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Reviews > Stuff Sacks > Dry Bags > Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sack > Owner Review by joe schaffer

Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sack
Owner Review
by Joe Schaffer

October 29, 2015

NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
AGE: 67
HEIGHT: 5'9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.4 kg)
HOME:  Bay Area, California USA

    My first overnight 56 years ago hooked me. I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year; about 30 solo. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair, camp shoes, etc. Summer trips last 5-10 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day. I winter camp most often at 6,000' to 7,000' (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); 1 to 4 miles (1.6 to 6.4 km) on snowshoes.

The Product:
        Manufacturer: Sea To Summit
        Web site:
        Product: 20L Ultra-Sil Dry bag
        Purchased: July, 2010

My measures:
    weight: 2 oz (55 g)
    length: (open) 24 in (61 cm)
    diameter: 9 in (22.9 cm)

Vendor measures:
    volume: 20 L (1,220 ci)
    weight: 1.8 oz (50 g)
    length: 24 in (61 cm)
    base diameter: 10 in (25.4 cm)
    Siliconized Cordura ripstop makes this one of lightest and strongest waterproof nylon fabrics I've ever come across. The Ultra-Sil series is 30D, coated and seam sealed inside. The bag has one straight vertical seam, plus the cylindrical bottom seam. The bag seals using a roll top closure with a 0.8 in (20 mm) stiffener sewn inside the seam on one side of the top, and a 0.75 in (19 mm) Hypalon strip on the outside of the seam on the other side. The bag closes by holding the two sides together and then rolling the bag down and snapping the plastic snap buckle. About 3 rolls are required to ensure a watertight seal. The roll can be made either to pop up as a handle, or rolled the other way to lay flat on the top of the bag. It's slick as a wet bear can. Ultra-Sil Dry Sack is made in 1, 2, 4, 8, 13, 20 and 35 L sizes in colors of orange, blue, berry and lime.

    I don't like typical sleeping bag stuff sacks, which is the only time I use this type of bag. They are often heavy with compression straps that I don't use. They may have coating which I normally don't want, but when I do most stuff sacks aren't waterproof due to the opening at the top and typical lack of seam sealing. Most of the time I simply roll the sleeping bag and tie it with utility cord. I may bag the roll in a couple of plastic grocery sacks, but more often I prefer to leave the sleeping bag in no bag at all--I feel so bad about compressing the bag that denying it any opportunity to breathe seems excessively cruel. Where I might anticipate a day or so of rain or a daily series of thundershowers, I like to keep my sleeping bag in this dry bag and let everything else take its chances. In those circumstances full protection for the sleeping bag becomes a high priority as I am risking water intrusion inside the pack. I will likely use the dry bag for winter camping if there is any chance at all of precipitation.
    uncompressedI (perhaps and am often proven foolishly) trust summer weather reports. When there is no chance of rain, I often don't carry any kind of pack or gear defense. If the probability looks persistent or likely, I carry a full defense of garbage can liner inside the pack and rain cover outside, so nothing inside is at risk of getting wet. In between those conditions I may carry little or no defense other than the sleeping bag in this dry bag. I've used the bag in those conditions on 3 trips this year totaling 21 days. One 4-day trip was Mt. Whitney in Spring, where I couldn't tolerate the risk of getting my bag wet even though little rain was forecast (and little developed). The other two were summer trips of 8 and 9 days in Yosemite with a high enough probability of rain (some of which did develop) that I didn't carry any rain gear and counted on having a dry sleeping bag if I got wet. The dry bag's been put to use probably an additional 30-40 days in the preceding 4 years that I've had it. It has yet to show any sign of wear or stress.

    This bag is so light it's almost hard ever to justify not carrying it. I have suffered the aggravation of water intrusion into my pack several times, but never has this bag let the slightest bit get to my sleeping bag. I find that quite consoling as I trudge through sloppy conditions with confidence that I will be able to get warm and dry in my sleeping bag no matter how awful the progression of nasty weather.

    I find it very easy to use, even with cold, wet arthritic fingers. I can't seem to make things work quite as well with gloves on, but that's not often the circumstance. Most often I find it simple enough to pull the edges tight at the top, which mates the Hypalon to the stiffener and roll it down. The only trouble I ever have is forgetting to squeeze air out before I get the roll started. The seal is so good that even the first roll makes it almost impossible to get air out. The pictures show the dry bag swallowing a 30 F (-1 C) synthetic bag with no compression; and with a moderate amount of compression. I love the idea that I can choose the amount of compression I want simply by squeezing out air by pressing on top of the bag with my knee and rolling the top to seal it. If I try too hard to compress the contents, then some of it sucks into the roll, making it too fat to finish properly.

    The material is really slick, and more than once I've looked like a fumbling football receiver trying to keep the bag from hitting the ground. So far I've succeeded in preventing scuffs, but I know this type of material suffers abrasion damage rather easily. I take great care to avoid getting the bag dirty as my experience with coated material suggests it does not like being washed. I always make certain the bag is completely dry before storing it as mildew will eagerly work its evil given any opportunity.

Quick shot impressions:

    a) light
    b) strong
    c) well made
    d) scuffs easily

Read more reviews of Sea to Summit gear
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Reviews > Stuff Sacks > Dry Bags > Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sack > Owner Review by joe schaffer

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