Sea to Summit eVent Compression Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Lightweight, easy to use, good compression design
Cons: Not for use as a stand-alone bag
Manufacturer: Sea to Summit
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Sea To Summit eVent Compression is 20 inches tall with a 9-inch diameter and a total volume of 20 liters. Its made of 70D nylon with an eVent fabric bottom that allows air out but prevents water from getting in. It has all the familiar features of a sleeping bag stuff sack, including compression straps and a pull handle on the bottom.
This model does remarkably well in this metric. From casual use to more intense testing, everything stayed dry inside the eVent throughout testing. When we held it underwater, tons of bubbles escaped through the eVent, but no moisture crept inside the bag. Our testing towel remained completely dry after submersion and after being dragged through the water. It's really not what this dry bag is designed for, which impresses us even more that it's able to work so well.
While some other models we tested are burlier and more waterproof, they are also much heavier and would be serious overkill for a sleeping bag stuff sack. Despite having relatively thin fabric, the eVent never soaked through or let its contents get wet at all. This performance may change over years of use as the fabric treatment ages in ways that tarpaulin dry bags just don't. For our summer of rigorous testing, though, it proved to be quite impervious to water. If you're backpacking all day through a downpour in the Pacific Northwest, this is the kind of security you're going to want.
Ease of Use
Using the eVent Compression for the specialty purpose of a sleeping bag stuff sack couldn't be easier. To remain watertight, most dry bags are also airtight or at least resistant to air moving through the fabric. This would make stuffing a sleeping bag inside and compressing it down a near-impossible challenge. This model has the ingenious addition of its namesake, the eVent, on the bottom, which allows air to exit, making stuffing and compressing not only possible but a quick and easy task. While many other lightweight models may seem like an alluring choice for backpackers, most of them lack this ability to easily expel air, which makes them a challenging choice for a stuff sack.
The lip of this bag is more typical of a dry bag and closes using the classic roll-top design of most models we tested. It is simple enough to roll it closed, pull the compression lid in place, and strap it down, just like a regular compression sack. This is an improvement over some other compression models we tested that have no lid, which then puts a lot of pressure on the roll-top when constricted. The eVent keeps pressure off your seal while you squeeze the contents down, which we think is a much better design. However, if you plan to use it as more than a sleeping bag stuff sack, this model fails to provide internal organizational options for small items. It's a pain to get in and out of while you're out in a kayak just looking for a snack. In fact, this bag is really only good for things you don't need easy access to on the water — like a sleeping bag. It also has no carrying straps, and it is easier to transport inside another bag than on its own.
The eVent Compression has all of the typical features of a sleeping bag stuff sack, compression sack, and general dry bag, all rolled into one. It has a typical flat bottomed cylindrical shape, a roll-top with a clip, the compression lid plus straps, and a pull handle on the bottom. The eVent at the bottom is what makes this bag truly wonderful. This feature allows air to escape while it is being stuffed and compressed but prevents water from returning into the inner compartment.
The eVent does not feature any D-rings or lash points and is meant to be stored inside an outer bag or backpack. You could use it on its own — it's that waterproof — but for durability reasons, its thin fabric is best protected by another, beefier bag.
To live up to the prerequisite weight standards for lightweight backpacking gear, the eVent Compression is forced to sacrifice some durability. The lightweight 70D nylon isn't ripstop and will just never quite be as resistant to cuts, scrapes, and tears. The thin material of this model is not very durable when outside of a backpack, but it is strong enough to withstand abrasions from being shuffled around inside a pack.
With that being said, the eVent Compression stayed intact throughout all of our testing which, was all done without the added protection of an external pack. The same cannot be said for all the other ultralight models we tested.
Another important component of a good compression sack is the compression straps themselves. While other, similar models we tested have thin straps weakly attached by thin stitching (and many other reports of failings), the eVent straps are solid, and we had absolutely no problems with them during our testing.
Sea to Summit makes the same model in five different sizes, 6, 10, 14, 20 and 30 liters. We tested the 20-liter model, which is the perfect size for a 100% down, 3-season men's large sleeping bag. Other sizes may be a better fit for different sleeping bags, and the smallest models would be ideal for protecting down jackets and other clothing.
The eVent Compression is reasonably priced for a mid-sized dry bag. It may be almost double the cost of a standard lightweight stuff sack, but when you're backpacking across Asia during monsoon season, we're pretty sure it will have paid for itself the first night when you have a warm and dry sleeping bag to crawl into.
The Sea To Summit eVent Compression is an ideal sleeping bag stuff sack and should be a part of any avid backpackers kit. We have zero hesitations in awarding it with a Top Pick Award for a Sleeping Bag Stuff Sack, despite this being a dry bag review. It has all the major design features of a stuff sack, it's lightweight, AND it's exceptionally waterproof. Everyone loves a dry bed, and with this product's protection, you'll never face a damp night's sleep in the backcountry again.
— Maggie Brandenburg & Leslie Yedor