One of the simplest pieces of gear you can buy, stuff sacks are nevertheless indispensable. Unlike plastic bags, which tend to only last one trip, nylon stuff sacks are re-usable and easily washable.
When planning multi-day trips, stuff sacks of various sizes and colours are convenient for organizing food, clothing, and equipment. You can keep the dirty stuff away from the clean stuff, and the wet stuff away from the dry stuff. They also help distribute the load in your pack so it's more comfortable to carry.
- Store your stove and kitchen utensils in a coated sack, so you're not transferring soot and cooking smells to other items.
- Use a small sack for your repair kit or first aid kit.
- Use a sack with compression straps, to squeeze your sleeping bag down to the size of a cantaloupe.
- Put the tent fly in a separate sack to keep it away from the tent body when you have to pack it wet.
- Fill a sack with rocks and use it to anchor your tent. For a snow anchor, fill a bag with snow and bury it.
- Use mesh stuff sacks to keep miscellaneous items in one tidy see-through bundle.
- Separate your clean clothes from dirty ones.
- When camping with kids, put a complete change of clothes in a single bag. At the end of the day, stuff the dirty clothes back in the bag.
- Build a bear cache by putting a rock in a small sack, tie a rope to it, and toss it over a high tree branch.
- Stuff a sack with extra clothes and use it as a pillow.
- Use two sacks as base camp booties while you dry out your hiking footwear.
- Wear a sack as a stylish chef’s hat to add a gourmet touch to rehydrated meals.
- Tie a long string to a sack and fly it like a kite on a windy day.