Cuben Fiber Stuff Sacks = Less Weight

The little things in a pack can add up, so it’s those little things that sometimes need addressing. In this case, the little things I have addressed are my stuff sacks which seem to weigh very little already. But rather than getting rid of them completely, I simply replaced them with cuben fiber stuff sacks from ZPacks, and now they weigh even less! Granted it is not a huge weight savings, but on the trail where every ounce is counted, it is worth your while to evaluate everything. So, I have evaluated my stuff sacks, and here are my findings, as well as my savings:

So, in case you missed it from the video, here is the breakdown:

Sierra Designs “Ditty Bag” 0.5 oz ~~> ZPacks Mini CF SS: 0.07 oz = 0.43 oz savings!
Evernew Cook Pot SS: 0.5 oz ~~> ZPacks Cook Pot CF SS: 0.1 oz = 0.4 oz savings!
Mont-bell Down Parka SS: 0.3 oz ~~> ZPacks Small Plus CF SS: 0.2 oz = 0.1 oz savings!
MYOG Sil Clothes Bag: 0.6 oz ~~> ZPacks Medium CF SS: 0.25 oz = 0.35 oz savings!
OR Dry Sack: 2.6 oz ~~> ZPacks Large Blast CF Food Bag: 0.8 oz = 1.8 oz savings!

Total Before Change: 4.5 oz ~~> Total After Change: 1.42 oz = 3.08 oz savings!

Let me say here that I don’t expect to put my pack on and feel a difference in my overall weight from saving 3 oz from my stuff sacks, but like I said, it all adds up. I start by cutting a few oz here, then a few oz there, and before I know it, I am counting the savings in pounds. And I may not even notice a difference in only a couple of pounds, but then again I may. Ultimately though, it will be lighter, and that much closer to being even lighter as I continue to adjust all of my gear.

Right now, I am around a 15.5 pound base weight for temps down to single digits, and during the summer months, I will be around 11 pounds and I am super happy with this weight (these weights are less if you subtract items carried such as trekking poles, pocket knives, etc…). I have a few items that can be called luxury items, such as a pillow and there are things I could continue to do to drop even more weight (such as leave the stuff sacks at home) but this is what works for me. I am sure that time will change these things, one way or another, but this is the path I am on for now…

As for the stuff sacks, Joe at ZPacks is a great guy, and his products are just as awesome. His cuben fiber stuff sacks are of great quality and his prices are rather easy on the wallet (especially when compared to other similar stuff sacks)! So, if you are looking for some sweet stuff sacks to lighten your load and not your wallet, be sure to go check out ZPacks.

Thanks for reading!


About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
This entry was posted in Dry Bags/Stuff Sacks/ Pack Liners, Gear, Gear Stores and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Cuben Fiber Stuff Sacks = Less Weight

  1. Crystal Niedzwiadek says:

    Stick, your blog is utterly fascinating…you must have an analytical personality, because your attention to details is mind boggling. I’m just starting to read all your posts. From one person who is really new to this sport, thank you so much for sharing all this information. I’m likely to have more questions as I dig into this. I just finished reading Mike Clelland’s book, and some of your tips are even lighter than his!


    • Stick says:

      Thanks Crystal! Glad that you can get some good info from my blog. And I too have read Mike’s book, and it is definitely a great book, so I really appreciate your compliment… 🙂

      If you have any questions, feel free to ask, and if I can help in any way, I will do my best.

      Thanks again,



  2. Crystal Niedzwiadek says:

    Hi Stick…love your blog, as I am new to learning ultralight. I’m just wondering why you would use a stuff sack for your ditty bag instead of just a simple ziploc baggie? Love the idea of a carbon fiber liner for your pack. Also, do you have a post with all of your weights that I can look at?


    • Stick says:


      I have a number of small items that I keep in my ditty bag and I have had small Ziploc’s come apart at the seams with some use, and then I would have to repair the Ziploc to keep the items from falling out the busted seam. So, the cuben fiber stuff sack is just as light (and maybe lighter) but is much stronger and more durable.

      I have posted a few of my gear lists, however, they all vary for the most part. You can go to my home page here on my blog and start scrolling through backwards and come across them fairly easy. Here is one from my most recent trip:

      Here is a direct link to my spreadsheet too:

      Although, if you go to my postings there are links in those as well.

      Hope that this helps, and thanks for checking out my blog.



  3. Jake Willits says:

    Thanks for the review. I’m currently using Mountainfitter(Lawson) cuben drysacks, but need another ditty bag when my ULA CDT pack gets here.


