My spouse and I are walking Englands hilly but not rugged Cotswold Way in July. Luggage will be shuttled, but we need waterproof daypacks to carry raingear, lunches, first aid, hydration, and souvenirs between villages. What would you recommend? Alison Louisville, KY
Theres an easy fix, a medium fix, and a more complicated fix. The easy fix is to pack a half-dozen white kitchen garbage bags with your luggage. Stuff one down inside your daypack, and anything that needs to stay dry goes inside. I suggest taking several as its not that hard to puncture them. But theyre light and waterproof and cheap. Whats not to like? Your pack might get wet, but it will dry out overnight.
REIs 20-liter Ducks Back Cover
20-liter Ducks Back Cover
I like it better than the medium fix, which is a pack cover. REIs 20-liter Ducks Back Cover ($18; rei.com) is made from taped polyurethane and is totally waterproof. But now you have to fit the cover to the pack, then take it off when you want to retrieve something. With the garbage bag liner, everything is right there. Still, pack covers work well. They do keep your pack dry, which could be useful if it is really, truly pouring. And it can do so there, even in July.
Complicated fix: Buy a waterproof pack. Vaudes Aracanda 30 ($110; vaude.com) has sealed seams and waterproof material, so it will keep your gear dry almost regardless of conditions. But, now youre buying a new pack. Arcteryx Naos 45 (arcteryx.com) offers more carrying capacity (probably too much, nearly 2,700 cubic inches) and a more sophisticated design, but it will set you back at least $380 depending on where you buy it.
So, assuming you already have a pack you like, Id get the garbage bags.
The Gear Guy reports from 2007 Winter Outdoor Retailer, the bi-annual gearapalooza in Salt Lake City. Check out his top picks for gear to watch in 2007.