a place where it’s easy accessible in case a sudden storm blows in.

The best thing about these bags is that they’re extremely light, they’re durable, they have a nice watertight closure system, and they’re relatively inexpensive. I can tell that I’ll have mine for a long time, barring any unexpected theft or loss. You could get away with using a garbage bag, but why bother? Do yourself a favor, and line your pack with one of these bags.

You might even find yourself connecting with the primordial stirrings of mankind, and the very roots of all that has gone before.

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