DIY (primitive) drybags?!

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today i had to my surprise the entire beach to myself so i walked a bit further than normal, amongst the large amount of trash was a rain jacket -- shredded up but it got me thinking :eek:about another idea i've been pondering since some time:
as everyone who spends time in a wet environment will know: keeping items dry is important. so far i'm using Ziploc bags in my shoulder bag but they're not very long-lasting so i'm looking for something more durable. commercial drybags aren't available around here (and don't exist in the sizes i need) + i'm low on funds and have enough spare time so i'm toying with making my own. there's articles about folks waterproofing backpacks etc., using electric heat sources (hairdryers) to impregnate the fabric with beeswax and linseed oil BUT neither material is available here:(:(:( and i've no access to hairdryers etc. either...:eek:

however there's mentioning of small drybags in "Papillon" (i'm sure they had only limited resources available) and fritz w. up de graff mentions making drybags in "headhunters of the amazon" using rubber -- it's a long time since i read the book (more than 15years) so i can't remember the details... . i'm sitting about 5m from the nearest rubber tree* whilst typing ssoo that's a material i'd have access to....

has anyone made their own drybags without modern technology?!(painting some commercially available stuff on fabric is an option, too)

*the leaves look different from hevea brasiliensis but the fruits look very similar, i'm sure it's the same genus (and the locals call it "rubber tree", it produces rubber when tapped)
 

Woody girl

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Mar 31, 2018
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Hey I'd be using that raincoat to make a drybag. You would only have to waterproof the seams then . Do you know how they process the rubber? You don't want it getting all over your things you put in the bag. Or perhaps you can put it on the outside. Sounds like a good idea.
Tent fabric remnants might be of use too. They usually have a good hydrostatic value so should keep things dry.
I once cut up a ruined tent flysheet I found in a campsite bin to make a sort of poncho one rather stormy week. Looked awful but did the job :)
 

spandit

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 6, 2011
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Waxed/oiled cotton should be fairly waterproof. Otherwise, I suppose something like an animal bladder or stomach would serve a purpose.
 
Hey I'd be using that raincoat to make a drybag. You would only have to waterproof the seams then . Do you know how they process the rubber? You don't want it getting all over your things you put in the bag. Or perhaps you can put it on the outside. Sounds like a good idea.
Tent fabric remnants might be of use too. They usually have a good hydrostatic value so should keep things dry.
I once cut up a ruined tent flysheet I found in a campsite bin to make a sort of poncho one rather stormy week. Looked awful but did the job :)
the raincoat looked pretty damaged but some of it was buried in the sand -- might be worth a second look

the latex gets solid over night when you tap the trees and turns into rubber -- so far i've only nicked the trees and collected the rubber as fire starter, not sure if this particular species has been used commercially like hevea brasiliensis... maybe one of the "oldtimers" out in the countryside knows when i head back there how to slow down the solidifying (=to soak fabric), i'll do some small -scale experimen
 
Waxed/oiled cotton should be fairly waterproof. Otherwise, I suppose something like an animal bladder or stomach would serve a purpose.
wonder if candle wax will work -- guess it's time for an experiment....

i know that animal intestines have been used by Inuit and Aleutians to fashion waterproof garments but i wouldn't try that idea in the tropics -- about 3years ago we killed a 3m boa wrapped around a chicken (tastes best marinated and slow-cooked) but despite all my efforts the skin crumpled to bits within short time....(big shame)
 

Woody girl

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Candlewood would need to be mixed with something or it will just crack off when hardened. Mixed with oil it becomes very much like a cream, I often make my own using beeswax. I'm sure there must be a way to use it though. Maybe someone else will have the answer.
Even if that old coat is tatty, unless it's shredded you might be able to make small dry bags from the sleeves. Less sewing too.
I'm a real junk hunter and have a mindset of what can I do with this? When it comes to rubbish. Just turned a 5 litre plastic water container into a small lettuce garden.
Nothing is wasted here if it can be turned into something else!
The original junkie! :) :) :)
 
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Janne

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Did they not use oiled leather back in the old days?

