I only saw incidential mention of this in some trip logs and couldn't find an actual topic, so I figured I'd start one up.
Last year when I did Tonto Creek, I used garbage bags as a pack liner and water noodles strapped to the outside to help float my gear. I had a 70 lb pack, so "floating" was a relative term. Next trip is going to be to West Clear Creek and I'd love to hear what others have to say about getting their gear across a swim as quick and dry as possible, preferably without having to stop to set up a float system each time.
Here's what I observed from my last trip and reading around...
*Garbage bags will work when double/tripled over and secured with hair ties, but BRING EXTRAS, because they will rip from packing/unpacking.
*Water noodles secured to the outside of your bag might work if your pack didn't weigh 70 lbs, but your pack will always want to float "face down", or however you didn't intend it to float.
*If your pack doesn't have drain holes in the bottom of each compartment, you'll definitely be taking on a lot of extra water weight. I did see somewhere on this site that buying a grommet kit that is used for tarps will let you create reinforced drain holes in your pack.
This time around my pack will be MUCH lighter, and I invested in a 65 liter drybag to cover all my gear. Originally I was going to try using the old military ALICE dry bags (I think they were intended as laundry bags) but I shopped around and found the ILBE 65L drybag by Sealline for $40 and couldn't pass it up. I read somewhere that someone used a rain fly and a thermarest to float their bags with quite a bit of success. I'd love to get a little more detail on how this was done if anyone's tried it.
Let's hear it...