Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Do you get nervous when stuffing your food waste into the same stuff sack that’s holding tomorrow’s gourmet feast? If so, you can hike a little more easily if you pack the Sea to Summit Trash Dry Sack. Essentially, it’s everything you’ve come to expect in a lightweight dry sack, with a couple of extra features that make it earn its moniker.
The taped seams, double stitching, roll-top closure, and waterproof fabric ensure that even the nastiest leftovers won’t leak their way into the rest of your pack. More impressively, the roll-top has series of tabs and flaps that will secure a disposable garbage bag liner in place. It’s a bit complex to figure out the system at first, but once I read the directions that were conveniently printed on the side of the bag, I was able to get it working without a hitch.
If, for some reason, you still don’t feel confident stuffing last night’s half-eaten sardines, goat cheese, and crackers in with your sleeping bag, the Trash Sack has plenty of clips available for lashing to the outside of your pack. These are also handy if you have mixed medium adventures planned, such as kayaking or canoeing trips, so you can easily strap the trash to the outside of your craft.
Since I didn’t have any backcountry culinary disasters to test the leak-proofness of the sack, I simulated one in my kitchen. The nether regions of my refrigerator yielded a putrid concoction of week-old chicken parm, month-old lettuce, and a jar of something so far past its due date that I couldn’t readily identify what it was (I think it was an attempt at homemade mayo that failed miserably). The consistency and smell of the three ingredients combined was perfectly horrifying, and exactly what I was hoping for. I poured everything into the liner, rolled up the top, hung the bag upside-down, and let it sit overnight. The next morning, I’m happy to report that the smell was minimal, and only a small amount of the food leaked out of the internal liner (none leaked out of the sack itself).
Now some of you might be saying to yourself, “Self, I really don’t generate that much trash, and I’ve never had a problem packing out everything I bring in.” If this is you and you normally hike in small, experienced groups, I can see why this might not seem like a useful piece of gear. But for those of us who lead groups with various levels of backcountry etiquette into the wilderness, something as simple as a dependable trash bag can be priceless. This Leave No Trace-inspired sack was designed to make it easier to pack it out, and I’ve found that just having something that is readily identified as a waste bin makes folks more likely to be sure their food scraps end up in the right place. It also works well if you’re set up for basecamp-style camping in bear country, as this helps ensure everyone in the group is stuffing their leftovers in a bag that you can easily hang or drop in a bear canister. Additionally, if you only keep the wet trash in the Dry Sack, it’s a lot easier to sort recyclables, compost, and waste when you get back home.