Western Traveler

Trash Bags & Ziploc Bags

Backpacking basically means that you’re taking your home with you on the trail.  With that in mind you need to plan for storage and removal of items that find their way into the wilderness.

Let’s start with the advantages of carrying trash bags.  First, they are handy in a ton of ways, from making an inexpensive moisture barrier when taking a break and sitting on the ground to double-bagging your down sleeping bag inside your pack if you run into a downpour.  Remember, down that gets wet is basically useless.  The most important, and obvious use is to pack out any material that doesn’t belong in the backcountry, whether it’s food containers, trash you find along the trail, etc.

Ziploc bags are a hikers dream for carrying in whatever you want.  They’re lightweight, durable, versatile and can be used for carrying everything except liquid.  When day-hiking I use my Ziplocs for carrying out empty food containers (Vienna sausage cans, empty Granola bar wrappers, etc.).  These handy-dandy little bags have plenty of space for small trash removal vs. wasting a large trash bag.  A final word, don’t scrimp on the cost for these.  Buying cheaply made imitation bags can turn into a disaster in record time.  I suggest you buy a brand-name bag, and make sure it’s the freezer variety.  They tend to be much heavier-duty. 

The same rule applies for trash bags.  This is one place where any extra weight is worth the effort to carry it in and out.  You don’t have to go as far as getting contractor bags, but a good brand-name, heavy-duty trash bag (around 30 gallon size) is perfect for the trail.

Last modified on: March 18th 2012.
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