I don’t know anyone who has a home trash compactor, but the bags are indispensable for travelers. They are tough as nails, and our clothes and books stayed dry in our compactor bag lined bicycle panniers through rainstorms that made us feel like we were swimming.
It hadn’t occurred to me but I suggested these super tough bags to a friend who was backpacking for the first time and they joked that it could solve the age old problem of having to sit on your suitcase to get it closed. Just find someone who actually has a trash compactor (or stop by your local appliance store and ask to give one a whirl), bag your clothes and run them through before inserting the neat little package in your luggage. No idea how you’d recover when customs asks to inspect the contents…
I’ve found that used correctly a $0.89 trash compactor bag can be as reliable than an $89.00 commercial whitewater dry bag and actually better than some. The only real difficulty is getting a good waterproof seal. We tried giant twist ties and releasable zip-ties but what ended up working the best was copying from the commercial dry bags.
Leave at least six inches of space at the top, squish the extra air out then flatten the two layers at the top and fold over about an inch of the opening. Keep (at least 4x) folding until you’ve used up the extra space.
The “real” dry bags have a strap of some sort sewn on the opening so once they are rolled you can buckle the strap together to hold the roll closed. I played around with trying to tape a ribbon or something onto my trash compactor bag but in the end I found just putting a couple of bungee cords around it lengthwise works much better.
Use the ball style bungees because the hooks may puncture your bag.
1,001 Uses for Plastic Bags
There may not be 1,001 uses but if you pack a few you’ll certainly find a few ways to utilize them. Great for covering packs, stuffing dirty clothes, making an emergency poncho.
I didn’t realize one of the seals in my bicycle headset had shredded until my steering locked me into a trajectory that would intersect with the path of an oncoming cattle truck. Luckily I had replaced my brake pads earlier in the week and my biggest worry turned out to be cleaning the headset bearings well enough to limp the last 20 km into our planned stop.
There was so much grit, that it was difficult to pull the steering tube out and I managed to loose six or eight bearings in the gravel before Sue pointed out that I should have some sort of drop cloth; plastic bag to the rescue. We had our maps wrapped in two layers of the ubiquitous white rectangular shopping bags. She split one down the side and opened it out into a 2′ by 4′ work surface that caught the bearings that I inevitably dropped.