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Best Pack Accessories (Dry Bags, Stuff Sacks, Packing Cells etc...)

Recommended Dry Bags, Stuff Sacks and Packing Cells

Roll-Top, Drawcord & Zippered Pack Accessories


The purpose of most of the items outlined in this post, aside from providing some form of protection, is to make packing and unpacking in chaotic conditions a reasonably orderly and repeatable process. We're creatures of habit and sometimes (certainly not always) that can serve us well. After setting up a tarp or tent, having items bundled in functional sets allows us to simply throw each bundle into the same place each time, making finding stuff we need a reasonably painless process.

We're going to veer away from our standard format here, since we're looking at a wide range of items. We're not going to rate them individually or as an "ensemble" or provide an all encompassing conclusion. Instead we're simply going to state that all these products are mainstays of the Scramble Kit Tests; regularly in use and all do their job extremely well. Are there better options out there? Possibly. But collectively we've tried a large number of the promising offerings in each category and we're very happy to have (for the time being) settled on the items described below.

Test items: Various
Kit Tests: Winter, Summer
Disclaimer: None of the (non-Scramble) items were provided by their respective manufacturers (so no disclaimer required for them). When it comes to items we manufacture please be aware of the potential for bias. That said, we only made these items because we weren't happy with those offered by other brands.


Part 1. Dry Bags (Roll-Top Closure)

We use a range of dry bags to partition gear as well as protect it, both inside the pack's main body and also in items such as belt bags (like the "Machine") and extenders (like the "Tower").

a) General Use / Light Weight

Osprey Ultralight Dry Bags (3L, 6L)

Osprey's Ultralight Dry Bags (3L, 6L)

Specification & Prices

Main Material: 40D Siliconised Ripstop Nylon 100%
Capacity 3L / 6L
Weight (3L / 6L) 26g / 34g
Manufacturer's RRP (3L / 6L) £9.00 / £10.00

Manufacturer's Page



A simple, low weight, roll-top dry bag with a tightly woven siliconised ripstop nylon. Tough enough for most jobs. Osprey offer a range of colours within each size (many brands do not). We find the 3L versions very handy organisers for all sorts of low bulk kit and due to their rectangular base, they work very well with (small mirrorless) cameras like the Panasonic GX and GM models.

b) Heavy Use / Medium Weight

The durable Exped Fold Dry Bags in use with Scramble's Machine Belt Bag

Exped's Fold Dry Bags (3L, 5L)

Specification & Prices

Main Material: 70D Taffeta PU Coated Nylon (HH = 10,000mm) 100%
Capacity (XS / S): 3L / 5L
Weight (3L,XS / 5L,S) 35g / 48g
Manufacturer's RRP (XS / S) £11.00 / £12.00

Manufacturer's Page



Tougher, heavier and due to the PU coating more waterproof than the Osprey ULs, the Exped Fold (which has been around for years) is a mini classic and ideally suited when you require something that, a) will have more direct contact with the weather, b) will be accessed frequently, and c) can deal with cramming loads of accessories (like hats, gloves, balaclavas etc ...) into a tight space. The Exped Fold has been the dry bag of choice for belt bag use.

c) Large Capacity / Ultralight

Sea To Summit Nano Ultrasil Dry Sack (20L)

Sea To Summit's Nano Ultrasil Dry Sack (20L)

Specification & Prices

Main Material: 15D Siliconised Ripstop Nylon (HH = 1500mm) 100%
Capacity 20L
Weight (stated / measured): 36g / 34g
Manufacturer's RRP (20L) £20.00
Scramble's Price on SYSTEM £14.00

Available on SYSTEM



We recommend this for sleepwear and spare clothing, maps, spare compass and things like money, tickets and stuff not required on the mountain. A useful compartmentaliser with a low weight premium. Generally the last thing packed in the main pack body. In the picture above you can see that just over half the 20L is in use, but the fabric is so light that there's a marginal difference between this and the size below (13L). Often that extra capacity comes in handy when travelling home (sealing up all your stinky damp gear).  

In addition we like the 20L size as it makes a superb ultralight sleeping bag compression sack for the Carinthia Defence 4. Which can be stuffed into the Nano Ultrasil then sat on to remove excess air and basically vacuum packed. It can then be molded (almost like putty) around the inside base of your pack. 


Part 2. Stuff Sacks (Drawcord Closure)

What makes a good stuff sack? Quality cord and cord lock, a good fabric and someone handy with a sewing machine. But perhaps most importantly is the correct dimensions for the thing(s) being stuffed into it. Strangely, we found it hard to get what we wanted for a few items (cooking kit and tarps, a and c below) so we got them made for us by one of our manufacturers.

a) Cooking Kit / Rations

Scramble Cook Kit Stuff Sack (Reinforced)

Scramble's UL Cook Kit Stuff Sack (Reinforced)

Specification & Prices

Main Material: 40D Silicone Coated Ripstop Nylon (60 g/sm) 100%
Dimensions (Closed, Diameter x Height): 15 x 30cm
Capacity (Closed): 5L
Weight 25g
Scramble's Price on SYSTEM £9.00

Available on SYSTEM



Given away in the name, this stuff sack is specifically designed to hold cooking kits for long distance treks. It has a 15cm diameter circular reinforced base (the double layer reinforcement runs 10cm up the sides), is large enough to hold most solo pots and bowls, and has been designed to also hold a 500g gas canister with enough spare room for the day's food rations and 10 days worth of teas / supplements etc..