Then oil cloth. To wrap documents in, and they even survived being immersed in water.

I think a first start could be using the commercial wax preparations ( type Barbour wax) then experimenting making your own.
Good to establish a 'base line' using commercial stuff.
 
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TLM

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Found this mention of how Olmecs and Mayas might have used latex:
"A 50-50 blend of morning glory juice and latex created rubber with maximum bounciness, while a 75-25 mix of latex and morning glory made the most durable material."

Apparently one just mixes them in fairly warm conditions and waits 15 min. Worth a try?
 

Janne

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Is there any Archaeological evidence for that?
( they COULD have done it. Does not mean they DID.)



Maybe that round object visible on the stone carvings was a human head?
:)

(I know they found round Latex spheres. Olmec? Mayan?
Another question arises: Did those proto-footballers use as much coke as today's footballers? :) )


I hate Latex. Been allergic for 25+ years now. Non latex gloves are not nice.
 
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i'm just back from the beach: that raincoat is beyond salvaging (which explains why the locals haven't picked it up yet), it's a cheap piece of pvc and already crumbling:((but i'm glad to see i'm not the only dumpster diver:D:D)

i'll see what google has to tell me about making oil cloth, i also found some infos on "instructables" on " how to make small waterproof pouches from inner tubes -- not big enough for my note book but suitable for keeping tinder dry (== i've gone entirely traditional on fire making since 2011 -- no evil magic(==lighter -- rinses his mouth...) or ferro rod -- chucked into the garbage for it's unreliability long time ago -- for me!)

i hope i can ID morning glory and guayule and find them around here as that's definitely worth a try!:)
 
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a quick search shows me that making oil cloth seems rather simple BUT it requires boiled linseed oil -- a substance obviously not available in any hardware store here (which i know from my search for it to treat tool handles)... imho the hardware stores in this country suck big time!
is the stuff used by painters (artists) used the same as for furniture/tools ?! there's a store selling painter's supplies so if i'm lucky they may have it...
 

Janne

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The Saame used the fat that is situated around the kidneys ( of reindeer)

Different temperatures requires different formulations.
You being in a hot climate - bees wax should be soft and not flake off.

When you work with uncured, raw Latex ( of various sources) be careful so you do not get allergic or sensitive .
 
The Saame used the fat that is situated around the kidneys ( of reindeer)

Different temperatures requires different formulations.
You being in a hot climate - bees wax should be soft and not flake off.

When you work with uncured, raw Latex ( of various sources) be careful so you do not get allergic or sensitive .
no reindeer here except a few gimmicky statues on christmas:p

good point about a reaction to latex -- i'll be careful when experimenting:thumbsup: so far i experienced no reaction collecting samples for fire starting but you never know.... (i had reactions to sisal once trying to make string while everyone else was fine:aarghh:)
 

TLM

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While looking for native ways of vulcanizing rubber there were comments that Olmecs made raincoats or -capes, no references. Apparently Morning Glory makes some organic sulphur compounds that might otherwise be hard to get.
 

Janne

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Olmec civilization ended close to 1500 years before the European invasion.

Have they found any Olmec rain proofs ?

Latex sensitivity/allergy.

We are exposed daily to various Latex products. Allergies to it are on the increase. Our immune system is not made for it. I wonder about the incidence of Latex allergy is among the original inhabitants in Central and South America?
 

TLM

Settler
Nov 16, 2019
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Well if you have convenient access:
Prehistoric Polymers: Rubber Processing in Ancient Mesoamerica
  1. Dorothy Hosler1,2,*,
  2. Sandra L. Burkett2,
  3. Michael J. Tarkanian1,2
See all authors and affiliations

Science 18 Jun 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5422, pp. 1988-1991
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5422.1988
 
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Hammock_man

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May 15, 2008
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Remember chatting with Theresa, (of iron age fame), while she was working on water bladders. It seems there were a number of ways of making things water resistant but only the bladder makes water proof !!!