Shedding Pack Weight: Nylon Vs Silicone Rain Covers

Reading prerequisite: This post won’t make a whole lot of sense to you unless you’ve read this starting post about weight considerations for backpacking with camera gear.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m going to briefly touch on all of the ways I managed to cut down on the weight I carry with me while backpacking and overnight camping for photography missions. Some of these things might be obvious to you, and some may be new. Until I embarked on this little project I hadn’t considered these things in detail before, nor appreciated just how much weight can be saved by making just a few changes to your gear.

As I’ve also mentioned in that starter post, I found it much easier to imagine weight savings as fractions of my camera gear, because ultimately what I was trying to do was free myself up to carry more gear if I wanted to. You should choose measurements that make sense to you, but for reference, these are numbers I was keeping in mind:

Silicone Vs. Nylon Rain Covers

(By the way, the scales are cheap $15 ones from Amazon, but I found them to be really useful for this project.)

For a number of years I’ve been using an Arcteryx rain cover for my backpack. A cover like this is pretty essential when you live in British Columbia where rain and snow can be plentiful. When I bought the cover, I thought nothing of it. Surely a rain cover is a rain cover is a rain cover… wrong!

Rain covers are either made from nylon, like my Arcteryx one, or they are made from silicone. Silicone covers are less bulky, and much lighter weight, but they do cost a small amount more in some cases. My Arcteryx rain cover came in at 254g, so I went to my local outdoor store (MEC) and found a Gregory silicone cover that only weighed 114g. This was the first item on my list that I figured I could lighten, and already I was able to shave off 140g, or as I was thinking about it, about 1/4 the weight of a 16-35 lens, or nearly two additional LP-E6N batteries for my 5D Mark IV. The cost of the new rain cover was about $30, available here on Amazon. Not a bad start! Stay tuned for more details on all the other weight saving tips and gear changes I put into place for this guide to backpacking with a camera.

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Dan Carr

Founder of Shutter Muse, full time photographer and creative educator. Dan lives in the Canadian Yukon, but his wanderlust often sends him in search of images all around the world to meet the needs of clients and readers alike.

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