12 trail gifts for under $50, Day 11
Gift 11: Sacks & Baggies
It can be challenging to organize even the simplest of backpacks, and stuff-sacks and plastic baggies are amazing tools for keeping things organized. Stuff sacks and baggies can add up quickly in weight, and it is always important to only bring what you need. Though it might not seem like a trash compactor bag or a silicone nylon stuff sack could possibly add much weight to a pack, it is a good idea to go for the lightest bag you can find that looks like it will last & do it’s job.
Ziplocks: If you are still looking for a good last minute gift for you hiker, you only have to go as far as your kitchen drawers. Give the gift of ziplock baggies! Hikers use hundreds of ziplocks during their time on the trail & a good variety is always appreciated. Everything from dinky little snack sized & sandwich zippies all the way to the heavy duty freezer quarts, gallons, & 2 gallons will find purpose on the trail. I usually buy a big variety pack from Costco before a big hike. In normal front country life I’m all about re-using plastic bags, but the trail is where zippies go to be used to the point of being used up. It is winter and your hiker might not remember the value of the spectacular stocking suffer of plastic bags, but just remind them that they will be needing those zippies come hiking season!
LokSak: Ziplocks on steroids. These bags keep things dry, dust free, and happy for much much longer than a normal freezer bag. I keep my cell phone in one, my maps in another, and sometimes use one as a toiletry bag. I recommend treating your hiker to an assorted pack so they can see what sizes work best for their gear.
Priority Mail Tyvek envelopes: These envelopes are FREE from the US Postal Service, water proof, very light, durable, and endlessly useful on the trail. I chop the sticky closure off and use one as my trail “purse”. My wallet, journal, & electronics make their home in this bag of all bags.
Stuff sacks: There are a bazillion stuff sacks to choose from, but a few have sifted their way to the top of my list.
Sea to Summit makes Ultra-Sil Dry Bags that come in a variety of sizes & weigh in around 1oz. I use an 8L for my sleeping bag and an 8 or 10L for my clothing. Having my warm layers in dry bags allows me to leave pack covers and liners at home. The bright colors of the bags make it easy to color code your things, and the top folds into a nice handle. I have seen people use these stuff sacks as buckets to carry water to camp, I use mine as a pillow nightly, and they work as compression sacks without the extra weight of straps.
Zpacks stitches up some incredible looking cuben fiber drybags that I cannot wait to get my hands on. I’m hoping that Santa decides to bring a couple of these my way…. These look a lot like the Sea to Summit bags, but are sewn in Florida and made with Cuben Fiber rather than Silicon Nylon.