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Keep Your Gear Dry: Waterproofing Your Pack

Long ago, I ventured off into the lakes of Northern Saskatchewan, Canada with a few friends, canoes, and a guide. We spent three weeks paddling and camping through the lakes before spending the last week driving towards Calgary and camping along the way.

One of the first things the guides did was hand out very thick contractor garbage bags. I vividly remember the frustration I felt of having to dump the carefully packed contents of my large backpack out so I repack it inside of the garbage back liner. Even though my pack never went overboard, I recognize in hindsight that even a little bit of protection could go a long way in keeping me comfortable and safe during those chilly Canadian nights.

So today I want to share a resource with you. My friend, and community member here at The Everyday Marksman, Justin “Graveyard” Fields over at Swift Silent Deadly put up an article recently detailing several ways to waterproof a pack.

You might remember Justin from a recent podcast episode where we discussed preparedness and why he got started with his site.

Bottom line: your waterproofing decision should be a balancing act. The factors you’re trying to balance are: how much are you relying on the bag, what is the likelihood of exposing the bag to weather, and what inconvenience are you willing to deal with? If you’re relying on your bag for life and death, then yes, you should waterproof. If your likelihood of being caught in the rain or going in the drink is high (and if your bag is an emergency bag I would consider both of these “high” likelihood), then yes, you should. Inconvenience is going to keep many of us from waterproofing. I don’t think that should be a huge factor but acknowledge that it will be.

While You’re Over There…

By the way, while you’re over at Justin’s site, why not give him a follow? He does a lot of great work and cares deeply about your privacy. He has an extremely interesting background, though he’ll never brag about it, and is absolutely the kind of person I’d like to have on my apocalypse team someday.


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Matt is the primary author and owner of The Everyday Marksman. He's a former military officer turned professional tech sector trainer. He's a lifelong learner, passionate outdoorsman, and steadfast supporter of firearms culture.

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Matt decent article you linked to. I waterproofed my ruck slightly differently, but same general idea. First, clean the ruck well. Then apply several coats of scotchgard protectant spray. Use the scotchgard brand. It helps the ruck shed water in light rain when you don’t want to dig out a pack cover. inside, place a GI waterproof bag. These are inexpensive (about $15-20) heavy rubberized fabric bags. Pack your gear inside. Close the top with a gooseneck fold and tie. Packed this way you can helocast all day long and your gear will stay dry. Comparmentalizing the gear inside into… Read more »

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