These stuff sacks are doubled-seamed (not doubled-stitched or over-locked) which creates a self-binding seam making them stronger and more water-resistant than many. Often found in the bottom half of a Tower.

b) Tent Pegs

Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Peg and Utensil Bag

Sea To Summit's Ultra-Sil Peg & Utensil Bag

Specification & Prices

Main Material: 30D Siliconised High-Tenacity Cordura Nylon (70D Base) 100%
Dimensions (Flat, Height x Width) 21 x 8cm
Weight 6g
Manufacturer's RRP ~ £8.00

Manufacturer's Page



Sea To Summit state that these will take pegs up to 18.5cm. However, pictured above, the S2S peg bag contains a small ensemble of (8) pegs including two excellent Titan pegs which are 20cm long. My guess is that as long as you aren't carrying a vast army of pegs, 20cm is probably the max. An excellent, super-light bag with a strong reinforced base. 

c) Tarp + Accessories

Scramble Tarp Bag

Scramble's Tarp Bag

Specification & Prices

Main Material: Dense Weave 130 g/sm PU Coated Polyester 100%
Dimensions (Flat, Height x Width) 24 x 18cm
Weight 14g
Scramble's Price on SYSTEM £6.00

Available on SYSTEM



These bags were designed to store and protect Scramble's G-Series tarps (pictured above in olive green is our HUL42 prototype) with enough space for tent pegs, cordage and a Sea To Summit Nano Mosquito Solo Net. Made from a densely woven 130 g/sm PU coated polyester, the bags have a flat base and can handle the kinds of over-stuffing abuse we dish out when packing our shelters in a hurry. Tough and reasonably light protection for ultralight solo tarps.


Part 3. Packing Cells & Zip Bags (Zipped Closure)

This is really the miscellaneous section, but though these three items are all quite different in terms of their fabrication and purpose, they all share one thing in common: they have zips.

a) First Aid Kit

Tread Lite Gear Cuben Fiber First Aid Pouch

Tread Lite Gear's Cuben Fiber (DCF) First Aid Pouch

Specification & Prices

Main Material: ~50 g/sm (1.4 oz /yd) Cuben Fiber (now DCF - see below) 100%
Dimensions (Length x Height x Width) 14 x 6.5 x 6.5cm
Weight 8g
Manufacturer's RRP £13.00

Manufacturer's Page



Tread Lite Gear, in case you've not heard of them, are a small UK based company that make some fine ultralight kit from some very fine materials. Much of their stuff is a little too cute for our liking (i.e. not capacious enough to be of value for long distance treks), but their first aid zipped pouch made from Cuben Fiber (now called "Dyneema Composite Fabric") is spot on. Extremely strong, highly water-resistant and very light.

Just a minor digression, as Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF) is worth a mention for those who may not have come across it:

DCF is a non-woven, rip-stop, composite laminate. Dyneema fiber is laid out in opposing grid orientations, sandwiched between thin outer layers of polyester film, and melded together in a high-pressure autoclave. DCF is highly durable but light enough to float on water. The material's unique properties allow for continual flex at stress points without compromising strength or structural integrity. Lighter than Silnylon but stronger than Kevlar. Impressive stuff, but I digress ...

I've attached some paracord to mine, so if needed in an emergency, I can just pull on the cord and it will find me. Far better than all the unnecessarily overweight first aid kit containers on the market and thanks to the stiff and semi-transparent Cuben Fiber the pouch holds its shape and lets the light in, so you can find what you're looking for. 

b) Electronics (Padded)

Sea To Summit Cable Cell (Small)

Sea To Summit's Cable Cell (S)

Specification & Prices

Main Material: Sil-Nylon (over EVA padding) 100%
Dimensions (L x W x D): 17.5 x 9.5 x 4.0 cm
Weight (stated / measured): 35g / 38g
Manufacturer's RRP £17.00
Scramble's Price on SYSTEM £10.20

Available on SYSTEM



A superb, lightweight water-resistant option for holding items that require a little extra padded protection. Great for small (MFT) pancake lenses and other camera accessories, battery packs, chargers, cables and all sorts of moisture sensitive gear.

c) Map Bag

Scramble Floating Pocket (Map Bag)

Scramble's Floating Pocket (Map Bag)

Specification & Prices

Main Material (Standard): 40D High-Tenacity Silicone Coated Micro Ripstop Nylon (55 g/sm) 100%
Main Material (Pro): High-Tenacity PU Coated Micro Ripstop Nylons (32-60 g/sm) 100%
Dimensions (H x W): 35 x 25 cm
Item Weights (Standard / Pro + 2g for cord): 26g / 22g - 32g
Scramble's Price on SYSTEM (Standard / Pro) £14.50 / £18.70

Available on SYSTEM



The Floating Pocket is designed primarily to be worn around the neck and to carry maps and associated navigation aids; and that's how I use mine. Very handy tucked under a jacket or inside a zipped t-shirt in summer.

We've ended up making a few versions of the Floating Pocket; the standard one using sil-nylon and the "pro" versions which use some premium ripstop fabrics from DSM (makers of Dyneema) and Porcher Industries.


Product Images


Last Updated: 19/11/19

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