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A dry sleeping bag is priceless, as are friends

December 12, 2014

A light duty dry bag sitting on the tired, one-year-old coated nylon bag it replaces.

If it’s true that the best things in life are free then the problem homeless people in Vancouver face is one of getting too much of a good thing. And by “good thing” I’m referring to the healthy, pure water that nature showers us with for nearly three-quarters of the year.

From fall, through winter, past the end of spring and right into summer, homeless people in Vancouver have to make a sustained effort to keep their stuff from getting soaked by rain.

Of everything they own (electronics aside), probably the very last thing a street person wants to see dripping wet is their sleeping gear — whether it be blankets or a sleeping bag.

What did homeless people do before plastic, besides get wet?

All any of us can do with the things we need to carry around is put them in plastic and hope for the best. Most times this means found garbage bags or the large thin clear plastic bags a binner can get for free from a Return It bottle depot.

Personally, I prefer to save up and buy a waterproof dry bag — a foolproof solution that keeps my sleeping bag dry through the worst downpours imaginable — until it wears out.

Today, with a little help from friends I didn’t realize I had, I replaced the dry bag holding my winter-weight sleeping bag. According to my receipt, the new bag cost $21.28, taxes in. It’s a 20 litre light-duty bag from MEC.

It replaces a very thrashed one year old coated-nylon dry bag of the same volume, also from MEC.

I prefer the coated nylon bag for its sheer durability but it’s nearly $10 dollars more than the lighter-weight bag, which is certainly waterproof enough so I decided to save the money.

I’ve been lately investing what surplus cash I have in maintaining my bike trailer and it was only thanks to an unexpected gift of cash from three of my blog readers that I was even able to buy a few other necessary things today, earlier than I expected but in the case of the dry bag, not a bit too soon.

Bouts of heavy rain this week twice left a corner of my sleeping bag wet — clearly I waited too long to replace it.

I still intend to get an additional 20 litre dry bag but there’s no panic and I’ll wait until I can get one that’s coated nylon.

I just have to decide on the colour.

The new bag is blue and I already have a very serviceable red 10 litre dry bag sized for a summer-weight sleeping bag. A year-or-so ago MEC also had the bags in yellow but the only other colour I saw today was lime green.

It would be nice if I could get the dry bags in black — that’s about the colour they all end up being by the time I’m done with them. Click the image to enlarge it.

From → Gear, Homeless life

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