Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wherein I Keep My Stuff Dry in a Downpour

Last week I rode my bike from Toronto to Qu├ębec City and back for the 81st IETF meeting.  This is only the second long ride I've done (the first was to Ottawa in May), and the first where I didn't have complete control over which days I'd be on the road – and thus, no control over what weather I'd be riding in.  Seeing as it was a work trip, I'd have to carry my laptop, and so some means of keeping it dry would be necessary.

Since a laptop won't fit in my wee Ogio saddle bags, and neither they nor my laptop backpack are waterproof (and I didn't want to wear a backpack for 900km anyway) I needed something I could strap to my bike that would fit a long narrow piece of electronics, and keep it dry.

Rain gear, water, and street boots in the saddle bags, spare gloves,
camera, maps, etc. in the tank bag, everything else in the Seal Line
My usual stop for such things is my local MEC, as they rarely disappoint.  This visit was successful as always, and I walked out with a 75 litre Seal Line zip dry bag.  At first glance in the store, and while packing, it seemed to be the ideal bag for what I wanted.  It's flat and wide, carries easily, holds a week of clothes plus my laptop, laptop bag, and some assorted cables and other gear, and most importantly zips air tight.  In fact, after strapping it to my bike I found I had to unzip it to let it deflate a bit.. this made the difference between it poking me in the back all the time and compressing neatly out of my way up on the passenger seat.  But, it hadn't really been tested yet... and it would be tested.  Oh, how it would be tested.

On the ride home this past Friday, on the leg between Ottawa and Toronto, I ran into a pretty nasty rain storm.  Rain wasn't entirely unexpected.. I'd been watching some weather move East toward me from Toronto for a couple days.. but the amount of rain was a huge surprise.  I haven't even been outside in a rain storm like this in a long time, let alone out on the highway.   As I was passing North of Kingston on Highway 7, Kingston was busy closing down several streets due to flooding. It was some nasty rain.

But lo, and behold, upon my arrival home I found the inside of the dry bag to be.. well.. dry.  Bone dry.  Where the Ogio bags and me were both soaked, and even my supposedly rain-proof tank bag had some moisture in it, my laptop was saved.   Success!

Now if only I could solve the problem of drying out the inside of my helmet in the middle of a downpour.