    • Stick says:


      I hear nothing but great things about Lawson’s dry sacks. I actually was hoping to get one of the 18×36 cuben dry sacks to use as a pack liner, but didn’t make it in time. Also, I am not sure if you heard, but he has now changed his name to Lawson Outdoor Equipment and he is now carrying his items. He is working hard on a cuben fiber tarp line-up. Hopefully once he gets those stocked up well he will have some more of his famous dry sacks again!

      For now though, I also just received an 18×36 cuben fiber dry sack pack liner from Joe at ZPacks. It is very nice and fits perfectly inside my ULA Circuit. I will be posting a review on it soon as well.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!



  4. Pat Combee says:

    Hey Stick, nice review. It is nice to get a real-world view of the cuben sacks. It is nice to put them in size perspective. Hard to visualize the size of a mini stuff sack until I have something to compare it too. I can now see that it might a size sack I might want.
    I currently have the Blast food bag (thanks for that review too), the large stuff sack (same size but lighter material as the blast bag) and the small plus sack. It is nice to be able to stay organized without having a 1/2 pound or more of stuff sacks.


    • Stick says:


      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      I understand what you are saying about real-world views. When I ordered my first 2 a while back, I ordered the small to use as my ditty bag, and when I got it I realized it was a little too large. I actually ended up using it for a while for my Montbell down jacket. But now I plan on using the small-plus for the down jacket. The small works great for the Heine set up!

      I also hear ya about staying organized. I used to have a ton of either stuff sacks, or things in ziploc bags. I have narrowed it down now and feel like I am at my happy place with stuff sacks.

      Thanks again,


  5. John Abela says:

    Hey Stick,

    Totally agree with you on everything you have wrote/video’ed. I should probably push out a video of my own setup, but here is what I have done.

    I use the MLD Cuben Fiber Dry Bags for my MontBell UL Super Spiral #3 bag as neither ZPacks nor HMG offer a ‘dry bag’ with a roll top and snap.

    For others I switched over to HMG sacks. I did this for a few different sacks because I needed something that would allow me to easily see through the material, and even the white CF that ZPacks uses is not as clear as the material that HMG uses.

    One problem I have had with the ZPacks mini is that the iphone 4 does not properly fit inside of it. Its just a smidgen to small. An iphone 3 fits perfect, but not the 4. (only of concern for those with an iphone obviously).

    Perhaps my favorite ZPacks CF bag is their tent stake sacks. I have a few of these and find them to be the best of the best.

    Also I have found the ZPacks Large “Blast” Food Bag in the “Cylinder” shape to be one of my favorite CF bags. The cylinder shape makes it awesome for a pillow. I throw 100% of my clothing in it – every clothing item I carry can fit inside of it. The shape allows me to put it inside my ZPacks Blast 26 backpack, and it lays flat so it does not take up a lot of room. At night it comes out of the bag and I put it on top of my shoes, which I put at the head end of my sleeping pad, and thus I have a very nice pillow.

    John B. Abela


    • Stick says:


      When I realized that Lawson was not going to have anymore of his dry sacks in stock for a while I decided to contact Joe at ZPacks and inquire about an 18×36 cuben fiber dry sack to use as a pack liner. He said he could whip me up one and for a small amount. I actually received it yesterday with the rest of my items, and I must say, I am super happy with it! He uses the small hook & loop fastner across the top which makes it somewhat ridged so that it can be rolled, and then he has small buckles at each end which will allow me to buckle it closed after I roll the top. And if fits like it was custom made for the ULA Circuit! (Joe did mention that he will probably have some of these type of sacks on his site sometime in the future, so keep an eye out.)

      For my tent bag, I am using a stake bag that I got from OES when I ordered my tarp. It is quite light (maybe 0.1 oz) and I believe it is made with spinaker and is reinforced at the bottom so the stakes won’t stab through it. If I would not have had this already, I would have ordered one of the CF stake bags too.

      I may go with a CF stuff sack to replace my MYOG sil sleeping bag stuff sack, but it will need to be the same size as the one I have now, and shape. I like the envelope design because it fits in the bottom of the Circuit correctly. You may know, but the Circuit is tapered off at the bottom rather than squared, so the boxd stuff sacks simply have extra (wasted) material at the bottom of this pack.

      I too love my large Blast food bag, but mine is the rectangular one. I like the rectangular shape. It just seems to work for me. But I actually put food in mine… 🙂

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and commenting! I appreciate it!



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